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Old 26-07-2016   #1
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Angry Advice on Warped Brake Discs

Hi guys,

Just looking for a bit of advice on a problem I have had with my Fiat 500 (it's 2 years old).

So, I had a problem where the gear stick was broken so it was in the dealership for to be fixed and at the time they all carried out a service as it was due.

I got my report back for the service saying all was fine and the brake discs were less than 20% worn (they had all been replaced this time last year).

Picked the car up and on the drive home (not far at all from the garage) I started to noticed a thudding noise when I was slowing down.

Booked it back in to the garage and they said the front brake discs were totally warped and replaced both them and the brake pads costing around £240.

I just don't think this makes sense! How can the brakes be fine when they do the service it and then warped when I pick it up?

They said it can be caused by excessive heat or dirt from the road, but it had been sitting in the garage for a good 3 days and I noticed the noise almost straight away when I picked the car up.

Unfortunately I don't know much about cars to try and argue my case, but feel like I am being rather ripped off here.

Any advice would be mega appreciated.

P.S I don't brake heavily or sit with my foot on the brake.
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Old 26-07-2016   #2
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

Hi LilK,

Welcome to the forum by the way.

There are lots of technical experts on here so sure someone will be able to offer some advice in that area.

All I can say is that if your dealer serviced the car and they said the brake discs were only 20% worn, only for it to go back in shortly afterwards for the repair work to be done, then your story doesn't add up does it!

With regard to the 20% comment, did your dealer leave you with a job sheet outlining all the checks they have done (and with that point in writing on the job sheet)? If so, is it dated? All Fiat dealers are supposed to do this but not all of them do.

If that is the case then I would give the dealer a call and ask to speak to the service manager and get him or her to explain why they missed this when the car was serviced.

Also sounds a little concerning that your car is 2 years old and has already gone through two sets of brake pads. What sort of mileage do you do?
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Old 26-07-2016   #3
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

Well its fixed for now but in future shop around and perhaps get a second opinion assuming yours is a 1.2 the the discs and pads only cost about £40 the lot, add dealer costs then yes about right.
It's odd it was fine one moment and not the next mind they often get worse and worse over time , it is possible something was not put back proprely giving the impression of warped discs and the garage jumped to a conclusion than proper diagnosis?
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Old 26-07-2016   #4
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

Thanks so much for getting back to me.

I know, I found it odd that this is the second time the brake discs have needed replaced (It's done around 30 thousand miles which I guess is quite a lot?).
It was both the brakes and discs last time as well.
I had my last Fiat 500 for 3 years and never needed the discs replaced.

On the service report there is a section for brakes which is ticked to say they were ok. They also sent me a wee video in which the mechanic says "the front brakes are less than 20% worn". I still have a copy of this.

I did speak to the service manager. He says that the mechanic was correct to say the brakes were less than 20% worn as the brakes warping is not related to wear and tear and can happen at any moment. He insists that the discs were not warped when the service was carried out and it must have happened as I drove home, but I know the noise was there as soon as I drove away from the garage.

I was hoping someone could help me with the technical side of things to see if I have any basis for an argument.

They just e-mailed me asking me to fill out a survey and give them 10 out of 10 ha!

Aw so frustrating!
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Old 26-07-2016   #5
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

Thanks John.

Yes, I really should have shopped around. I just took it back to them as they had just serviced it and told me they needed fixed ASAP (and I needed the car back) so just told them to fix it. I wish I had got a second opinion though.

I'm not disputing the cost or the fact the brakes were needing replaced. I just want to know how it happened. They were fine when I took the car in, the service report confirmed this and then I picked the car up and the brakes are warped and needed replaced.

I feel like it's their fault and they have some how caused the problem.
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Old 26-07-2016   #6
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

Thanks for the info.

It does sound like you have been very unfortunate. I guess with hindsight you would have turned straight back into the garage as soon as you felt the problem as they couldn't really have used that excuse.

As I said above, hopefully someone else will be able to give you some more ammunition on the technical side.

Not sure I would be giving the dealer 10 out of 10 lol. I'd have a chat to friends and family and see if they can recommend a good local garage for future ref. Your car will be out of warranty by next year, so no pressing need to ever use the dealer again if you don't want to.
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Old 26-07-2016   #7
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

Thanks

Aw I know, I picked the car up after work (just as they were closing) so the garage was shut and I couldn't contact them that night.

It's a huge Fiat dealership as well that also sell many other makes of cars!

If I'm honest I feel it should have been covered under the warranty as the did say themselves it wasn't wear and tear.

Surely brakes shouldn't just warp like that?

Hoping someone technical will be able to help here and let me know if I have a case for taking it further.
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Old 26-07-2016   #8
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

A more cynical person would ask what the mileage was before it went in vs after?
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Old 26-07-2016   #9
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

That's my thinking exactly John! Sadly no way of proving anything as they can just claim it was a test drive.

At the very least I would have thought the warranty would cover it?

I know discs and pads are not usually covered as they are "wear and tear", but when I have report saying they are less than 20% worn then it surely can't be wear and tear.
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Old 26-07-2016   #10
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

This tale stinks. There's no way they should have sent a vehicle back out to the customer in a condition that was clearly worse than when it went in. Which begs the question, did the dealership take the vehicle out on the road for a road test once they'd 'fixed' the gear stick? If they had done, then even the most inept mechanic would have noticed when braking on a road test, that something wasn't right. I would be questioning the service manager.

Prior to leaving the vehicle with them, did you give the dealership express authority to carry out any work without your prior consent? On the very few occasions I do use a garage these days, I always insist that should they 'find' any work that needs doing, they should only ever advise me so I can make the decision whether or not to have any work done by the garage, which for service items like brake discs and pads, I wouldn't let them touch them anyway as I'm more than competent to do the work myself for a fraction of the cost you were charged.

For a dealership, the £240 you were charged, is unfortunately and rather sadly, about right. The simple fact is and has already been stated, the cost of a pair of brand new discs and pads, is about £40 and is 1.5 hour's work at most on a 500. I changed the pads on our old 1.2 POP in 30 minutes, that's both sides.

So, if they've told you that in their opinion, the warping of the discs wasn't wear and tear, why have they charged you for the work? I'd be complaining if I were you.
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Old 26-07-2016   #11
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

Thanks Frupi!

There are just so many things wrong with this.

I did authorise them to do the repair to the discs etc as I really needed the car back and they said it wasn't safe to drive. I really wish I hadn't now. Oh and I rather stupidly just assumed what ever they did would be under warranty as the problem appeared after work they had done to it.

They are saying that the brakes were not warped when they gave me it back and it must have happened on the drive home which is a load of rubbish! I somehow don't think they just warped as I was driving out their car park haha

I have just sent them a rather lengthy complaint in response to their "please give us 10 out of 10 on this survey" e-mail.

Like you say, they admitted it wasn't wear and tear so I really feel that it should have been covered under warranty.
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Last edited by LilK; 26-07-2016 at 19:48.
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Old 26-07-2016   #12
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

Complain to Fiat Customer Services. Tell them you are not at all happy, make a noise.

The only way you are going to warp the discs on a car like a standard 500, is knocking it around the NŁrburgring at brake neck speed and standing on the brakes in every corner, not taking a leisurely drive back home from the dealership.
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Old 26-07-2016   #13
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

I think I will complain to Fiat.

Thanks for your help that's exactly what I wanted to know.

I was pretty sure they wouldn't just randomly warp, it's not like I drive like a maniac.
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Old 26-07-2016   #14
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

It's very much a case of he said she said. The discs were warped and that is fact, when they became warped and who/what was responsible is going to be impossible to prove.

The best you can do is complain to fiat customer services but given their track record they will not do anything about it.

You will still need to get services and potentially any warantee work done by the dealer so unless you have another dealer in the area it's best not to piss them off
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Old 26-07-2016   #15
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Re: Advice on Warped Brake Discs

Quote Originally Posted by AndyRKett View Post
It's very much a case of he said she said. The discs were warped and that is fact, when they became warped and who/what was responsible is going to be impossible to prove.

The best you can do is complain to fiat customer services but given their track record they will not do anything about it.

You will still need to get services and potentially any warantee work done by the dealer so unless you have another dealer in the area it's best not to piss them off
To be fair, we don't know if it is fact at all. Have they offered LilK the discs back for independent inspection? No, and I doubt they'll even have them now, they'll have been chucked in the scrap metal bin. In effect, they could have told her any old crap they wanted and she'd just have to take their word for it. It's easy cash in their pocket to say the discs are warped without showing the customer the metal, and even then, you won't necessarily know that what they're showing you has actually come off your car. Yes, I'm cynical as hell, but this is why I do almost all of my own servicing because at least I can trust myself. You're absolutely right though, neither side are going to be able to prove one way or the other where, when, why and how it happened.

I clearly don't know where LilK lives, but I'd be looking for another dealership withing a 10 or 15 mile radius if she's lucky enough to have another nearby. Then again, I probably wouldn't bother using a dealership again, unless one was on a pre paid service plan, rather go independent and save some cash. As you are undoubtedly aware, you don't need to use a dealership for any general repairs under EU Block Exemption rules, so long as approved parts are used, warranty should be unaffected.
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