You gotta love some motorists. They just keep driving no matter what. As long as the engine goes, they’ll press on regardless. Mike Cukrovani from Caledonia Tire and Auto Centre in southern Ontario sent me these amazing pictures of a...
You gotta love some motorists. They just keep driving no matter what. As long as the engine goes, they’ll press on regardless. Mike Cukrovani from Caledonia Tire and Auto Centre in southern Ontario sent me these amazing pictures of a customer’s Jeep that Mike reports “came in with a little brake noise! The rear of the Jeep and sides were covered in metal dust!” This is one of those “Gotta see it to believe it” stories and the pictures Mike sent are almost beyond belief.
By the look of it, the fraction material wore to the backing plates, which promptly ate into the brake rotor until it ground down to paper plate thickness. “Brake noise?” I guess so! What astounds me is that the owner somehow drove the vehicle in this condition for some time to get the rotor to wear to that level. You would think that the low pedal would be a warning sign, or maybe metal debris all over the Jeep; or maybe just the fact that the 4X4 just wasn’t stopping very well. This isn’t a case of idiocy; it’s an abject lesson on how some owners pay attention to their vehicles.
There are lots of wear items in cars and light trucks that will fail gradually, slowly, like tires and ride control. It’s hard to notice the performance loss over time, so motorists need regular maintenance and a trained eye to find potential problems before they get out of hand. In this case, it’s amazing that the owner got the machine into Mike’s shop in one piece, let alone survived public roads and traffic. What this mess really tells us, however, is the danger of waiting for the catastrophic failure. Had the rotor exploded or split, the instant loss of braking, and probably brake fluid as the pistons popped out of the caliper bores, would have brought the owner into the shop, ideally “on the hook.”
In this case, it looks like the caliper pins froze too, leaving the piston hanging by a thread, and by the look of it, leaking fluid too. This owner is very lucky not only to avoid an accident, but also to avoid a post-accident criminal charge for driving this junk. Why do they do it? Two reasons: Because they can get away with it and because they don’t trust shops to give then an honest appraisal of the vehicle’s fitness. That’s what makes Mike’s pictures so valuable. Every shop should keep a digital camera handy to record this kind of mess, both to show the customer and as a record of what poor maintenance does to the health and safety of a vehicle and its owner. I hope the guys at Caledonia Tire and Auto blow these pics up and show them to every customer asking about brake work. I’d love to see the difference in price between this job and what the simple pad replacement would have been in the first place. I’m sure other shops have seen similar horror stories. Send them to me and I’ll harass Editor Tom Venetis to let me put them in SSGM. It’s funny, but from a safety standpoint, it isn’t!
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