'99 Buick Century - brake and rotor job question

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  #1  
Old 06-03-08, 12:40 PM
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'99 Buick Century - brake and rotor job question

Hi all-

My father in law owns a '99 Buick Century. About 2 years ago, he took it into a Buick dealership where they replaced (or perhaps turned) his rotors and replaced the pads. Fast forward a couple of years. He called me about a week ago to check his car as it was "vibrating" during braking, and when I checked the car, it was pretty obvious that he had warped rotors. He took the car into the dealership again today, and now they're quoting him $600 for new pads and new rotors.

The dealership told him that the reason why the rotors are warped and the reason why he needs new pads (he's only driven the car about 10,000 miles in the past 2 years) is because they don't drive the car very often. Sounds very suspect to me, but I'm not an expert. My father in law is also a bit elderly and drives the car like "an old man."

What do you guys think? Do rotors and brake pads go bad in 2 years after only 10,000 miles just becaue the car is only infrequently driven? Was he given bad rotors 2 years ago? How does this happen, and how do you think I should approach the dealership about this. It doesn't seem right that he needs ANOTHER complete brake job in only 2 years and 10,000 miles of "old man" driving.

Thanks,
ualdriver
 
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  #2  
Old 06-03-08, 01:24 PM
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Rotors don't just go bad from lack of use. I operate in the land of the part-year-use car [those that sit in garages over the summer and are only driven by the winter guest from Thanksgiving to Easter] and we don't have a huge problem with warping rotors.

I think I would ask the person who said that to explaing the science/engineering/metallurgy behind his statement. You're liable to see some serious tap dancing.

Next I would find a good independent garage (ask around). I just did rotors and pads on my wife's Camry about a month ago and the parts were less than $100 from CarQuest. I get a discount, but still we're talking about a job that takes maybe an hour and a half tops (think I did hers in under an hour).

Were the pads worn out by any chance? If he burned up a pair of pads in 10,000 miles he spends a lot of time with his foot riding the brake pedal which would be good for neither the pads or rotors.
 
  #3  
Old 06-03-08, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by the_tow_guy View Post
Rotors don't just go bad from lack of use. I operate in the land of the part-year-use car [those that sit in garages over the summer and are only driven by the winter guest from Thanksgiving to Easter] and we don't have a huge problem with warping rotors.

I think I would ask the person who said that to explaing the science/engineering/metallurgy behind his statement. You're liable to see some serious tap dancing.

Next I would find a good independent garage (ask around). I just did rotors and pads on my wife's Camry about a month ago and the parts were less than $100 from CarQuest. I get a discount, but still we're talking about a job that takes maybe an hour and a half tops (think I did hers in under an hour).

Were the pads worn out by any chance? If he burned up a pair of pads in 10,000 miles he spends a lot of time with his foot riding the brake pedal which would be good for neither the pads or rotors.
I think that's good advice to find a good, independant garage. Next time I think we're going to avoid the dealer.

Unfortunately, this all happened while I was out of town so I didn't get to see how worn the pads were, although I could tell the front rotors were warped when I braked the car a week or two back. They did replace the pads, as well. And a leaking master cylinder.

I had a chance to look at their maintenance receipts while I was there today. Every 8000 or 9000 miles, for the past 25,000 miles, they're had their pads replaced and either their rotors resurfaced or replaced, as well as the drum brakes on the rears replaced/serviced. But something has to be going on because the rotors were warped in only 8,000 miles. I wonder if they are "riding the brakes" as you mention.

ualdriver
 
  #4  
Old 06-03-08, 06:14 PM
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The diagnosis of insufficient use is a bunch of horse hockey......A good set of brake pads (NAPA ceramic) and 2 chinese rotore can be had for around $150........This is assuming the rotors are too thin to be machined.......Most of the time with that vehicle you'll find thet to be the case.........HOWEVER......I WOULD check the REAR brakes to see if they are adjusted properly and the condition of the wheel cylinders.......If the rear brakes don't carry their share of the load, the fronts will overheat/warp rotors/ and wear out prematurely
 
  #5  
Old 06-03-08, 09:54 PM
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sounds like foot riding the brake pedal to much.

murphy was an optimst.
 
  #6  
Old 06-04-08, 08:00 AM
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Thanks guys for the information. Well, it's repaired to the tune of $600 bucks and I guess I'll have to see what happens over the next 8000 miles........
 
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