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Volkswagen Jetta Brakes and Rotors

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  • thess02thess02 Posts: 32
    I believe your mechanic is correct concerning the hand brake (parking brake). I have an 07 Jetta and my parking brake was severely over adjusted (cable adjusted too tight). This adjustment is easy to accomplish however it requires partial disassembly of the center console....time intensive. Ask your dealership to look at the parking brake adjustment. I had to adjust the parking brake on my car...as it was too tight and slightly applying brake pressure causing the rear pads to wear out. Lifetime brake pads are cheap....$21.00 at Autozone for both rear wheels. I have not had good experience with the service department at my dealership correcting warranty issues. As a result, they don't touch my car unless a warranty issue occurs.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    It would be interesting to know if all those with premature rear brake wear were regular users of the parking brake. We rarely use that and now have 35,000 miles and dealer reports >50% of brake pad remaining at all 4 wheels.
  • I use my emergency brake all of the time because I have a stick. I'm at 20K miles and am at 50% on my rear brakes. I had to have the brakes and rotors replaced at just over 10K miles. The dealership did NOT cover the brakes because they are a wear item. The rotors were not covered either. AND, I had been at the dealership just a month before where they claimed to have checked my brakes. The explanation they gave me was that the mechanic must have just "looked" at the brakes instead of taking off the tire to check them. I'm going to take my car elsewhere to get lifetime warrantied brakes. This is my 3rd and FINAL Volkswagen. :(
  • thess02thess02 Posts: 32
    Your doing pretty well on the brake pads. VW states minimum thickness on the pads is 2mm. I changed mine at 5mm because I had the wheels off to inspect the brakes and I already had the new pads on hand. The pads are cheap and easy to change...just don't let them wear to the metal backing plate. This is why folks are needing new rotors or....the brakes are dragging (excessive heat / warpage) due to too tight parking brake adjustments / caliper sticking issues. I talked to my dealership service manager about Jetta rear brake issues and got the deer in the headlight stare. Remember...most dealership "factory" mechanic training other than bare basic items is via computer DVDs. Get a Bentley manual even if you don't tackle a lot of maintenance yourself. The manual is very good at explaining the systems with good photos and exploded diagrams. Each vehicle has its own quirks and in my opinion the rear brake wear issue is a minor inconvenience...unless a caliper seizes or something of that nature. Reminds me....I need to change the brake fluid in my Jetta. I'll let you know how the Autozone pads are holding up as soon as I get the wheels off and do the fluid change.
  • thess02thess02 Posts: 32
    You have a good post. I think I agree with you too on the rear calipers needing stronger return springs for the parking brake arms. You also hit on a good point with the adjuster internal threads dragging. I noticed a bit of drag on my 07 base Jetta left rear caliper internal parking brake piston dragging some when turning it in for the new pads. The same side had more wear on the original pads too. Next pad removal I'll try and get that piston rotated out and maybe clean / polish it a bit. Might be something as simple as no grease or oversized o-rings causing the hangup....seems widespread. Thanks for the info.
  • I purchased a certified preowned 2007 Wolfsburg Jetta 2.5L with 15000 miles in April 2009. By July 2009 with only 18390 miles my rear pads were squeeking so I took the car to the dealer and they said it was normal wear and tear and I needed to replace the rear pads and rotors. After I spoke to a manager about how ridiculous this was, I was able to get them to "do the work" for free. I say "do the work" because here I am in January 2010 with only 25000 miles and my rear pads and rotors are shot again.

    I have gone back and forth with the VW Customer Care and the local dealer and while the dealer thinks this is 'normal', even Customer Care says they should not be wearing at this rate. In less than a year of owning the car and a total about about 10000 miles I have had to service the rear pads and rotors twice. I have also called out of town dealers and spoken with their service departments and everyone is saying this wear is happening too fast.

    After taking in the car the second time and being told the same problems were happening, I decided to take it to a private mechanic for a second opinion. He said that the wear is happening too fast, but he couldn't find any problems. He checked the e-brake as well, and said everything was fine.

    Unable to find any problems, I had the private mechanic change the pads and resurface the rotors, which totaled $171 while the local dealer's quote was $462. We also agreed that after 5000 miles I would bring the car back to the private dealer to check the wear. He also told me he was putting harder pads on as well...

    I can't believe what an awful experience I have had with this car and dealer. I love the car, but can't stand this issue with the breaks. I talked to the service manager at the local dealer and he gave me a big story about how VW changed to the softer pads because of rear brake noise. These softer pads solved the break noise issues, but at the expense of shorter lifespan.

    A day has gone by since replacing the pads, and now I can hear more brake noise than before, which I guess gives some support to the story of softer pads being used to combat brake noise. One thing though that has not ceased is heat from the rear brakes. The entire time I have had the car the rear brakes get extremely hot to where I can warm my hands from about 2 feet away. I really feel that there is an issue with the emergency brake...
  • Have them look at the front brakes. My rear pads wore out at 18K miles and after doing a pad swap and resurface I was getting a lot of noise and heat out of the front. The dealership took the front brakes apart and said they couldn't find anything wrong but the problem went away. 15K miles later the new rear brakes still look fine.

    There has been a suggestion that cars with the alloy wheels that get washed or rinsed with a high pressure wand (eg. coin op wash) are prone to having the factory lubricants (from Mexico) "blasted" off the brake hardware which causes binding of the calipers. Not sure if this is fact or not but it sort of makes sense.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    You are absolutely correct... the rear brakes on a VW will tend to heat up if the emergancy brake mecanism is not properly "reset" when new pads are installed.

    There is a specific procedure which includes using a special tool to "screw in" the piston of the rear calipers ALL THE WAY. (this causes the "reset" to happen).

    Then, after reassembling, use foot pedal ONLY to firmly seat the pads against calipers. ONLY THEN should the emergancy brake lever be applied 8-10 times to set the internal components of the caliper.

    If you are lucky, you may be able to perform a "reset" and reinstall your existing pads.

    If, in the past, somone has not used the special tool to screw-in the piston while replacing pads, the internal componets of the calipers may be damaged. In this case, new calipers are the only option.

    Another possibility is that you have emergancy brake cables which are sticking.

    In any case, you need to do something right away... allowing the brakes to drag and create the kind of heat you are talking about will certainly damage the rear bearings.... creating even more expensive repairs.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I am not sure your hypothasis holds water - Every VW I have ever owned has had the emergancy-brake applied AT ALL TIMES while parked. I have never experienced rear brake dragging. (very rarely in extremely cold mornings the rear wheels would skid along the road for several feet... but I attribute this to ice in the moving parts.)

    I regulary "test" my brakes to see if they are dragging. There are 2 tests
    1) at a stoplight, see if the car rolls easilly when the brake-pedal is released
    2) Feel the lugnuts for "heat".

    I get about 80K miles out of the factory pads. At that point, I installed Zimmerman rotors and ATE pads. My brakes are severly powerful now. Almost like airbrakes.
  • I am contemplating purchasing a 2007 Jetta Wolfsburg with 13,500 miles. I have read tons and tons of brake issue postings and I am wondering if brake issues happen with all Jettas or is this a problem that only happens with some Jettas?.

    Also, how exactly do you avoid (or at least limit) the expense involved with replacing the pads on this vehicle. I am not mechanically inclined and would have to take it to someone else for repair.

    Thanks!!
  • It's hard to give advice as to where to take your car for service. I do all my own maintenance and my labor isn't a cost factor. Brake pads are inexpensive for the Jettas ($21.00 aftermarket) but I do believe there is an issue with the rear brake calipers. It may be in the parking brake/cable setup or a bad caliper design...not sure. Maybe find a good independent mechanic in your area and go have a talk before you buy a Jetta. Keep in mind that no car is perfect....look at all of the Toyota recalls lately.
  • I bought a new 2001 Jetta and now I have a new 2009 Jetta. Both have had the exact same problems with rear brakes. I'm nearing 20K miles and will have to have the rear brakes checked again. I was at just over 50% at my 15K check. I had burned through the rotors just after my 10K check...after they told me the brakes were fine. They suggested that the repairman may not have actually PULLED my tire off to check the brakes. Their mistake and I had to pay $300 to fix it!!! Never again!!!
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    No, not everyone has problems with the brakes. We have about 34,000 miles on the original brakes on ours, so far and at last oil change the dealer indicated the still have about 50% of pad left at all 4 wheels.

    Since you are buying used one, you could always take it to someone and have them check the brakes before you buy.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    I do not understand what people are talking about.... brakes are considerd a "wear item" in that they are SUPPOSED to wear as they are used. That is what brake-pads do.

    It is not fair to call it a "problem" when the brakes wear down just like they are supposed to.

    When I squirt my windshield with windshild-washer, the level of the fluid in the resivour goes down.... Is that a "problem"?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    um... one DOES NOT have to pull the wheel off to check the brake pads. The pads are easilly inspected without pulling the wheels off.
  • Mr Handiman, I believe I need to replace my brake pads, most likely the rear. Have recommendation on what brand, type (ceramic?), and who to install (dealer vs. private service). Also do you know whether I need the pads with the sensor or without. I have a 2006 Jetta 2.5L.
  • You realize allautomotive parking/emergency brake designs...and I do mean all utilize mechanical devices attached to the rear calipers for 4 wheel disk brake equipped vehicles? The VW design is common and not out of the ordinary. Additionally, all cars with drum rear brakes utilize the rear brakes for parking/emergency brake actuation. As I've posted earlier....looks like more than one issue going on with the Jetta. My 2007 had a too tight parking brake adjustment from the factory...easy fix. I also believe there may be some binding in the rear caliper pistons themselves. I'll disassemble mine at the next brake check and post what I find.
  • bmw_lover_pabmw_lover_pa Posts: 2
    edited February 2010
    I leased this VW Jetta in 2008. I've asked the salesperson before the purchase "will i need to change the brakes and rotors before the end of the lease (3yr/36K)?", he said "no, i think! the recommended factory change for brakes and rotors are at 40K, so you will be fine".

    Today, my car is 22K and my rear brakes started to make noise and I do NOT use E-brakes at all! I visually checked them and they are nearly 100%, while front brake pads look like only 15% worn out! I called the same dealer, asked them "what the heck?" they said," it's totally normal, front and rear are 40 to 60 percent wear out... while the actual situation is 15-85. I reminded him what i was told before the purchase, he said no it's not true, rear pads usually 18-25K, while front pads usually needs to be changed at 28-35K.

    I have changed the brake pads first time on my honda at 70K!!!. Yes you saw it right. 70K miles, and first time since purchased brand new.

    VW warranty seems do not care about this issue and push you to go to dealer, dealer says this is normal. I saw one st.p.d says pads are wear parts. It is not the problem that pads are worn out. IT IS THE PROBLEM that they are NOT normally worn out. Even how they claim it to be 60 to 40% wear out rate. I think this is even a bigger issue than Toyota problems and VW needs to have a recall for this.

    Does anybody know if there is any class action suit against VW about this case?
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    he said "no, i think! the recommended factory change for brakes and rotors are at 40K, so you will be fine".

    That's a good one :) . Did you not recognize this for the B.S. or stupidity that it is? Of course, no car has a recommended interval for this, you replace the brakes when they wear out. The miles can vary by a huge amount, as it is a function of how often you apply the brakes, not how far you go.
  • bpeebles...A brake pad inspection can't be accomplished on the base Jetta without first removing the steel wheels.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    um - I can reach in and feel the thickness of the pads based on the space between the rotor and the backing-plate. Also, one can use a mirror with ones head behind the wheel.

    However: You are correct that a more thorough inspection is accomplished by removing the wheels. Since a tire-rotation is supposed to be done regularly, while the wheels are off, that is the perfect time peek at the pads too.

    The factory pads on my Jetta went about 90K miles.... then the rotors got so rusted from roadsalt, I replaced the pads at the same time the rotors were renewed. (The pads had more life in them... but while it was apart, I replaced them)
  • I do accomplish the brake pad inspections every 10,000 miles when I rotate the tires. It makes for a more thorough inspection and I like to actually measure pad thickness. I replaced my rear pads with 5mm of material remaining at 57,700 miles. They could have gone on to 80,000 miles I believe but the wheels were already off and pads are really inexpensive at Autozone ($21.00 set).
  • Update...I took my 2008 Jetta to Meineke to have the brakes inspected. They discovered that my calipers were defective. My emergency brake was remaining engaged, causing the premature wear of the brake pads. The mechanic actually had to use a crowbar to pry loose the emergency brake. Volkswagen stated that they could only replace one caliper with the warranty. I was told I have to wait and see if that fixes the4 problem before they will replace the other. Yes, brakes are indeed wear items. However, brake pads should NOT wear out after 10,000 miles. That IS a problem.
  • Have the mechanic inspect the calipers. My Jetta did the same thing. VW did NOT catch that the calipers were failing, causing the emergency brake to stay engaged.
  • Did the Meineke mechanic tell you exactly what was defective? I ask because the emegency brake piston needs to be rotated...not compressed to release. The hydraulic or primary piston though needs should retract in its caliper bore. Have them write on your receipt exactly what was wrong.
  • My experiences with VW dealership mechanics locally has been consistant...incompetence.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    As I mentioned in previous post.... if the rear pistons are not "reset" properly using correct tool, the internal parking-brake mechinism can be destroyed. The result could be EXACTLY what you describe as the problem you are now encountering.

    Does it not scare you that Meineke "pried" on your calipers?.... dont forget that Meineke does not necessarrly employ the sharpest people. (High-shool kids and mechanic-wannabees) I stopped going to Meineke after they used a torch to work on my exhaust system... AND BURNED THRU THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM!!

    You should be greatful that VW is even CONSIDERING covering something that another mechanic 'pried' on. It sounds like VW is willing to work with you on this one... take what they offer and thank them.
  • tmv2tmv2 Posts: 1
    I have experienced the same challenge with my 2008 Jetta. I noticed some squeaking here and there around 26,000 miles. I asked the dealership about the noise at that time. They didn't share that anything was wrong so I drove off the lot.

    From that point forward, I heard the same squeaking noise only when it rained and they mentioned that happens when frost gets in between the rotors and pads so I did not think much of it.

    When I drove into the dealership at 31,000 miles they shared my rear brakes were between 2-3; therefore the rear rotors would need to be replaced.

    I shared my concerns as a volkswagon owner, (have owned 4 in the last 5 years), that it seemed odd that the rotors had to be replaced at such a young age of 31,000 miles.

    They assured me that they did nothing wrong and they assured me that there was not a recall about this issue.

    Overall I am disappointed with my dealership in their response considering I have been a long standing customer who does all of my service with them. And I am still left wondering if there is an issue with the making of the car; therefore causing pre-mature problems with the rotors.

    What would be a next step to share this information? I wonder how many other people have been affected.
  • I have to disagree with you bpeebles. Had VW taken care of the brake issue to begin with, I never would have had to take my car to Meineke. This is my third VW since 2000. This one is a lemon. The brakes have had major issues twice. The paint completely peeled off of my front hood within the first month and is now peeling again. They repainted it initially. I'll need to take it in again. I've had the car for 19 mos now. One third of my engine went out the second month I had the car. It was BRAND NEW when I bought it. This will be my last VW. I'm disappointed that the dealership did not choose to step up but fought me when the brakes were messed up a second time. They are aware of the issue. Their actions are no better than Toyota's.
  • rn_missyrn_missy Posts: 2
    I am now beginning to experience this issue with a 2007 VW Jetta Wolfsburg that has about 15K miles on it Right now, I only hear the noise when it rains. I am freaked by all the brake complaints I read on here concerning the 07 Jetta because this is not an inexpensive issue.

    Do I need to take it into the dealer and have them look at it or is this normal??
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