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Rotor Rust from Disuse

My fiance’s 2005 Pathfinder (owned 2 years in August) has 10K miles on it (no garage) - at the annual inspection (currently going on) the dealer said that the pads needed to be replaced because they were groved from rust on the rotor - and this was because of “disuse”.

These brakes were repaired for rust issues last year at 5,000 miles - is 5,000 miles in the ensuing year “disuse” for purposes of rusting rotors?

Take the vehicle somewhere else. The dealer is ripping you off for unnecessary brake repairs.

Brake rotors rust when they are not in use, including overnight if the air is moist enough. This is NORMAL, and the rust is scraped off as soon as you start driving. After you use the brakes once or twice they are shiny clean again.

5K miles per year is low, yes, but the dealer is still full of it.

The rotors would have to be REALLY rusty and pitted before they would start to damage the pads, and then the rotors would need replacement, too.

Find an independent mechanic and get away from the dealer.

If the brakes feel fine, then they are fine. Rust on rotors is normal. If the rust were severe enough to cause a problem your friend would feel or hear it when braking.

I have seen rotors on a car that was parked for months under some trees in a damp area that gets no sun rust so badly that the cooling fins rotted and the rotors warped. Believe me, when we tested the car at low speed the fillings almost fell out of my teeth. And the noise was intense…actually, it was the sound of me screaming in terror!

I agree with McP. The dealer is lining his pockets.

  • mountainbike

There’s nothing new for me to add. Rotor rust is normal and so are mild grooves on brake pads. Ignore your dealer’s suggestion for service on this issue.

Hey, thanks to both of you. She raised her objection and the dealer suddenly determined that this could be covered under the warranty, so until next year, I guess this worked out.

Before commenting, I would want to know why this low miles vehicle (only 10k in 3 years) is at the dealership in the first place.

Are you suffering any brake problems related to shuddering, noise, etc. and is this why the vehicle was taken in?

It’s at the dealer because in PA, annual inspections are required (I suspect the auto repair lobby is good friends with the legislature). As a perk of buying the car, they agreed to give reduced price inspections for the life of the car.

“State Inspections” are a fishing expedition as you have just found out.

You might want to re-evaluate your “need” to own a car. You don’t drive it enough to justify the expense of ownership.

1 Year later, and the same issue with the same car. Went in for annual required inspection, about 16K miles on the Pathfinder, and we get the same “underuse” explanation for why it needs front pads and rotors. The car now has a track record of requiring $250 in pads and rotors every 10,000 miles from underuse.