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Your Beef: Make brake service part of warranty, says Nissan owner

Published March 22, 2013
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Q: We bought a 2011 Nissan Murano new. When my vehicle was serviced at 18,000 km, the dealer said the next service at 24,000 km would cost $300 total, because brake system servicing was due.

At 24,000 km, I ignored their advice and just got an oil change and tire rotation. The dealership noted on my bill that brakes require inspection, for $150, at the next service.

We’ve owned many GM cars before and never had service charges as high as on this Nissan. I asked why early brake service was so costly and was told to call the head office.

Nissan Canada’s rep said up front she couldn’t help me but would record my complaint and pass it on. I never heard back.

If this is required maintenance, it should be covered under warranty. If I have to pay for brake service like this on a regular basis, I question what is being used for parts.

So, are Nissan brakes different from other automakers’ parts to warrant this, or is this a cash grab?

The Murano has all-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes if that is a factor.

A: Didier Marsaud, spokesperson for Nissan Canada, replies:

Our customer service team confirms that the inspection and service charges for your reader’s vehicle are part of the regular maintenance schedule, which is outside of warranty. The cost is for time spent to inspect the various elements of the braking system, which is integral to the overall safety and performance of a vehicle. We recommended that he speak with the dealer who is in the best position to clarify any cost for service.

Eli Melnick of Start Auto Electric (startauto.com) in Toronto provides an independent expert opinion:

I would treat the brakes on this car like any other wear item on a vehicle. Brake replacement is not a scheduled item in the maintenance schedule but brake inspection usually is. Friction material wear rate is unpredictable as it is affected by driving habits and patterns. An assessment of the braking system condition should be made at the time of inspection. Highway driven vehicles could benefit from periodic brake service as the components could seize due to light usage, exposure to salt spray and longer time between inspections as the friction material lasts for a long time. Under these circumstances, it is advisable to have the brakes dismantled, inspected, cleaned, lubricated and reassembled for longer, trouble free driving.

David Gerson of GB Auto in Thornhill adds:

Brake components tend to have minimal factory lubrication, which is fine for a year or two, but personally I like to service and thoroughly lubricate new car brake systems to ensure they’ll only wear out in future from worn pads/shoes rather than seized components.

Eric Lai adds:

Note that neither technician inspected the vehicle in question. Opinions above are of a general nature only.

Got a beef? Send it to Eric Lai at wheels@thestar.ca. Include year, make, model and kilometres of autos cited, plus your name, address and telephone number. Personal replies cannot be handled due to volume.

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