Did Outside Storage Cause Rotors to Warp?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 03, 2015

Dear Car Talk:

My 2003 Honda CR-V recently was part of a recall involving the air bags. Due to the risk of injury or death, I left my CR-V at a local dealership, and they provided me with a loaner while they waited for the replacement parts to come in. During that time, my CR-V sat outside in the rain and snow without being driven for two months. When I picked it up after they repaired the air bags, there was rust on the brakes, which they said would wear off quickly. However, the rotors also feel warped and vibrate heavily when I brake.

They've offered to resurface the pads and rotors for about half the normal price (still $100 front and $100 back), but I don't think I should have to pay for it at all. I just replaced all the pads and rotors myself last year, and it would be cheaper for me to completely replace them again. Should they take care of this for free, or am I looking at another afternoon in the driveway?

-- Galen

I don't think they're at fault here at all, Galen. Nothing about sitting in a parking lot (even in rain and snow) would make the rotors warp or the pads wear out.

Brake rotors do get rust on them when they sit. But your dealer is correct that the rust is quickly scraped off by the pads when you drive the car. So I'm guessing you bought real cheap rotors last year, not the Honda ones.

So if the rotors really are warped, you can try complaining to the people who sold them to you. If you're lucky, they'll stand behind them and give you another set, which you can spend an afternoon installing in the driveway.

But keep in mind, if those rotors warped in a year, your next set probably will not be any better.

So I'd ask your Honda dealer what kind of price he'd give you to install a set of factory rotors and pads. It seems like he's being very nice to you. Or maybe you've berated him to the point where he'll do almost anything to get rid of you now.

But the factory rotors and pads definitely last longer, in our experience. So that's your best long-term solution.

Well, that's not true. Your best long-term solution would be to forget to return the loaner car!


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