Reader Question I am totally frustrated. I hope you can help me. I’m an English teacher who wishes I were an auto mechanic. I have a 2002 Toyota Corolla that just had servicing done. (I didn’t bring it is because there was a problem.)
The Chevron station is pricey but I know the owner and his workers very well. I picked up the car and paid the fees. I was leaving for a long trip on the next day and heard a high pitch squeal when I put on my brakes. Since the brake check box had been checked as “okay–no problem” I was upset.
I took the car right back and was told the mechanic was a day old and had not done the work. New brake parts were put in. Well, I have a high pitch squeal, a tremulous brake pedal, and now a grinding sound when I slowly put on the brake from an almost stopped position.
I took the car back for the 4th time today. The mechanic tells me the noise is because of rubber “grommets” that are used to attach something to an A-frame. Yes, I have no idea if I have these words right! He said nothing can be done about these except maybe some WD-40. Huh? Is he giving me the run-around? Is my car safe to drive?
Help! a tired teacher…Deb
Hi there teacher Deb,
So they DID replace the front brake pads, correct?
My concern would be that they installed the wrong type of brake pad. Toyota vehicles can be super sensitive to non Toyota brand brake pads, so if they installed an after market pad, which I bet they did….I would first replace those pads with genuine Toyota brake pads and see what happens.
The grinding and high pitched squeal is probably due to the non Toyota pads, but I do not understand the “tremendous brake pedal” complaint you mentioned. This could be due to the wrong TYPE of brake pad being installed.
Some vehicles require a semi metallic brake pad, and some use a softer “organic” (a softer pad does not contain metallic shavings) brake pad material. If you install a semi metallic brake pad on a vehicle designed for organic or non semi metallic brake pads you will have a grinding noise and lack of stopping power complaint.
So in summary, try Toyota brake pads first before you do anything. I would also recommend they resurface the front brake rotors as well to make them smooth again.
This is done by removing a small amount of material from the brake rotor with a brake lathe machine, and is part of a brake job anyway so make sure they did that. I don’t think you have anything wrong with your bushings or needing WD-40…since you did not have these complaints before the brake work.
Here is an article I wrote about this issue Brake Service