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My brakes don't seem to be stopping me fast enough. I have 55k on a 2015 XLE and have noticed it is slow to come to a complete stop.
In a really serious situation, we were traveling southbound on I-95 in VA, doing about 75 mph. The cars ahead of me hit their brakes and I did too.
It was very fortunate that we were in the far left lane and there was a wide breakdown lane for me to pull into,
as the van would not stop in time. If not for the nreakdown lane, we would have totaled the van and we would both have been in an ER in VA.
Has anyone else had such a scary experience and what have you done about it? Other than leaving a big gap ahead of you?
Are there brake pads that have a better grip than the original pads? Any other way to improve the stopping ability?
Would appreciate any help on this, as I am still shook up about the incident
 

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This is a serious safety issue, please bring your van to a reputable maintenance/repair shop for inspection before you hurt yourself, your family, or someone else. Best of luck!
 

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Wider tires will decrease stopping distance, at the expense of fuel economy. If your tires are overinflated, they'll stop more poorly as well. There aren't any real upgrades you can do to the brakes on the cheap. I'm running some pretty pricey Hawk yellow brake pads right now and notice very little difference in braking ability over the Centrics that I was previously using.

I think mainly just get used to the fact that you're driving a 4500lb vehicle that can't stop as easily as a smaller car and adjust your driving habits accordingly.
 

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These are heavy vehicles empty, and with passengers and luggage the weight really pushes the limits of the tires and brakes.

You said 55k miles. Original brakes? If so they've seen a lot of wear, both to the pads and rotors. Heat is the enemy of good braking, and thinner materials can't shed the heat.

Just as I won't drive around on 3/32" of tread remaining, I wouldn't wear the pads down to the rivets (dating myself) either. It might be time for an expensive but necessary brake job.
 

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Just as I won't drive around on 3/32" of tread remaining, I wouldn't wear the pads down to the rivets (dating myself) either. It might be time for an expensive but necessary brake job.
I've been wearing pads "down to the rivets" or at least down to manufacturer minimum pad/shoe thickness specifications all my 50+ years of driving. I'm a cheap SOB who likes to minimize my cost of vehicle maintenance.

The minimum pad thickness for vehicles made by Toyota is only 1 mm. I've almost always let Toyota/Lexus brake pads wear until a brake wear sensor indicated that the minimum had been reached. I'm pretty sure Toyota wouldn't have the 1 mm minimum thickness specification if it wasn't safe.

I'm following the same procedure on our 2014 Sienna which is at 91,xxx miles and still on it's original brake pads. When I last measured our Sienna's pads, I projected both front and rear pads to last at least until 110,000 miles based on the wear rate.

I wish the Sienna had electronic brake wear sensors like a number of other vehicles we've owned. I'd rather see a warning light or message in the instrument cluster than have to listen for a wear indicator to start scrapping the rotor. Once a low pad indicator is triggered there is still plenty of time to have pads replaces - at least a few thousand miles - but I usually have it done quickly.


Has anyone else had such a scary experience and what have you done about it? Other than leaving a big gap ahead of you?
I leave a big gap. A rule of thumb used for decades was to allow one car length for each 10 mph of speed - but that is not nearly enough. There's a reason that I've never rear ended a vehicle in front of me while I've been rear ended a number of times by people following too closely behind me. When someone is following too closely behind me, I usually increase the gap in front of me even more to protect myself. We're driving over 800 miles from yesterday through tomorrow. The number of morons I'm seeing on the road is amazing - I assume they have $hit for brains.
 

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I'd replace the pads. $30 or so DIY. Worked on my motorcycle. They too didn't stop very well but new pads made a night and day difference. The new pads were identical to the old pads.
If it doesn't help your only out a couple bucks and you can cross it off the list.
Warning: If you decide you need new rotors clean off the oil!
 

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The minimum pad thickness for vehicles made by Toyota is only 1 mm. I've almost always let Toyota/Lexus brake pads wear until a brake wear sensor indicated that the minimum had been reached. I'm pretty sure Toyota wouldn't have the 1 mm minimum thickness specification if it wasn't safe.
I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one! I don't believe it's just a money making thing. People who tracks their performance vehicles say that well worn brakes just don't stop their cars as well. And if the OP says his van isn't stopping like it used to, then it needs attention. Now.

I stopped running them thin the day I left the final 1-2 mm strip of pad material on the garage floor. OE pads on my 2002 Subaru Outback. Hard day of driving and I parked the car with hot brakes. Put it in reverse the next morning and I believe the pad material may have bonded to the rotor and ripped off from the backing plate and slid right out! The instant scraping sound of steel on iron was the tell!
 

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This might have something to do with the TSB for warped rotors? My car is a FL car so its always flat but I took it to TN Smoky Mountain NP over summer and while doing the down hills my brakes felt scary AF. Everytime I braked it would shake and pulsate due to the heated rotors.

Once I got back to flat land it and cooled down it was back to normal. No more pulsations.

The TSB involved new rotors, pads, and trimming the air dam near the wheel well.
The replacement pads are $100 on eBay from dealer seller: https://ebay.to/2svmW1U or on Amazon: https://amzn.to/35Bf79y

Rotors are asymmetrical and single part and $170/set. https://ebay.to/2LZyTnz
Some online dealers sell on Amazon too: https://amzn.to/2RXctHo
These rotors are shared between many Toyota cars including RX350 and Highlander.

Here is the TSB on the NHTSA site. https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2016/SB-10084304-5448.pdf
 

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I drive pretty spirited with the van when its only me and the OE brakes feel really inadequate. Carrying 7 passengers and cargo makes it even worse. Tried Hawk HPS pads, they were good but inconsistant at times. Hawk HP 5.0 are horrible and swapped them out in less than 5000 miles. Currently I'm using the new Centric PQ Pro ceramic pads. NIGHT AND DAY DIFFERENCE. No fade and really good initial bite. Cheap compared to the Hawks but a little more than your basic pads.
 

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Aftermarket brake pads won't do much for braking distance if you have crappy all season tires. Sticky tires are what will really improve your braking distance.
 
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