Took my truck to chevrolet service to see if I needed new breaks.No realissues before bringing truck in a week ago. Just get breaks checked yearly & they felt slightly looser then previously. A week ago chevrolet replaced front breaks.All weekend smelled like something was burning & breaks were hard as a rock or at times had to pump breaks, Took back to service department tuesday said need new break booster. Spent $400 on new break power booster & issue got worse & check engine light came on ^ then I was advised needs master cyclinder. Took back today & advised they better fix the issue because none of this was going on before I brought truck to them. I was advised they will get it fixed. Got a call today & told breaks are contaminated & need full break system replaced for $2300. PLEASE HELP!!! Is it possible the service department could have some how contaminated my breaks? If not then how would they get contaminted. Last oil change was atleast 2 months ago & again no real issues prior to me bringing vechile in to chevrolet. Since Friday been smelling burning, front vechile near tire burning hot to touch & breaks go from hard as rock to having to pump. Since friday front end vechile shakes on and off or when pressing break front end shakes. Service manager advised me this is nothing his guys did wrong & has been contaminated for awhile. I asked hime if thats the case how come I did not feel or see any of these issues until friday after they worked on my breaks. Please help!! Any advise or suggestions please let me know. I am still trying to fight the service manager that they have caused this issue! Am I right??

I would start out by asking around to find a reputable repair shop that does a lot of brakes and taking the truck to them for a second opinion. Don’t tell them anything except the symptoms you are experiencing and that you want your brakes inspected. See what they say. If they tell you the same thing, then it is so. The dealership isn’t necessarily the best place to go for routine work like this. Honestly, what you describe sounds an awful lot like a twisted caliper hose (or two. Common rookie mistake). The solution for that would be to reinstall the calipers properly and machine the rotors if there is warpage caused by the calipers dragging due to the twisted hose(s).

As far as brake fluid contamination like what the dealer is describing, this is generally caused by someone adding something other than brake fluid to the reservoir. For some reason, power steering fluid is the most common one I have heard of. All other automotive fluids except coolant are petroleum based, and they will attack and deteriorate rubber components in your brake system, meaning that everything but your brake lines and friction components will have to be replaced if this mistake is made. Hopefully this is not the case.

Thank you for your tips.

If it really is contaminated could all this damage happen in 1 week? Dealership stated this damage would not happen this soon & the contamination happened prior to them working on the truck. Last time anyone was under the hood was 2 months ago when we got an oil change. If breaks got contaminated then wouldn’t I have felt a difference in the breaks, the way it drove, smell…something (2months ago)?

Brake fluid contamination will usually take a few weeks to a few months to become apparent. Symptoms generally will be a deterioration in brake performance (soft pedal, weak feeling brakes) and eventually total brake system failure. Your symptoms of hard pedal, then soft pedal, bad smell, and excessive heat do not add up, in my mind, to contaminated brake fluid. It sounds to me like whoever serviced your front brakes installed one or both of your calipers with a twist in the hose. If this is the case, they at least owe you an apology and the four hundred bucks for the booster you (most likely) didn’t need. I still suggest you take it to a good brake shop and see what they find.

You have been hosed. Next mechanic (sorry I can’t help myself, turrets or something) should be an expert in brakes, as well as breaks.


If you’re going to snip at people for misspelling words, you should probably spell “Tourette’s” correctly :wink:

It sounds as though one or both of your front brake calipers may be partially seized up. Does the vehicle pull one way or another when driving, then pull the other way when you hit the brakes?

Basically what is happening if this is the case, is that the front brakes are being constantly applied, which makes them extremely hot (can even cause a fire in some cases), and eventually they fade, leaving you with very little braking. (like riding your brakes while driving down a mountain)

I think you need to take the truck to a different mechanic or dealer for evaluation, then if they can fix it properly, consider demanding your money back from the dealer.

Maybe I am getting old, but I really believe that if you (chevyowner) would use paragraphs, he might get more people to read his question and respond.  Maybe it is just my old eyes, but I find reading big blobs of text difficult. 

Chevyowner, don’t feel too bad, after all you did you sentences and punctuation, which is a lot more than many people do.

Seems odd to me the contaminated issue didn’t come up when they replaced the brakes or booster, but now all of a sudden it’s contaminated…after they did the initial work!?

This is, sadly, a fairly common “diagnosis” to arrive at when a service department cannot figure out what is wrong with a system. They figure if you just replace everything, the problem will go away.

Oblivion made another suggestion for a problem that will create these symptoms, which was a partially seized caliper. This will cause that, but I doubt this dealer would miss out on an opportunity to make money on a set of calipers. Most mechanics will realize there is a problem like that when they compress the piston into the caliper. Another possibility is a hose constriction caused by an old, rusty bracket on the brake hose. In fact, many people mistake that for a seized caliper. What year is your Chevy truck, chevyowner? 2WD or 4WD?

I think Mark and Oblivion have given yuo excellent explanations. It’s also possible that the twisted lines mentioned in Mark’s first post damaged the inner linings, which may be plugging the lines and causing symptoms exactly like seized calipers.

Whatever it turns out to be, you need to find a new shop, as Mark suggested, and have your car towed there. Clearly the current shop is either unable ir unwilling (I’m guessing unwilling) to properly diagnose and correct your brakes. They’re just throwing parts at it at your expense…just wildly guessing. And that may never get to the actual cause.

I’m basing my beliefe on a few facts other than the obvious ones.
(1) A brake booster is easy to check, and if you’d had a booster problem you would have known it ahead of time.

(2) some of your symptoms are clearly from a stuck caliper…which, as I mentioned, could be due to a damaged hose lining. Clearly they either lack basic skills or are too busy eating doughnuts to bother thinking about the symptoms.

(3) if they truely suspect contamination, they should be able to flush the system. And they should try that first.

Be sure to define all your symptoms and the history to your new shop. You’ll probably need new rotors, new pads, new flexable caliper lines, a flush (your fluid has now been repeatedly overheated), and maybe even a correction to a bad booster installation. Chances are you’ll not need the last item. But let them diagnose it. Don’t just go by what I’m suggesting that it’ll probably be.

Sincere best of luck. You’ve clearly been to the Den of Theives. Hopefully your new shop will get it ironed out for you.