Brakes Making a Noise – Missing Brake Shims The Problem?

Reader Question:

Good Evening Austin,

Five months ago had a complete brake job at a dealership and paid over a thousand dollars to have it done along with other so call “due maintenance”. I notice my car was making a noise it wasn’t making before bring it to this dealership, so I called them to let them know what was going on with my car and was told to bring it back in. I brought it back into the dealership and the same mechanic who worked on it before, looked at it again; even took it for a test drive and told me nothing was wrong.

My car continued making this noise and seemed to be getting worse, so I took it to another dealership, who told me they can tell I recently had work done on my car, but they would have to take my car apart (for a fee of course) to see if there is a problem. The dealership where this problem started sent me discount coupons and one of the coupons was a “FREE Multi- Inspection” deal. Still trying to give them the opportunity to find out what the problem is or rectify whatever they did, I brought it back to them and within less then 20 minutes, I was told the car was fine and everything check out.

Finally, I took my car to a “Midas” shop and got a FREE inspection and was told my “shims” on my front brakes was missing. At first, I thought the problem was the back breaks, because I know the dealership did the extensive work on the front brakes and not the back. I did not mention this to the guy at Midas and after his inspection, he showed me the part and even gave me a computer print-out of what the part should look like. I had to pay gain for a job I just recently paid for and I don’t think this is right. Can you please tell me how important or unimportant the “brake shims” are? Could I have cause an accident without them? Please advise.

Thank you for your time and patience and I look forward to your response.

Howdy J

The shims reduce vibration on the brake pad thus quieting their operation. Broken or missing shims usually result in a brake “squeel” type of noise or a vibrating sensation when the brakes are applied. No harm done in driving without them just could be prone to noise. Take your receipts to the dealership manager and ask to be reimbursed the Midas charges which hopefully they will do….. I would at my shop.

Austin Davis

Good Afternoon Mr. Davis,

First, please let me tell you how much I appreciate you’re response and advise. I went to the Dealership and asked to speak to the manager, but before I was able to see him the attendant who by the way, is the same person whose name appears on my invoices for every visit I had since this issue began; wanted me to explain the situation to her first, which I did.

After listening to me, she took my invoices and brought it to the manager, then a few minutes later, came out to tell me I can go in to see him. When I got in his office, the first thing he said was “You should have come to me, before going somewhere else to get your car fixed”. I tried to explain that I did come twice to get the problem corrected, but did not get any results, but he just kept insisting I should have brought it to him. I don’t know if this is a requirement of the dealership or a state law or not, but instead of standing there pleading me case to someone who refuse to listen, I just got his name and told him he will be hearing from my attorney.

I don’t have time or money to really take him to court, but I did hear I could file a complaint. Can I trouble you one more time and ask, is this wise to do or should I just take my lost and chalk it up to experience? Please advise.

Again, thank you for your patience and assistance in this matter.

Hello again J

I totally feel your pain…..this happens more than you know, unfortunately.

I would first give the DISTRICT manager a call and let him know what has happened and how you were treated and your trust in the brand has been tarnished and you feel this is a women thing etc. etc. etc. You have gone out of your way to make this right and to continue to visit the dealership for future repairs and purchases but the lack of assistance in this SIMPLE matter has left a very bad taste in your mouth. Play it up but dont bash him or the dealership etc.

Call the dealership GM back and ask him to give you the district manager phone number and the dealership owner name and direct contact information….so he knows you are not going to let this go. You might even say….your attorney asked to have the number, just to bluff him even further that you have already talked to the attorney. :) remember to be calm….and nice, but firm and determined. I might even make up something like….’my attorney also wants to know your BBB number”
…..there probably isn’t one, but it will get him guessing that you know more than he does.

They hate to hear that you will tell all your neighbors and friends about your awful experience and will not be recommending them or the brand to anyone.

You can get a lawyer to draft up a “demand letter” for about $150 and send it registered mail to the dealership….but it might cost more than the Midas repairs will. Taking this to court will cost you more time and money that its worth….trust me.

If the district manager is of no help….ya, I would file a complaint with the manufacturer and would also send a short letter back to the dealership GM and copy the district GM telling them how dissatisfied you are. You might also tell them you contacted me, and a few other shop owners and asked what we would have done….and paying your Midas bill is what would have happened.

I would be VERY embarrassed that a Midas shop with an entry level mechanic fixed a problem we over looked. :(

Although its not, I would claim this was a safety issue and they let you drive without the shims in place….which the manufacture put there for a reason, and your attorney thinks this is a much bigger issue than just getting reimbursed for your Midas bill. You could have killed someone, or yourself!!!! See where I am going with this….:)

Keep me posted, best of luck

Austin Davis

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  • bmw

    I hate it when that happens. I once had a problem with the flow regulator on my car. I had to take it in 3 times before they finally figured out what the problem was.

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  • Kate

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