Brakes on 2005 Kia Sedona - Who is telling the truth?

This past January, we had the disc brake pads replaced on our 2005 Kia Sedona (the rotors were not replaced, just machined). Things were smooth for about a day before we started to occasionaly hear a grinding noise when stopping (similar to what we were hearing right before we got the brakes changed, but not everytime we stopped). We went back about 2 months later and asked them to take a look. They guy behind the counter assured us (without looking) that it was just taking time for the new pads to settle into the newly machined rotor, and that after a thousand miles or so, it would go away. Being lazy, we believed him and said Ok.

However, the occasional sound never did go away, so we decided to go back this past week. They looked at the brakes and told us we had “temper spots” in our rotor. This meant they would not wear down when the brakes are applied and would cause bumps that would eventually chew up the pads, and that we would need a new rotor. I’d never heard of “temper spots” on a rotor before, so I decided I wanted a second opinion before I forked out $300 for a new one.

Today I went to another shop for a free brake inspection. They just mentioned my rotor was a little thin, but didn’t mention temper spots. However, they showed me my pads, which had some pitting and a few small chunks taken out of them, as well as what he described as a “wear line” down the middle. He also mentioned that they looked like semi-metallic brake pads, and that his computer specified my vehicle should have ceramic ones (in fact, he showed me his computer would not even allow him order semi-metallic for my car). He recommended a new set of pads ($200) and a new rotor ($200, note how this is 2/3 the price of the other place).

So, is there such a thing as a “temper spot”? Also, I understand having semi-metallic pads on a car that is supposed to have ceramic ones might cause a change in braking power, but would it cause this grinding sounds? Also, is it relatively normal for these pads to have some pitting, etc. after 8 months of use, or is this truly a sign of abnormal wear and/or damage?

I’m not sure whether to try and complain to the original shop (these brakes come with a “lifetime warranty”) or just cut them loose, take the loss, and buy a new set of brake pads?

Thanks a lot for any advice you can give me.

A follow up:

So, temper spots are real, and ceramics are not necessary (the dealer said the cars ship with semi-metallic, so the guy at the second brake shop was feeding me a line).

I checked some Kia forums, and found other people had been having problems with short rotor life, and some had their rotors replaced under warranty at around 30k miles. My car is 35k, so I called up the dealer and asked about his. He said rotors only have a 12k warranty, so I was out of luck. I asked him how long the rotor should last, and he said around 17-20k. That doesn’t sound right at all.

So, how long should a rotor last? Should I keep up the pressure, or am I just out of luck? Thanks.

Rotor life on many cars nowadays is not what it should be. On a BMW, the rotors will last a long time, but on many cheaper makes, it is not unusual to need to replace the rotors with every brake pad change.

The independent mechanics who use Chinese-made rotors are really playing Russian Roulette with the lives of their customers, IMHO, but some customers are only interested in the lowest-price repair job that is possible, and those Chinese made rotors are definitely low in price–and in quality. If you go to an independent mechanic for a brake job, be sure to specify that you want US-made rotors.

Well, I so happen to have a 2004 Sedona with a little over 100K. I have replaced the front pads (myself), but that is it. They lasted about 70K miles with no unusual wear, and a nice smooth rotor surface so I didn’t have to get them turned. I just used semi-metalic pads as well, with no noise.

17-20K is extremely short life - do you do a lot of in-town stop and go driving with no highway miles?

Are you sure the noise is the brakes and not a bad wheel bearing?

We do mostly in-town driving. I have actually been shown the spots in the rotors, and they are too thin to turn again (we also get the shuddering when braking at high speed that indicates thin/warped rotors). I’m pretty sure it’s the rotors. I’m just wondering if this is a defective set or just a fact of life when owning a Kia.

Thanks for your help.

The first shop machined your rotors when they should not have. They were probably to thin to begin with. They have now overheated and warped again. Don’t go back to that shop, they obviously don’t do good work. You need new pads and rotors, no question about that. It really doesn’t matter what kind of pads you use, metallic, semi–metallic, organic or ceramic. Each type has pros and cons but they will all work. Call your Kia dealer to find out what the OEM type is if it makes you feel better. Anyways, I wouldn’t let the first shop, or the second shop for that matter do your brakes. Don’t worry about “temper spots” or anything else with your old brakes, just go get some new pads and rotors put on by a shop that doesn’t try to push anything on you.

The likelihood is that the hard spots were there the whole time, and they were probably more pronounced immediately after the rotors were turned, because hard spots don’t respond well to a conventional brake lathe.

Do some homework before buying new rotors. There are a lot of poor quality rotors out there. I have recently been pleased with Brembos made in Mexico. I don’t know if they are made for your car.

You can get noise from any brake pad technology, but it is much more likely if there are rotor imperfections. Again, do some homework. When in doubt, you are usually safe buying pads from the dealer, but you pay quite a bit for them.

Your lifetime pads might have been just fine if the shop had noted the hard spots in the rotors and convinced you to replace the rotors at the outset. Tough brake (pardon my pun).

Most manufacturers are moving towards lighter rotors. That means improved ride and handling, but it also means they are replacement items. Generally I recommend replacing them with each brake job. BTW the rotors are generally cheap as well compared to machining them. Once machined they are not likely to last as long as a new rotor anyway.

Thanks for your advice, everyone. And Manolito, that’s the reason I came to this board: to do my homework :slight_smile:

I’d guess that you may live in Pittsburgh PA (from your screen name). If so, I’d be you drive through a lot more puddles (rain or slush) than we do here in OK, which when hot, tends to cause them to warp more.

If the rears have warping problem, that could also indicate putting on the parking brake too soon with hot brakes (say, after going down hill for awhile).