Brake nightmare and horrible customer service

Hey guys,
I’m new here but I’ve gone through a lot with my car brakes so I’m hoping to get some input.
I noticed a slight rattling and shaking of my car when I braked in one spot of the brake pedal. If I braked lighter or harder it was fine. So I brought it to a mechanic for a brake inspection who told me the brake pads needed to be replaced and the rotors in the back but those didn’t need to be done right away and could wait.
Told them to go ahead and do the brake pads (was going to hold off on the rotors till the next paycheck). While disassembling he suddenly cane out and told me the caliper on the driver rear needed to be replaced too and they couldn’t put it back together without. So I had to leave my car there and pick it up the next Monday.
My hubby did that and drove off with it but the first time he braked the brake seized up and wouldn’t release and the back tire started smoking.
He of course immediately brought it back and the guy said that everything is fine. There was just some brake fluid that wasn’t cleaned up properly and that caused the smoking and the rest was due to the brakes needing to break in.
Trusting him we took the car back and drove on it with this problem persisting. After the miles he told us it needed to break in this still happened so I contacted the garage chains customer service who put me in contact with a general manager who apparently is responsible for both stores. He asked me to bring the car in to look at it and another garage he manages.
I did this and was also willing to go ahead and replace the rotors now. I was told that some of the brake pads didn’t look new and the caliper that was supposed to have been replaced also didn’t look new. In addition to that the front rotors needed turning. They told me they were going to replace the brake pads (which I have lifelong warranty on and only need to pay labor for) but will leave the caliper for 1500-2000 miles after which I should come back and they would look at it again to see how it developed.
Well I drove a little more than 2000 on it before bringing it back (we had a sudden death in the family so it wasn’t the most important thing). I now told him to do the caliper and go ahead and turn the front rotors.
Then instead of calling me back he called my husband at work and told him that they’ll replace the caliper, turn the front rotors but the back is so horribly warped that it needs to be replaced (the rotor).
Now I’m over here saying that I paid for a new caliper month ago and the seizing and issues didn’t start until then plus you told me a month ago the back rotors were fine when I wanted to replace them. But now after driving on an apparently faulty caliper they need to be replaced? Sounds to me like the caliper caused the rotor warping with seizing up on it and that should be on the garage for not doing the work as I paid for it.
What’s your opinion? I asked him about it and all he said is he’s not gonna pay for it and that rotors warp (which I understand but in a month on a faulty caliper it’s more likely it’s not natural).
He refused to listen and kept talking over me so I cussed (very unladylike but it’s what I do when I get upset) to where he refuses to do anything but the caliper AND won’t warranty the caliper which I don’t think is right.

I feel there is some murkiness in the story but yes; a caliper sticking can ruin the brake pad and warp the brake rotor.

Based on their refusal to do anything about it and your profanity, I’d say the bridge has already burned and your only option is court.

It sounds like you might be dealing with a large chain. If so, you might try the corporate office. I’m not saying it’ll work, but court is really a last resort and, given what you might get from it, probably will not be worth the time and trouble. Court only really works if the settlement is big or you don’t have to work for a living (cause everything happens during regular business hours).

Lose the profanity and the emotion - they’re really a losing hand and don’t get you much of anything. Profanity and emotion demonstrate that they have the power and the control which is not the position you want to be in. The primary thing they understand is money and the loss of it. I’ve never had to resort to this myself, but I wonder how much telling your story on social media would help if they continue to stonewall you. You may not get your money back, but it would be nice to warn others about their practices.

Back to the original problem. You don’t mention the car or mileage, but I had trouble with brakes on an old truck one time and the problem ultimately was corroded hydraulic lines. Once they were replaced, the problem went away.

We’re not hearing both sides of the story of course, but from what OP says I think the shop should replace the one warped rotor on their dime. Or at the very least split the rotor price 50-50 for the part, and supply the labor gratis.

It’s not that unusual to discover a caliper is bad while doing a brake job. That’s just the shop doing their job. From the benefit of hind-sight, the better plan from the start would probably have been to replace both pads and rotors. Then when the bad caliper was discovered, to replace it and the one on the other side at the same time with new ones. Rotors and calipers, while they might look expensive, actually are quite reasonably priced in most cases. And there’s not a lot of labor charged involved to replace them when done at the same time as the pads are replaced. They’re designed to be wearing parts, and therefore easily replaceable. From what you say someone is still recommending some of the rotors be resurfaced. Suggest abandon that plan and just replace them with new.

If you want to fault the shop, them telling you that’s its normal for the brakes to lock up and cause the wheel to smoke is a normal thing and only requires the pads to bed in, that wasn’t very good advice imo. At least that has never happened on any car I’ve owned. Sometimes on drum brakes the wheels will heat up a little after the shoes have been replaced b/c they haven’t been adjusted quite right. But on disc brakes, a post-job brake lock-up has never happened to me.

I suppose it is possible however that the brakes weren’t locking up and just some brake fluid got on them during the job and the heat from normal braking was causing the smoke. I’ll grant that is possible. Are you sure the brakes were actually locking up? Was it difficult to make the car move? Was one wheel much hotter than the others when you felt it? The fact that that particular rotor was warped is consistent with the brake on that wheel actually locking however. Brakes can lock up due to the flexible brake line going bad too, so you might want to replace all four flexible brake lines if that hasn’t been done in the past 10 years or so. Or if any of them show signs of bulging or cracking. Bring the entire brake system back to like-new condition, then you’ll be good to go.

You said they told you you needed to replace the rear rotors the first time you brought it in. Why did they say the rotors needed replacement?

Yes I’m pretty sure they locked up. You could feel it dragging and you could feel it when it released how it didn’t drag and drove right.
Thank you for your explanation. Really all I was asking from the place was an explanation of what’s going on since the story changed every time.
Funny enough my husband called and they explained in detail to him what was going on.

From what I remember and understood (the guy didn’t really explain much) there was normal wear and tear in form of ridges on them.
When my husband talked to the other shop now they said that they didn’t tell us the back rotors needed to get done because they didn’t see any ridges. Which brings us again to everyone having a different story every time which is really what’s so frustrating for me.
I understand that these parts eventually need to get replaced but this constant back and forth and changing of the story is what I don’t understand.

The car has quite a few years and mileage on it which is why I wasn’t initially surprised that parts needed to get replaced.
What’s confusing to me is that the things that needed to get done changed every time.

Whether a brake rotor has ridges has nothing to do with whether or not the rotor should be replaced or resurfaced.

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The mileage/year question had to do more with the hydraulic lines. There were elements of your brake problem that sounded like mine, but mine was on a 20+ year old truck.
Sounds like you and hubby may need to decide which one is the point of contact for future car work. Part of your confusion comes from both of you getting stories from the shop.

I made the initial contact and made it clear that it is my car and hubby would just bring it by since he was off work.
He actually made it a point to say that it is my car and my decision multiple times.
When I brought it in this last time I (as always) contacted them both to set up the appointment and then to make sure they knew what I wanted done and left my number with them to call back yet they called hubby.
And the car is less than 6 Years old so hopefully there isn’t more to it than routine maintenance.

Sounds like a shop that can’t follow instructions. Makes you wonder what other instructions they don’t follow, doesn’t it?

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