04 Chevy Malibu Classic Brake Issues, Single Mom, Help!

I have been to three mechanics and no one can find the issue here. Here are the facts: March of 08 my friend put Autozone semimetallic brakes on my car to save me money. I had lost my job. Two weeks later my brakes were grinding, took it to a mechanic. My friend had put the brakes on backwards. They fixed it and said the rotors would eventually need turned but it could wait. January I had front hub assembly replaced on drivers side. Had a clicking noise when driving and brakes go from slight squeal to loud squeal to sometimes grinding like metal grind. It’s not consistent and the mechanics are NEVER able to get it to do this for them. But it can get loud. New mechanic (had to move to Seattle because my son is chronically ill and I had to get him to Seattle Children’s Hospital for a new treatment program) removed brakes, looked at everything. Found nothing. Still did it. I took it back and said, could it be the rotors? He said, oh yeah, it WAS the rotors. So they resurfaced them and after that it did not make any noises for about 5 hours or so. Then all of a sudden it happened and it was loud enough to get my sons attention (he is pretty subdued with his reactions so when he says something then it must be pretty loud). Took it back today. Mechanic takes it for a test drive. He said that he thinks it is because I switched from ceramic brakes to semi metallic. How can I know for sure?? I need to make sure we are safe and I can’t keep replacing things just to test it out. I have a child who depends on me and we depend on the car to get us to and fro. I depend on God solely and know He has kept us safe. I still need a mechanics opinion. Who can I trust??? Help!!

You need to find another mechanic. A competent one. I don’t think that the Malibu ever had ceramic brakes. They are usually installed on vehicles that reach high speeds and consequently need pads that can take the high heat of braking. You probably need…at least…new rotors and new pads on the front. Rotors can be resurfaced but a lot of problems can develop after you drive away. They can warp and wear unevenly since the OEM rotor specs are quite thin to begin with. If your car has disc brakes on the rear they need to be checked as well. If it did have factory ceramic brakes then you may need to get semimettalic pads on the rear as well. I hope this helps.

We looked up the 04 Chevy Malibu Classic and it said that ceramic brakes were originally on this make and model. I have 40% left on my front brakes and the rotors are smooth now. How can I know where to find a mechanic to trust? This guy had 72 5 star ratings on Yelp and has been around for a long time. If I can’t go by that, then how can I find someone?

Do you have friends in the Seattle area yet? Friends and family are a good source of information for finding a good mechanic. You can really ask anyone you meet because most people drive a vehicle of some type or other and need the services of a mechanic.

The people I know have cars under warranty still and they don’t pay close attention to their vehicle as a result of this. This is so frustrating. We went to a mechanic in Alabama who couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Then in Missouri. And now here in Seattle. Yes, we have put a lot of miles on the car but are now settled in here. I can understand why we are down to 40% on the brakes. My Mom said, just get a new set of brakes. But, I don’t have the income to cover that right now. Need a job first. If anyone reads this thread and knows of ANYONE who is a good mechanic in the Seattle area, it would be appreciated. Thanks so much, Missileman :slight_smile:

Are we talking about the front brakes? What kind of brakes are in the rear? If you have drum brakes in the rear, sometimes these can become somewhat inoperative without people really noticing - this due to the fact that the front brakes do most of the stopping. If they are not working terribly well you can get rust build up on the drums and no one would ever really know it unless they pulled the drums. (This is less likely to go unnoticed on disk brakes). The crud that builds up will make all sorts of noise.

So has everyone been looking only at the front brakes? Have the rears been inspected?