I have a 1992 Camry XLE (V6).
This problem involves three repair shops: A – regular mechanic – trustworthy, turns down work they think is not needed, not always right, but rarely wrong, specializes in Japanese car brands ; B—formerly trustworthy and was referred to by A for work A didn’t do, but now considered untrustworthy by A and one of A’s customers; C—currently referred to by A and considered very trustworthy by A’s customer.
A few months ago, I had a noise in the right rear and my parking brake was always getting stuck on. Shop A said it was the parking brake cable and that I should try not to use the parking brake. But the habit of pressing the floor pedal for the parking brake was so ingrained that when Shop A told me the repair would be about $300 I asked Shop A to disconnect the cable, which they did and the noise stopped.
Recently the state inspection at a 4th shop revealed that the car needed a flex pipe repair. So I took it to Shop B because it had repaired the flex pipe two years ago upon referral from Shop A. B repaired the flex pipe (it was more complicated than two years ago) and told me that the rear brake pads were worn and gave me an estimate of about $250 for pads and rotors. So I took the car to Shop A, as it also does brake work and it is my preferred shop. Shop A estimated the repair at $360, explaining that they use Toyota parts, not after-market parts, and that they prefer metallic pads, as opposed to the ceramic pads on Shop B’s estimate, because ceramic pads tend to squeal. The boss at Shop A said that if the 92 car were his he’d go to Shop B and save money. He then went back to the repair area. The counter person at Shop A then said that they no longer recommend Shop B. A customer at the counter then chimed in saying she’d had her car repaired at Shop B and then later took it to Shop C, which found all sorts of things wrong with Shop B’s work. The counter person said that Shop A now recommends Shop C and suggested I take it there to get another estimate and to see if the brakes really needed repair. “Do you feel any problem stopping?” the counter person asked. “No,” was my reply.
So I went to Shop C, who told me that the parking brake cable had been cut and gave me an estimate for $300+. I told him I knew that. He then said the pads (which he called shoes) are indeed worn, but the rotors (which he referred to as drums) are OK. So can you just repair the shoes (pads), I asked. He said that if they didn’t fix the parking brake, they couldn’t warranty the repair, because the parking brake cable helps hold something in place (perhaps the ball bearings, which he said are loose) and that causes the pads to wear out. He also said he prefers ceramic pads, because metallic pads squeal.
Shop C did not mention the parking brake and they would warranty the ceramic pad as long as I own the car.
Also, after I left Shop C, the right rear was making noise again.
So there are two questions:
- Does the disconnected parking brake really cause the pads to wear more quickly?
- Which type of pad-shoe causes more noise – metallic or ceramic?