'04 Elantra + Pads and Rotors

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I have a 2004 Elantra with 30,500 miles on it. A couple of weeks ago, I brought it in for the 30,000 mile service to the dealer. During that time
they told me I needed new brake pads and rotors, plus two new tires. At the time I told them not to do it, as I couldn't believe that I needed new rotors and tires, the pads I could believe. At any rate, I hadn't heard the brakes sqeaking or anything, until yesterday, so today I brought it in to a repair shop (not dealer). All I told him was that the brakes were sqeaking a bit yesterday, but I hadn't heard them this morning at all.
He called and told me the same thing that Hyundai did, I needed new front pads and rotors - and my two tires were almost shot. I asked him about the rotors and why they would need replacing too. He stated that they are using extrememely cheap metal on the rotors and they don't withstand any abuse any more.
It really blows my mind that at just over 30,000 miles I would need new rotors and two new tires already!!! I've never had such wear on any car previously (although I've never owned a Hyundai). Is this something to expect in the future with it, inferior parts and whatnot?
Thanks,
Scott
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Scot wrote:

Scott,
Unless the rotors have obvious grooves in them, they could probably be turned on a lathe at least once. However, due to labor costs it could well be cheaper to just replace them. New rotors are relatively cheap items unless your paying full price for them.
The OEM tires are usually good for @35K miles, but if you haven't kept them rotated the ones on the front are probably worn out. Depending on where you live, you don't want to be driving on icy roads with nearly bald tires. Down here in Florida I'd just put the worn tires on the rear and keep driving until the wires are showing.
--


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miles, but if you haven't kept

Interesting.....I always bought non-name brand tires for my previous Festiva and Pathfinder and never got short of 60,000 that I can remember - and I think I once got the Pathfinder's rotated!!! I suppose I'm used to other brands/companies giving me better quality tires, not sure how else to explain it.
I can understand what you are saying about the rotors, if they think it would cost more to have someone smooth out any grinding than having you buy new ones, but...with only hearing the noises yesterday for the first time, and it being not very loud or annoying, not like bare pads clamping down on the rotors which I have heard before, why would they have grinded at all??? Usually that slight squeaking noise you hear is the warning indicator pieces of metal touching, letting you know that it is getting time to replace the pads, isn't it?
With these things, the high cost of the maintenance if done at the dealer in comparison to the value of the car, and also having to do things like replace the timing belt at 60,000 mile service regardless of wear, all combine to push me towards not buying another Hyundai. Even things like the material that makes up the steering wheel has chipped away, leaving huge sections of divets in the steering wheel, one of my passengers side vanity mirror's hinge broke, and also my drivers side window has already come un-glued from the track and fell inside my door one day. I mean, this is a car with only 30,500 miles on it!!! Everything adding up hasn't given me much faith in Hyundai or in the "value" I thought I was getting when purchasing the Elantra. I truly hope that my car is in the minority and other Elantra/Hyundai owners are not in a similar boat.
Scott
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Scot wrote:

If you've driven the car hard enough to wear out the tires in only 30K miles, you should expect the brake pads to be worn out, too. It sounds like the wear indicators are making contact with the rotors, which means it's time for new pads. As for the rotors, unless you feel a vibration when braking, they're probably fine. They do wear and the surface will not be as even as new, but that's normal. The natural variations in the hardness of the rotors and pads, plus the dirt and such that gets between the pads and rotors will combine to cause grooves and ridges in the surface. That can actually be beneficial, since it increases the surface area of the rotors, but it takes a few stops for new pads to wear in to match the surface contours of the rotors. Mechanics always try to sell rotors, as they're a quick install, high profit item and it's easy to people the grooving on them. Most people have no idea that it's typically not a problem until you've gone through at least a couple of sets of pads. Additionally, if the repair shop offers any kind of warranty on brake wear, they usually require that rotors be replaced or resurfaced when new pads are installed and the rest of the braking system is brought back to "factory specifications". It's basically just an excuse to screw people with unnecessary repairs, which is how "$49.95 Brake Specials" turn into $400 repair bills.
If you want to keep the cost of the repairs down, replace the brake pads yourself. The pads are relatively cheap and it's a very easy job that will take you all of an hour with basic hand tools.
You DON'T need to have your car serviced at the dealer. The dealer service may be expensive, but it's no different with any other brand of car. DIY maintenance or having it done by a repair shop WILL NOT affect the warranty as long as you do the work that's outlined in the Maintenance Log at the specified interval, with the appropriate parts and consumables.
Speaking of warranty, the other issues you raised should have been covered under warranty. If the dealer told you they weren't, complain to Hyundai. While the dealer should be honest with you, you do have a responsibility to understand your rights and obligations when it comes to your car's warranty. If you're not willing to take the time to do so, you're setting yourself up to be taken advantage of.
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Comments in-line below.

Definately not critical of the pads being done. I think 30K for the pads is normal wear, especially somebody that is commuting in and out of Boston everyday - where going from 40mph to 0 every 15 seconds is normal, so I know they get abused. The wear indicator noise is what I meant, and you are probably right in that they are just trying to sell rotors because they can. I just can't see how my tires are already done, just does not make sense to me.

I have no problems doing certain maintenance tasks myself, ie. oil changes, sparkplugs, etc. I have always had a stigma attached to messing with brakes and pads, because if you screw something on the other stuff then maybe your car won't start or you royally screw the engine, but if you do something wrong with the brakes and then can't stop - now we are talking serious bodily injure or worse. Maybe I am being overly sensitive to that piece, but that has always been what has kept me from attempting those types of jobs.

I understand that it is illegal for them to require you to take your car to a dealer for the regularly scheduled maintenance. In fact, I did the 15,000 at an independant place. Since the transmission service was involved in this one, I brought it to the dealer, because after reading so many "proper transmission fluid" threads in this newsgroup, it worried me that Hyundai might be a ball-breaker on this one if for some reason the mechanic does not use their "special" one.

The dealer did not say those things were not covered. I know what is covered under warranty and what is not, and understand that. I guess you missed my point on what I was saying. Just because you have a warranty on something doesn't mean I should be complacent with a product that is malfunctioning in numerous ways. A warranty should be there to make you feel "warm and fuzzy" that they stand behind their product and don't think things will go wrong, it should not be a roll of a dice type thing where they say, "yeah, we know this product is not good or we'll use cheap parts, etc., but we'll fix some things if people really can't deal with them". Reminds me of the movie Tommy Boy, where he is making a comment on warranties for of all things brake pads, "I can take a crap in a box, slap a guarantee on the side of the box, and all you still have is a guaranteed piece of sh*t."
This was just my venting frustration towards this car in particular, maybe other people have the '04 Elantra and feel that it is the best car they have ever owned - and I honestly would be very happy for them, at this time for me personally, I think this will be my last Hyundai.
Scott
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Have some confidence in your own abilities, Scott. If you can properly replace a set of spark plugs, it's most likely you can properly replace a set of brake pads.
I cannot speak as to the condition of your rotors, and you may want to inquire as to the specific reason each place wanted to replace them. "They're cheap and cannot stand the abuse" is not a reason they need to be replaced; that's the shop's opinion of the quality of the rotors. What you need to know is what specifically is wrong with them right now that they need to be replaced.
My instructions for replacing front brake pads on most Hyundai vehicles 1989 and newer: 1. Safely jack and support one front corner of the vehicle. 2. Remove the wheel on that corner. I figure if you're doing this you're already clever enough to have loosened the lug nuts prior to lifting the wheel all the way off the ground. 3. Remove the 14mm (or 12mm) bolt at the bottom of the caliper. 4. Rotate the caliper up to expose the pads. 5. Remove the pads from the caliper bracket. 6. If you have new retaining shims in the pad kit, remove the retaining shims as well. 7. Install new retaining shims if appropriate. 8. Install the new pads. Choose the inboard pad so that it has a wear indicator at the top. Use a pad with no indicator for outboard. 9. Use a c-clamp or large pair of Channel-locks to compress the caliper piston back into the caliper. Do not open the bleeder. If you never open the hydraulic system, you cannot get any air in it and will not need to bleed the brakes. 10. Rotate the caliper down and into place over the pads. 11. Reinstall the 14mm (or 12mm) bolt. 12. Reinstall the wheel. 13. Lower the vehicle. 14. Verify the lug nuts are properly torqued after the vehicle has been lowered. 15. Repeat steps 1-14 for the other front wheel. 16. PUMP THE BRAKE PEDAL TO MOVE THE CALIPER PISTONS AGAINST THE NEW PADS. THIS IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE. IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS, YOU MAY HAVE DIFFICULTY STOPPING THE VEHICLE THE FIRST TIME YOU ATTEMPT TO MOVE IT. Continue pumping until the pedal is stiff. 17. Carefully test drive the vehicle in a safe area to be sure the brakes work properly. It may take a few stops to have proper braking.
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I hear you. Thanks for the instructions.
In response to your inquiring about the rotors, their answers are below:
Hyundai dealer mechanic: "There were grooves in the rotors, we could smooth them out, but they would no longer meet specifications."
Independant mechanic: "There were grooves in the rotors, they are made of cheap metal nowadays and are cheap to replace rather than smooth them out".
I think the independant guy was saying they were already getting damaged because they were made of cheap metal, not that he was replacing them because they were made of cheap metal.
It all just seems strange to me that the indicators, with the slight squeaking noise would not be the first indication of the pads going like on my other cars previously. I've never needed the rotors replaced before when the pads were only at the indicator stage. Maybe both the dealer's mechanic and the independant one were both pulling a fast one with the rotor replacement - it is only a sampling of two places, so that is a distinct possibility.
Scott

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I seriously doubt there's anything suspicious here. Both shops pretty much said the same thing, so it's highly unlikely either is lying to you.
I disagree with Brian a bit about the grooving. Depending on the depth and number of the grooves, it can take quite a significant time for the pads to wear to contact all the grooved areas, in some cases thousands of miles. If the pads are only touching the rotors at the top parts of the grooves, then the contact area will be very small and your braking capabilities will be greatly reduced.
If there are just a few small grooves, then that's really no big deal as long as the rotors haven't been scored by the metal backing plate of the pad. You would still have contact on most of the surface area of the pad and it would wear into the groove quickly.
If you don't mind pulling the wheels off your car, have a look at your rotors for yourself. If they're ground up by the brake pads, you'll probably need to replace them. If they've got numerous or deep grooves, it's my opinion they should be resurfaced or replaced. If they've just got a few small grooves, hang the pads and let it eat.
Hope that helps.
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hyundaitech wrote:

This is one of those issues where a person doesn't have to be lying in order to advise a customer to do unnecessary service. It's a judgement call and many mechanics routinely replace rotors with brake jobs, just to be safe. There may be a certain amount of CYA involved, too. This doesn't make them dishonest, but it doesn't make the work necessary, either.

My point is that it's unlikely that his rotors are grooved enough to be detrimental after going through only one set of brake pads, especially if the pads are changed before they wear out completely and the base plate contacts the rotors. Rotors always get grooved; it's normal and unavoidable. However, as you said, there's no way to tell if Scot's rotors really need replacement without seeing them.
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Thanks for the tips and the reasoning on all of this, I actually had the work done the original day that I posted - so I unfortunately can't check to see what they look like, as they are the new ones now.
Scott

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Scot wrote:

The same stop and go traffic that wears your brakes take a toll on your tires, too. The Michelins are not known for being especially durable, so your experience is not unusual or unexpected with these tires.

That's your call, but it's pretty hard to mess up a basic brake job. If the pads aren't installed correctly and/or the pistons aren't pushed back, you can't reinstall the brake caliper. If everything goes together, it's fine.

For automatic tranny service, that's probably a wise decision.

I hear ya.

I've had no trouble with mine.
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Thanks for all the info and opinions Brian. I was just venting a bit and trying to figure some things out. I knew going in that I was buying an economical car, and from all the research I did beforehand, I felt that Hyundai had finally built a fairly strong reputation. The fact that it is in the economy range of cars, I am not that shocked that things such as the tires are not the same quality as say were on my Pathfinder. I still have 3 1/2 years of car payments, so I'm going to honestly try to keep an open mind on this and go from there.
Thanks again,
Scott

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http://www.honda.com
miles, but if you haven't kept

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Honda's got it's issues too guy. Odyssey's have a history of bad transmissions, problems with condensors (They are exposed wide open in the lower grill) and some other nagging issues. No car company is perfect, all you can do is try to increase the chances you will get a trouble free car, you can do that by looking at ratings from edmunds, Consumer reports, JD Power, and others. All of which have said Hyundai is coming up. So unless you plan to back your talk up, keep it to yourself.
miles, but if you haven't kept

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no kiddin, what about the crv fires, the ignition switch failures etc ive read about in hondas? what about my sisters crvs power stearing system failure??
miles, but if you haven't kept

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Matthew Rebbert wrote:

Hyundai is currently rated almost dead even in quality with Toyota and within spitting distance of Honda.
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I find that hard to believe, My car 2001 Elantra VE changed my first set of pads @ 60,000 miles then changed rotors and pads @ 120,000 miles.
I drive my car pretty hard, Hyundai makes a great breaking system.
Bain.,

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My 2003 Elantra needed tires at 23,000 miles. There was still some tread, but the original Michelins were crap when they got below about 1/2 of the tread life.
My 2004 Elantra needs tires NOW, at about 35,000 miles. My wife drives that one and she is a bit easier on her cars. But she did need front brake pads at about 18,000 miles (she drives mostly city and is hard on the brakes).
All I am trying to say is that it depends GREATLY on the driver and the driving conditions.
A friend at work has a 2003 Elantra, but he drives almost entirely highway to work at early hours when no one is on the road. He just hit 50,000 miles and still has original brakes and tires, and the tires still look pretty good to me.
Eric

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weve had our accent since 2001, were only on our second set of pads and only changed rotors once. we have 155,000 kms now still on origional rear brakes

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This may sound silly, but is this your first FWD car in a while? If so, you may not be accustomed to how much wear FWD cars put on the front tires. My Toyota Camry's front tires needed replacing at under 15K (almost exclusively urban driving). This is why people like to rotate their tires regularly. The front tires wear out much faster than the rear ones, so regular rotation evens out tire life. Tire vendors often rotate tires for free.
Chris
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