Question about 1999 Saturn SL

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1999 Saturn SC-2 Brakes

I keep this car very well maintained bcuz my daughter who is 17 drives it. Less than 100 miles ago we heard the indicators chirping on the brakes so I took it to my usual shop. (which has just recently changed ownership) The car does have just over 150K miles and we are not the original owner but, have maintained it the past 55K miles. So, the shop called this morning to report that the front brakes are so bad off that they've worn horrible grooves into the rotors ... over $200 repair. AND the rear brakes are spewing brake fluid everywhere and it has eaten up the brake shoes entirely.... and the drums need replacing.... estimated over $500 repair just for the rear brakes.

When I dropped the car off yesterday I'd had the mechanic visually inspect the front tires with me and we both agreed they needed replacing but, that there was not any metal coming through the tread yet. I specifically asked that question. This morning my front tires are totally worn out... metal sticking out everywhere. What??? I told the guy that I had his mechanic look at them just yesterday and there wasn't any metal showing.

I told them to just change the oil and I'd be in later to get my car. I'm going for a second opinion elsewhere. But, is it even possible that any of this is true? There were no braking symptoms at all.... just the chirping and that for less than 100 miles. I went outside again and checked the concrete parking area.... thinking maybe I'd somehow missed all this brake fluid.... and there is nothing other than the usual drip or two of oil ... but, no stain near any of the tire areas. In addition, I bought brake fluid for my other vehicle last week and also checked the Saturn and it was right up to level then.

The repairs they suggested ranged $800-$1000 on a car that only has a suggested KBB of $2700... and I feel much less since it also burns oil as is common with Saturns. They had this car in just two months ago (about 800 miles ago) and checked everything including brakes. (under old ownership) At that point, no recommendation to do anything to the brakes bcuz they had just had new pads/rotors turned approx. less than 10,000 miles previous.

Help! And yes, I am a woman. *lol*

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Sounds like the only thing i could give you is advice. i would think that front brakes would last at least 25-30k miles. depending on the grade of parts used, there is premium and economy. the chirping noise was probably the warning tabs on the pads indicating the need for repair. replacing pads and rotors is very common practice. maybe a flex hose or caliper is holding brakes on a bit that wore out the brakes quicker. i believe you didnt see brake fluid on ground from rear brakes because the wheel cylinders leak inside the drum area and does not always hit the ground. brake fluid will contaminate the shoe material in time. drums are usually measured for resurfacing unless obviously grooved or out of round too much. as far as tires go. if there is uneven wear on the tread. (metal on inside or outside of tire) i would have front end inspected for worn parts and have it aligned if putting new tires on. hope this helps. will assist further if nec.

Posted on Nov 14, 2008

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