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
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?
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
All I am trying to say is that it depends GREATLY on the driver and the
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.
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.
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