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do I need a brake job?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by southjerseycraig, Jun 17, 2016.

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  1. southjerseycraig

    southjerseycraig Active Member

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    I took my 2010 Prius II to the dealer yesterday for its 80,000 mile service. (I don't drive as much as many of you do.) I told the service advisor that I've been hearing beeping from the dashboard when I brake fairly hard, and that sometimes the "slip" light comes on. After the service, the advisor told me that I did not need a brake job, but might need one in 5000 miles. This is what I was told last time.

    I have now read the report from the dealer. It says my front and rear brake pads are at 4mm. It also contains a recommendation that I have front and rear brake pads replaced and the front and rear brake rotors resurfaced. This would cost about $600.

    So I'm confused. Do any of you have advice? While I don't want to spend money unnecessarily, I know the brakes are, to put it mildly, important. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. DonDNH

    DonDNH Senior Member

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    While I don't think you need to schedule the service this week, it would be a good idea to plan for the expense in the next few months. $600 isn't a bad price for all 4 wheel brake replace/resurface. The work will be much more expensive if the rotors get damaged by contact with the brake pad backing plate; it can dig nasty grooves in the rotor which then must be replaced.
     
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  3. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I hesitate to give people YES/NO advice about brakes over the internet, because as you say, they are important.
    But here are my assumptions.
    I'm assuming you do NEED the work outlined in the report.
    Why the service adviser would contradict their own report? I don't know. Usually they are anxious and aggressive to have you do as much work as possible. The much more common scenario, is service advisers recommending immediate work, and people questioning that, NOT a service adviser saying you can wait.
    But in any case, it's your car, you money, I would politely ask the very question to the service adviser that you are asking us. That is why given the recommendations in the report, is there a seeming gap between the report and the service advisers recommendation?
    Get the answer. They should be happy to give it to you.

    Then in general, brakes are a system I don't ignore. I'd surely sacrifice a potential 5000 miles on the current brakes, for immediate safety and brakes operating at their best. Again my assumption/guess is that the repair is coming one way or another.

    Good Luck.
     
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  4. qdllc

    qdllc Senior Member

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    There are two other issues.

    Worn tires and worn suspension.

    The light you see is basically the traction control kicking in.

    Worn tires are more prone to slide/lock, and as you wear them down, it would not be uncommon to see it set off the warning where it wouldn't happen with fresh tires that have more grip. Basically, you're "locking up" one ore more wheels at a lower braking force than you normally should because the tires aren't as "sticky" as they were when new.

    Likewise, if your suspension (the shocks) are getting worn, they will be less effective in keeping the tire properly mated to the ground. As they wear, it takes less and less to make the tires "bounce" after hitting a bump in the road...again setting off the warning for the traction control kicking in. It doesn't take a lot for this to happen, and it will happen long before there's a mechanical "need" to replace your shocks. If it becomes constant, you need to look at new shocks.

    I've noticed this on every vehicle I've owned. So, the brakes would not be the first thing I focus on.
     
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  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    I'm a bit sceptical about the need for machining the rotors. Take a look at yours through the wheel spokes, with a good light. If they're not deeply scored and/or rusty, they don't need machining, imho. I've been DIY changing pads on our cars for maybe 35 years, and never had problems. The push to machine rotors seemed to grow over the years. It is reducing their thickness, and there's a minimum they can go.

    The pads will also wear down the rotors, but machining them accelerates the process. Also, I've seen minor scoring (due to misaligned brake pads) "heal" itself, once fresh pads were installed, correctly.

    4 mm is not a lot of remaining pad thickness, and you've gone a fair distance on those. The dealership is checking the thickness, and making an educated guess as to when you'll need to replace. This last service they're seeing 4 mm, so they say you're good for another 5000 miles. All reasonable.

    In your shoes, I'd get the new pads when they recommend, verify they'll lube the pins, do a decent job, and waive the rotor machining unless there's something seriously messed up with the rotors. Hopefully that would the price down, say to around $400.
     
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  6. southjerseycraig

    southjerseycraig Active Member

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    qdllc, thanks for the heads-up about the tires and suspension. The report says that all tire treads exceed 6/32, and that the tires should be inspected next time. Does this indicate that, whatever the problem is, it's not the tires?
     
  7. zak.kapoor

    zak.kapoor Junior Member

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    I have a Gen II Prius that has 109K miles on it and is still on the original rotors and brake pads. The pads are still in very good shape.

    Following is the service done on the Prius:
    - At around 90K miles got new suspensions, lubed the caliper pins and serviced the drum brakes.
    - At around 100K changed brake oil and bled the brakes.
    - At around 105K miles got new tires.

    I did all this myself (other than the tires) so I am not sure what the dealer would charge for these service. The suspension certainly needed to be changed. The brake oil was in good shape and replacing it was not really required. Before lubing the pins I saw that the inside pads were wearing slightly more than the outside pads and the brakes were feeling slightly sluggish. The lubing the pins and clean the pads and the rotors solved the problem. I did not see a need for resurfacing the rear drums.

    I would say, look into the suspension and servicing and lubing the brakes first. Also $600 for the recommended service is steep. Aftermarket rotors and ceramic pads from AutoZone are less than $100. An independent shop should be able to do the service at half the price of what the dealer is charging. Unfortunately the Prius brakes are more complex than any other car. An inexperienced mechanic can really mess up your brakes.
     
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  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    what parts consist of new suspensions, shocks and struts?
     
  9. Lucifer

    Lucifer Senior Member

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    If the pads are actually at 4mm, it's time for brakes, definitely, rotors, unless they can be turned and have enough metal left, otherwise new pads on used rotors are used, bad, pads in one day, but before spending a lot of money get another professional opinion. (or measure the pads yourself)
     
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  10. NutzAboutBolts

    NutzAboutBolts Senior Member

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    I'm wondering what beeping are you referring to, like qdllc, the traction control light comes on when your vehicle is slipping and it's helping it prevent loss of traction of driven road wheels, then it turns itself off...

    As for the brake pads, the minimum required brake replacement is 2mm, as for the tires, its 1/32 but I recommend it 2/32 because when it rains, you won't have enough grip on the tire and can cause hydroplaning.
     
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  11. southjerseycraig

    southjerseycraig Active Member

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    The beeping is the sound I'm used to hearing if the car is slipping in the ice or rain, or if the brakes are being held down very hard, and the light that comes on is the one that shows a vehicle slipping on the road. I am amazed to be hearing the beeping and seeing the light even momentarily on a dry day.

    Thanks for telling me about the minima. That reassures me a little.
     
  12. yeldogt

    yeldogt Active Member

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    Hold on ..... I'm looking at a new set of Toyota pads -- they are about 9mm. So you have just under 1/2 of your pads remaining. Using your miles -- you will not hit the 2mm mark for another 30k. The brakes don't care if the pads are new or 2mm - as long as the friction material and rotors mate property ....... the car is going to stop. I get the occasional trac light if I am stopping on rough roads ... I don;t have the beep.

    I have 148k on our 2011 -- original pads. Recommending replacement at 2mm has been around for ages -- that's the historical time to recommend replacement of bonded vs riveted pads. This allows some time from inspection report to replacement -- remember years ago brakes did not last as long. 2mm of pad material takes a while to go through on a Prius -- my rear pads are at 6mm.

    Next -- I have had shock absorbers last for 200k and others that are in need of replacement earlier -- many many years ago they would need replacing at 60k -- this is not the case today. Rough roads will hasten the need .. and trucks and other heavy utility vehicles often need shocks/ struts earlier. Again .. many reported Prius with 200k+ with original struts.

    Final: I don't know of any manufacturer that recommends dressing / cutting/ resurfacing rotors. This was common years ago with sold rotors prior to the better hardening procedures. If the rotors pulse -- they need to be replaced. If they fall below the minimum specification - they need to be replaced. The rotors on my 2011 are fine and will only need pads.

    Thoughts: My local guy charges about $125 + parts for the brakes -- so about $200.00 or so. If the dealer is doing all and a fluid change? for $600 ... not too bad. I purchased Toyota OE the pads for the 2011's front brakes -- when the car goes in for it's next oil changes I will mostly likely have the front pads changed and the fluid replaced. Have them inspect all -- maybe lube the rears. I will be at 5 years at the end of this year. The fluid needs to be changed and it's cheaper if I have them do the pads at the same time. I'm going to keep the car until maybe the 200k mark -- I believe the front pads will not make that -- so I may as well do it together now. If I was getting rid of the car in the next 10-15k I would leave it alone.

    Some people report well over 200k miles on a Prius and never touching the brakes.
     
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  13. southjerseycraig

    southjerseycraig Active Member

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    many thanks for your comprehensive reply.
     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Pad wear is not absolutely uniform. You may have 4 mm on the outside pad, 3 on the inside, and maybe even less on one edge or another. Plus the brake material does start to come apart at some point, bits at the edges. It seems to me too: a thinning pad is less able to absorb heat. New fronts are 10.0 mm, and rears are 9.5 mm.
     

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  15. southjerseycraig

    southjerseycraig Active Member

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    I'll keep this in mind. I'm inclined not to wait longer than maybe another 5000 miles.
     
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  16. qdllc

    qdllc Senior Member

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    No. Any tire, as it ages/wears, becomes more susceptible to lock/slide because the "sticky" rubber wears off...revealing a harder, less "sticky" material near the core of the tire. Tread depth has nothing to do with traction on pavement. Tread deals with imperfect road surfaces. That's why race cars and motorcycles use "slicks" which have no tread for maximum surface contact with the road. The more worn your tire, the more readily locking/sliding tires becomes.

    For the most part, yes. Some vehicles have other parts that tend to wear out. My truck is horrible for wearing out the upper ball joints on the front suspension.
     
  17. sLick415

    sLick415 Member

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    This beeping you're referring to, does it happen when you're moving or stationary? If stationary, it's the hill-start assist feature. This feature keeps the brakes engaged for a couple seconds after letting off the brakes and prevents the car from rolling backwards when starting on an incline. To activate this feature, you would depress the brake pedal all the way down (or in your words, "fairly hard"), a beep will sound and slip indicator will come on.
     
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  18. southjerseycraig

    southjerseycraig Active Member

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    Thank you so much. I did not know about the hill-start assist feature, and I'm happy to about it. But the beeping happens when the car is moving.
     
  19. yeldogt

    yeldogt Active Member

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    Your comments regarding pads "can" occur -- some brake designs are more prone to this type of wear. GM cars of the 80's and 90's come to mind. That's why it's proper to check every 10k when the oil is changed and the tires are removed for rotation. I own a fleet of cars (personal and business) and I have not seen pad material problems in over 20 years. The link you provided does indicate that new pads are 10mm -- Mine are 9mm (Toyota) pads? -- your link also indicates the minimum pad specification to be 1mm. The ventilated rotor is designed to be the item to dissipate heat.

    My reason for the long previous post: Service departments at dealers are the profit centers -- and ... sadly ......the service advisors are surprisingly uninformed about the operation of automobiles. No other car on the planet is as easy on brakes as the Prius -- that's why they last so long. At 4mm he has lots of brake material remaining.

    Example: My Porsche Cayenne -- Big heavy SUV -- huge brakes. Porsche will not cut rotors .. in fact if they have any lip on the rotor the dealers mandate rotor replacement. They always have something. The specification is only 2mm down from new. So every brake job is Pads and Rotors -- and some hardware. The parts per axel are $500.00 wholesale. My first one (2006) -- warning light came on with about over 1/4 of the pad remaining at about 30k miles. I had just had an oil change and my independent did not report any brake need -- so he looked at it again and we agreed that the car was fine. At the next oil change -- 10k more -- they still had above the minimum on the pads. I did not switch out the pads/ rotors until 45k when I did my summer/ winter tire changeover -- still not down to metal.

    Now ... I'm not saying to wait until they are grinding .. and I'm not saying don't be realistic. The OP may be saying -- I'm going to keep the car for another x years and y miles -- and I'm going to need new brakes anyway. In my case that SUV was replaced with another before the second set required replacement. Had I listened to the dealer I would have been doing the third replacement -- not second and would have had an addition $1000.00 maintenance cost.

    I mentioned 150k above for me -- well we hit it already. I was away last week and it went in Friday --- my independent said it still OK -- so maybe 160k for the brakes.
     
  20. southjerseycraig

    southjerseycraig Active Member

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    Thanks! My fiancee let the brakes on her Infiniti go down to the point where they were grinding -- yet all the same was able to brake adequately. (I don't know why the dealer -- whom she uses to service the car -- didn't warn her of the need for brakes well before.) I'm certainly not going to do that. Thanks for supplying such detailed information.