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I work at home and don't drive much (3,000 km on the car). I have a 2017 Mazda CX5 I bought last fall. Most of the time it's in my (attached, insulated) garage. I drive it maybe once or twice a week. The other day I took it in and was told that the brake rotors are rusty and need replacement, and I should have my brakes serviced, too. Does this sound reasonable? I'm concerned mostly because if the brake rotors rust after one year, that suggests I'll have to replace them every year. The rotors are under warranty, doubt the brake servicing is.

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Your rotors are likely NOT under warranty. They are considered "consumables" like windshield wiper blades and tires by every auto manufacturer I've dealt with. They may carry a manufacturers warranty (who manufactured the part, not the auto manufacturer. Tires are a common example).

As far as why are they are rusty, they are unpainted, untreated iron which rusts easily. Because they are thick, they generally don't have problems with rust, it's primarily surface rust. If the rotors are wet and/or cold when put away, they will rust. If they are stored in high humidity, they will rust. If you live in an area that uses salt on the road in the winter or the car is near a large body of salt water, that can cause rust.

Normal driving generally keeps this rust in check, buy scraping off the thin layer as it forms. In your situation you are giving the rust time to build up between uses. I'm not suggesting you drive more.

Questions: do they make noise and/or pull in one direction when applied? Are they causing any operational issues at all?

If you go out and brake hard 5 or 6 times you will likely scrub the rust off, assuming it's just surface rust.

If it were me, I'd laugh at the guy who suggested I replace my brakes because of surface rust. You might want to get a second opinion from another trusted shop.

  • I have no issue at all with the brakes, and no, they make no noise. I called up the service manager. He said that the dealer had to acquire my car from another dealer in trade, and as it was near the end of the year it had probably been sitting out in a lot for six to eight months before I got it. He also said they had noticed the factory was often not properly lubricating the brakes before shipping, and the dealer would replace the rotors without charge. He did recommend a yearly brake service, though, as part of regular maintenance, starting when I replaced the rotors. – John Argus Nov 3 '18 at 23:48
  • LOL, lubricating the brakes? If they are going to replace them for free, go for it. It's a relatively simple procedure (except rear rotors on a 2007 VW Golf, but that's another story). Rotors do not require replacement on an annual basis under normal circumstances. It may be time to find a different dealer, if possible. – Tim Nevins Nov 5 '18 at 15:23
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Rusty enough to require replacing after a year? That's complete rot, total BS. Some surface rust is completely normal for an occasional use car. Some parts of the rotors will get rusty and stay that way because there's no friction to scrape it off, which is normal and nothing to worry about. If rotors are pitted due to rust I'd say definitely they need to go, however that takes a long time to develop and would not be a concern in your case.

There's no reason for a brake service either unless you are experiencing problems. the car's one year from new and hasn't been driven much, the fluid should still be fresh and the pads should still have loads of wear on them.

This sounds like an unscrupulous mechanic trying to squeeze money for unnecessary repairs. Report the jokers, and go somewhere else.

  • I suspect you may be correct. The problem is I selected this dealer because the one closer to me has a terrible reputation both on google reviews and with the local BBB. The one I selected has lots of praise and a perfect record at the BBB. If I bypass both I have to go quite some distance to the next dealer. I've made it clear to the service manager this better not be something required every year. I doubt he would give me free rotors every year if it was... – John Argus Nov 3 '18 at 23:52

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