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  • Pep Boys

    Just wanted to share, for those who may take their cars to Pep Boys (this is a national auto parts/service chain in the US).

    In May, I took my van (you know, the thing I drive my wife and kids around in?) into the shop because it was grinding when I applied the brakes. Sure enough, I needed new front pads and rotors, at a cost of about $500. Okay, brakes wear out, and if you ignore the tell-tale whining "replace your brakes soon" indicator, you can ruin your rotors. My bad.

    In September, I took it in (to a different Pep Boys) because something didn't "feel" quite right when I stepped on the brakes. Oh, what do you know -- now I need new rear shoes and drums. Ok, well if the front ones wore out, the back ones may not have been too far behind. $400.

    A week later, I noticed a peculiar rubbing (not quite grinding) sound when stepping on the brakes again. Back in. The front brake pads, the ones that were new a few months before, had now both cracked and damaged the rotors. Another set of new pads and rotors -- but covered by the warranty on the original new set. No cost, but continuing hassle.

    That same day, when returning home, I applied the parking brake as I always do (my house is on a bit of a slope). My wife was outside the front door telling me something, and I had neglected to put the van in park before applying the parking brake. When I took my foot off the brake pedal -- now, mind you, the parking brake was applied all the way -- my van began to roll down the hill.

    Couldn't be. Two brand new sets of drums and shoes in the rear (I have learned that the parking brake manually engages the rear brakes), but they're not sticking.

    So, a week later, back to Pep Boys with the complaint that the parking brake is not sticking. I was told that it was adjusted and should be "fine" now. Got home, put the brake on, took my foot off the brake pedal, you know the rest. Called the service manager, he apologized and asked for another chance to take a look at it.

    So, later that same week (this is now the current week; this part was yesterday), back to Pep Boys again for them to look at the parking brake again. Was told again that there were no other adjustments that they could make, and that they tested it and could not get the vehicle to move (there are apparently no hills in the area).

    I didn't mind, because I was bringing it in to the dealership today (Friday) for a coolant leak. (On an unrelated note, it had been leaking for a little over a day, but driving home yesterday all 3 coolant lines to the rear of the van blew out; coolant was running out of my engine like a faucet, and I had to get towed to the dealership.) I asked if they would mind terribly checking out the parking brake when they had it, and explained the problems I'd had.

    Today they called me. (Coolant lines were replaced under warranty.) They said that the rear brakes were not installed properly (!!!), which is what was causing the slippage on the parking brake. $75 to fix, but they said they would document everything verbosely so I could go back to Pep Boys and have them compensate me for the additional work needed.

    Just thought I'd share. (Also unrelated, my other car needed a new set of front pads and rotors in the midst of all that, to the tune of another $400....)

    I hate cars.
    "I am not an atomic playboy."
    Vice Admiral William P. Blandy

  • #2
    I can't believe you are paying that much for a break job. You must live in a very expensive part of the country. Hell, do it yourself, it is not that hard. I have never gone to pep boys and thanks to your story I won't be going to them in the future.

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    • #3
      Heh. Despite being a Guy (tm), I actually know zip about cars. I can check the fluid levels and the tire pressure, but anything beyond that leaves me in a fetal position sucking my thumb and wailing quietly.

      I live in southwest Pennsylvania, which is very hilly. Thus, very hard on brakes.
      "I am not an atomic playboy."
      Vice Admiral William P. Blandy

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      • #4
        OK, sorry.

        I didn't know you knew zip, how is he doing?

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        • #5


          I have heard that brakes are not that difficult to do. It's more a matter of convenience, I guess... although it's been a pretty inconvenient few weeks so maybe I should reconsider.
          "I am not an atomic playboy."
          Vice Admiral William P. Blandy

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          • #6
            Brakes can be very expensive depending on the type of vehicle. My wifes Subaru's brakes (pads and rotors) cost almost $400 just for the parts alone.
            Front shafts cost about $200 a piece also. (Car has 160k miles) Far cry from the price of a set of chevy pads and rotors...

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