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Philadelphia - Strut Check/Replacement Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Nefev_N, Dec 26, 2023.

  1. Nefev_N

    Nefev_N New Member

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    I took our Prius to a Pepboys outside of Philadelphia for state inspection, where a rather socially incompetent service agent rudely told me that it failed inspection due to "faulty strut mounts".

    I can take bad news but, to vent a bit, my appointment was for 9:00 AM. When I asked how much longer it would be an hour in, I was told that inspections take a minimum of two hours. (Never before in the 11 years I have had this car.) They left my car hanging low on a lift during this time without looking at it. Two hours and 30 minutes later after all other customers were out of the shop, I was given the news. I declined the service for reasons discussed below. The agent didn't return my registration or insurance paperwork - just my keys and their report.

    I am military personnel currently stationed out of state. My car has been frequently serviced in my temporary state by Toyota and a well-regarded garage in my town. The front breaks were replaced just prior to the car's inspection.

    I'm dubious about the inspection because the inspection report does not align with the maintenance that has been done on the car. The mechanic wrote that the windshield wipers were "borderline" but I replaced them in July of this year. (I did it myself and still have the receipt from Walmart.) She wrote that the back breaks were 6/32 but they were replaced in June of this year. (I have the receipt. Can breaks go from 12/32 to 6/32 that fast?) Also, when the front breaks were done, the mechanic said nothing about the struts. He did mention that one of the front bearings may need to be replaced in the future but nothing about the struts.

    I can and will definitely get the work done if needed but am dubious for the reasons discussed. I do not usually deal with Pepboys but they were the only place near my permanent home that could slide me in during the holidays. Notably, every large chain that I have dealt with will give a report with pictures. Pepboys didn't.

    Can someone recommend a reliable, reasonable mechanic in Philadelphia who can inspect the front struts and replace if needed?
     
    #1 Nefev_N, Dec 26, 2023
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2023
  2. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    You should maybe contact the shop foreman/manager and ask him about your findings and how the report does not match up with the receipts of the newer parts you've installed. Get an explanation
     
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  3. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    Yeah or go anywhere but pep boys they I mean I'd go to Firestone before I go to pep boys but there should be some reliable shops with good ratings in your area in Philadelphia It's been a long time since I've been there but there should definitely be some shops with high marks and good to high labor rates and all of that You just have to look on Yelp or one of those stupid things now that we have at our disposal see what people are doing in Philly I don't know if you're in South Philly East Philadelphia or what so car culture is pretty strong there for small Japanese cars also there are some modders from my other list there that extensively mod Toyotas and hachi roku's
     
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  4. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    Unless you have a caliper sticking not backing off or slide pins acting up I would think that much brake wear on a Prius would be nearly unheard of than that amount of time unless you're driving 80 mph and flooring the brakes as a driving methodology I would highly doubt it but places like pep boys always have questionable at least service writers and managers you'd be better off at the Toyota dealer almost that's a big almost You know anyone is a newer break places I can't think of the name of all of them We have one that opened up in our shopping center here they seem to do good work in a fairly reasonable
     
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  5. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Well I have a story about Pepboys incompetence, I bought a car that was broken down and in Pepboys service department. I bought the car unseen for $800, owner said car won't start and pepboys didn't know how to fix it. Went there and saw there was a gas can inside the car, thinking it might have ran out of gas. But the gas can was full (2 gallon) and nobody put gas in the car. Had it towed home, as the driver was about to take the car off (tilted on an incline, it started up). I was surprised and then next day found out the car was just out of gas. Pepboys didn't even bother putting gas in the car to test it. Left the gas can in the car.
     
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  6. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    And on the struts you should be able to jack up the car at the rocker panel and grab the wheel and push in and out on the bottom or part of the wheel If that upper strut mount is messed up you'll hear it clunk clunk clunk clunk or something along those lines I didn't realize the safety inspection in Philadelphia struts could cause you to fail that I know rusted out strut towers will cause you to fail it but usually failed struts are just kind of collapsed and don't rebound and whatnot like they're supposed to they're not usually coming loose off the car or doing lots of clunking they can but that's not usually how they fail they're usually just hard as a rock and you're losing fillings and whatnot.
     
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  7. Nefev_N

    Nefev_N New Member

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    Thanks! I'll try to talk to someone over there, report it, and see what they have to say.

    No, I definitely do not drive like that.

    Yes, they wrote it on the report. IDK if this gets reported to PennDOT or what.

    Thanks! I'm definitely looking at Yelp and other resources to ID reputable shops. So many reviews on those sites are fake though.

    Yikes - thanks for sharing!

    It looks like Pepboys is sinking as a company. My understanding is that the company has closed the auto parts division of their stores nationwide. They just have the service garages now. Given their reputation, I wonder how many years Manny, Moe, and Jack have left?
     
    #7 Nefev_N, Dec 26, 2023
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2023
  8. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    But what is wrong with the struts I mean is there some kind of clunking going on a bunch of noise You can't look at a strut and just tell it's bad so what is it that they're seeing they should have called you out car side immediately when this is going on and say oh see The way I can tell that is by such and such and so and so not you're just failed the struts bad what's mad about it It's not a springy as it used to be? Something is weird with this for sure now unless the strut tower is rusted out or something where the strut mounts to that's a different story which is common in the Northeast or used to be
     
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  9. Nefev_N

    Nefev_N New Member

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    Wish I knew. Pepboys didn't bother really explaining anything to me other than it was the struts. The inspection report says "struts - faulty mounts".

    If the struts were in that kind of shape, I would hope the garage that did the front breaks less than two weeks ago would have said something.

    It's going to a garage owned by a buddy on Friday. I'll update when I have more information.
     
  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    12/32” is correct conversion, of 9.5 (mm) Toyota spec for new rear pads. For the rear pads to lose almost 5 mm (6/32*25.4) with 6 months normal use, I’d suspect incorrect orientation of the caliper piston.

    And then, the wear would be uneven, beveled. More info in rear brake drag link in my signature. On a phone turn it landscape to see signature.
     
    #10 Mendel Leisk, Dec 28, 2023
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2023
  11. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    This is for the Gen 3 You have rear disc brakes All you need to do is make sure the slide pins are clean greased and you can move the caliper across the slide pins with your pinky pulling on the caliper and then your pinky pushing the caliper back across If it's not that smooth do it again change the slide pins whatever it has to have That's what keeps your pads wearing evenly when that caliper can't just butter smooth slide across those pins You have uneven pad wear I almost never have uneven pad wear before I put the brakes back together whenever I have them apart for whatever reason those slide pins have to move with my pinky finger and I like my pistons to be able to be squeezed down by my fingers practically I should not have to get out the 20-in channel lock pliers slip joint pliers you know to squeeze down the caliper You should be able to take your two thumbs crack zerk. And push that down with your two thumbs and then close dessert If you got getting c clamps out and all that you might as well bust the caliper open clean the little bit of rust out fit a new rubber etc It should squeeze down by hand. At least it does here at my place.