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Posted: 9/28/2005 9:25:20 AM EDT
I'm not a guy who likes to spend time working on his own cars. Its not that I can't, but I value my time too highly.

I've always been cautious about brake pads, and am inclinde to replace them between 30-40K miles to be sure they don't get too thin. However, every time I've taken a vehicle (I have a '98 Explorer and an '02 Tahoe) to a brake shop - and I've tried several - they almost always insist that the pads AND rotors need to be replaced. Pads are relatively cheap to replace, but rotors are outrageous. When I lived in Europe, they only ever replaced the pads - and I drove aggressively back then, much more so than now.

What's the deal here in the US ? Are the pads just a "loss leader" to get you in the door, then they slam you with unnecessary rotor replacements to make the real $$$, or are the rotors on American cars really such crappy quality that they are consumable like the pads ? Hell, I once took my Explorer to the local Ford dealership for some engine warranty work, and they tried to covince me that the pads and rotors were worn down and needed replacing - even though both had been replaced only 3 days prior (I checked, they were fine) !!!

I'm now at the point where I have so little trust that I just insist on only having the pads changed and ignore any claims that the rotors are worn/warped etc. Of course, in the back of my mind is the worry that the rotors really might be bad and that I am taking a risk. I guess I'm relying on getting some kind of feedback from the vehicle if they really are bad (like vibration or fading under braking).

What are your experiences, and how do you handle this ?
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:29:34 AM EDT
I always ask them what is wrong. When they tell me i CHECK for myself.

I got one shop good. They wanted to replace something. I said OK, but keep the OLD parts.

Why?

Cause i want to see them.

WHy?

Cause I want to see them please?

We don't do that. They have to go back to the manufacturer.



I walked on that deal and the part NEVER failed, i eventually got rid of the car a few years later.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:34:06 AM EDT
YES !!
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:39:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 9:39:53 AM EDT by LS1Eddie]
Provided you don't run the brakes until you have metal-to-metal contact, you should not have to replace rotors at 30K miles. They may need truing if warped. That's why they're stamped with a minimum thickness.

Some chains advertise brakes for $39.95 per axle. Read the small print and you'll see it says labor extra...and I'll guarantee they'll find other problems.

Eddie
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:50:40 AM EDT
If there are grooves in the surface ot the rotor, or there is a vibration felt in the steering wheel during braking, the rotors need to be resurfaced.

With the price of new rotors vs. the labor time to resurface your old rotors, it is most often cost and time effective to just replace rotors if they are grooved or warped.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:52:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 10:14:11 AM EDT by Ineedhelp]
THis is a simple formula I use.

Brake pads changed when they start to go. Always Turn your rotors if you can afford to do so.

Change rotors every 3rd pad replacement.....sometimes on the 4th if they are in good shape.


However, if you buy the "lifetime warranty" Super duper heavy pad....then you will most likely be replacing your rotors every other pad change.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:56:26 AM EDT
SCAM!!! SCAM!!! SCAM!!!!

That 'lifetime warranty' shit is a FRAUD.

It should be called the 'brake pad of the year club', because once they put those shitty pads on your car, they last for about a year.

Then, smart guy you are, you go back to claim your warranty replacement.

Then you find out the fine merchants want $50 to intsall the fine $39 brake pads.


I think they should be sued on a large scale by the attorneys general.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:57:04 AM EDT
Yes, they are con artists. I have 140k miles on my 1997 F150. I have the front brake rotors resurfaced ONCE, and the pads replaced ONCE. The rear drums were resurfaced at the same time, and the shoes still had 60% of thier life left..... All of this work was done at 125k mind you.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:59:07 AM EDT
Never ever go to Mieneke, total rip off artists.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:00:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 10:01:53 AM EDT by warlord]

Originally Posted By Ineedhelp:
THis is a simple formula I use.

Break pads changed when they start to go. Always Turn your rotors if you can afford to do so.

Change rotors every 3rd pad replacement.....sometimes on the 4th if they are in good shape.


However, if you buy the "lifetime warranty" Super duper heavy pad....then you will most likely be replacing your rotors every other pad change.


Good advice. When American cars were built better in its hayday 20 years ago, you really didn't need to turn the rotors, but today you need to turn them after the 2nd-3rd pad job. During the 3rd pad job, the brakes on my Mercury Villager/Nissan Quest develop a tremendous amount of pedal pulsation and it would scare the daylights of out my wife when she drove it for the first time. I will probably have to replace the rotors after 100,000 miles or so. The part shop that I go to has both the PRC-made rotors and the USA-made. The USA made costs roughly twice the PRC ones, but I'm going to get the USA-made ones because your family's lives are riding on the line.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:01:32 AM EDT
So to sorta hijack the thread a bit, where is the best online place to buy brake parts? Or would you just go to your local NAPA and order them up. I have a 1999 Accord that needs 4 new rotors badly and I'm thinking about just doing all the work myself.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:01:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 10:04:11 AM EDT by phatmax]
First off, do you own break (jeez, Brake) jobs... it is not that hard.

Second: this is a biggie... THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "WARPED" ROTORS

READ THIS: Myth

it is long, but VERY detailed and gives good information on how to prevent judder.

The MAIN cure it TORQUING each lug nut PROPERLY to the middle of its torque range.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:03:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rcsguns:
So to sorta hijack the thread a bit, where is the best online place to buy brake parts? Or would you just go to your local NAPA and order them up. I have a 1999 Accord that needs 4 new rotors badly and I'm thinking about just doing all the work myself.


The best place is for brake parts is at the dealer. I put some non-dealer pads on my wife's Camry, and those thing squeal like a stuck pig, plus they didn't last too long, Bah!
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:04:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rcsguns:
So to sorta hijack the thread a bit, where is the best online place to buy brake parts? Or would you just go to your local NAPA and order them up. I have a 1999 Accord that needs 4 new rotors badly and I'm thinking about just doing all the work myself.



Tirerack.com gives you a few choices in brake pad styles.

I usually just go Napa though.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:05:04 AM EDT
Yes they are a big rip. I blew a break line 2 winters ago. It was the dead of winter very cold & windy. I don't have a garage so I would have to do the work outside. So I took it to Monroe muffle & Brake. $800 They replaced break line rear drums & shoes & 1 wheel cylinder. Job took them a little less that 2 hours. The problem is they install Monroe ( or pick your store name ) brnad parts that you pay full retail for. I also had a friend that worked there for a while. He siad they were told by management just to replace ALL the parts on the wheel. They don't reface drums or rotors. Totla ripoff.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:08:56 AM EDT
When I bought my 91 Cherokee back in 2000 for a trail rig, I changed the front rotors and pads.


Rotors were $20.00 each at NAPA
Pads were a little more.


So for less than $100, I put new rotors and pads on the front of my Jeep.



You can do it yourself and save a bundle of money....I had never touched brake systems before, but it was simple.


With the knowledge gained, I put drilled & slotted rotors on my C5 Corvette, again, it was simple and I saved lots of $$$ by doing it myself.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:15:06 AM EDT
Sure you can do it yourself and pay a lot of money. I go to a one man show brake shop. He always quotes me some stupid shit. I then always say, "I pay cash. I don't need a receipt." The price ALWAYS drops significantly.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:30:48 AM EDT
The guy I bought my house from owns a local shop so I figured I go see him when my wife's minivan needed some brake work..He quotes me some outrageous price. When I balk he PRETENDS to get on the phone with Pep Boys to get their price (I heard the 'off the hook' tone just before he hung up) Needless to say I was out the door...and no I didn't go to Pep Boys either..those guys suck too!
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:36:01 AM EDT
If you can feel a throbbing or flutter as you step on the brakes, most noticable at very slow speeds, and happening in sync (more or less) with your wheel rotation, then you SHOULD have the rotors turned down on their lathe.

The gotcha is that there is a minumum safe thickness beyond which they are not allowed to cut off any additional metal -- and you will need to trust them as to what that depth is, and, that your rotor will indeed exceed that minumun if cut.

Or, you can do what I did. I bought a set of rotors on ebay for my wife's car. I bided my time, I think I paid about ten bucks. They were in beautiful condition, except for a THIN coating of rust (which would come off within the first few brakings). Nice, THICK rotors, VERY smooth surfaces.

She took her car in for pad replacement, and said "I have rotors in case they need replacing", and they said "Oh, no, your rotors are FINE!"

That's the FIRST time I've EVER had a mechanic NOT decide that the rotors need to be turned down or replaced.

Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:37:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bcw107:
Sure you can do it yourself and pay a lot of money.





I had to put new front rotors and pads on my Ram over the summer. The bill at Advance Auto Parts was $103.xx which includes a pair of Mechanix gloves and a 3/8 hex socket. Took me about an hour and it was the first time I'd ever done it. I was quoted $450 at a few shops to have them do it.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:42:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 10:45:20 AM EDT by dbrowne1]
1. Buy a repair manual and measure your own rotors and pads. Replace per the manual when MANUAL says to do so.

2. Buy your own, high quality components. I use tirerack.com

3. Get estimates from shops you trust, THEN get the work done.

Same goes for anything else you do. Water pump, timing belt, tires, etc.

ETA: The OE rotors on my VW went almost 100K miles before they reached minimum thickness, and I don't drive nice.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:44:14 AM EDT
I tried to be cute and bought some super-Ricky-Racer pads for my F150. They tore the living shit out of the rotors. Now I only use the stock Ford pads. I get about 40K out of them. I bought another set of rotors so that I can put freshly-turned rotors on every time I change the pads. I think the rotors were $40 each, new from Ford. It only costs $10-$15 to have them turned. The stock Ford pads are about $50/set. I can do the front brakes on my truck in 30 minutes, tops, including bleeding and refilling the fluid. All hail Mity-Vac!

Brakes, even drums, are about the easiest thing to work on next to oil changes. You only need very basic tools. Cleanliness is the key to a good brake job.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:45:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Zakk_Wylde_470:

Originally Posted By bcw107:
Sure you can do it yourself and pay a lot of money.





I had to put new front rotors and pads on my Ram over the summer. The bill at Advance Auto Parts was $103.xx which includes a pair of Mechanix gloves and a 3/8 hex socket. Took me about an hour and it was the first time I'd ever done it. I was quoted $450 at a few shops to have them do it.



I have never paid for a 'pro' brake job. I have owned and built a lot of cars, and doing brakes is not that hard. (And me, worried about building an AR15)

If you have a shop do your brakes, be prepared to pay for stuff you don't need. Like a $45+ brake caliper or cylinder that can be rebuilt with a NAPA $8 parts kit........

.....and, send your woman out to get your estimate for you, for the best bargain.

Make sure to pay for fresh air in your tires.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:51:20 AM EDT
Most muffler and brake shops are not honest 50% to 80%of the time.

Sears had a class action in the 80's for selling people crap they didnt need when they did a brake job. Every car got the rotors turned or replaced, calipers /wheel cyclinders rebuilt or replaced when all they needed was a set of pads or shoes. I was told to shut up or find another job when I told a cust. they could get by with pads and turning the rotors. I rebuilt 100's of perfectly good calipers and wheel cylinders for no reason other than company policy. Same thing for exhaust .
Sears lost the lawsuit and dropped back to batteries and tires at most of their stores

I left sears and went to work for Midas. Midas and the like will oversell 50% to 80% of the time.
Most Midas stores are local owned so it depends on the shop manager how much the techs steal/over sell.
The owner of the 3 stores I worked at wasnt bad but one shop manager was a huge thief. If you were a female he would sell you a whole new brake system front and rear when you only came in to have someone look at the normal noise from your brakes. NOTHING WRONG with the system. He was so proud of what he did he would say " Thats the way we do it in NY, you bunch of hicks". What an ass. Once again I quit because I knew there was a better place.

Now to the dealer. 50% to 70% chance of being stolen/oversold everyday for any reason.
Brakes
The dealer doesnt want comebacks from noise or pedal vibration and turning the rotors is a lost art, so if the rotors are grooved they replace them with the pads as a rule at most dealers. Some will replace the rotors no matter who they look if they do a set of pads. Some car maker say the rotors get replaced every time the pads do. Its rare but Mazda and BMW did for while. They still may ?

I quit the dealer and found a guy that owned 3 Exxons and needed someone to manage them. I thought this would be it I found a place to make an honest living. WRONG .. I caught one of the tech's selling a cust. a whole exhaust (250.00) when he could have fixed it with a $35.00 bill.
When I confronted him he said he did it because the cust would have needed it sooner or later ( maybe a few years) and he wanted the 25.00 of labor for replacing the system then the 15.00 for replacing a clamp.
THIEF so I fired him. He called the owner of the station who came down and told the tech to take the day off and for me to keep the tech on. I would not keep the tech on so the owner told me to cool down and take a few days off with pay and here's the keys to his beach house so I could think about it.
NOPE, I dont need to think about it. I wasnt going to have a thief working for me its that simple. The owner said he would think about it and let me know in a few days. "Not good enough I hire and fire, so I quit" I said . He couldnt believe I was willing to quit, he told me to take two weeks off with pay to cool down and to use his Nags head beach house.
At that point I had lost any respect I had for him. Sucked because that was a really well paying gig.


The best place is your local shop IF YOU CAN TRUST HIM. Some local shops are just as bad as the worst places I have ever seen. See above.

Bottom line be careful and always ask for an est. upfront, always ask for the old parts and have the tech show you whats wrong if possble before they start.


We have more than a few auto techs on this board and everyone of them will tell you the same thing. Good Auto techs are under paid or over worked to make a fair living. They feel its the only way they can make up for low wages. The owners are ok with it thats why most shops are on the commission system. The system will never change untill the commission or flat rate system is changd
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 11:23:23 AM EDT
tag to fully read after work.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 11:38:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 11:38:59 AM EDT by wildearp]
Originally Posted By StealthyBlagga:

I'm not a guy who likes to spend time working on his own cars. Its not that I can't, but I value my time too highly.



Wanna buy a watch?
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 11:43:26 AM EDT
What about ABS systems? Anything to be aware of before changing front pads yourself? (2004 4WD Tacoma)
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 11:53:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By wildearp:
Originally Posted By StealthyBlagga:

I'm not a guy who likes to spend time working on his own cars. Its not that I can't, but I value my time too highly.



Wanna buy a watch?



I prefer to waste time surfing ARFCOM than working in my garage (especially as its still over 100F here).
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 4:53:00 PM EDT
When I had my Expedition, I changed the pads at 55,000 miles. They still had about 25% to 30% left, but I was going on a trip to a mountainous area. I took it to my local Ford dealer, since I wanted the same type of pads which lasted that long. The mechanic came out to the waiting room and asked me if I felt any vibration in the wheel or pedal when stopping normally. I said no. He said that's fine, and that the rotors wouldn't need to be trued unless I felt vibration or if he saw significant grooves. All done at a price which was more than the "bargain shops" advertised, but a LOT less than I think I would have got away with at those shops. And, I had more confidence in the parts. I don't like to take chances with brakes, steering or suspensions.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 5:01:50 PM EDT
Midas and Just Brakes have tried to scam me several times, but I just tell them hang & turn...that is all....
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 5:05:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DzlBenz:
...I can do the front brakes on my truck in 30 minutes, tops, including bleeding and refilling the fluid. All hail Mity-Vac!

Brakes, even drums, are about the easiest thing to work on next to oil changes. You only need very basic tools. Cleanliness is the key to a good brake job.



Mity-Vac, best $30 ever spent! Makes brake jobs a breeze. Doesn't take much time and saves you lots of cash. I just replaced my front rotors, and all 4 pads. The money I saved easily bought me my new barrel and BUIS off the EE... Now I don't have to feel guilty about spending the cash.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 5:21:02 PM EDT
My wife drives an 02 Impala LS. She needed an oil change so I told her to take it to the Munroe muffler and brake shop near where she works. Wednesday is ladies day and they charge $11.99 for lube, oil and filter. I can't do it that cheap. I tell her to ask them to check the brakes while they had it on the rack. She was approaching 40K and I knew the front pads were just about due.

She calls me and tells me that the car needs new brakes and rotors all around and it's going to cost over $500.00. I tell her they are full of shit and to have them just do the oil change. That weekend I pull the wheels and find that I was right about the front pads. The rear were worn about halfway through. $30.00 and 1 hour later she was good to go.

Rip off artists? More like common thieves.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 5:43:28 PM EDT
I took my K5 to Just Brakes since they advertise a 99 (0r so) dollar 4 wheel brake deal. guy called me back and said i needed new rotors, new calipers and the bill came to the tune of about 900 bucks..........I politely told him to butten her back up and I did the work myself...pads from Autozone front and back, new rotors for a bit under 125 or so.....

If you were able to ask some of your friends if they have a trusting mechanic..or try to find a corner garage type place. Always ask to see the old parts and if possible have them show you why the part needs to be replaced.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 5:59:40 PM EDT
Ford "rotors" Bwa haa haa haa. No warrenty from dealer as they are POS. The 25 buck ones at Autozone at least come with a 2 year warrenty. Ford has sucky truck rotors. One place you should ALWAYS use a torque wrench- lug nuts. Torque them properly and a rotor will almost always never warp unless it is flashed with water while very hot.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 6:40:20 PM EDT
The more you can do to spot or prevent the scam the better. Already mentioned was asking for the excess parts.

Here is one from my book of experiences:

I was willing to let a small shop do my brakes pads. I thought the rotors didn't have many miles on them. But to prove his point, he "showed" me the measuring dial calipers and the spec book. He showed me the reading on the calipers was out of spec.

I asked to see (hold) the measuring calipers. As force of habit, I checked the "zero". Of course they were off.

At best he didn't know what he was doing.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 7:49:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 8:20:58 PM EDT by Timanator]
Ok, finally a subject which I am really knowledgeable about!!! Background: ASE certified Brake, engine diagnostic and suspension tech. Managed a shop for 6 years servicing all models and makes. Weekend road racing hobbiest.


First on Rotor life and warp. The discs do warp. The faster the temperature change they are subjected to, and the less material they have(Thickness reduced by resurfacing or cost cutting design) the more likely they will warp as time goes by.


Second on replacing pads/brake service DIY. First thing to keep in mind here is theory. The idea of a balanced and efficient brake system depends on even braking power from side to side front to back of all wheels. If your replacing just the front or the back, you have to deal with the side to side balance. And for that to have a chance, the rotors will need to be resurface to break in with the new pads(Flat surface to another flat surface).

Now the down side is that, everytime you resurface the rotors, you lose material. The precious metal which keeps the rigidity of the rotor structure. With out the support, rapid changes in temperature or hard decels can easily cause changes in the roto surface, which can be detected as a warpage.(When you step on the pedal, if the brake pedal pulsates under normal brake operation, something is warped. If the steering wheel shakes during this, it's most likely the front. If the vehicle shakes when you solely use the parking brake, it's most like the back brakes)


Now as far as the specialy prake shops being scams, this might be a bit overly generalizing an entire industry based on experience with a few shops?

With that being said, this is what I would recommand when I inspected veicles for braking problems(Normal wear and tear)

1. If the car has normal wear(pads worn near the lining) and both side brake pads worn evenly. Rotors are not thin by previous brake services. Recommand rotor resurfacing and pad replacement(Bendix and Performance Friction is my favorite brands)

2. Pads worn way low, metal to metal contact with the rotors(Abrasing scoring marks on the rotor surfacing from the pad lining in contact during braking) Recommand pad replacement, rotors resurfacing/ replacing depending on thickness.(The actural minimum thickness is .0030 above minimum thickness listed, since normal surface machinging can take up to that amount) Also caliper overhaul/replacement depending on the competance of the technician doing the repair.

3. One side worn low the other side ok(uneven wear). This indicates an inbalance either from binding of caliper/internals/brake hoses. Recommand new brake hose for the side with the most significant wear(Collapsed hose not allowing pressure to escape back to the master cylinder after pedal is released) and also a brake caliper overhaul/replacement with pad replacement and rotor resurface.



Feel free to IM me with any other questions.



Link Posted: 9/28/2005 7:51:29 PM EDT
Also to add

Factory parts in most cases are the best quality. Remember, they are the one's designed for the longest service life. This however does not mean the manufacture will not switch to a vendor of lesser quality to supply the depleted inventory once the shelves are empty from the original batch.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 8:03:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Timanator:
Ok, finally a subject which I am really knowledgeable about!!! Background: ASE certified Brake, engine diagnostic and suspension tech. Managed a shop for 6 years servicing all models and makes. Weekend road racing hobbiest.


First on Rotor life and warp. The discs do warp. The faster the temperature change they are subjected to, and the less material they have(Thickness reduced by resurfacing or cost cutting design) the more likely they will warp as time goes by.


Second on replacing pads/brake service DIY. First thing to keep in mind here is theory. The idea of a balanced and efficient brake system depends on even braking power from side to side front to back of all wheels. If your replacing just the front or the back, you have to deal with the side to side balance. And for that to have a chance, the rotors will need to be resurface to break in with the new pads(Flat surface to another flat surface).

Now the down side is that, everytime you resurface the rotors, you lose material. The precious metal which keeps the rigidity of the rotor structure. With out the support, rapid changes in temperature or hard decels can easily cause changes in the roto surface, which can be detected as a warpage.(When you step on the pedal, if the brake pedal pulsates under normal brake operation, something is warped. If the steering wheel shakes during this, it's most likely the front. If the vehicle shakes when you solely use the parking brake, it's most like the back brakes)


Now as far as the specialy prake shops being scams, this might be a bit overly generalizing an entire industry based on experience with a few shops?

With that being said, this is what I would recommand when I inspected veicles for braking problems(Normal wear and tear)

1. If the car has normal wear(pads worn near the lining) and both side brake pads worn evenly. Rotors are not thin by previous brake services. Recommand rotor resurfacing and pad replacement(Bendix and Performance Friction is my favorite brands)

2. Pads worn way low metal to metal contact with the rotos(Abrasing scoring marks on the roto surfacing from the pad lining in contact diruing braking) Recommand pad replacement, rotos resurfacing/ replacing depending on thickness.(The actural minimum thickness is .0030 above minimum thickness listed, since normal surface machinging can take up to that amount) Also caliper overhaul/replacement depending on the competance of the technician doing the repair.

3. One side worn low the other side ok. This indicates an inbalance either from binding of caliper/internals/brake hoses. Recommand new brake hose for the side with the most wear(Collapsed hose not allowing pressure to escape after pedal is released) and also a brake caliper overhaul/replacement and pad and rotor resurface.



Feel free to IM me with any other questions.






Thanks for the information!
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 7:16:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DzlBenz:
I tried to be cute and bought some super-Ricky-Racer pads for my F150.



There is a tradeoff between pad performance and rotor life. Pads that have a higher coefficient of friction will generate more braking force, and stop you better...but that will wear the rotors more as well.

My car has a lot of rear brake bias built in from the factory, so I run a higher friction pad up front and OEM pads in the rear. This gives me close to optimal stopping power, but it does wear the front rotors slightly faster. Oh well. It's not like they're that expensive, and they still last for years.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 7:46:23 AM EDT
A former K-Mart Auto Service Center Manager checking in... All the brake parts we stocked at the time, came from Taiwan or India, in little white boxes, with nothing on them but a part number. We used the same pads for our standard, or "Premium Lifetime Warranty" brake jobs. To get a lifetime warranty, you had to pay for caliber rebuilds for discs, or new hardware kits, and wheel cylinder rebuilds for the rear. Only then would we offer a "Lifetime" warranty, which did not include subsequential damages. The damn brake pads usually wore out in a couple of years at best. At worst, the lining rivets would seperate, and the resulting pieces would usually trash the rotor or drum. This was subsequential damage, and not covered, so the customer would have to pay parts and labor for the subsequent damage, but the shoes were free, oh boy! We would bury any labor costs we had in the subsequent damage labor costs anyway. Plus we would charge rear shoe cores to the customer if they had failed, and damaged the cores. I only lasted there about 6 months. I got to the point where it was getting tough to look at myself in the mirror at night, after ripping off little old ladies, and other innocent people all day. This was only the brake work segment of the business, you should see some of the other things that happen behind the scenes. I feel perfectly qualified to work for the New Orleans Po-lice Dept. after that.

Bob
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 7:48:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Papertargets:
The more you can do to spot or prevent the scam the better. Already mentioned was asking for the excess parts.

Here is one from my book of experiences:

I was willing to let a small shop do my brakes pads. I thought the rotors didn't have many miles on them. But to prove his point, he "showed" me the measuring dial calipers and the spec book. He showed me the reading on the calipers was out of spec.

I asked to see (hold) the measuring calipers. As force of habit, I checked the "zero". Of course they were off.

At best he didn't know what he was doing.



And you think that was some sort of accident?

Bob
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 7:52:31 AM EDT
All these posts are a very complex way of saying: find somebody you and a number of other people trust and use him or do it yourself. A good honest brake man is your best bet. You just have to find one.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 8:45:41 AM EDT
I always do my own brake jobs. Disc brakes are ridiculously easy. Aside from maybe a star drive, you only need household tools.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 8:47:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/29/2005 8:51:34 AM EDT by Schulze]
I did my brakes yesterday. '01 Saturn SL1

Pads, front and rear: $19 edit - pads are Canadian.
Have shop rotate discs: $20

Total: $39, 1hr of work.

Link Posted: 9/29/2005 8:52:48 AM EDT
Paying for just about any auto work too be done is a rip off.

Maybe you should value your own time so much and do the job right, do it yourself.

Usually you can buy any special tools needed to do the job for less than youd pay in labor.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 9:06:36 AM EDT
Do it yourself so you know it is done right.

I bought a pickup from a guy who was moving.
He gave me the receipt from a brake job that got him home.

So I knew it was "professionally" done, and that he didn't fuck it up.

The grease monkey that did the rear drums swapped the brake adjusters.
Right for left.

After a thousand miles or so of using the emergency brake
(which actuates the adjusting linkages) one of the adjusters
fell out, and got chewed up in the works.

Since then, I have lost track at how much $$$ I've saved by doing it myself.

Link Posted: 9/29/2005 9:47:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/29/2005 9:50:52 AM EDT by phatmax]
This is from my previous post. READ

The "Warped" Brake Disc and Other Myths of the Braking System
by Carroll Smith
Myth # 1 – BRAKE JUDDER AND VIBRATION IS CAUSED BY DISCS THAT HAVE BEEN WARPED FROM EXESSIVE HEAT.

The term "warped brake disc" has been in common use in motor racing for decades. When a driver reports a vibration under hard braking, inexperienced crews, after checking for (and not finding) cracks often attribute the vibration to "warped discs". They then measure the disc thickness in various places, find significant variation and the diagnosis is cast in stone.

When disc brakes for high performance cars arrived on the scene we began to hear of "warped brake discs" on road going cars, with the same analyses and diagnoses. Typically, the discs are resurfaced to cure the problem and, equally typically, after a relatively short time the roughness or vibration comes back. Brake roughness has caused a significant number of cars to be bought back by their manufacturers under the "lemon laws". This has been going on for decades now - and, like most things that we have cast in stone, the diagnoses are wrong.

With one qualifier, presuming that the hub and wheel flange are flat and in good condition and that the wheel bolts or hat mounting hardware is in good condition, installed correctly and tightened uniformly and in the correct order to the recommended torque specification, in more than 40 years of professional racing, including the Shelby/Ford GT 40s – one of the most intense brake development program in history - I have never seen a warped brake disc. I have seen lots of cracked discs, (FIGURE 1) discs that had turned into shallow cones at operating temperature because they were mounted rigidly to their attachment bells or top hats, (FIGURE 2) a few where the friction surface had collapsed in the area between straight radial interior vanes, (FIGURE 3) and an untold number of discs with pad material unevenly deposited on the friction surfaces - sometimes visible and more often not. (FIGURE 4)

In fact every case of "warped brake disc" that I have investigated, whether on a racing car or a street car, has turned out to be friction pad material transferred unevenly to the surface of the disc. This uneven deposition results in thickness variation (TV) or run-out due to hot spotting that occurred at elevated temperatures.

In order to understand what is happening here, we will briefly investigate the nature of the stopping power of the disc brake system.


THE REST OF THE ARTICLE :here

ETA: Carroll Smith Bio and website: here
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 10:04:41 AM EDT
Changing them out is not that hard. Find a decent mechanic who knows how to do it, pay him 50 bucks to change all of them and bring over a couple beers for while he's doing it. What him and make mental notes about how it all went together and came apart. When you need new pads, thin back to it and do it yourself. If there is something seriously wrong (pedal is mushy ect.) take it to the dealer or a reccomended mechanic that won't screw you.

This is basically what I did when I replaced my brakes on a 97 BMW a few weeks ago. Car had a crushed brake line from an accident so before it was drivable I took it to a shop to have em replace it.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 10:12:19 AM EDT
I don't use them.

I did before I knew how to work on my cars myself.

They are a rip-off IMO.

I've NEVER "turned" a rotor since I started doing my own wrenching.

I use 60 grit sandpaper to take off the glaze on the rotor before putting on the new pads. Use a circular motion and get the front and backside of the rotors, and break-in the pads properly. No problems with several cars and probably half a million miles of driving.

Non-ABS brake systems are very simple to work on. Drum brakes are a little more involved, but easy if you have a manual, a spring tool, and have some experience.

Get a mighty-vac and even bleed your own brakes when you need a new wheel cylinder or want to change the fluid. THAT job really does suck though, even with the vac.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 10:58:15 AM EDT
Just Brakes is gay.

Dunno about rotor warp being a myth, when I worked as a tech at a Jeep dealer there was a recall on the '99 GC because of warped rotors. Dunno is it was something else, but the TSB said 'warped rotors', FWIW.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 11:03:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FourStringSlinger:
Just Brakes is gay.

Dunno about rotor warp being a myth, when I worked as a tech at a Jeep dealer there was a recall on the '99 GC because of warped rotors. Dunno is it was something else, but the TSB said 'warped rotors', FWIW.



Imagine trying to explain to a soccer mom changes in crystal stucter of Iron
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