The squeal of the brakes

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy -

The brakes on my 2011 Lexus IS350 F Sport squeal very badly un­der light ap­pli­ca­tion, eg, when lightly brak­ing when coast­ing to a stop. I find it em­bar­rass­ing, so I brought it up with my dealer, and they ma­chined the discs. The noise came back. This time they said that I would need to re­place ro­tors as part of wear and tear at my cost. I’m look­ing at $800-plus. This was also sug­gested ini­tially but I got away with ma­chin­ing the discs. Ap­par­ently there is a sec­tion of the disc/ro­tor near­est the cen­tre and outer edge that is higher than the rest of the sur­face and the brakes make the noise when con­tact is made. Shouldn’t this be a war­ranty is­sue? I ex­pect it at 60,000km-80,000km but to start from 20,000km seems a man­u­fac­tur­ing fault.

John Isa­ias, email

It is very low kilo­me­tres to have to ma­chine the discs. The squeal you’re hear­ing is not nor­mal, so I would take the car to a brake spe­cial­ist, who I’m sure would be able to help you fix the prob­lem. Maybe the discs don’t need re­plac­ing. If they do you could use af­ter­mar­ket ro­tors, which should be cheaper than the fac­tory ones.

CON­FI­DENCE SHAKEN

What is the world record for the fastest break­down of a new ve­hi­cle? I nom­i­nate my Mercedes-Benz B200 CDI. Within half an hour of tak­ing de­liv­ery, I was stranded in peak hour Syd­ney traf­fic, sit­ting in a pool of diesel, un­able to start the bloody thing. A failed fuel fil­ter was given as the rea­son: so much for qual­ity con­trol, at­ten­tion to safety and re­li­a­bil­ity. To add in­sult to in­jury, the par­ti­cle fil­ter also failed last week and had to be re­paired. Mercedes-Benz has re­fused to pro­vide me with some com­fort and ex­tend the war­ranty pe­riod. It seems they share my lack of con­fi­dence in the ve­hi­cle. Have other read­ers suf­fered sim­i­lar mis­for­tune with a new car?

Barry Hartshorn, email

It’s dis­ap­point­ing when prob­lems oc­cur so soon af­ter de­liv­ery. The is­sue is whether the maker fixes them and it seems that Mercedes-Benz has, which really is the end of the mat­ter. I don’t think there is any­thing in what has hap­pened to you to jus­tify a re­quest for an ex­tended war­ranty.

AS­SESS BRAKES

You pub­lished a let­ter from a reader com­plain­ing that his 2010 Ford Fo­cus had in­ap­pro­pri­ate ac­ti­va­tion of his anti-lock brakes/trac­tion con­trol. I too have a 2010 Fo­cus and it has the same is­sue, ex­actly. It oc­curs once or twice per drive but al­ways on a cor­ner, es­pe­cially a down­hill ‘‘swoop­ing’’ cor­ner.

Adrian West, email

The drum on discs: Af­ter­mar­ket ro­tors will be cheaper for a Lexus

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