The $700 set of tires


I got a new set of tires recently. I have an '86 Honda Civic. When I got the cart back, a scant 4 hours later, the brakes were spongy. I drove the car home. The next morning, a hissing sound was coming from under the driver-side dash when I drove it. I returned it to the tire place and asked them to deal. They looked at it and said that my “brake booster” was bad and that they had no responsibility for this as they could not have possible caused a problem. On the advice of my usual mechanic, I had them do the work on the car. The result: my break master cylinder had leaked and destroyed the brake booster. My $200 set of tires had a $500 brake repair job tacked onto it.

So my question is: do you think it is fair for me to hold this shop responsible for the brake work?

Here is some more context: they were trying to do an alignment on my steering. They told me that the alignment was so bad that they would need to take apart my (tie rods, Thai stick, tye something) to be able to do the alignment. They then said that they could not do the alignment because they thought the frame was tweaked. I think that when they were trying to do the alignment they damaged my brake master cylinder. Could this hypothesis hold any water (or brake fluid)? It seems highly unlikely that my master cylinder would have taken that four hour period to start leaking all on it own.

short on cash in Philly


Given that the brake master cylinder is a few feet away from the area where they would be working on the suspension, I honestly don’t believe that the alignment-related work could have had anything to do with the leaking master cylinder. If you don’t believe me, have your trusted mechanic point out the master cylinder to you and you will get the idea of how unlikely (or impossible) it would be for alignment/front suspension work to impact on the master cylinder. This would be like blaming your Dentist for a pain in your leg after he worked solely on your mouth.

Your vehicle is now 21 years old. You have to accept that parts will fail without warning on a vehicle that is this old, and I believe that this is just an unfortunate coincidence with your car.


Your car is 21 Years old!!! Expect problems and be thankful it starts and runs.

The work has no bearing on what broke likely due to simple age.


Nope. The shop didn’t cause the problem.

In fact, the master cylinder was probably leaking for some time before you even brought the car in for the tires.