Rear brakes totally gone in less than 2 months

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Kronn8, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. Kronn8

    Kronn8 Junior Member

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    I brought my Prius in for service because for about a week I heard an intermittent scraping from the rear driver's side wheel at low speeds. Yesterday, it developed into squealing when braking.

    I was just told that the rear brakes are totally gone--"metal-to-metal". My last service appointment was May 30, and the brakes passed with about 7 mm out of 12 mm of brake pad remaining. The rep said that the brakes may have been engaging "unexpectedly, for some reason", indicating that it is abnormal and also that they were unable to identify the cause. They said that since this amounted to "normal wear and tear", I would have to pay to replace both the brakes and the rotors for about 450 $, that neither would be covered by my 12-month comprehensive Certified Used Vehicle warranty that started when I bought the car in January of this year.

    This seems absurd to me. Clearly it is not normal wear and tear if the brakes were engaging "unexpectedly". Additionally, the front brakes are supposed to wear faster than the rear brakes, indicating that this was some kind of mechanical failure of the rear brakes. Not to mention that they were unable to identify the cause, meaning that they could begin grinding down again as soon as I drive out of here. I'm still waiting for the repairs to be performed, but I plan on asking the rep these questions when I check out.

    In case anyone's wondering, I haven't noticed a drop in mileage. I use the parking brake every time I park, but I have never driven around with the parking brake engaged. (The Prius beeps an alarm if you do so.)

    I intend to update this with the results later. I've been waiting for 3.5 h. Everyone else in the waiting room has come and gone.
     
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Mine doesn't beep if the parking brake is left on. There's a light on the dash, but no sound. Also, new thickness of the rear pads is 9.5 mm.

    One possibility is siezed caliper pins: see if you can get a look at the used pads and rotors. In particular to check for uneven wear, ie: the outside pad or inside pad worn more than the other.

    Another possibility is that they mis-assembled the rear brakes after the inspection in May, IF they did open it up (which I kinda doubt). The rear brakes are tricky due to integral parking brake mechanism, the piston has a cross pattern on it, that should be oriented so that the cross legs STRADDLE a pin on the back of the inside pad. If it's not oriented correctly, riding ON the pin, that could be the problem, it will cause persistant brake drag.
     
  3. CLUBGUY

    CLUBGUY Member

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    You do not mention how many miles were logged in the "just-under-two-months" so we assume it nothing outrageous...
    With the facts you have laid out I would have a difficult time believing this is "normal wear and tear"....It appears something mechanical went wrong causing the premature wear of the brakes...
    Do not know your circumstances but I would tell them you are not satisfied with their diagnosis and will have to bump the situation to Toyota..
    Take as many pictures of the system as you can...clear close ups....
    You must be willing to show them, in a cool calm manner you are determined to take this to the next level....
     
    #3 CLUBGUY, Jul 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  4. Kronn8

    Kronn8 Junior Member

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    I completed my servicing visit, so I can now provide some more details on what happened.

    To clarify: the beeping alarm only occurs when driving around with the parking brake on. If you're not moving, then you are correct; you will only see the light on the dash.

    This is exactly what the problem was. Unfortunately, "the caliper slide pin is a wearable item", so the rep was correct that it's not covered under my Certified Used Warranty. I recorded my discussion with the rep, and you can watch it here. The rep was polite and honest about the situation, and that Toyota uses this as a loophole in order to shield themselves from liability due to caliper pins seizing. Disappointing.

    They replaced both rear rotors and brake pads because they come in pairs.
     
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    are you in a road salty area? how many miles on her?
     
  6. Kronn8

    Kronn8 Junior Member

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    I live in the northeast, so the roads were salted a lot this winter, yes. However, I went to the car wash two times between the final snow and when this problem started, and I always make sure to get an underbody wash.
     
  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i know it doesn't help, but there have been a few reports of early rear brake wear in salty area's. i would consider this a defect, i don't understand how it can be a wearable item like a tyre, there's no way you can abuse it.
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Caliper pins will perform correctly more-or-less forever, if brake maintenance is followed. They need to be pulled out periodically, cleaned and relubed. From what I've been reading, here and around the 'net, brake maintenance is being neglected, both by dealerships and DIY'rs.

    If they did a brake inspection in May, and in July your caliper pins are seized, I think you have a case.

    If you're still there I'd suggest to show them this. And if that goes nowhere, try contacting Toyota, with your service records.
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    the problem is the owners manual. all it says is inspect. to me, that's a visual, not a 'check operation'.
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    it must be because the rears get so little use. you'd think someone who uses their e brake all the time would have less problems.
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Coupled with owners screaming over high maintenance costs. Todays "brake inspection" typically consists of a junior mechanic eyeballing the brakes while rotating the tires. Cuts costs in the short term.
     
  12. Kronn8

    Kronn8 Junior Member

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    And apparently boosts profits in the long term, as well.
     
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  13. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    You haven't even owned the car a year.
    And it should of been inspected to qualify for the extended used car warranty when you bought it.

    I would argue, that if the caliper pins were months and few miles from failure, that should of been caught with the fabled used car inspection that the dealerships always promote as being so thorough BEFORE you buy the vehicle. Then if you had the vehicle in in May, and nothing was said about the calipers? I think that strengthens you case even more. If this IS normal wear and tear, then obviously the inspection procedure of the dealership is severely lacking.

    At least I think you deserve a pro-rated reduction in cost for this repair.
    But Good Luck getting the dealership to agree.
     
  14. mfondell

    mfondell Junior Member

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    I bought my prius new in 2009 and had the rear driver's side caliper stick this year. They didn't believe me that it was making noise at first so I had to take them out to make sure they heard the noise. When they took it apart they discovered the caliper had stuck and I had to replace eveything...$450. Dealer claimed 'normal wear and tear' and told Toyota we had excessive salt usage this year so Toyota when i tried to make a claim so they will not cover. Seems like a defect to me as well when I have had my car in religiously every 5000 miles for all required maintenance/checks. But both the dealer and Toyota have said no to any reimbursement. They really are not living up to their 'quality' claims. Seems like a defect to me.
     
  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Sounds like they dropped the ball on brake inspection. FWIW, avoiding this with proper brake inspections would likely have cost you more, in labour. One positive though: you'ld be safer on the road.

    Eyeballing brake pad thickness while the wheels are off does NOT constitute.a thorough brake inspection. A bi-yearly thorough inspection would set you back maybe $300, just for labour.

    With most owners not ok with this, this is how brakes will fail, suddenly, due to protracted neglect.
     
  16. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    it's interesting how few reports we hear with all the pri in north country, i wonder if it might be a defect.
     
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