Visits to Three Repair Shops Yield Three Different Options

Dear Car Talk:

I took my 2017 Nissan Murano Platinum to the dealership for my 30,000-mile service. The front brake pads were OK, but they said my rear pads were down to 3 millimeters and needed to be replaced. They suggested replacing those rear pads and resurfacing the rear rotors at a total cost of $330.

I then took my car to a couple of independent repair shops for second and third opinions. The second shop said I only need brake pads on the back, and that the rotors were not that bad. Besides, they said, rotors can't be resurfaced on newer Nissan models. His quote was $220.

The third shop told me he didn't want to just replace the pads without new rotors. He said the old rotors would make the new pads squeal because they were glazed. He also said you can't resurface the rotors, so they need to be replaced. His price is $380.

So, who is yanking my chain? Is the dealer correct that you can resurface the rotors on newer Nissans, or do the independents know something the dealer doesn't? -- Al

Technically, any rotor can be removed and resurfaced, Al. The question is whether it makes any sense to do it.

We haven't resurfaced a rotor in 10 years. It's just not worth it anymore. Rotors are fairly inexpensive, and for the $50 difference in price, you can have new rotors rather than thinner, resurfaced rotors.

If it were my car, I'd go to guy No. 3 and just do everything at once and be done with it. But based on the number of opinions you sought out, Al, including mine, I'm guessing you're of a frugal nature. In which case, you can certainly use guy No. 2, and just do the rear pads.

If he's checked the rear rotors and is sure they've got some life left, and they're not warped, he can deglaze them for you with a sanding disc when he changes the pads. In fact, that may be all the dealer intended to do.

Your mechanic should make sure he uses all the correct hardware and puts the anti-squeal paste on the back of the pads when he installs them. And you may be fine. And the worst thing that will happen? Your rear brakes may make some noise. If they do, and it bothers you enough, you can always go back and have the guy put in new rear rotors then.

You'll have to pay for the labor again, which I know is going to frost you, Al. So if you get to that point, there's always ear plugs. Good luck.

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