Our 2014 Subaru Forester (2.5li, standard transmission) had its brakes (pads and rotors) replaced on September 2020 at 75,000 miles. Now, it's September 2022 and the car has 90,000 miles on it. Our technician is telling us that the brakes are too rusted to pass inspection and the rear rotors need replacing also. This is the same shop that replaced all the brake components 2 years ago.

Are we being taken for a ride? A quick online search says that brakes should go 2-5 years and more than 25k miles. It's a standard and although we do live atop a large hill, neither I nor my wife ride the brakes heavily.

  • When you say, "replaced all the brake components 2 years ago" ... what exactly was replaced/done? Sep 5, 2022 at 13:16
  • Pads and rotors were replaced
    – nuggethead
    Sep 5, 2022 at 13:16
  • I'm wondering if the brakes were bedded properly? Bedding does two things. First, it puts a coat of friction material onto new (or refinished) rotors, which allows it to work better. Secondly, if done right, cures the bonding agent within the friction material. If you overheat your brakes right off the bat, the bonding agent will go to the heat, which means it gathers near the rotor side of the pad. When that happens, once you've worn through the bonding agent, the rest of the pad wears quickly. Sep 5, 2022 at 13:45
  • Take it to a brake shop for a second opinion. 25K miles may or may not be acceptable, depending on other factors (where you are, how much you drive, etc)
    – PeteCon
    Sep 5, 2022 at 18:45
  • If you live at the top of a hill and do mostly short local journeys, perhaps half the mileage of the car is with the brakes applied. Sep 5, 2022 at 19:30

2 Answers 2


"Too rusted to pass inspection" is a matter of opinion, and no one here can have an opinion unless you provide a clear, close-up photo of the brakes and rotors.

Does the mechanic have a boat payment due right about now? Do you have any reason to trust this person as honest and interested in keeping you safe, doing a good job at a fair price? Or is he serving you a baloney sandwich? We can't tell from here.

If you can't do photos, you can get a second opinion locally. Ask another mechanic for a brake inspection, and expect to pay for it because anyone who gives free inspections is motivated to find something that needs replacement.

  • $50 for a 10 minute inspection is 99% profit, so there's far less motivation to sell services to go along with it.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 6, 2022 at 16:56

If a car is regularly driven rust will be rubbed off by friction. Even if it's sat around for a bit there should only be surface rust which again should be rubbed off. So, the mechanic's statement sounds dubious and you are right for questioning it. Typically rust isn't really an issue, rotors need to be replaced because they are pitted/scored, warped or they get too thin.

The best way to check yourself is to take a couple of wheels off and have a look. If you can get under the car you can look at the inside of the rotor without taking the wheels off, often you can get clearance by driving one side up on a curb. Take some pictures with good light and edit your original post with them.

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