VW Passat- Dealer says I need all new brakes

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Kierstan

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#1
I brought my car in last summer to have the brakes checked (I don't even know what they do when they "check" the brakes) They said I had plenty of life on them. So I took it in for another reason and asked them to check the pads again. They told me I had about 1500 miles left on them, so I didn't need them changed. So I brought it back to finally have them changed (only about 400 miles over my 1500 limit) and now they are trying to tell me that I need all new Roters and what not. Front and back! For $900!! I kept taking it in so I could prevent this, because I know how bad it is to let your pads wear through... Is this possible? If I really do need all new stuff, how come they didn't tell me that they were getting pretty bad the last 2 times I brought it in? I had no "symptoms" when I took the car in this time, I just knew that it was finally time to replace the pads... Could somebody help me understand how this works?? I don't believe that I could have severely damaged my brakes that bad in 400 miles... Thank you!!!!!!!!!
 

Paul

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#2
Ok,what model year Passat,mileage etc.What was going on,if anything,that prompted you to initially have the brakes checked.Its difficult for a mechanic to visually inspect brake pads and say for certain how many miles before replacement is needed.Lots of variables to take into consideration.Its an educated guess at best.Are you taking your vehicle to a Vw dealer or an independent shop?Did you notice any noise,brake pedal pulsation or anything that would indicate the brake pads and rotors were in need of attention?
 
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Kierstan

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#3
Its a 2002 Passat (sorry don't know the model off-hand), with just over 50,000 miles on it. I took it in last summer to get a whole check up because it was dead after sitting dormant for the summer (I live in NYC and don't drive it much) The first dealership fixed the dead car (battery) and did a whole check up. But then I wanted to get a second opinion because someone had said the brakes feel weird (they didn't to me, and still don't to this day) So the new dealer said the brakes were fine. Then I brought it in February, to have the headlight fixed (which they charged me $250 parts/labor for a new harness) and I asked them to check the brake pads because I knew their time was coming up to get replaced (don't ask me how I knew that, I guess I just assumed) They charged me $50 to inspect the brakes and said I had 1500 miles left on them, or 6mm on the front, and 3mm on the rear brakes. So I brought the car in the other day to the same dealer as the last two times to have the pads replaced, because I was always told to make sure the pads don't get worn down so that I don't ruin my roters. I was very paranoid and thought I had been careful and preventetive. I just don't understand how "all of a sudden" I need new roters? The brakes work just fine, there is no squealing or any noises when I use them. Is this somehow the dealer's fault for not putting the new pads on back when I asked them to inspect it? If it is, then I think they should have to pay for that, not me, because I brought it in when I was supposed to...or am I totally wrong? I am planning on taking the car to an independant shop today, for another opinion. I don't mind fixing the brakes, if they need it, but if this could have been prevented if they would have just changed the pads back when I asked them to, I shouldn't have to pay for it??
 

RickMN

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At 50K miles, you're due for brakes. But you should ask the dealer WHY they want to replace the rotors. Are they warped? Did they measure them to see if they've worn beyond minimum spec? Or, do they automatically replace rotors on every brake job? If they charged you $50 to check your brakes last time, they should have measured the rotors. Ask to see those measurements and compare them to the current measurements.

As for the independent, if they agree that rotors need to be replaced, make SURE they use a name brand quality rotor. There are TONS of chinese junk rotors on the market today. They're cheap--like round $10 each. Insist on a name brand like Wagner, Raybestos, Bendix, Napa/United, etc. Get the top of the line rotor, not the economy line.
 

Paul

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Ok Keirstan,Ill break down the parts and labor to replace the brake pads front and rear.Ill assume the dealer quoted you replacing the brake rotors vs resurfacing.The front brake pads=$103,rear brake pads $51.Front brake rotors=$87 each,rear brake rotors$66 each.Add tax to that and I would say its close to $500.Labor times,in total for replacing all brake pads and rotors is 2.6 hrs.So that works out to be roughly $154/hr for labor,not including tax.Thats based off the $900 quote for the work you got.I would ask the service people at the Vw dealer what they charge for labor and square that with the quote they gave you,see if it works out.

Ive noticed a lot of dealers these days want to sell you the "total Service" package vs just what repairs the vehicle needs.You may take your vehicle in for just an oil change and they will tell you it needs the 50K mile service.Often times they will insist on this service.They pressure their customers into having a several hundred dollar service done when it really doesn't need it.You asked for an inspection and thats apparently what they did.You need to be very clear when talking to service people.I would even ask to have them take you to the service area and talk to the mechanic working on your car.Have him show you all the parts involved on your car.Its not complicated and it gives you an idea of what you are dealing with.After all,its your car and you are the one paying.You have every right to ask as many questions as nessecary