Brakes & struts repaired or not?

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Old 06-27-12, 12:46 AM
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Brakes & struts repaired or not?

My 2003 Toyota Echo developed a repeating noise while braking. The mechanic I took it to machined the rotors on the rear brakes. He said I also needed new struts.

I had him repair the brakes but not the more expensive struts. The next day, a similarly repeating but lower pitched noise started when I braked. The mechanic said now the front brakes were the problem but these rotors were so bad they needed to be replaced. I told him I'd think about it.

When I asked a Toyota repair shop for prices (but didn't drop off the car), I was told that it was highly unlikely my struts would be bad because I don't do a lot of high speed driving.

I took the car to another shop and told them I probably needed new rotors and could he also look at the struts. After I dropped off the car, he called and said the brakes were just fine but I did need new struts because one was leaking. I asked if he had driven the car so he could hear the brake noise. He said no, he didn't need to hear the noise because the brakes were fine. I had him repair the struts because his price was lower than the first mechanic and I didn't want to drive all over town.

The brakes are still making noise. The new struts haven't made the ride any smoother. Does this sound right? Should I look for more mechanics?
 
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Old 06-27-12, 04:46 AM
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You didn't mention how many miles on the car, but generally speaking struts have a very long life; my wife's Camry has 145,000+ with original struts. As a matter of fact, I've never had to change a Toyota strut and I've been driving them for 35 years. Having said that, it's not out of the question you could have had a leaky one.

Probably your biggest mistake was when you went to the second (or third shop) and told them, "I probably needed new rotors and could he also look at the struts". As a rule of thumb, when seeking a second or third opinion it's best to only tell the mechanic what the symptoms are. That way he (or she ) gets a fresh, unbiased shot at a diagnosis without outside influence.

You mentioned having the rear brakes turned so I'm assuming the noise is in the back?

I would find another garage if for no other reason than to get a fresh look at it and i would insist the mechanic test drive it with you in the vehicle
so you can be absolutely certain he is hearing what you are hearing.

Let us know how it goes.
 
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Old 06-27-12, 04:47 AM
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Oh, and the new struts wouldn't necessarily improve the ride unless the old ones were really worn out; for a simple leak in one strut you wouldn't notice a difference in ride.
 
  #4  
Old 06-27-12, 04:37 PM
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Struts are an item you don't HAVE to replace but can reduce your braking distances and improve your ride. You can't really tell when struts are "bad" when you're driving the car (unless they're really bad). Struts basically act as shocks and support the weight of your car. If you have 100K+ on your car and you have the struts replaced I would bet you WILL notice a difference in the ride and handling. However, since you've grown accustomed to the feel, it's really up to how long you plan on keeping the car.

I have the struts replaced on my cars around 100K and notice a significant difference (to me at least) in the ride and handling. I typically keep my cars until they have about 200K to 250K miles on them. I do not have the struts replaced at the higher mileage again because the expense isn't worth it to me on an older car.
 
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