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Rotor change a tech's call

Q Our all-wheel-drive 2003 Honda CR-V has had the rear brake pads and rotors replaced three times.

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Q Our all-wheel-drive 2003 Honda CR-V has had the rear brake pads and rotors replaced three times.

But it’s still on the original front pads and rotors.

At 25,000 km, we complained to Honda Canada of unbearable road noise at highway speeds.

We were told the rear pads and rotors need to be replaced.

This scenario has repeated itself: the CR-V has its recommended brake service every 16,000 km, then another rear brake job is needed some 8,000 km or so later.

Honda Canada claims this is perfectly normal.

Our CR-V is costing us $500 a year in rear brakes, not including the scheduled service.



John Loughry and Shannon McGuire, Newmarket


A Technician Tom Zekveld replies:

The noise is likely caused by rust buildup on the inside of the rear brake rotor.

The corrosion accumulates to the point where it contacts a nearby stationary brake or axle component as you drive.

Brake rotors and drums naturally rust on all vehicles, due to the frequent rotor/drum temperature changes, and the hostile environment they function in. The rotor usually rusts at the edge of the braking surface.

The decision to change the rotors is a technician’s judgment call. Your frequent pad and rotor replacement does seem unreasonable, but I haven’t seen the condition of the rotors.

My advice: At the next 16,000 km brake service, ask the technician to remove the rotors and knock or machine off the offending rust ridge.

Then have the pads and caliper sliders serviced.

This should buy you a significant amount of rear brake rotor life. The 16,000 km service will cost you more, but will hopefully postpone the expensive 24,000 km brake job.

If the brake rotor is requires replacement, consider installing less costly aftermarket brake rotors. When an original equipment part lasts only 24,000 km, I’d look elsewhere.

A second opinion may be of value in your case.

Q My 2005 Chevrolet Malibu, with a 3.5-litre V6 (34,000 km), may need rear brake pads.

Noise comes from the rear wheels as I start to drive. It sounds like friction between pad and rotor.

Is this condition caused by a piston caliper not sliding back when the brake is released?

The Chev has disc brakes all the way around. The front pads are still in good condition.



Jim Strzalkowski, Mississauga


A Technician Tony Prochilo replies:

As your Malibu sits overnight, a small amount of corrosion builds on the surface of its brake rotors.

The noise you hear is simply the brake pad coming in contact with the corrosion when the brakes are applied.

If the corrosion is severe enough, the pads will wear at a much faster rate.

Have your rear brakes inspected and serviced.

Depending on the severity of the corrosion, you may need to have both rear rotors machined or replaced.

Nuts and Bolts



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Email mechanical questions to wheels@thestar.ca. State make, model, year, engine, km and your full name and address. Letters may be edited. Letter volume prevents personal replies.

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