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Brake Pulsing on VW Golf

I have a 2000 VW Golf with 104k on it. I had the brakes replaced about 3k miles ago. This was the first brake job. About a month after they were changed-rotors & pads-they started to pulse while braking mostly at higher speeds, like getting off the highway, etc. I thought it was tire wear or alignment, because I was due for new tires and the roads are bad here in the winter/spring. I let it slide until the next oil change. The shop where I take it is an independent VW-Audi-Porsche shop. They claimed I damaged the brakes by driving thru water after the brakes were hot or doing a real hard emergency stop. There were slight impressions on the rotors from the brake pads. I am not an agressive driver, I don’t travel steep hills in my daily routine, and have not have any emergency braking situations. It’s a stick shift, so I’m not braking as much as I would in an automatic. I don’t get it. They charged me another $100 to replace one rotor, although the other one is bad as well. I had already spent $350 + on the original job, so they suggested to get the worst one done. At first the pulsing was better, but now it’s getting worse, probably because the other rotor needs to be changed. They recently said it might be the calipers. (Why didn’t they check those anyway-while it was in there??)

I’m beginning to wonder if this is a scam and they used someone else’s returned brakes. I have never had any of these types of problems in any of the VWs I have owned or other makes for that matter.

Should I just hang it up with these guys and go to the local mechanic and have them re-do the job? They did a good brake job on my last car, but I had an engine light on, so that’s why I took it to the specialty shop so I could get it all done at once. I’m afraid they will keep stringing me along.

Could it be the brand of brakes they used? PAGID is the brand. The shop claimed they were not defective and that the manufacturer probably wouldn’t take them back. Does anyone know anything about this company? What about the materials they are made of? I don’t need anything high performance. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what my next step should be?

A Sticky Situation

A caliper that is not “floating” (able to slide as designed) or one that is sticking (not totally retracting) can drag and heat your rotors, causing them to warp. The sliding part should have been taken care of in the brake job. The sticking part can sometimes be detected immediately, but not always. This car may need a caliper or two. Sometimes new, thicker brake pads can cause a caliper to stick.

You said, “They recently said it might be the calipers. (Why didn’t they check those anyway-while it was in there??)” I am wondering the same thing. Also, I don’t think they did you any favors by charging you $100 for a brake rotor after 3000 miles and not getting to the root of the problem. They had it half apart to put a rotor on. Did they or didn’t they check to see if calipers were hanging Up?

I have a non-contact infra-red thermometer that can be pointed at a wheel, through spokes, to the rotor, and reads the rotor temperature. I run the car without braking and check each wheel. Also, just turning the raised wheel can give one an idea of how freely the rotor moves in the caliper.

I guess if these guys are going to charge full price with each visit, you might as well consider going elsewhere.

I agree with CSA’s post, but I think he was being too kind. This place is a crooked butcher shop.

The wear of the pads (were they even?) as well as the function of the calipers (did the piston compress smoothly and evenly? Did they stop smoothly on post-work road testing?) should have been checked during the blake job, and the slides should have been cleaned and lubed.

In addition, any shop that blames warped rotors on having driven a hot rotor through a puddle (I’ve heard of this BS line being used before) is full of deficate.

And replacing one rotor…and charging you for it after having done the original brake job…is just plain pathetic.

Take it to a new shop and have it redone. The write a letter to your Attorney General’s Consumer Affairs Office, with copies to the Better Business Bureau and to the shop that screwed you…and yes, they screwed you. Don’t get optimistic about getting any money back, but tell everyone you know to avoid this shop.

Thanks for your opinion. I am taking it to the local shop (not affiliated with any particular make) to have them look at it, while I’m having the state inspection and oil changed. They thought it was BS too and chuckled when I told them scenario.I’m sorry I wasted money on the other place. I hope they don’t mess up the Porches that are always in the shop when I go there. Also, they used 15w 40 oil and it is not a diesel. It has been running fine and not using as much oil. They say it’s a mistake to use 5w 30.Ever heard of this? Should I keep using it?

I went to the local Mobil station repair shop. Like I said, I had brakes done there on a previous VW. They said it was horse sh–, the excuses the VW place gave me. They machined the rotors and they seem to be fine. Very smooth. Cost 120.00. If they don’t stay this way, maybe it is the calipers. They seemed to think that was an excuse, and that those weren’t the problem. It seems fixed for now. All told, this was the most expensive brake job ever, and I wish I had gone to that place first. I will continue to go to them like I had in the past for basic car repairs-brakes, timing belt, etc., and only go to the VW specialty shop for engine lights etc. I think that will be my strategy from now on. Too bad we have to have strategies with repair shops!!!

I have been tightening lug nuts with a lug wrench by hand for a long time, thinking proudly that some fools do this with a power impact wrench which I, by the way, use to remove lug nuts or bolts in the case of my VW. My VW had a pulsating brake pedal for a long time. Just for fun, I recently snugged up my lug bolts a little at a time and finished them with a torque wrench. The pulsating is gone! I am a believer now and will do that with our other cars.