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2012 Kia Optima SX-T
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently had a horrible issue using Firestone to fix my front brakes at ~86K miles. I've NEVER had a problem with Firestone before (over 22 years of taking my various cars to them) but this time they totally blew it!!

They first turned the stock rotors and put Napa Premium Ceramic pads on as a performance upgrade but at the same price. Brakes squealed only for a slow stop (but VERY loudly). After driving around like this for two weeks and hoping just breaking them in by normal driving would fix it, I took it back. I noticed they did not change out the brake hardware (guides/clips, rubber boots) since I had gotten a slight amount of red caliper paint on the edges ~40K miles ago even though the brake kit had replacement parts.

They checked it out and replaced the pads with their normal "go to pad" the Wagner ThermoQuiet pads under warranty for me and brushed/scuffed the rotors. Drove around for another two weeks still with squealing brakes at slow stops. These brakes also seem "grabby" to me kinda like a performance pad but I was OK with that. This time the squeal was not as loud but still very noticeable. Took it back again and said "let's put your best brake guru on this" and they said they would. They again replaced the pads but this time with ADO Ceramic pads (has rubberized backing plates and this time they charged me $65 for the "upgraded" pads) and did replace the metal brake clips/guides and again brushed/scuffed the recently turned rotors. After another three weeks of normal driving (attempting to get 400-500 miles of normal driving) these would squeal when it was wet outside or cold (even after driving and using them) again on slow stops.

Being pretty fed up at this point I went to a different Firestone store for help. They replaced my rotors (at $83 each!) and told me they were going to put back on a new set of ADO Ceramic pads (didn't charge me again for these) but actually they didn't (yes, I checked) and instead they put the same Napa Premium Ceramic pads on again like the first time around. These suckers squealed the loudest of all and after only a couple days, I was done.

So I did what I should have done and decided to take it apart myself to see what they really did and if I could determine the actual problem. However, the fool doing the brake work last used an air-tool on my custom wheels and lug nuts and caused me to break three tools before I was able to get them all off (must have been over 200 ft-lbs or torque). That SUCKED! These were HF brand stuff that got replaced for free by HF.

After I got the front wheels off, what did I find out? First of all, they didn't re-grease the caliper slide pins at all (still had factory brake grease but they moved freely) or replace the original rubber boots (again, these came for free with the replacement pads and should have been replaced), they put NO brake grease on the brake clips/slides, the pad ears nor anything on the back of the pads or the caliper piston face/fingers. Basically, they just "slapped pads" on the first three visits with my turned rotors and also on the last visit with a new rotor set (Duralast according to the P/N on the paperwork). I thoroughly cleaned and re-greased what needed fixing (using CRC Extreme Ceramic Brake lube, the orange stuff) and put CRC Disc Brake Quiet spray (three coats, not the goop) on the back of the last set of Napa pads and reassembled it to see if that would fix it. Guess what? Still squealed badly!

Learning my lesson, I drove to Kia and bought the OEM pads ($100) which I don't know if they are ceramic or semi-metalic (parts guy couldn't determine it from the computer) but my factory ones stopped fine and lasted 85K miles so that's what I went back to. I also bought some Carlson QuietGlide hardware clips and boots and set about redoing this all again myself (with proper lube).

Result: It worked like a charm!

I then set about to clean and check my rear factory brakes and re-greased them as well. They had plenty of life left and the rear rotor was fine as well. At the same time, I repainted my front and rear calipers with another coat of red high temperature caliper paint (Duplicolor BCP-400 with a brush) to spruce them up again since I "was already in there".

I plan on writing this all up and sending this to Firestone corporate to see if I can get some of my money back. Very, very disappointing.

Doesn't anyone have any pride in their work these days??
 

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2014 Kia Optima
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145 Posts
Nope. I used the Napa Premium Rotors and Akebono ceramic pads. Replaced all hardware and made sure everything was lubricated properly. Not one squeak. If you want things done right you just have to do it yourself these days.


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2011 Kia Optima
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3,604 Posts
Quite a story and although it doesn't reduce the pain, you're not alone. If they squealed under light braking but not under heavy, I say it wasn't the pads as the noise usually comes from the pads moving slightly, but with heavy use the pads don't move, plus, I've used the Wagner Thermo pads on the Optima no problem.

Also, those rotors, as well as most rotors, shouldn't be turned as they will be under minimum service thickness.

Shame about Firestone, but most are just grease monkeys, do the job as quickly as possible and have no in depth knowledge of service requirements. Similar to lug nut installation, quality shop will at least use a torque stick so as not to over tighten the nuts.

I normally remove the tires and wheels and take them to the shop and do the installation myself, but last year needed tires for two cars so drove the Optima to the shop with the chrome Acura wheels in trunk and back seat. End result, 18 lug nuts on the Optima were fine, but two I needed a breaker bar with pipe attached to break them loose, and two of the Acura wheels were out of balance.

No matter how careful/knowledgeable one might be, you can't control inept people. Really annoying.
 
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