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Tom Linderholm

Brake Caliper Question?

9 posts in this topic

Yesterday my wife brought our 2500 in for a brake job. One of our calipers seized and was wearing on the rotor pretty good. She called me with a astronomical amount and it needed to get done for Slabfest. So I said go ahead with it and I would try to sneak out of work to take a look at what they were doing. So when I get there and look at the bill, most of it adds up. Except there was a estimate for two Rear Calipers on the bill. When I asked the question if there was something wrong with the other rear caliper they said probably not but it was standard to replace both at the same time. When I bocked at it they said if I didn't it would void the warranty? If this is just a preventive measure then I'll wait for the other one to seize before dropping another $200.

My question is, is this standard? Is there a reason both must be done at the same time?

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Although I normally prefer to replace calipers in pairs for customers, I seldom do on my own vehicles. I'm not aware of any manufacturer or rebuilder that specifies that they must be replaced in pairs to validate a warranty but many shops do this as standard policy. I can't say for sure but I suspect that is the policy of that particular shop. If it were me I'd simply ask, if it is good enough to be released to me (and be safe) why would it affect the warranty of the other(side) part? And if it isn't good enough please tell me what is wrong with it and why you didn't replace it in the first place.

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Pretty much what I thought Macgyver, thanks for your insight. When I asked the question he said it was an "option". My response was, well if it was an option why did you tell my wife they had to be done at the same time?

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What a minute. Is this the same truck I'm riding to URL with you in?

If so replace all the brake calipers, rotors and pads with triple heavy duty replacement parts please. grin.gif

I'd wouldn't do any unnecessary repairs. Exactly what warranty would be void, the new caliper?

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Don't worry Frank! All the pads, and two of the rotors were replaced. You need not worry about the brakes, its all about the driving my friend! grin.gif

They didn't state what warranty, I think he was blowing smoke as there was nothing stated on my invoice about it. If anything it was probably the brake pad warranty which is about as usefull as a Chubby Darter on fish lake! blush.gif

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The rear calipers on these are notorious for siezing.

We do the same thing at our shop and every shop I have worked at, except we give all the options with all the explanations. The reason why we would not honor the warranty in your situation is that you have one caliper that is rebuilt with essentially all new parts and one caliper that is original to the vehicle with all its original parts. If that original caliper decides to hang up and eat up the pads within the warranty period. theres nothing to warranty. Your original caliper failed causing the excessive wear of our pads! Now you stuck with paying for another rear brake service and another caliper, and you are not happy!

The other thought is that they likely installed a "loaded" caliper. Calipers are also available in an "unloaded option" depending on the vehicle and the caliper rebuider the unloaded calipers may not come with all the pieces to resolve some issues. If a loaded caliper is used and only one is replaced then the shop will also have to order a set of pads for the other side. The pads that the caliper came with will be tossed and the "matched" set of pads will be used. It costs the shop more and in the end you get charged for half a set of pads that you will never use.

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In my experience...MOST brake shops HATE to only replace 1 of anything. Rotors should always be replaced/resurfaced in pairs...but calipers? Calipers should last well beyond 100,000 miles so if one go's it should be an anomoly, not an expectation that the other is right behind it.

Most of this is driven, excuse the pun, by the fact that if you have brake work done on say the front, then 5,000 miles later the rears go...the customer will question why they werent done when the fronts were done. Well rears should last at least twice as long as front pads based on percentage of stopping power.

I have been doing brake jobs for over 30 years, and it is one of the simplest jobs on an auto...I can change a set of pads on any Honda faster then I can get the wheels on and off...yet the brake shops want an easy $100 to do it. (Then of course, you need an alignment...and a fluid flush and and and...) If just the pads need replacing, and you dont have any warp in the rotors....its a 20 min job with a 12 mm socket and a c clamp...most vehicles are almost as simple.

Almost all community colleges offer a basic auto repair course for $20...learn to do it yourself...and for your kids and for your.......and save them a ton of cash.

Otherwise, just make sure you at least can rely on the shop that youre dealing with. I have always felt that brake jobs are the biggest over charge in the auto indistry...

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Quote:

Calipers should last well beyond 100,000 miles so if one go's it should be an anomoly, not an expectation that the other is right behind it.


Unfortunately in Minnesota the calipers, primarily the slides, don't fair well. Especially the GM trucks (rear calipers), the explorers, the expedition, the Pontiacs, Mazdas, Hondas, and just about everything else. Do they all have frozen calipers/slides, no, do they all have torn dust boots, no, do they all have rotted hardware, no, do they all have cracked phenolic pistons, no.

Quote:

I have been doing brake jobs for over 30 years, and it is one of the simplest jobs on an auto...I can change a set of pads on any Honda faster then I can get the wheels on and off...yet the brake shops want an easy $100 to do it. Its a 20 min job with a 12 mm socket and a c clamp


When a shop does a brake job the customer expects that the brakes will be perfect. No pulsations, No squeaks, No weird noses and good pedal. Every brake job I do at the minimum get the rotors turned, hardware cleaned/replaced, I clean the brackets and lube the slides, and the rear shoes get cleaned/adjusted. This does take a little time. Some cars a little longer. When a caliper or wheel cylinder is not functioning as intended you bet its going to get both. This assures that I have done everything I can to make sure that the brakes operate as intended. If I only replace one side or the other the potential for other problems such as brake pull or excessive wear may present themselves immediately or in the future. Getting that second phone call to say that we finished your brake job but now there is a pull and we are sure its the other caliper that is not functioning as required and now your going to have to pay may more to have the vehicle work as you expect it should. Nobody likes to make those calls. Nobody likes to receive those calls.

As far as simple, yes. Brakes are still one of the last do it yourself repairs that can be done with minimal investment and with basic skills. However, with the introduction of ABS it is not advised to compress the pistons unless the bleeder screw is open. This allows the dirty fluid to escape and not get pushed back into the ABS and/or master cylinder where debris can cause problems. Does this really happen? It sure does! Just had a vehicle last week with the ABS active all the time after a do it yourself brake job. Brake pads - $50, rotors - $75, ruining a couple thousand dollar ABS unit - priceless.

If you do some research I think you would be rather surprised at how many accidents are considered caused by brake boil over. Brake fluid is microangiosporic (the name might be wrong). Essentially it wants to absorb moister. As we all know moister can and will find its way into anything. Water boils at 212 degrees F. Brake fluid, If I remember correctly, is 350 - 400 degrees F. During an emergency brake situation brake temps will soar. Any water that may be in the system can boil, which leads to air in the system. Air in the system will greatly reduce the amount of pressure that reaches the pads (the pedal will go to the floor and the car will not want to stop). Again we flush the brake systems in accordance with the manufacturers’ suggestions or when the calipers or wheel cylinders are replaced in order to reduce our liability and hopefully increase your brakes reliability!!

Quote:

Otherwise, just make sure you at least can rely on the shop that you’re dealing with. I have always felt that brake jobs are the biggest over charge in the auto industry...


Brake jobs also have some of the biggest liabilities. Lets face it if I screw up a brake job the worst case scenario is somebody ends up dead. The owner still has to pay a guy to inspect, estimate, and repair the brakes. Would you rather have the guy with the most experience, does the best brake work and gets paid the most or would you rather have the shop reduce prices by hiring inexperienced people getting paid minimum wage repairing your brakes?

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Good info, Never new I could take out my ABS. Although I have not had to do a brake job for a while now but will keep this in mind as I tend to be a do it yourselfer. I had a 91 dodge shadow years ago, terrible rotors, every time the pads were gone the rotors were so rust pitied that I had to replace them also.

Thanks again

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