Rear Brake Wear is Common and Not Sign of Problem

September 25, 2010/AffordAble Used Car Sales


Dear Doctor: I own a 2002 Ford F-150 with 44,288 miles on it. My wife has a 2003 Toyota Avalon with 17,332 miles on it. Both vehicles have the same problem. The rear disc brake pads have worn down to nothing and had to be replaced, while the front brake pads show little wear. Why? Jim
Dear Jim: This tells me that the rear brakes are working. Your F-150 and Avalon brake wear is not unusual, even with the low miles on the Toyota. The rear brakes are much smaller than the front brakes and in some cases will wear down sooner than the fronts. You need to make sure the caliper slides are not sticking and bleed the system, front and rear. In some vehicles the rear brake pad material is softer than the front and softer material will wear down sooner.
Dear Doctor: I lost my brakes driving home in my 2008 Chevy Impala with 20,000 miles. Turns out the passenger side bracket holding the brake line came loose and the brake line rubbed against the axle until it cut through causing a loss in brake fluid. My mechanic said the bolt holding the bracket came out and he suspects it was never properly tightened. We checked the driver side bracket and saw that the bolts were rusted. The car is now at my dealer’s service center. Should this be reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration? Pat
Dear Pat: I have not seen this problem on other Impala’s. Rust is a common problem on all vehicles — some worse than others depending on the area you live. Even with rust however the bolts would not deteriorate enough to rot out. I suspect someone did not properly install the hose-retaining bolt. You can go to the NHTSA web site ( to inquire if complaints on this problem have been registered.
Dear Doctor: I own a 2005 Honda Pilot with 86,000 miles. There is an occasional noise while on the highway.

2005 Honda Pilot

When the noise is present for up to three minutes the tachometer reading becomes erratic. I have had a mechanic and family members go for a ride with me, but it does not happen with them in the vehicle. Sharon
Dear Sharon: Without getting more information or actually driving the vehicle, it’s impossible to point you in any direction. One area of concern to me is the transmission. Let a service technician take the SUV home for a weekend and drive it around and see if it acts up on him.
Dear Doctor: I purchased a Toyota Avalon last year and the navigation system is so complicated I don’t know how to program it. I have tried and tried with no success; this is horrible. My daughter finally bought me a Garmin. Do you have any suggestions? Maryann
Dear Maryann: Today’s audio and navigation are very complicated systems. The dealership that is able to successfully guide you through the programming of your navigation and sound systems will very likely keep your business. I also own a Garmin GPS that I paid $250 for a year ago and it’s as good or better than some factory units. — Junior Damato, Motor Matters

Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.

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