Attn Tegger: '95 Civic EX Sedan: Brakes Failed Inspection With No Malfunction

I made the mistake of having a dealer inspect the car today, and they failed it. The front brakes, which were replaced by the previous owner 3 years (5k miles) ago and have passed the previous two
inspections, have performed perfectly, but I was told the 'front pads were incorrectly positioned and had to be reinstalled' - to the tune of about $100. The rejection notice just says "79.21(a) Service Brake System." The car has ABS, but the only time I got a warning light was when the old battery was failing. Once I replaced the battery, no ABS light. Were they trying to pull a fast one, being a little too strict, or is there actually a real problem that requires removing and reinstalling the pads? The car is waiting at a local shop now.
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"Incorrectly positioned"? That sounds a bit odd.
Did you ask the service advisor what the technician's evidence was in determining "incorrect" position?
Have you checked the pads yourself?
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Tegger wrote:

No, I told them I was taking the car elsewhere to have the inspection finished. The Service Manger told me that it was a misdemeanor for a shop to pass the car without correcting the "problem." I told him that it was also illegal to report nonexistent problems. I dropped the car off at the local shop we use on the way home, as they had removed the just-expired inspection sticker. Thanks for responding, Tegger.
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Leftie wrote:

Nuff said, IMO.

How the heck can brake pads be 'incorrectly positioned?' I could see a missing anti-rattle clip at worst. In that case, I'd think they would tell you specifically what's wrong.
$100 ought to buy you a complete front end brake job, complete with new pads, etc.
Their vague, threatening ("it's illegal!") language makes me think they're scumballs.
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Greg Campbell wrote:

Well, they had Glenn Dreck playing in the waiting room. This is Saratoga Honda, which at one time was good dealership. Things change...
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Greg Campbell wrote:

So it would seem. I just got the car back from my local shop, and they said there was nothing at all wrong with the pads or how they were installed. They charged me $11.00 and passed it.
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Just out of curiosity, would you be willing to call the dealership and ask exactly what it was that the original tech decided constituted "incorrectly positioned"? I'd absolutely love to know.
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Tegger

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Tegger wrote:

The receipt says it failed inspection "due to the front brake pads are improperly installed." Does that help any? Keep in mind that the brakes worked perfectly and there was no noise at all. Also, it wasn't just a tech: one of the other 'service' people overheard my argument with the know-little woman who handled the paperwork, and he's the one I really talked with. I believe he's the one who brought up the ABS, but without providing any details - I at first thought they wanted to replace a sensor. Not sure if he's the current Service Manager or not. I'd love to file a few complaints, starting with the DMV about their licensed inspection station, but I don't want to manage to snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory...
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Leftie wrote:

Assuming they are scamming people, doing nothing will only subject more innocent people to these worms.
It can't hurt to file a complaint with the BBB. Even if names and details are a bit fuzzy, and hard evidence lacking, every testimonial will help.
Heck, forward your story to the local TV station and suggest they whip up one of those undercover sting episodes.
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Greg Campbell wrote:

I may well go the BBB route. I'm reluctant to complain the the DMV because my local shop will cut people some slack on minor defects, and I don't want them investigated when the dealer raises a fuss. Just posting it here will have an effect: when I had a local Volvo dealer tell me I needed a new $3k transmission for a $300 problem, I posted it to usenet and it now shows up when you search that dealer for complaints.
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In Maryland it was the State Police that regulated inspection stations. (I had a similar thing happen to me years ago.)
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No, because it does not say WHY or HOW they were "improperly installed".
<snip>

Don't bother trying. You got your pass and that's all that's important.
But there's nothing wrong with asking how the diagnosis was arrived at.
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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Leftie wrote:

I had left some very negative feedback when Honda asked me if I was satisfied with my last service visit, and although I had not asked for a response from Saratoga Honda, I got one anyway:
*************************************************************************
"I am responding in writing to answer your comments about your last visit to Saratoga Honda. Your vehicle was indeed failed for improperly installed front brake pads, as they are not installed as per Honda. The sensors on the pads have to be in the proper position in order to work correctly. We can provided you with pictures and documentation to support our proper decision.
If your vehicle passed two previous inspections with the pads in the same position as we found them, then the person doing the inspection was unaware of the proper installation of Honda disc brake pads. If you did not have the pads reinstalled in the proper position prior to the subsequent examination by another shop showed no problem at all, then they do not understand the proper position of the pads on a Honda. You are required by inspection law to notify the garage or service station doing the inspection that you had already failed the safety portion of the inspection recently, and give them the inspection form we gave you so they can scan it prior to starting their inspection. The posted law reads It is a violation of the vehicle and traffic law for: A vehicle owner to accept a sticker if he knows the vehicle was not properly inspected. We had already clearly advised you of the reason for the failure.
In addition, our quote of $86.00 plus tax to put the pads in the proper position was made after first suggesting that you have the people who installed the pads improperly correct them at no charge to you. Since the problem does exist, an investigation by American Hondas District Service Manager has confirmed that Saratoga Hondas operating practices meet the highest ethical and technical standards. I have also called Tom Noonan at DMV, who confirms that if the brake pads are improperly installed, the vehicle must fail the inspection. He advised me that if you choose to you can file a complaint with the DMV charging the garage that did the inspection for failure to do a proper inspection.
On the subject of your statement that you requested synthetic motor oil be used, I find no evidence that such a request occurred. You did specify 10W30 weight, but at any point if you had mentioned you wanted synthetic oil, you would have been given a quote first.
I am confident that my Service Department gave you value-added service, and we told you the truth. Perhaps as time goes by you will reconsider your comments, and you will realize that we are indeed worthy of your trust."
******************************************************************************
I think not. Not only did I ask for synthetic blend oil, I asked a second time to make sure that the woman handling my paperwork had recorded it. She told me that she had "told them." Further, I did give the second shop the rejection notice, and they looked at the front brakes specifically. So, Tegger, what do you think about the reason given?
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