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Did i get cheated on a brake job? i need professional opinions ASAP!

If I could POSSIBLY get some opions on my problem ASAP (like, by this afternoon), I would be FOREVER greatful.

Here’s what happened:

I have a 2002 Buick Rendezvous CXL. Last october, I was informed by a guy at Merchant’s Tire that I needed to get my rear brakes replaced ASAP b/c they were very worn. I declined the service there and decided to try a highly rated repair shop closer to my apartment. paid $200 to have the rear brake pads replaced. WELL, this past Monday, I took my car to the dealership to get an ABS problem fixed (totally unrelated, trust me), and my VA state inspection. The head of the service department called me to tell me that my car failed inspection b/c the rear brakes are practically non-exisistent (i have only driven a total of 9,000 miles since October, not to mention that I had my FRONT brakes replaced last JUNE, and they still look practically new). My service guy tells me that there is no way I could have worn new brakes that much, AND the original clips that are holding the rotars on have never been touched (indicating that my rear rotars have never been removed for resurfacing). Rear SHOES are fine.

What are the possible explantations??? I, along with my service guy at the dealership (who I LOVE and has always been super honest with me, and has always given me remarkably fair prices) think that the other shop simply took my money, said they did the brake job, and just left them as is. Is it REMOTELY possible that rear brakes would wear out that quickly? or that they would replace rear brakes on a car that had never had them replaced before without resurfacing the rotars first? HELP!! I am just trying to get as many different opinions as possible so I am armed with knowledge before I go back there and give them a peice of my mind!! THANKS!!

~Linda F.

PS: NO, i have never driven with the parking brake on. If i so much as drive a foot with it on, my car starts beeping at my incessantly.

First, did the shop that did the rear brake work warranty their work or the parts? Most shops offer 90 days/4K miles; but on some brake work offer a 1 yr warranty, in my area. I would note the inspection issue and talk to the shop owner who did the work. You may end up with an acknowledgement and free rear brake replacement. If no satisfaction, then get the work done somewhere else, and consider relief in small claims court, if the mechanic’s inspection statement is strong enough, or move on. Now that it appears the dealership service advisor is a straight-shooter, that is reasonable justification to give them this and future business.

I agree with the service advisor that it is very rare for rears to wear out quickly in 9K miles. To me, that indicates the pads/shoes weren’t actually replaced, or adjusted wrong. Rotors do not necesarily have to be turned each time if they meet specs and aren’t warped. Many shops will not do pads/shoes only; however, my mechanic lets me know if only pad replacement was done, so I don’t have to worry about what was/was not done, and why.

I’m not a professional, but this is my take on the whole situation…

Take it back to the place that replaced the rear shoes. DEMAND they either give you your money back or replace the shoes. Some places are crooks. I wouldn’t let them get away with it.

thanks for the responses so far!

I have called a couple of other shops I have had good experiences with in the past, and both agreed that it IS possible, and common, to replace brake pads without removed the clips and rotors…but suspiciously, instead of just SAYING that, when i mentioned the clips and rotors to the manager of the shop who cheated me, he’s like “uhhh, um, uh, i don’t know what ‘clips’ you’re talking about”. i was like “REALLY? b/c my BUICK service specialist was kind enough to mention them and their existance IN WRITING on my bill.”

and don’t worry. I will not let them get away with my $. they picked the wrong angry 24-year-old korean girl to mess with :stuck_out_tongue: (unfortunately, they probably took one look at me and totally underestimated me. too bad for them)

and don’t worry. I will not let them get away with my $. they picked the wrong angry 24-year-old korean girl to mess with :stuck_out_tongue: (unfortunately, they probably took one look at me and totally underestimated me. too bad for them)

Good for you…Let us know what the outcome is.

the manager did mention under his breath when i called him this morning that they should be under warranty. regardless, I also want them to re-inspect my car for free too, since it’s essentially because of them that I didn’t pass the first time around :stuck_out_tongue: thanks for the response!

Most states allow for free re-inspections, within 20-30 days, to verify that the faults were repaired. Most also allow for the owner to take the car to a mechanic of his/her choice, to avoid “self-serving”, profit making inspections. I believe VA inspections are that way.

I’m a little curious about shoes and rotors. As far as I know, GM does not use separate shoes inside a little drum built into the rear rotors, at least not recently. In other words, you have pads or shoes, not both.

If you have disc brakes on the rear, it is possible to put the original clips back on, I’ve done that. It is also possible to wear out a set of pads very quickly if the job was not done correctly. First could be the caliper bushings, aka pins. If these stick, the calipers wont float, but this usually wears out one pad only, the may show absolutely no wear at all.

The other thing that could wear them very fast would be a defect in the parking brake actuator that keeps the brakes applied slightly.

this design was used on 70’s era vettes and it is now in use again on some vehicles.

The only way I can see that the pads wore this quickly was if the rear calipers were sticking and kept constant pressure on the pads.

BUT, I am in agreement with others, sounds as if a lazy thief got your money.
I hate it when males (not men) do this and make honest real men look bad.
give them a good butt kicking (figure of speech) and post back.

Are you guys talking about those “retainers” that go over the wheel stud and you have to take them off to get the rotor/drum off? If so I thought these were put there during assembley and there was no problem taking them off and leaving them off. Been doing it for years,what problem does leaving these “retainers” off?

First I’m going to say the following and then I will read your posting: If you went to a corner convenience/7-11 type store then you got ripped off, and always will be ripped off. They’ll replace things that don’t need to be replaced just to upsell you.

Wow, are you ever lucky to find an honest dealership service advisor. But, still beware of him and upsell gimicks. The fundamental rule to follow is that if you drove the car to the shop for simple maintenance, then you better be able to drive it away from the shop. In relation to my first paragraph, I would say that it is very possible that the first two shops were trying to rip you off. Think about the basic laws of motion. Where is most of the momentum of your car going to transfer to when you apply the breaks? The front of the car which means that your front breaks are doing a majority of the braking and the front breaks will ware quicker. I keep my personal cars for a minimum of 10 years and I only replace the rear breaks once. There is no writen rule that says that the rear break drum/rotor combination has to be resurfaced. I’m not familiar with your specific kind of car break design but it is very likely that the break pads can be replaced without removing the rotor/drum combination. But, the brake linings that are inside the drum area of your rear brakes can only be replaced if the rotor/drum combination is removed so that hey can be accessed.
The dealership service advisor will and should tell you if the brakes in the rear are original because they will have a factory part number on them. He should even show you the parts as they come off of the car. This will be the best indication that the brakes were never previously touched and then you can take your complaint to your county D.A. and have the shops prosecuted or at least investigated. Always keep in mind that warranties are sales gimicks because it doesn’t matter to the shop guaranteeing the work how many times you come back for “Warranty work.” Warranties are simply an opprotunity for upsell - a gimick to get consumer traffic into the shop. There are little to no government regulations to this kind of gimick because of the tax revenue.
I can’t over stress how important it is to be aware of people like service advisors. Dealerships and chain shops spend thousands on upsell training where they lead the one who is going to the training to self-serving logic designed to make millions off of the general public - even if the principal they are teaching goes against all previously time-proven logic and research.
I may seem like a paranoid radical, but this is just my experience talking. I have been a government fleet mechanic for 25 years. And, while growing up, my Aunt, a Rosie the Riveter from the WW2 era, was frequently in situations where people like service advisors tryed to take advantage of her because they thought she was ignorant when it came to mechanical concepts

No problem leaving the push nuts off if you prefer, it’s just easier to assemble if you use them IMO.

My '04 Trailblazer uses the rotor/drum rear service/parking brake setup.