My Vibe has recently had its rear brake pads and rotors replaced, but nothing else in the brake system. Yesterday I drove for about 20km and noticed a burning smell and a lot of heat coming off of the rear driver-side brake. I checked again this morning after a 5km drive to work and the same thing happened. The car isn't driving badly and it doesn't pull to one side. The e-brake handle is loose and has lots of play in it. I have a few questions:

  • Could this be due to a loose e-brake cable? If so, I feel it should affect the passenger side as well, and that side is not heating up.
  • I have a 2500km round trip coming up in two days. I am very concerned that I won't be able to take it to a mechanic in time. I'm aware that this will probably destroy my brakes, but is it unsafe? I am going to try to get it into my mechanic today, but if he can't look at it soon enough I don't know what option I have here.

It is unsafe, don't drive this car 2500km unless you get it fixed. The heat could cause a brake failure, it's just not worth the risk. At the very least you'll get a warped rotor and you could end up needing to replace several components at high cost.

You either have an emergency brake with isn't releasing, or a brake caliper which isn't releasing, which is more likely as you've just had them serviced. A likely culprit is the slider pins on the caliper being rusted up or needing to be lubricated. So call your mechanic and tell them the situation, a good mechanic will free up time and fix for free under warranty as it is a problem with their work.


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