In 2003, my truck failed inspection in England due to "rusty rotors".
He showed them to me, they didn't look bad to me but then I've no basis
to judge it. I saw some rust color and very light pitting - didn't look
terribly bad to me. They said they replaced the rotors - do not know
what brand they may have used.
As you long-timers may remember, I was in England for a few years, the
truck was subjected to roads that were wet and salted nearly every night
for most of the winter. Then I went into the desert, little rain and
high heat. I've been back in Northern VA for a year now, it's been a
bit wet around, and last summer was pretty humid and warm.
Here it is, 2009, and I took my truck in to my trusty mechanic because
of brake issues - emergency brake locking up when it's wet, a bit of a
rough and maybe rhythmic feel as I brake, and twice now, a double clunk
as I am slowing to a stop.
I'm told the rotors are really badly rusted. *This* mechanic I trust
(though I will look at the rotors once the truck is done). What are the
chances that they never actually replaced the rotors back in 2003?
My brake pads finally wore out though. I've got nearly 70,000 miles on
the truck now over 9 years, so I'd say that's not half bad :)
What causes rotor rust more than anything else is standing without use in a
damp environment. If the truck stands even for 2 days, expect rust. Sure it
will soon wear off, but if the truck stands for two weeks or longer, it will
not wear off. It glasses over. This isn't a problem in a dry warm place, but
in Europe, the vehicle must be garaged when standing or you grease the
rotors and then clean them before use. Yes, I believe the rotors were
changed in 2003.
Suddenly, without warning, Steve Lusardi exclaimed (7/13/2009 5:14 PM):
I had to laugh at that - you remember I had my rotors changed? I
probably did post asking about it, since it was such a surprise, truck
wasn't even three at the time. And I've since had reason to doubt the
honesty of that mechanic, but that's in the past.
I do trust my current shop (how cool is that?), and had them show me the
rotor. It was in much worse shape than the 2003 damage. The edges were
crumbled and even I could tell the pitting and damage were too deep for
them simply to be turned. The also told me the brake fluid was really
dirty (I'm not sure it's *ever* been replaced, though I always ask for
shops to have a look). Other than that and dirty crap on the rear
drums, they didn't find anything wrong (I though there might be a sticky
And, oh, the difference it made! Brakes feel noticeably better this
afternoon. Well, my whole day was shot because my truck was in the shop
for 7 hours instead of 2, and my bill was almost $700 (new brakes and
pads, cleaning the drums, oil change, tire rotation, state inspection
and something else I forget), but at least I don't have to worry about
my brakes failing at the worse possible moment now. I live in the 2nd
worse traffic area in the US (not to mention large numbers of suicidal
deer), good brakes are pretty important here :)
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