Car pulls lightly to the left

Hi all,
I noticed the car ̣2008 Prius pulls lightly to the left when braking.
i had a tire of about ̣ months of age on the driver front and three original, three years old, 46.000 mile tires everywhere else
I had a flat on the passenger front while on a road trip and drove on the spare for about one hundred miles, but only used the brakes about three times during that time. i got a used tire on the passenger front and drove on that for about one thousand miles. About then, i noticed the pull and figured it was likely tire related . So, i bought three new tires of the same kind as the nine month old tire, and it still pulled lightly to the left when braking. i had all the tires rotated, and still feel the pull.
the alignment seems good.
i only deviate when braking.
do i need to have a brakes examined? is a light pull something to worry about

Take it in to a mechanic and tell them what it is doing, not what you think it needs.

Specifically, do not say…I think it needs a tire-I think the brakes are broke-I think it needs alignment.

Tell them it pulls when you brake.
Tell them if it pulls any other time.

Tell them when you noticed it start happening.
Tell them you swapped some tires and if that helped or not.

Good luck, I hope this helped. :slight_smile:

Instructions on how to change the brake pads:

This being a 10 year-old Prius, I suspect the calipers. If the brakes have ever been serviced, I suspect it was only a pad replacement. The Prius is easy on the brakes, so they last a long time.

A rebuild kits for the front calipers are less than $5 each (two needed). I wouldn’t recommend this route, however, since if the OP hasn’t rebuilt calipers before, it isn’t a job for the unitiated. Professional mechanics rarely rebuild calipers, they typically use rebuilt calipers.

Rebuilt calipers are about $50 each. Again, for someone who isn’t familiar with working on brakes, it is much easier to pay someone as many of the nuts can be highly corroded and difficult to remove without damage. The rear has wheel cylinders and brake shoes. I think those should at least be cleaned and inspected.

If the rotors and drums are not warped, I would not replace them unless needed. The OEM ones are probably better quality than most aftermarket ones.

So, rebuilt front calipers, new pads, rebuilt rear wheel cylinders and rear brake shoes. Probably about $200 in parts. Labor prices vary considerably by location, so that’s tougher to estimate, but I’d say that would be between $100 and $250. So, maybe $300-$500.

It is important to take care of this, however. The brake system is, perhaps, the most safety system on the vehicle. If you can’t afford to maintain the brakes, you can’t afford to keep the car.

My first thought would be a rear brake adjustment on the drum brakes. Rear brakes can also make it pull and drum brakes are more prone to going out of adjustment. If that didn’t work I would do as suggested above. If you pedal is slightly lower than it was when it was new it might be a tip off that the rear brakes need to be adjusted. If they do need adjustment they might need service anyway as they are supposed to self adjust. Another simple test is pump them a few times before coming to a stop and see if they still pull the last time you put pressure during the stop.

While not a Prius, most disk brakes are similar. Make sure you get a diagram.

If you are not prepared to do the job yourself, you will at least know what they should be charging you for.