Bolt from caliper bracket broke while driving


#1

3 weeks after having my brakes replaced. At 60 mph yesterday.

The garage has the car now and is saying it was a freak accident and not something they caused. I call foul to that. It’s a 2007 Subaru outback.

What should I say to them to make sure this gets repaired properly? And what unseen damage should I be looking out for? The wheel run has a groove from where the bolt rubbed. That’s all I could see. And I could lift up and wiggle the caliper.

It was only the pad replaced on the front brakes. It was pads and rotors on the back.

It’s 9 am on Friday, 12/11. They’re supposed to look at it sounds 12, so any fast feedback would be appreciated.

Thank you.


#2

Here are the images


#3

It is likely that the bolt was not properly installed and normal vibration caused it to back out and when it made contact with the spinning wheel it broke. I suspect that a thread locking compound was supposed to be used but wasn’t but that’s just my best guess.


#4

While we can’t know from here, a highly unusual problem like that shortly after work was done indicates it’s their fault. Had it been, say, 3 months, it’d be more in doubt. As for other damage, they should be able to fully inspect everything involved and fix it properly. If you don’t trust them to do this, then you’ll need to find another shop.


#5

On second thought, which bolt broke? The caliper mount bolts face inward from the wheel and are the most likely to vibrate loose and the caliper slide bolts are threaded at the shoulder/base and also face inward. The caliper itself would drag the inner edge of the wheel and damage it if one of the caliper bolts fell out or if one bracket bolt fell out and the other was loose on many Asian imports I am familiar with. Is there a bolt broken off in the caliper or bracket @AL-curd?

Regardless, though, the shop is most likely responsible for the failure and damage.


#6

I’m in agreement with Rod Knox about why the bolt broke.


#7

I’m not a mechanic but I’ve never had a caliper bolt come loose on any of my brake jobs. They are torqued pretty tight. I suspect it just wasn’t properly tightened. They really should own up to it and cover all the damage but if they don’t keep good records and have it inspected again at another shop for any other damage. Then you’ll just have to burn the bridge with this place and try to recover the costs in court.


#8

@“Rod Knox”, I’m not certain which exact bolt. When I reached in to move the caliper, while standing next to the car in the pavement, I could lift it up as it wasn’t fastened on the bottom.

Still haven’t heard from the garage yet.


#9

Looking at the pictures, yeah, the caliper bolt backed out and allowed the caliper to swing out and scrape the wheel.

Caliper bolts should not back out, even if it’s not tightened to full spec. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just stuck in the hole and then the tech forgot to come back and tighten it. At any rate, shop’s fault.


#10

Thank you @shadowfax @“Rod Knox” @Bing @ok4450 @texases . I just got the car back. They replaced the bolt and tire rim, rechecked all the brakes and refunded my towing expense.

So hopefully that will be that.


#11

Congratulations @AL-curd. Good shops aren’t immune from making mistakes, they just live up to them and correct them. And luckily you were paying attention and didn’t continue to drive. That loose caliper could have resulted in a serious accident.

And it’s always good to hear when things work out well for people who drop in with a problem.


#12

It sounds like the shop did good by you. They probably are advised by their liability insurance company lawyers to never admit to a mistake, and just offer good-will refunds or discounts instead if there’s a chance their staff made a mistake while doing the work.


#13

It sounds to me like some idiot used the Air Hammer while tightening the Caliper “PINS”… You would have to try MIGHTY HARD to break a Caliper Bracket bolt…these are two different animals.

They will manifest very similar symptoms however. If it was a “cal pin” they are delicate-ish and do NOT require much tightening torque. If it was a Caliper Bracket bolt…it was either not tightened or Someone snapped it with a Heavy hand on an Air Hammer… Or Migilla Gorilla tightened it by hand.

Hopefully the bolt just fell out and away… Ive seen them pierce the inside of aluminum wheels before…

Seems to have had a happy ending however… Glad they fixed you up.

Blackbird