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Hi All - Don't know whether anyone can give me some advice but here goes..

 

Hi took my car in for an MOT at a local testing centre on friday. It failed due to the handbrake not working - below the required parameters. I got a call from the garage and the stated that my back discs and pads required changing in order for it to pass. We had this done and paid up. Parked the car up..albeit on a very flat road. I next drove the car on Tuesday, and when I put the hand brake on, the car started rolling forward. I then took it back to the garage on Wednesday. The said they had fixed it. All seemed well until I drove to work this evening . About 8 miles in to the journey a van started flashing me from behind and once on the dual carriage way he overtook and was pointing at the back of the car. I pulled over as soon as it was safe only to find smoke pouring from of my brakes and wheel on the onside.

 

After letting it cool I nursed it in to work and called out green Flag. The Mechanic seemed to think the callipers have been incorrectly fitted and bent. He also could not understand why the discs and pads had been changed as they were not mentioned on the MOT fail slip. He seemed to think there should have just been an adjustment on the cable.Have I got any redress to this and what would be the best way to go about it. I also cannot understand why the garage passed the car when they obviously did not check the original part that had failedThanks in advance

Edited by Conniff
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Thx for that .. I hope so. It made me more angry that I cant drive it back home so I am stuck at work until a breakdown truck turns up to take me home. Not good after a 12 hour shift:-(

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Handbrakes are adjustable up to a point but if the discs and/or pads are beyond minimum thickness then the adjustment is not enough and replacements are necessary. It would be pretty unusual to 'bend' brake calipers, because they and the hub carriers to which they are bolted are usually made of cast iron.

 

This is normally a pretty simple maintenance job, but the following can happen:

- Cross-threaded sliding pin or mounting bolts: easily diagnosed because the calipers will be misaligned and can often be repaired.

- Misaligned discs from failure to clean the hubs properly.

- Warped discs from overtight wheelnuts (a common garage issue) or just defective parts - have you noticed any juddering?

- Incorrect parts for the specific model of car.

- Failure to rewind the pistons fully on rear calipers, but this would normally make refitting impossible.

- Overtightening of the handbrake, but this doesn't sound likely in your case (the initial looseness should normally be taken up by self-adjustment, which is why pistons need rewinding).

 

However, it could be that your calipers are old (failed seals) and/or subject to moisture (especially common when fluid is not changed at least every two years), causing corrosion and ceasure of the pistons, hence the smoke. This might also have been the cause of the original failure, as the handbrake has much less force than the footbrake and could be impeded by faulty calipers.

 

The only way to tell what has gone wrong is to get a separate, competent mechanic to check the calipers for poor fitting, and for overall condition.

 

Clearly something has gone wrong though as brake smoke is not normal, and will cook the seals and fluid, making the problem worse.

 

If you take it back to the MOT garage then insist that a senior mechanic inspects the work, explains the problem in detail, and maybe even shows you anything defective. Don't pay for any further labour or parts until properly diagnosed and, if it's obviously been damaged after the MOT, insist that they take their fair share of responsibility. Poor mechanics thrive on customers who don't ask questions.

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Thx For the reply. The only thing we noticed before the MOT was that there was a little excess play in the handbrake ie went up a couple of notches more than you would expect. Apart from that the car would hold on a slope with no problem. I am no mechanic but when I last took the rear wheel off the car to clean the alloy.. approx 3 months ago, the discs did not look to have any excess wear although there was slight pitting. The pads looked fine with what I would have thought to be about at least half left from new.The only difference came when the car come back from the MOT and when parked on a slight incline, would not stop the car from moving forward.. This was after it had been passed through the MOT and the garage had done the repairs. The smoke only started after the it went back in to the garage to have the handbrake rectified again. My wife took it back and the mechanic stated that he had adjusted the cable to 120??? whatever that means. Thats when I drove it on the way to work and the smoke started. When Green flag turned up he said that the breaks were not binding when the handbreak was off and the wheel was spinning. He also thought that even if one calliper had failed then it would be highly unusual for both to go at the same time.The car is getting towed back to the garage in the morning.. or should I say later now as he said it is too dangerous to drive and I am going to ask the garage to put it in to a roadworthy condition as it should have been when they signed off the MOTThe trouble is that if you know nothing about mechanics then these people have got you over a barrell and you have to take their word for things especially when it comes down to safety

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Handbrakes are notorious on rear disc setups. They invariably seize and replacement of parts, (disc/pads), will never cure a problem if there is no problem with them to start with.

 

The mechanism would require removing and cleaning and then reassembling. Even if the pads and discs were worn way beyond the recommended limits, it wont stop a properly working handbrake from doing it's job, and tightening the cable will have no affect whatsoever.

 

You could well do with a second opinion from maybe a dealer.

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