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Discussion Starter #1
Was a happy (until today) Nissan Versa owner. Went in to our local dealer to have winter tires installed and to have scheduled warranty maintenance service done. We also have in my province (New Brunswick) yearly vehicle inspection stickers and mine expires Oct. 31st, so my dealer was going to also do the necessary checks and provide me with a new inspection sticker.

I purchased my Versa in Dec. 2012 as a demo car, with 7,000 kms (4,350 miles) on it. I use the car just to do groceries and go to work close by. My present mileage is 14,000 kms (8,700 miles) so I have only put on 7,000 kms in just under two years ownership of the car. It is virtually still a new car.

While I was waiting for the work to be done, the service rep called me over, saying there was a problem with the brakes. He claims that my front and back rotors have rusted and need changing. I figured it would be covered by my bumper to bumper, 3 year warranty but he said no, because the problem was caused by rust and the car not being driven enough!!!!????

And he refused to put a new inspection sticker on the car, because of these brake problems.

Now, I am a woman but no fool. The car brakes fine... there is no pulsing or play in the brake pedal and absolutely no squealing or noises coming from the brakes. It seems weird to me that suddenly I have a brake problem, when I have been taking this car to the same dealer for all my warranty maintenance checks, oil change and tire changes since I purchased the car. Why didn't they notice developing rust previously? It is like because I need the inspection sticker by Friday, they are using that fact to force me into unnecessary out of pocket brake repairs.

Has anyone on this forum ever heard of such a thing - brake wear from NOT driving a car enough?? With this little mileage? Wouldn't this indicate a defect in the car that should be covered by warranty?

I am taking my car to an independent garage tomorrow for a second opinion, but would appreciate any input from forum members.
 

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Brakes, like clutches, are normally not part of the vehicle's bumper to bumper warranty. There are only a handful of manufacturers that cover brakes and I know Nissan is not one of them.

I have not heard of brakes wearing out because of non use although I've seen rotors getting rusted and having uneven rotor surface which will exhibit similar symptoms as a warped rotor, i.e. pulsing brake pedal.

I've had a few cars that needed new rotors (warped) after 12k miles of 95% city driving but the pads were still good on all of them.

I think your dealer is pulling a fast one, particularly if you are not experiencing any problems. A second opinion is certainly warranted.
 

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Brakes are a wear item, so they are not normally covered under warranty. I also don't think you're experiencing premature wear or anything else unusual. It's perfectly normal for the exposed metal parts on your brakes to rust and corrode.

Your service rep is trying to tell you that the corrosion has caused pits and holes in your rotors and drums, which creates uneven braking surfaces. This is normal for a car that is not driven often, especially in a region with harsh winters. Driving the car daily scrapes away the corrosion and wears out the brakes evenly.

While you may not need to replace the brakes immediately, they are probably working fine for the type of driving you do, it wouldn't be a bad idea to do it soon. Another winter will probably do them in. And don't you want your brakes performing their best in slippery conditions?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Took the car to an independent garage and the mechanic took the car for a test drive and did the inspection.

Said there is rust on the rotors and it could definitely be caused by a combination of my driving style (I tend not to use the brakes and just ease up on the gas) and that the car isn't driven often. But that it wasn't so severe as to not give me a new inspection sticker, so at least this buys me some time.

I'm definitely going to make sure that each time I take the car out to do a couple of harder braking stops to get rid of any rust that may be developing.

Just wondering whether there are other rotors available in a less rust prone material like aluminum or stainless, so that brake repairs don't become a frequent problem for me?
 

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Took the car to an independent garage and the mechanic took the car for a test drive and did the inspection.

Said there is rust on the rotors and it could definitely be caused by a combination of my driving style (I tend not to use the brakes and just ease up on the gas) and that the car isn't driven often. But that it wasn't so severe as to not give me a new inspection sticker, so at least this buys me some time.

I'm definitely going to make sure that each time I take the car out to do a couple of harder braking stops to get rid of any rust that may be developing.

Just wondering whether there are other rotors available in a less rust prone material like aluminum or stainless, so that brake repairs don't become a frequent problem for me?
Letting the car sit for long periods of time, particularly in high humidity conditions will make things worse compared to driving the car in shorter but regular intervals of time. Disk brake pads has constant contact with the pads which means as soon as the car moves, rust is actually wiped off the surface of the brake rotor. Of course heavier braking will remove more of the accumulated rust on the rotor, instead of light braking.

I don't think there is really a viable option (at least for normal passenger cars) for cast iron rotors, although there are different grades of rotors which you can purchase as higher priced ones tend to last longer. Carbon ceramic rotors are used for racing applications but are prohibitively expensive and not appropriate for normal econobox applications.

Just my personal opinion: For your brakes to be a safety issue, the pads should be worn (typically you would hear a grinding noise provided by the pad wear indicators), or the rotors warped (pulsing brake pedal). Seeing rust on the brake parts alone is not an indication of any problem. In the process of washing your car you can almost see rust form, on the brake rotors, before your eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just my personal opinion: For your brakes to be a safety issue, the pads should be worn (typically you would hear a grinding noise provided by the pad wear indicators), or the rotors warped (pulsing brake pedal). Seeing rust on the brake parts alone is not an indication of any problem. In the process of washing your car you can almost see rust form, on the brake rotors, before your eyes.
That was my opinion too and I asked the service rep to have the mechanic take the car for a test drive and he would see that the braking system is working fine. He said that wasn't necessary, as the visual inspection showed them the condition of the rotors.

The service rep was supposed to discuss the situation with the dealership owner and call me back Tuesday afternoon. It is Thursday and I am still waiting for his call. My inspection sticker would have expired tomorrow, had I not gone for a second opinion at the independent garage. The whole thing stinks and has made me lose faith in this dealership. Last spring, they tried to soak me over $50 for windshield wiper blades. Told them no way - that I would buy them at Walmart. Do they think all women are stupid???
 

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They don't think every woman is stupid, they are just hoping you are. They hope the same thing with men. My dealership just told me that an oil change is 50 bucks and a synth blend change is 70. They just phish for suckers hoping for a bite.
 

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A lot of shops pray on older folks as well to nickel and dime you. If you don't know much about cars, it is easy to spend a butt load of cash not knowing if you really needed it or not. This is why it is always best to learn how to do minor jobs on your car so you know what really needs to be fixed.
 
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