Tire-brake snafoo

i recently had 4 new tires put on my car at a sears store for my daughter in a town where i know no one. afterward she drove about 60 miles and told me she heard a loud scraping noise from the passenger rear tire. when i looked she had a deep gauge in the rotor. i told her to go back and explain that this occurred immediatly following the tire change–but what she left with was an estimate for ~ $900 for new pads and rotors all the way around! I want to blame them for the change in the brake functioning but am not sure how changing a tire could lead to this. Any thoughts? Anyone know a good shop near brunswick maine?

oops–gouge not gauge!

Your best bet is to get a 2nd opinion from an independent mechanic.

It’s very possible that you did have worn brakes and they did just happen to make noise within 60 miles of getting tires.

But I would never trust Sears for any mechanical problem assessment. While it might be possible to find a well meaning skilled mechanic at a Sears, the store business model to push sales and services makes a good local independent shop much more attractive.

How many miles are on the car, and have the brake pads ever been changed? As the pads thin, metal associated with them can scrape the rotors leading to a gouge. But any metal in the surrounding area could be damaged and bent into the brake. If it ends up under the pad, it damages the rotor. I suspect that the pads are just worn and this is a coincidence since all 4 rotors are affected. But someone needs to look at it to be sure.

Have her take the car to an independent mechanic or a Buick dealer, but not back to Sears. It’s unlikely she needs pads and rotors all around, but that’s what Sears will tell her and sell her.

The tire change may be connected to the brake problem, but Sears will never admit it’s their fault, and you’ll never be able to prove a connection.

DO NOT let Sears work on the brakes. That will only make things worse.

Oh, and it’s “snafu,” not snafoo. But either way, that’s what you’re likely to get at Sears.

If they overtightened the lug nuts – which they will never admit to – they might have warped one or more of the disk rotors. Does the gouge go all the way around the rotor or is it localized to a few high spots? The latter would be symptomatic of a warped rotor as would pulsations when the brakes are applied.

Unless you check the rotors yourself regularly, it’s possible that the gouge has been there for some time. Maybe all they did was bend the wear indicator (usually a sheet metal tab attached to one of the pads and intended to make a hell of a racket when the pads get thin) so that it started making a racket shortly thereafter.

$900 seems pretty steep for pads and rotors unless there is something awfully special about them. Why don’t you call a dealer in the Brunswick area and ask for a quote?

$900? Sheeesh! Must be really fancy brake parts!

Go elsewhere. If it turns out that the cause of the scoring is related to the tire installation, have them detail that on the shop order (hang around and take photos too if they’ll let you), let them do the brake job, have them returne the removed parts to you, and then go back at the Sears store for reimbursement. Not only are you likely to get a much lower estimate, but the brakes will be done…and your daughter’s safety is the first priority here.