CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

How do I know if my Honda Pilot 2007 needs new brake calipers?

I took my Honda Pilot for an oil change with my dealer. he said my car requires new pads and rotors need refacing. I had done a complete brake job with Midas a couple of years back. Then Midas had put in new pads and new rotor for all the four brakes. So I took my SUV to them for their promised lifetime warranty and I was told that the warranty covers pads only. They also said that the rear brakes needed replacing and front ones could last little longer. Midas asked me to pay again for the whole job.

So I took the SUV to a local mechanic. He said the rear brakes needed new pads and new rotors. Also he asked me to change the rear calipers. Do the calipers go bad? Neither Midas nor my dealer mentioned anything about the calipers. I have around 90,000 miles on the SUV and I live in the Boston area.

Any info would help me to make my decision.

/prabha

Generally you don’t need to replace calipers unless there is a problem. Common problems can be if they develop fluid leaks, or the pads do not release fully when you take your foot off the brake petal. In your area roads are salted and the corrosion can get so bad the caliper hardware essentially falls apart went the caliper is removed to replace the pads.

You need to ask the 3rd shop WHY he recommends new calipers? If the other shops can service the brakes without replacing the calipers then you can use the dealer.

I needed new calipers on an '01 Sequoia in NE PA basically due to how rusted and corroded they were. Once replaced I noticed improved braking. I suspect your rear calipers are not releasing fully which is why you are replacing the rear brakes and rotors so frequently. Front brakes do most of the work, so replacing the rears so often at relatively low miles indicates a problem and points to the calipers.

I doubt very much you need new calipers This is why I did all my work myself for 60 years.

Thanks for your feedback. Yesterday, I educated myself on the subject using YouTube videos. Today I am going to shop to see his reasoning for new callipers. I wonder what I should be looking or how do i test to decide if the suv needs new callipers. Any ideas?

I will take any tip coming from the experienced readers of the forum. It would be better if the Car guys can chime in too…

/prabhakar

The “car guys” are retired. Even before they retired they rarely visited the forum. But there is a core of truly knowledgeable and experienced guys on the forum that are happy to help.

The only way you can tell if a caliper is bad is by examining the pad wear, examining for evidence of a leak, and examining for sticking. The last two cause operating symptoms, so if the brakes are working well than your calipers are fine. The pad wear if uneven will suggest a slide sticking, but that can usually be readily resolved with some cleaning and a bit of lithium grease.

Your first step, asking him “why?”, is exactly what you should be doing at this point. Since you’re not experiencing braking problems, be very skeptical of the answer. If he can’t show you, don;t believe him.

Let us know what the 3rd shop says. I’m interested in his answer, and what the gear heads on this forum have to say. Like you, I have a lot to learn, and this is a good opportunity.

My first instinct was to say that your calipers should be good for another 8 to 10 years, but then I remembered that the rear calipers have the parking brake mechanism built into them and that may be the issue here. See if that is what the third shop says. I think I would avoid Midas as a general rule unless your local Midas just happens to have a mechanic that has a good reputation. It can happen.