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Volkswagen Jetta Brakes and Rotors



  • NO! I had the same problem with my '08 Jetta. I took it in again to have the brakes checked for squealing. They told me they had to warm up by wearing off a coating. Today I had to replace the pads and rotors. I have in writing that the brakes were fine on 5/12/09. Take them to someone else to check them. I have 14,000 miles on my car and it's less than a year old. Internet research showed that rear brakes are a problem for VW Jettas. They only last about 10 - 12,000 miles on average before burning the rotors. Make sure you watch them remove the wheel and when they take the measurement. Make them write it down. I'm filing a complaint with VW and the attorney general for my state. The braking system needs to be recalled. Good luck. Don't wait and end up out of $400!
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    You got 53,000 miles out of the brakes, I don't think this indicates a problem. It is unusual (compared to most cars, anyway) to have the rear brakes go first.

    Many cars these days have such thin rotors that they like to replace them with every brake job. That may be the reason for the assumption that you would need them.
  • joejoe8joejoe8 Posts: 1
    I purchased my daughter a new 2008 jetta 2.5 in april of 2008 the odometer currently reads 29000 miles and needs the rear brake pads replaced...completey worn to the metal. No warning, fronts have 90% left, is this crazy.!!! Spoke to service advisor and complained about this he said this was normal for VW jettas ????? I've owned many cars in my time from high end BMW 7Series to Chevy trucks and this is a bunch of bull. $280.00 to replace. stay away from jettas.!!!!!!!
  • rhys5rhys5 Posts: 1
    My 07 Wolfsburg Jetta started grinding on the drivers rear side (42k miles). I had the local guys check it out and they wanted almost $500 to replace everything. I got a second opinion and it went down to just over $300 for calipers, and pads.

    Both shops told me I needed 2 new calipers and I didn't understand this. They said it wasn't a good idea to get just 1 side done. I'm not a mechanic but I do understand some of how this works, and I couldn't see how if it's the same part, why I'd need to replace the side that's working fine. I can understand pads, so they wear even... So I found this thread while looking up info online.

    After reading this post I took it to the dealership (it's out of my way or I'd have tried this sooner) and here's what happened.

    I take it in, ask for a brake inspection and I'm told it'll be $52 if they do the inspection but don't find anything (They wave this if you schedule service). The tech comes to me while I'm walking around the lot and said he can save me some money, and shows me the brake pads are "OK", as they're visible w/o taking off the tires. I asked him to drive it around the lot and he immediately put it up on a lift after hearing the noise.

    He and his manager come back in about 15-20 min and say that they've already ordered parts, and all I need to pay for is pads. The drivers rear caliper is defective and caused the pads to wear faster on that side. They also ordered a new rotor as it was metal on metal. All covered under warranty as some other posts in this thread pointed out. With the pads, it came to $58

    Some other good info....on most VW cars with brake sensors, it's only telling you the status of the front brakes. That's ironic as it's pointed out in this threat many times the rears do go faster.
  • If this is normal, then why don't they put brake pad wear indicators on the rear brakes instead of on the front??? As of now a warning light will come on when the front brake pads are low, this doesn't make sense if it's normal for the rear pads to wear down first. Regardless, 29,000 miles and to need new brake pads already??
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Of course brake wear is not related to mileage, it is related to brake usage, but we have 30K+ mi on our Jetta and last time pads were checked (at about 27K mi) the dealer indicated 55% left on front and 60% on rear.
  • This really indicates a problem. Traditionally, and I am assuming why they put the sensor on the front wheels, in front wheel drive cars, the front brakes (pads, rotors, calipers) go much quicker than the rear ones. Rear parts usually last just about forever. Wonder what VW is doing. I don't own one, but am looking to buy one. Are the pads the same front and back ? Or can the settings be adjusted to compensate for this wear pattern ?
  • In general response to Jetta rear brake wear issues, I posted a response earlier in this thread (post 121). I have a 2007 Jetta base model with ( now with 56,000 + miles) auto trans and also noted higher than normal rear brake pad wear. I do my own maintenance and noted more wear on the driver side rear pads. I discovered the parking brake cables adjusted too tight at each caliper with the left caliper cable very tight. The parking brake cable splits to 2 cables behind the parking brake lever and mechanically applies pressure to the rear brake calipers/pads. The center console has to be opened up to accomplish the primary adjustment and then final adjustments are accomplished at each rear caliper. Have your dealership service dept or mechanic check this clearance at each rear caliper if your car is showing signs of abnormal rear pad wear. This may be a widespread issue with Jettas. I believe Jettas do have a high brake force bias but that is just my opinion. New rear pad kits are not expensive...$66.00 at my dealership including new shims and caliper bolts. I've also found rear brake pads as cheap as $22.00 though at Autozone. If you do your own maintenance, buy a Bentleys manual and change the pads some money.
  • thess02thess02 Posts: 32
    Well I just replaced the rear brake pads on my 07 Jetta at 56,770 miles. The left inside pad was down to 5mm. Minimum pad thickness according to VW is 2mm. I went with pads from Autozone for $21.00 for both rear wheels. These are OEM equivalent and seem fine so far...quieter than the original pads actually....and stop just as well as the originals. The rotors were fine. The Autozone pads carry a lifetime warranty by the way...when they wear out I get a new of charge. I did not replace the caliper bolts as specified in the manual though. The bolts looked perfect. They are not self-locking however and require reapplication of blue loctite on the threads prior to reinstallation...which I did accomplish. The factory brake kit comes with new bolts (loctite pre-applied) and shims for $66.00. I changed them a bit early..could have gone another 10,000 miles...but the entire job took less than 1 hour. Inspect your own and change the pads yourself.
  • Same story, '07 Jetta 2.5 MT. From the beginning, I noticed excessive dusting at the rear wheels, but didn't really start paying close attention until about 5K miles. After a highway drive, you could feel the heat radiating from the back wheels from a foot or two away. I actually burned my hand touching the outside of the alloy wheel! The front wheels and even rotors would be cool to the touch. It doesn't take an ASE certification to know that the rear pads are dragging on the rotors. Geniuses at two dealerships gave me the standard line, "Oh, sure, that's normal." [For context, I had taken my car back 3 or 4 times for several other problems (two different interior rattles, speedometer inaccuracy) and was assured of their normalcy. Since then, Volkswagen has issued TSB's on both of those problems.] As a general rule, unless the car is actively engulfed in flames, your problem is going to be explained as "normal operation".
    I'm now at 17K miles, and the rear pads are ready for replacement and the rear rotors are starting to warp from the heat. I'm not optimistic about my chances of having the stealership do the work under warranty, and I'm planning to do it myself. However, I'm wondering if anyone has seen issues related to the heat buildup at the rear wheels- wheel bearing seals/grease problems, boiled brake fluid, etc.?

    There's something else I've been wondering, and maybe someone here has some insight. I'm always baffled by how much effort the dealerships put into TURNING AWAY work... Do they make less money on warranty repairs than cash repairs?
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Yes, VW pays them less than you do. It was implied to me that it is something like maybe about 1/3 less per hour for labor. I believe the basis may be VW pays only for the direct cost of having the work done, they are not paying for the service dept overhead (at least not via the hourly labor rate).

    So maybe if the dealership has idle techs, then they may want the work but if they are backed up with regular customers, maybe not??? I've never had a VW dealer tell me something was not a problem when I had a potential warranty issue and we had a couple pretty costly repairs as well as several small issues.
  • thess02thess02 Posts: 32
    I just replaced the rear brake pads on my 07 Jetta. I never noticed any heat issues with the brakes. The left rear pads were wearing slightly faster than the right rear pads....down to 5mm thickness. I just went ahead and changed them. Bought a set at Autozone OE equivalent rear pads for $21.00. Good semi metallic pads with a lifetime replacement warranty. They wear take the old pads for a new set. The pads at the dealership were $66.00 here in South GA. You do get new caliper bolts and shims with the dealer kit....but not with the Autozone pads. I reused the original caliper bolts which looked perfect and applied new blue loctite. These are not self locking bolts so if you reuse must reapply the loctite. I think the problem with the rear pad wear is actually being caused by the calipers. The parking brake rotates a threaded piston within the hydraulic caliper piston and I noticed a bit of roughness in the left rear caliper on my car. If you are familiar with rear disk brakes you know the parking brake piston needs to be turned in to gain clearance for the new pads. That's where I noticed a bit of roughness...rotating the piston in. I did not remove the rubber dust seal to look further though. My pads were not dragging as yours seem to be.....thats why you had heat buildup. I did notice my parking brake cable was initially improperly adjusted. Look at this area too....I readjusted the clearance on mine. Get yourself a manual...the brakes aren't difficult to work on.
  • thess02thess02 Posts: 32
    I'm surprised you or your mechanic didn't notice brake pad wear before the pads were worn to metal. Check pad wear every 10,000 miles max. I believe new pads start with 13mm of pad material and the manual specifies minimum pad thickness at 2mm. New lifetime pads at Autozone cost $21.00...for both rear wheels.
  • trying to change brake pads and can not get the piston to collapse. Tried turning and pushing but will not move. Even tried to loosen the bleeder and still will not move. any suggestions???
  • What needs to happen is the inner piston needs rotating in for the rear brakes which I will assume you are attempting the pad change. You will need a rear disk brake service kit that has the tool and adapters to do this. I bought a complete tool kit at Harbor Freight for a bit more than $20.00. The piston for the parking/emergency brake extends by rotating. You need to rotate this inner piston back in to gain room for the new pads. Do you have a shop manual?
  • After a long cool down and a sandwich I saw that the piston was cocked. I was able to straighten and use a screw driver and channel locks to screw back and make room for the new pads. thanks for the advise. madfisherman
  • madfisherman, If you need info out of the Bentley manual, let me know. I picked up rear pads at Autozone for $21.00 with a lifetime replacement warranty. They work well and are a bit quieter than the oem pads.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I've been noting the status of our Jetta's brakes here, just to indicate that not all have had the rear brakes wear out prematurely. We have one of the earliest builds of the current model, a 2005.5 bought in May 2005. Yesterday, with about 34,000 miles on it, we got 4 new tires put on at an independent shop and we had him check the brakes. The brakes were said to be still in great shape.
  • It seems there is a problem with the rear brakes wearing faster than front brakes from all the posts on this site. I had over 50,000 miles on my Jetta and could have gone another 10,000. I elected to go ahead and change the rear pads since they are inexpensive. The driver side rear pads were wearing faster than the passenger side pads on my car. This I attribute to issues with the parking brake setup. The parking brake cables were adjusted too tight from the factory on my car (2007 base Jetta). I posted this earlier. I think most dealerships will not attempt a parking brake cable adjustment because of the time and hassle though. The rear of the center console has to be taken apart to accomplish the primary adjustment...then procede to the arm on each rear caliper. This isn't difficult but is time intensive. It's faster and easier for them to replace pads and rotors. I do all work on our vehicles and have had my VW dealership only touch my car for warranty covered issues...minor problems which my dealership made worse by sloppy/incompetant work. I'm an aircraft mechanic and consequently I'm pretty meticulous. The Jetta brakes aren't difficult to work on for the average home mechanic. Buy a Bentley manual online.
  • dgh53dgh53 Posts: 2
    I don't have a 06 Jetta, but I do have a 1999 1/2 and 2001 Jetta, and a 1998 New Beetle. Both of the Jetta's do like to wear the rear rotors and pad out way to early. I would assume your brake's design is the same as these earlier brakes. VW did several things wrong on the rear brakes of the Jetta's, Golfs,Rabbits and New Bettle I have one of those to a 1998. First off the rear brakes probably are getting too much pressure. Here is how VW made the design mistake. The VW's and Jetta's that are pre ABS had a rear brake portioning valve. VW engineers took the portioning valve out on the ABS cars mistake number one. These gee whiz VW engineers reasoning was if the rear brake's start to have too much brake pressure which would cause the rear wheels to lock up and spin you around like a top the ABS brake pressure control circuits would back off the brake pressure with the new ABS system. It will be handled by the new gee whiz ABS unit and it's associated sensors, right. Too fix the problem correctly VW needs one to add the portioning valve back in to the rear brake system. Two the rear brakes have guide pins hidden under those rubber boots that need cleaned and lubed more then anyone is saying. The VW dealers would rather have you back for their costly visits they like your money as much as the next guys. I have had these pins all siezed up and binding the calibers up with low mileage on the 1999 1/2 Jetta. It is real easy to tell if your rear calipers need looked at, for one of many problems I will explain more of how to check and what are some of the fixes. If you don't have a floor jack get one. Now at each rear wheel roll your floor jack under the rear hinge points for the axle cross member, the two vertical steel plates welded to the car where the pivot bolts go through are an excellent place to jack on. Jack the car one side at a time, get one wheel in the air. Put a safety stand under the rear axle cross member. Now parking brake off. Grab the rear wheel and give it a spin by hand as hard as you can. Now the pads have some friction the wheel in my experience should just about go one spin anything less and your pads are dragging too much. Ok one make sure your parking brake cable is not rusted up. Look at the caliper the parking brake lever sticking out of the caliper you will see it has a stop where the arm returns to touch the stop after you release the parking brake. If the arm is not against the stop get the parking brake cable off the arm, or I should say get the end of the cable out of the groove it is in and see if the parking brake arm on the caliper will go back to it's stop. If not take the caliper off and go get a new one or a rebuilt one. These arms must come back onto the stop to release these calipers. Now look at the rear caliper guide pins under the rubber mounting pins pull the boot back gently and see if the pins are free. If not clean them up and relube. I use high temp anti-seeze VW has an official grease which I think is crap in my opinion but you should use what they say if you think they are smart over there in Germany in their brake department, Not. The calipers are junk by design the guys that are getting over a hundred thousand are the Jettas, GTI, and Golfs with no ABS and the old rear brake portioning valve is actually on their car. The guide pins have stayed totally clean from the environment these guys are driving in, and also their parking brake calipers arms were put on right at the caliper brake factory the arm is coming back to it's off stop and their parking brake cables are not rusted solid. Which many of these VW do this includes the Jetta, GTI, Golf, New Beetle, and Passat. The VW mfg, dealers, owners need one to make sure all the calipers parking brake arm's at the caliper comes back to the release stop . Two the parking brake cables need to be stainless steel not the crap steel VW is using now. Three the Caliper mount pins need to be cleaned and lubed at least inspected annually if you ask me. I jack the rear wheels up once a year and give them a spin, if too much drag start tearing into the thing to see if any of the items I have said are accuring. The parking brake cables rusted, caliper mounting pins jammed up under the rubber boots, rear calipers parking brake arm not coming back onto the off caliper stops. The caliper itself if you ask me is defective in the adjuster screw inside the calipers piston. If the adjuster screw inside of the piston is not lubed and free the piston can not contract the slight amount designed into the caliper piston design and this will cause too much pad drag and the premature wear. VW has a problem here and they will pay for it if you get on the horn to the VW office. They did on my very first rear brake pad wear call. My first problem with the rear brakes was a brand new Jetta in 2001 that I bought new then like at 14000 miles rear pads were worn out. I changed the pads and reset the parking brake adjusters back in and VW sent me money for the pads and they also paid me for one of those brake reset tools. I rented the tool from Autozone but ending up keeping it seeing as I thought that I would probably annually being revisiting my VW's rear bakes. Well jack up your cars rear wheels and give them a good hard spin. The real bad calipers drag the wheels so bad your wheel is too hot to even touch after a very short drive. VW of America is trying, but the VW engineers have not got a clue. Salt eats parking brake cables, dirt gets under their guide pin rubber boots, and the parking brake piston wear adjuters screws are preventing the piston from releasing the application tension on the brake pads after a braking application. We won't even get into their ABS electrical wire crap problems. Yes your VW has headaches in it. Find a honest VW mechanic get away from the dealers that tell you your a bad driver, no they are bad dealer mechanics they don't even know what they are looking at for the problems. The rear calipers do need redsigned with stronger spring to pull the parking brake cable arms back on to the off stop. The parking brake cables need to be stainless to hold up to and resist the rust that happens too them. VW needs to put the portioning valve back into the rear brake lines. The ABS system is not full proof on these cars. Also VW needs to design into the parking brake adjusting screw inside the rear caliper piston a more robust system to spring the rear calipers piston back away from the pads after brake application. The internal brake adjuster screw spins out as the piston travels out with wear of the pads. Problem is VW knows the adjuster screws internal threads drag too much to allow the natural tendency of the piston o-rings to roll back the piston to the pre brake application useage position of the brake. I have had to replace several calipers to get the calipers that realease the pads tension properly after braking application. All the rear parking brake cables rust.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Paragraphs...try 'em sometime (that is, if you want people to actually read what you have written).
  • You posted some helpful info but on the 2005 and on Jettas the parking brake arm at each caliper is not supposed to be against the stop at the caliper according to the Bentley manual. This clearance is 1mm - 3mm off the stop with parking brake released. This is an initial adjustment after pad replacement. The other info seems good however.
  • I have a 2007 Jetta Wolfsburg. Have been doing all the service at VW of Durham NC. At 20,000 miles, they said I needed new rear brakes. I said OK, and $400 later, I had new rear brakes. I said it was crazy that the brakes only lasted 20,000 miles, and they said that 'rear brakes just wear out fast on European Cars'. Now, at 40,000 miles, the rear brakes are shot again. This time I bought the parts and will do myself, but this is crazy. I appreciate the string above, and will investigate, but how can I get VW to pay for the $ I have spent so far? I still have all my receipts.... :mad:
  • I don't believe VW will pay for brake pads. You can attempt it though. My dealership said they had not seen issues with Jetta rear brake pads wearing. Autozone sells good pads with lifetime warranty for around $21.00. My dealership wanted $66.00 for the oem pads/shims/caliper bolts.
  • in reference to your post back in May, what ever happened with your complaint? I am going through the exact same thing with my 08 jetta and losing my mind on these people at the dealership. Corp hasn't called me yet to inform me that they probably won't cover the replacement. I had my first replacement only a year into owning it because the parking brake was too tight. Less than 10k miles and less than 8 months later my back brakes are shot again and they won't cover it. 330 bucks. and the dealership said...."it is what it is." if i knew this was going to be the case, i would have never bought the car.
  • reykreyk Posts: 1
    2007 Jetta 2.5: Front brake is wearing too fast and uneven. Took it to VW and they're charging me $400+. They said they don't cover normal wear and tear. Still thinking of an argument to make VW service it for free or less because I think it's worn due to bad design thus it's not normal wear and tear. Also, having electrical issues where my lighter outlet works intermittently. And do not even ask how much VW charge for scheduled maintence compared to my Honda which charges almost nothing. I might trade this VW and I will not buy VW again
  • Hey I've had the sameproblem with my 2007 jetta and I'm sick of it. I've taken it to the dealer about 4 times for the same problem I have invoices. i got my car in April '07 and had to take it in for this particular problem at 10k, its a factory defect. I've noticed that other consumers have had this same problem, you should talk to a lawyer, i've already spoken to one because the dealer did not want to take responsibility of the problem. The dealer wanted to charge me $375 for brakes and rotor. This problem is not normal wear and tear.

    I spoke to the Service Manager and Customer Relations for VW and they do not want to take ownership of this problem. I think if enough customers file complaints maybe they will do something about it.

    Never again will I get a Volkswagon vehicle!
  • From what one of the employees at vw (a mechanic) told me the damage is caused by the the hand brake, there is something wrong with it that makes the rear brakes wear out, since its under warranty, they will fix it, but i would not suggest that at all, there is a factory defect with these cars. IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN SOON!!! I had to take my vehicle in for repair too many times for an 07 vehicle for the same problem!

    Talk to a lawyer and see if they can excersize the lemon law because the dealer will not help you other than to change your brakes until you warranty expires.
  • thess02thess02 Posts: 32
    I have several posts in this forum about Jetta rear brakes but yours is the first I've seen on the front brakes. Do you have mag wheels or the standard steel wheels with plastic hubcaps? The reason I ask this is if you have the mags and utilize high pressure water when washing your car? If you do have mags and use high pressure water, then lubricant (grease) could have been washed out of the caliper slider pins. I have found this on some cars when noting irregular brake pad wear. The mags allow pressurized water to directly impact the brake calipers. I have had problems with rear brake wear on my 07 base model Jetta with steel wheels and my problem appears to have been a too tight adjustment (factory) on the parking brake. I did not install VW pads...went to Autozone and bought lifetime pads for both rear wheels for $21.00. They wear out while I own the car...I get new pads. The lighter power issue is sounds like a loose wiring connector plug.
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