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Just Brakes left us Just Broke-over $2000!

My wife recently went to Atlanta for a conference. She called me upon arrival, saying that there was a noise coming from a front wheel. I responded that I couldn't help her, (we live in NC) she should get the car serviced. She went to a local Just Brakes shop because it was nearby. You may recall their advertising - $129.88 for a four wheel reline. Let me preface this by telling you that we had the brakes inspected on our car at the local dealer 23,000 miles ago at a cost of $35 and they found nothing wrong; and I think we can agree that no dealer is going to understate the need for car repair, especially when the vehicle is already sitting in their bay. Just Brakes personnel told my wife that the entire system required replacement at a cost of over $1200! She tried to call me but failed, so she authorized the work. Now, I could believe that some of the brake system components would require replacement, but everything? Master cylinder, wheel cylinders, rotors, calipers, drums, springs, shoe and pads (recommended upgrade on these, of course), shims, hardware, etc. etc. How'd she get it out of the driveway, much less to Atlanta? Unfortunately, my wife also mentioned that our car needed a steering rack; the dealer diagnosed the problem but hadn't yet done the work because they didn't have the part. Just Brakes personnel told her they could do it, and she authorized the work, but what they didn't tell her was that they couldn't do the required wheel alignment until she came by to pick up the car. She was on a tight schedule and had to drive back immediately to NC with the car out of alignment. She ensured that the Just Brakes personnel knew her schedule before they did any work. The total bill was over $2000; don't tell me these guys didn't take advantage when they saw a woman coming!


  • First of all, I am curious why you would let your wife drive a car with a bad rack and pinion unit from North Carolina to Georgia? You did not mention what the year of the vehicle, the mileage or the make. If by any chance it is a German car, the price would be about right for all the work that was done. If it is Chrysler, Ford or Chevy, she was taken.
  • cutehumorcutehumor Posts: 137
    I went there to get that friction reline for 129.88 (back then it was 99.99) just like your wife did. They told me some mumbo jumbo how the brakes will go out, and that the calipers were bad, and the rotors were warped. They said the repair cost 400 dollars, I said hell no. The guy behind the counter was telling me how this other woman went for the cheap friction reline, but she had to pay over 600 bucks for her repair. To kinda suggest that I need the repair too. The mechanic told me if I left without the repair, I'll take a chance and I will be in an accident with brake failure. I didn't buy it. When I declined the repairs, they wouldn't put back on my four tires on my car for 30 minutes. They made me wait while the mechanic stood at the desk. They obviously blew me off. This is when I started to get interested in car repair myself so I won't be a sucker to anyone. By the way, I drove the car for two more years without the "suggested repair" with no problems. All my car needed were brake pads. Brake cleaner does wonders for squeels...
  • I'm also learning how to do that normal maintance stuff . . . MYSELF . . .
  • occupant1occupant1 Posts: 412
    like any mechanical part, it can fail, but if done right (and it's tough to do it wrong) it will be fine. Just Brakes is notorious for never letting cars out of the shop without $300-$400 bills if not more. They wanted $650-plus to replace one rotor and reline the front and rear brakes on a 1997 Hyundai Accent I owned. I checked it out. The Hyundai dealer could do the work, with factory parts, for $438. Not only that, but the rotor they said needed replacing could have been turned on the car, saving a ton of money and allowing the $129.88 reline plus a charge to use the on-car brake lathe, which incidentally, Just Brakes shops DON'T usually have because they'd rather charge you $70/hr labor to R&R the rotor. (R&R = remove and replace) I don't trust anyone with MY brakes except myself and the dealer. When my Century needs brakes (the left rear one is starting to lock up too easily) I'll do all I can myself, then start shopping around for the other work, like wheel cylinders and such. I can change pads and rotors and shoes and drums and even repack bearings. I can adjust the brakes and clean them. What I can't do is anything fluid related. I won't mess with the hydraulics. But I'll replace hard parts.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350
    It's been my experience that many of the chain stores are quick to upsell unnecessary repairs.

    Brake calipers RARELY go bad yet some of the chains feel compelled to replace these every time!

    One of the well known muffler chains seems to think that every car needs to have it's struts replaced too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Overselling is actually a very clever technique, because no one could ever prove anything unless they managed to get ahold of their OLD parts and could show they were not defective....and EVEN THEN, the shop could claim stupidity rather than dishonesty.....a somewhat shaky defense, as I did see a judge rule against that defense by saying "Look, you have a sign outside that says 'brake specialists', so it is presumed you do NOT replace perfectly good parts out of stupidity by one of your mechanics!" YES!!! Good ruling. Actually, after numerous complaints, the DA put a lock on the door of that place.
  • pbraunpbraun Posts: 11
    I live in Dallas TX. About 2 years ago, the tv news media exposed "Just Brakes." Your best bet is to do it yourself, or go to a independent shop that you trust. I have a comment to the poster that does brake jobs, except for the hydralics, buy a repair book and do it all. Bleeding lines, and replacing wheel cylinders,etc, is no harder than the brake work you are doing. Have a buddy show you how if you have any concerns. Good luck. PB
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Posts: 647
    I work on his employer's computer systems all the time, and he knows I work on my cars. (And he sees the '87 Buick when I visit his office.) Took his Accord to one of those "UnderCar Specialty Shops" yesterday. This was after I told him to get the pads and rotors and we'd do his car in my garage.

    So I follow him to the shop, and we grab a bite to eat. As we are driving back to the data center he gets paged, and they want to replace all four calipers, e-brake cables pads, but only turn the rotors. (hmmm, I guess they can charge more labor for that).

    Something about all calipers are sticking, e-brake cables sticking (actually that was probably true, and Automatic, never used the e-brake)

    He still has them do some of the work. I guess he didn't feel comfortable doing it himself.

    I guess I've been "lucky", I've never needed to replace a caliper in my life. Maybe some wheel cylinders. I wonder how many sticking calipers really just need the right lube on the contact points and new mounting hardware so it can "float" correctly on the pins?

    I have better things to do with $500-$1K than make the muffler-man's boat payment.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Sticking calipers is an incredibly RARE phenomenon.....this is such hogwash....if the calipers were sticking, the brakes would be smoking on the way to the repair shop. What a bunch of nonsense.

    Somebody needs to get a test car, have all the brakes rebuilt by a reputable shop, have it all videotaped and certified in writing, and stamp all the new parts, and then go in to one of these shops for a brake job. Get the full catastrophe treatment, pay the full bogus bill, and then wave the video tape in the shop foreman's face on your way to the DAs office. Oh, momma!
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    I have had stuck calipers. They have not been frozen, but they wouldn't fully release, and when the brakes were applied the car would pull to that side. Brake fluid picks up moisture and that pis and corrodes the insides or the caliper preventing the piston from fully retracting. Most of the time you only notice the brake dust on one wheel is more than the other. I have never seen a set smoke up like what has been described. I also know if one side is worn down a lot more than the other it is a stuck caliper. I also know to replace them in pairs. I do all my own work, and don't work at a shop, and never did. Have bit my lip a few times when I heard people getting hosed for $500 to do a front brake job. I have read several brake manuals, and all have described a stuck caliper, and they happen more than you think. I usually replace the pads first if the brakes are way worn out, if the problem goes away no need to replace, this happens about 75% of the time. 15% is mounting hardware, like sleeves and o-rings and lube. Only had to replace about 5% of the cars I have worked on. I do all the maintainance for the whole family,wife, aunts, uncles, mom, dad,brother, ect. about 20-25 cars in all. Lots of weekend work. No body in my family trusts shops, all been driven down the "toll" road. I guess I am cheaper and they know it is done right.
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    I've only ever seen one set of brake calipers that went bad and that was on an '88 Honda. What I have seen very frequently is sticking slide pins on GM models like the Celebrity. The slide pins have o-rings and require high-temp lubricant application once a year to prevent deterioration of the o-rings. If the lubricant is omitted, the o-ring breaks down and the sediment causes the slide pin to stick and will cause extensive damage to rotors and eventually the calipers. It's also a good idea to check the o-rings for any damage while applying lube. The o-rings are easy to replace as long as the lube has been applied every year.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Yeah, I see...maybe that's what people mean when they say sticking "calipers". I thought they were referring to the pistons themselves.

    Lots of luck getting most drivers to remember to lubricate their slide pins!
  • Anytime you have to have something done your van or car. Find out what the tech is going to do and when he is out of the picturer, take your magic marker and mark somewhere on the item he is going to replace. When your car is ready, take a look for yourself and see if you can find your marker on the itme. If you have found it, thene you part was never replaced.
    This happended to me once when I was having struts put on, I marked my old struts and when I went to see the van after the work was done I
    Looked for my magic marker mark and there it was, which just told me that they did nothing for my struts. So then off to the Manager to show him that his techs did not replace anything on my van and I can prove it to him. So I took him over to the van and showed him my markings that I left on a peice that was suppose to be replaced with a new one. Well after seeing this..... The Manager was furious. There was no chage at all for the service and it would be taken car of immediatly.
    Just what I do, thought it was interesting.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350
    Years ago, I managed a large repair facility that did a lot of brake and alignment work.

    One of my top mechanics decided to be a nice guy and spent his day off, a Sunday, totally rebuilding the front suspension of his cousin's Chevy Impala. He replaced the lower ball joints, control arm bushings, idler arm, etc.

    Of course, a wheel alignment was required after the work was done. Since we were closed in those days on Sundays they drove the Chevy to a well known (at the time) chain store that sold tires and did brakes and alignments.

    They were told the job would take a half hour so they walked to a restaurant next door to grab a bite.

    Upon their return, they went to pay the bill but were told the alignment had not been done!

    " Impossible to align without repairs" was written on the work order. So, Sam asked what was needed...a list was produced, listing lower ball joints, idler arm, upper control arm bushings,etc...I'm not kidding!

    So, Sam the mechanic asked if these worn parts could be pointed out. They raised the Chevy on a rack and actually tried to tell them that the brand new parts that had less than five miles on them were worn out. A manager was called over and Sam proceeded to point out the new parts and read him the riot act.

    Using every obsenity in the book, they were thrown out.

    About a year later, this chain was singled out for exactly these tactics. They are now out of business.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    One thing I've seen alot is the seals in the calipers rotting or splitting. This reduces braking performance and ultimately ends in failure.

    If people only had their brakes inspected and cleaned say once a year, they'd never have problems until parts are worn out. You can buy a caliper rebuild kit for a few bucks. Replace the seals, remove and lubricate the pins/sliders, clean up the cylinder and piston, reassemble. If you replace the brake hoses, put in new pads, turn or replace the rotors, repack the bearings and flush the system, the brakes will be like new for a couple hundred bucks.

    I'm always stunned when I hear of folks paying $1000 or more for a $250 job. How will they ever trust another mechanic after they realise they've been ripped off so badly?
  • bornagainbornagain Posts: 38
    Re: "Let me preface this by telling you that we had the brakes inspected on our car at the local dealer 23,000 miles ago at a cost of $35 and they found nothing wrong"
    Not to stick up for Just Brakes or anything but 23,000 miles is a long time. When I have my brakes inspected I am told how much wear there is on the pads (25%, 75%, etc.). What does "nothing wrong" mean??? It doesn't really tell you anything other than the fact that they didn't need replacing right then. In fact isn't 20-25,000 miles about right for at least a set of pads? And if you drive past the pads you can cause all kinds of damage. I am not a mechanic but I have been around awhile. Any mechanics out there??
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    It really depends on the way you use the brakes. 23,000 miles is only about 2 years for most people. A two foot Louie will wear out a set long before most people. I can get 50K on a set of pads. I only buy the best stuff. I am obviously not a brake-a-holic. The average for a set of pads is about 30 K - 35 K miles. Lately I have noticed that GM has had a tendency to put junk pads on the small trucks and all vans, generally only get 14-18 K miles before replacement is needed. Replaced my wife's pads on her '97 S-10 at 14 K and she now has 45 K on the truck, checked the brakes when the tires got rotated and they are at around 45%. So depending on what type of driving, and what type of pads you use, dictates the longevity of the brakes.

    I use Morse Cop Car brake pads. They last forever. It is a blend of copper and carbon in the pad. Gives great stopping power with minimal fade under heavy/hard braking. I have used Raybestos Nascar Gold before, work good, but heavy brake dust tends to be a problem, and they don't last as long as I expected for the money. Stay away from the $10 pads, I typically spend $30-$45 on a good set.

    In either event have them checked annually, I do it myself when I have the tires rotated at the tire shop.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    I did the brakes on my grandfather's car, all four corners. He took it to a large chain, the one with the gold oval, for shocks. He got them from there 2 years prior, and were leaking. Lifetime warranty, just pay for labor. Go to pick it up and they switched all the new stuff out for old worn out stuff. Not the wheel cylinders, or calipers, but all pads, and shoes and hardware. We were completely shocked, no pun intended. I went crazy on the manager. He denied any responsibility until I pulled out a box from a trash can containing the parts I installed. Made them replace them under my strict supervision. We called the corporate office and he got a bunch of stuff free. He had his exhaust system replaced free and got the money for the labor on the shocks back. I still to this day can't believe what they do to the elderly people and women that for the most part do not know or understand what is really happening to the car when it goes in for service. I have found only one shop that I will ever trust with any of my family's cars. They charge about 10% more but it is worth it for the piece of mind.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    Did a story on the chain stores. They found that around 70% of them will push for unneeded repairs.

    About the calipers;
    Brake calipers RARELY go bad yet some of the chains feel compelled to replace these every time! and Sticking calipers is an incredibly RARE phenomenon.....this is such hogwash....if the calipers were sticking, the brakes would be smoking on the way to the repair shop. What a bunch of nonsense.

    In response to that, in my area,calipers sticking or siezing are actually fairly common, especially on older vehicles. The newer vehicles for some reason tend to not have as many problems.
    Front pads should last around 25,000-30,000 miles while rear shoes should almost double that.
    I have a S-10 blazer that had 60,000 miles before it needed front pads,a new Lumina that needed pads at 40,000 miles, I replaced the calipers because the RH caliper was sticking and had warped the rotor.
    I am not condoning any of the chain shops and their tactics, but there are some reputable shops who do the repair right and to say that calipers RARELY stick is leading people to believe that they are getting ripped off if a shop recommends that they replace them.
    If I recommend a part be replaced as part of the repair and the owner declines to replace it, I advise them tat they are best to take their vehicle somewhere else because I won't warranty the work.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350
    When it comes to brakes, the job must be done right. I remember customers asking me to turn drums that were too thin. I would refuse the work. There is a lot of liability involved.

    I do agree about calipers sticking however. It seems to be a pretty rare occurance.

    One of the chains around here insist on replacing calipers, wheel cylinders and all brake hardware with every brake job. I think thats a waste of money in most cases.
  • namfflownamfflow Posts: 202
    What I have experienced with various models of Chrysler's K cars is every time I needed brakes they claimed the calipers were bad. The story: "The brakes were so worn that the piston was overextended. Once overextended they are shot." "The piston is poly urethane and isn't as good as our stainless steel pistons. "

    I am pretty sure this is at least 50% hogwash. There is no way that every 20K miles I need new calipers.

    One thing I have noticed and maybe a brake expert can tell me. When my brakes get close to needing replacement. At first I start to hear that impending metal on metal sound which the brake shops claim they can't hear and tell me my brakes are fine. Then within a short time, (several weeks) all of a sudden the brake noise is constant and a lot of brake dust appears on one wheel.

    This just recently happened on my Dakota and I ended up replacing both calipers and one rotor. 40K miles on it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Yeah, okay, calipers can stick, but I was really driving at situations like the above post, where the car has low miles and it not operated in adverse conditions. And by "sticking", I was misleading I think because I was referring strictly to the pistons sticking. The only time I've seen this is in cars operating near salt water, or cars stored over long periods of time (Porsches love to do that) or cars will excessive mileage. Maybe Opatience sees way more cars than I do, so that might explain why we have two different realities about it, both equally valid. It's like me saying to an ER doctor....gee, I never see people stepping on rakes, and him saying...oh, I see that all the time.

    But I think some of these chain stores make sure you step on a rake.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    And it is a problem in this area with the claipers, especially with vehicles that sit for any time. So it may be that inland, the problem is not very common.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Yeah, maybe. Gee, I've owned so many cars of all types and vintages, and only had this problem come up maybe once...twice at most...out here on the west coast.

    What symptoms do you think people will experience with sticking calipers, or what signs/evidence indicate sticking calipers Opatience?
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    I'm on the North west coast. You must be south. LOL!
    Usually when they stick the rotors are the first to be effected, they warp hard. nice pretty blue spots on the rotor are a pretty good indication that the caliper isn't releasing properly.
    About half of the ones I have seen are not so much sticking in the piston, but the caliper guides.The other ones, the piston gets out too far and gets misaligned in the bore.
    Had someone ask me today about their brakes on one side smoking, they bought a cheap caliper from one of those chain stores and paid the price, it stuck in the bore and cooked the pads.
    Problem is, most folks don't relaize it until it is too late.
    Used to be, that on the older cars with real bearings, it would cook the seal and they front brakes would start smoking, now with these new style sealed front bearings, the don't often seem to show that hey are hot.
  • namfflownamfflow Posts: 202
    Can somebody answer the questions that I posed in posting number 22?
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    Your front brake pads should go around 30,000 - 45,000 miles.
    The wear indicator on the pads should start squealing way before the pads are worn to the point where the piston in the caliper is too far out.
    20,000 miles is actually low mileage for front pads, you may want to consider upgrading the quality of parts that are being used.
  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    I trust one Midas near my house that I took it to after Sears tried to rob me blind. And I either go there or to the dealer for brake work. I took it to Sears once a few months back because my organic material front pads had worn in about 15,000 Miles.(Stupid me, I forgot to specify the harder pads at Pep Boys.) I had actually been at the dealer for a safety inspection earlier that morning, and they told me all I needed was pads.

    I was late for work at Sears and figured I could just have pads put on at the auto-center while I worked. So I drop my keys off and go to my depertmant, only to get a call at my desk telling me the bad news. I needed pads, rotors, calipers, and NEW REAR SHOES, to the tune of over 400 dollars. I should have known better when I handed over the keys and asked them to put on pads because that's what the dealer told me I needed and they said, "we'll tell you what you need."

    I said I just want pads, they refused to put on the pads without the other work, saying they couldn't replace pads without replacing rotors because of liability. I called the dealer's service manager, who I've dealt with for the two years since I got the truck at that dealer and who I completely trust, and he tells me to get out of there and either take it to him or someone else I trust because they inspected the whole brake assemply for my inspection that morning and found nothing else wrong other than excessive pad wear. I kindly said 'no thank you' to the Sears guy and went to the Midas by my house because I couldn't make it back to the dealer and was leaving on a long trip that evening. They told me the rotors could easily be remachined, and they also offered to replace the front pads, repack the front bearings because there was uneven wearing of the left front pad, and clean and lubricate everything for 250.

    The manager called me out into the service bay and showed me all the hard parts and explained what needed to be done, answering all questions and showing me the proof of what he was saying. he pulled the pads and showed me the left one was way lower than the right, even mentioned that my rear backup light was burned out and he'd replace that too If I wanted. From now on if I can't make it to a dealer that's where I'm getting all brake work done. For brake work either go to a reputable dealer or a shop you trust. Don't just flip the phone book to a random page and decide on a brake shop that way. You never know how competent they may be. Far too often, they know they have you in a vise because they can claim whatever they want to do is necessary to avoid brake failure and an accident.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    Ok, I'm trying to understand this one.
    You buy parts from PepBoys,trust Midas and think Sears is trying to rob you???? And you work for Sears????

    Does anyone see anything wrong with this post?
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I have actually had the misfortune of sticking caliper pistons happen to me on an 87 VW Fox, but it had nothing to do with faulty calipers. The weird thing was that the brakes worked fine until they heated up and than the pedal got progressively harder and harder. Than, I could feel the front brakes locked on at about half-pressure and when I came to stop lights, heavy steam would roll off of both front wheels (you could even see the rotors turn bright red in broad daylight). At the time, I had no money and knew the rotors were being ruined (especially since they weren't even vented rotors) so I lived with it for a few weeks. I finally took it into a real repair shop (not a chain) and was told that my caliper pistons were sticking. They elected to replace both calipers, rotors, and a new set of pads. This sounded reasonable to me, until that did not solve the problem! The calipers were perfectly fine on the car! They called me up to tell me the brakes would not bleed after replacing everything. What was really wrong was a master cylinder that was not properly releasing the pressure from the calipers. Needless to say I was mad for letting them replace perfectly fine calipers only to find out that the master cylinder was the culprit all along. Normally, I would have done the brake job myself, but the bolts were too tight on the calipers for me to loosen with the limited tools I had at the time.

    I also had a bad run-in with Don Olson with a 93 Mitsu Diamante. When asked to inspect my front brakes because they were making a lot of noise, they told me I needed new rotors and pads and the rear brakes only had 10% of their life left (their estimate was around $300). The funny thing was that just 2 months prior, I had the front brake pads replaced under warranty because the former owner spent $700 on new front rotors, pads, and calipers and the pads only lasted 3 months (they were the cheap organic kind). The rear brake pads only had about 6000 miles on them and were the semi-metallic kind, so they were still practically new. Needless to say, I took the car home and elected to look at the brakes myself. The front pads were 50% gone, but still had plenty of life left (though ridiculous how much wear after only 2 months). The rotors looked a bit scarred so I took them off and had them turned at a local parts store for a total of $20. They agreed the rotors were brand new and that it was ridiculous that Don Olson wanted to replace them. I bought a new set of high quality pads for $35. My repairs fixed my problem for a savings of $245. I also discovered that Don Olson had broke off one of my lug nuts without telling me and cross-threaded another lug nut so bad that I had to replace the thread and nut. I took the old front pads down to the manager and also showed him the 2 lug nuts his men destroyed and made a big scene in front of all his customers. He sure changed his tune real fast when he saw the evidence of their blantant lying and poor workmanship. I will never trust another brake shop again....

    Personally, I feel the replacement of calipers eveytime you replace the pads is flat-out ridiculous and blatant gouging of the customer. As long as the calipers are lubricated everytime the pads are replaced, they should never have problems with sticking and should last at least 150K. My 84 VW GTI with 200K still has the original calipers and they work just fine. However, wheel cylinders (which operate drum brakes) do tend to leak with age and dont last near as long as calipers. Calipers usually just wear out as far as operating properly, not leak fluid externally like wheel cylinders. Anyway, don't let the chain stores screw you guys! Get second opinions or learn to do the simple job yourself and save lots of money.
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    I owned a Reliant that also needed to have the front brake pads replaced every 12k - 15k miles. For some reason, that was the normal wear pattern on that car. I also believe what you are being told regarding overextending the piston is true. Once the pad wear has become excessive (you are traveling 3k - 5k miles further on your pads than I did) the piston travel is extended and can lead to the piston cocking and lodging, gouging the cylinder sleeve.

    Regarding the metal on metal sound from brakes soon needing replacement. Most front disc brake pads have a squeal bar (waster piece) that creates the noise you are describing when the pad thickness has decreased to where replacement will soon be necessary. If ignored, the noise will become more persistent as further wear is attained.. This alert should not be ignored on riveted pads as, once rivet to rotor contact is made,irreparable damage will occur to the rotors. Also, running your pads excessively low will result in excessive piston travel and increase the likelihood of gouging the cylinder sleeve requiring caliper replacement.
  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    i got the pads at pep boys because i was at school when i needed them replaced and had little money. i will not be getting work done there again. yes, i trust the midas NEAR MY HOME. That particular location provided me with courteous, honest service at a reasonable price. Yes, I work for Sears, and Yes, I thought they tried to rob me, not out of the question considering that the auto--center guys are on commission. and yes, I do work for Sears.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350
    If you REALLY feel that way, you should quit your job at Sears and work somewhere else.

    I'm serious!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350
    Sometimes a shop can't win.

    It seems that often the shop that gives the cheapest quote is the "good guy" and the shop that wants to replace everything is a "crook".

    A story...I told this somewhere else, forgive me.

    When I managed a large shop I took pity on a nice young lady who was broke and had a bad clutch in her Volkswagen.

    In an attempt to save her a few bucks I made a dumb decision and reused her throwout bearing that appeared to be in good condition.

    These are usually replaced no matter how they look.

    Well, a month or so later, the bearing started howling. The nice lady returned with her NASTY father who couldn't believe we could be so foolish to not put in a new TO bearing.

    And I got to do the job for free.

    Sadly, these lessons get learned over time. The radiator hose that felt and looked fine when the radiator was replaced will blow out on the freeway 2000 miles later causing the engine to blow.

    The customer demands a new engine and takes the show owner to court.

    "Your honor, the customer told me to keep costs to a bare minimum since they were getting rid of the car the folling week"

    " As a professional, you should have known better"

  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    i work in sporting goods at sears. the money's usually good for a part time job so i couldnt leave just because i dont like the auto-center.

    also, how about this... the guy who offered the cheapest quote should instead have explained to the customer everything that needed to be fixed and why and what might happen if it wasn't and then let them decide what they want to do once they know the consequences of letting certain things go.

    and the mechanic who wants to replace everything should be honest about what really needs to be replaced and what doesn't and should be thinking about the longevity and safety of the car instead of lining his or her pockets.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    It's a tough call sometime. Look at it this way......if I were running a brake shop, I would never cut any corners.....of course I wouldn't do MORE than was necessary, but NO WAY I'm going to allow deeply grooved rotors or leaking calipers to go out the door unless I've written down everything and the customer signs it. We are sue-happy in America and the shop owner needs to protect themselves, too.

    I much prefer dealing with family businesses if possible rather than chain stores. Maybe the chains have lower prices, but you know, you get what you pay for.

    Can you stop a car on grooved rotors? Sure. Do I want that grooved rotor shoved in my face when the car hits a wall? Uh-UH!

    Oh, and the "lifetime guarantee" business. Sure, we will replace the incredibly cheap thing we put on your car with an equally cheap thing as long as you keep bringing it back in here.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    Sometimes alot of shops take the stance that they will replace the things that will put them at the greatest safety liability wise.
    I have had several people ask me if they could get by with replacing only certain parts, I tell them, they probably could, would I, NO.
    I take a look, then tell them what parts need replaced,if they want a cheap job, I send them somewhere else. I've measured rotors that were with in thousandths of being considered not useable, I informed one guy that they would have to be replced as part of a brake job, he said they looked fine and that he didn't want them replaced, I said "See ya!".
    3 months later, he was having the brakes redone because the rotors warped so bad that it shook the whole car.

    In the situation of brakes and steering, if the vehicle is in an accident and there has been recent work on the steering or brakes, the mechanic or shop that did the work can be gone after for the liability.
    So the comment about "then let them decide what they want to do once they know the consequences of letting certain things go."
    Nope, the customer doesn't get that luxury because it is the mechanics reputation and liability that is at stake. If a mechanic does replace only the things the customer wants, he may find himself in a sticky situation and out of business.
  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    When i said let them decide what they want to do i wasn't clear, but i should have added that once they've decided what they want you have to decide what is the ethical thing for you to do and what isn't. If you are using your professional knowledge to come to a judgement about what work a customer's car needs brake-wise, I applaud you. And I also applaud the fact that you send them on your way if they ask you to skimp on something that affects the car's safety that you will not be held responsible for. By the same token, you must admit that there are plenty of shops out there that pretty much recommend that everyone needs new everything without even giving it so much as a cursory look examination.

    Those are the people I have a problem with... the types of places where nobody ever gets away with less than a 3-400 dollar repair bill regardless of what theya ctually took their car there for because they want to gauge you for every penny they can.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    Anytime you take a vehicle in, for brakes or what ever,make sure you get a written quote for the job. And make sure you check that it says something like "if the repairs are to excede X amount of dollars, you are to be notified and the repairs are not to be done without your authorization."
    If it doesn't say something like that,make them write it on the quote. If it doens't state something to that affect and they won't write it on there, leave.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350
    Just my opinion for what it's worth...

    Since you are employed by Sears, it's probably not a professional thing for you to get on a public forum like this and say the things you said about them.

    I might suggest that if you really feel that strongly you might want to express your thoughts to your manager and/or auto center manager.

    For what it's worth...
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350
    Many times the customer that you tried to "help" by cutting a few corners at their request will be the first one to show their thanks by biting you in the back later.

    We once had a customer come in to have his idler arm replaced. As it turns out, his idler arm was fine. His lower ball joints were literally getting ready to fall apart.

    We even took him into the pit and showed him.

    He demanded thet I replace the idler arm and align the car as close as possible. I refused and he threw a fit.

    I watched him drive away thinking that I should have called the police. His car was totally unsafe to drive.

    I wondered later what our liability would have been if he had killed someone.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    A) I did tell a manager.

    B) I wonder when excercising my right to free speech became unprofessional. I wonder where we would be if people didn't use public forums to expose unethical retailers and chain outfits. And where do many such incriminating reports come from? You guessed it, current and former employees. What was unprofessional was the way the guy at the autocenter tried to swindle me. What I'm doing is letting other people know they should beware.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350
    I guess I should have kept my well intentioned advise to myself.


    1. You work for Sears

    2. You called them crooks and said they tried to
    swindle you?

    Maybe you are getting ready to quit anyway.
  • eharri3eharri3 Posts: 645
    Yes, if you must put it that way, I work for Sears sporting goods even though I think Sears auto tried to overcharge me for unnecessary work. It's the most flexible, best paying job I'v had since I started working 5 years ago at age 15. I imagine I'll be there 1 more summer on a regular basis before I graduate and start considering careers. I will miss it, as I like my boss and the people I work with. It would seem kind of dumb of me to give up one of the easiest, best paying, most flexible jobs I've ever had up until now when I only need it a tiny bit longer to support me. That answer your question? May we discuss brakes now?
  • I have a 95 Geo Prizm and Today was the 4th time I went to Just Breaks. The first time was when my car had 33K, I did one of those $99 jobs. At 50K, they said that I neeeded new pads, calipers, disc hardware, return springs, wheel cylinders, in addition to flush. That ran about $450. At that point I should mention that my steering wheel was shaking everythime I'd break. So, I figured, well, I'll go for it. Four months later, at 55K, same problem. They said, I need new Rotors cause the ones that I have are bent. I asked, how come they were fine 5K ago, and they aren't now?? They said, friction and heat damaged the rotors. Well, I replaced the front two rotors. Although I negotiated with them that they'll pay for one. Seven months later, which is today, I had to take my car there again, since the steering wheel is shaking again. Today, they told me that I need a new master cylinder and some hoses which will cost me another $360. I think that this is getting out of hand. In less than a year, I've already spent around $600 and they are asking for another $360???? If that's not a rip off, I don't know what is...
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Posts: 647
    I'm not sure how a shaking steering wheel translates into "New Master Cylinder and hoses"

    Of course, I'm not there looking at it, but it sounds to me like either cheap rotors that easily warp, or they are not following the torque specs when the rotors are applied.

    I'd do this.

    Paint your rotors. Yeah the paint will come off, but not all of it. There should be an area towards the outer edge and near the center where the pad will not rub the paint off. However, if they machine the rotor, it is likely the outer edge paint will be gone. If they install a new rotor, there will be no paint. Then go to the shop and tell them you are tired of them guessing on your dime, so propose this. That they put in a new master cylinder and the hoses, if that fixes the problem, you will pay. Otherwise, they return your parts to your car and you will go find another shop. Tell them not to change or recondition any other parts. (I.E. they are not to machine the rotors as a "courtesy" measure.) Ask if you can watch, just to make sure they are not doing any other work, such as installing new pads/rotors.

    And of course ask to see your old parts. The paint on your rotors should indicate that they are still the same rotors you came in with.

    Of course, there many be other suspension issues, rather thana brake problem.

    Best of luck.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350
    A shaking steering wheel will not be corrected by a new master cylinder and hoses.

    There is another possibility. Could there be a hard driver in the family that is abusive with the brakes?

    There was a time in my life when I replaced my brakes VERY often. Now a set of front pads will last me almost forever.
  • brucer2brucer2 Posts: 157
    If lug nuts are over-tightend (very common when an air gun is used), uneven stress is placed on rotor & hub. This causes warping in 5 - 8 k miles.

    Here are some good pieces on brake jobs, (Including the $99 ones)



    BTW, at least for Japanese cars, stick with OEM pads and rotors. They last longer and give better performance.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,350
    And, again, to the average consumer. A shop that quotes 99.00 for just slapping in a set of pads, is going to be the "good guy". The shop that wanted to flush the fluid and resurface the rotors etc is liable to be labeled a crook.

    And you are correct about OEM pads at least on a Honda. The Midas shops and others install "lifetime" pads...read the fine print...these tend to be made from a very hard material so they will last a long time.

    The downside is squeaking brakes!
This discussion has been closed.