For a BRAKES expert

I’ve been hearing a “rr-rr” rubbing noise from a rear wheel when I slowly start out on my apt.bldg. driveway, so I took my '97 Geo Prizm to my mechanic, to inspect the brakes. When I walked back to the shop later, his diagnosis: a rusty parking-brake cable.

(With the car raised about a foot, he first

rotated the rt-rear wheel–easily–& then the LEFT-rear wheel–NOT easily.) He recommended replacing both right/left cables, which would cost about $300. I was surprised at the high price & it was close to 6pm, so I didn’t ask him to explain exactly HOW a rusty parking-brake cable could cause the problem, but persuaded him to replace just the left cable (next week) and drove home.

So: 1) Is he right? Perhaps it’s just “the parking brake (which I ALWAYS use) might not be releasing completely and might be dragging on the drum”? (I’m quoting my Haynes Repair Manual on “Parking brake–adjustment”.) Why/how would a rusty cable cause the drag on the drum?

2) If rust IS the cause–and the cable(s) must be replaced–is $300 (or presumably about $150 for just one cable) a reasonable charge?

Because the brake is still engaged. The price is very reasonable. Replacing both cables is a good idea but not always necessary. Some people don’t want the other side to get stuck and damage that one too.

Don’t be suprised if you get a phone call telling you that additional work is needed,he made his diagnosis without even removing the wheel.

It could be the cable, but it could be something out of position inside the drum or a bad wheel bearing. I think he should look closer, but $150 is probably good for a brake cable.