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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 08-28-2013, 10:31 PM
spokelizard spokelizard is offline
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Brakes worn out -- no warning light

For the last 5,000 miles or so, both the dealer service department and my indie mechanic have been warning me that my rear brakes are really worn. But both said it was safe to wait until the warning light came on, that there was a margin of safety after that, so I've been waiting.

Today I had an oil change and asked the indie to check the brakes again while it was up on the rack. They said it's at 2 mm, definitely requires replacement, even though the warning light still has never come on. I believed them and scheduled a rear brake job for tomorrow.

But why didn't the warning light come on? They suggested that the rear left had more wear and that the sensor is on the rear right. Is that reasonable?

Anyway, I can't complain, I'm at 79,500 miles and it's my first brake job. But I was really hoping to get to 80K first.
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2013, 08:06 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spokelizard View Post
.... both the dealer service department and my indie mechanic have been warning me that my rear brakes are really worn. But both said it was safe to wait until the warning light came on, that there was a margin of safety after that, so I've been waiting.

But why didn't the warning light come on? They suggested that the rear left had more wear and that the sensor is on the rear right. Is that reasonable?
That doesn't sound very professional of the dealer or the indie to me.

It is well known that there can be differences in wear between the inboard and outboard pads, especially on the rear, let alone left to right corner differences.

Freedom of movement of the sliders cannot be expected to be equally maintained at all corners with the brakes open to the elements and road debris being hurled at them.

For other cars that have those noise-generating wear indicators on all pads that might be valid advice.

But for BMWs that have indicators on only 2 of the 8 pads? I don't think so.

Possibly if you have an annual brake service that includes cleaning and lubing all calipers and not just checking pad thickness.

79.5K miles is well above average I would say.
My back brakes were done at 55K and fronts at 60K, but in neither case did I wait for the wear sensor to trip.
I view it as similar to tires - you can keep going until there is nothing left or you can call it a day before then and gain a safety and performance benefit.

When the piston in the caliper is residing in the short end of the bore it must be working in less than ideal conditions.
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  #3  
Old 08-29-2013, 10:26 AM
spokelizard spokelizard is offline
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Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
That doesn't sound very professional of the dealer or the indie to me....

I view it as similar to tires - you can keep going until there is nothing left or you can call it a day before then and gain a safety and performance benefit.
Thanks, Supercourse. I was perfectly willing to do the brakes before the warning light, but when I questioned them both insisted that there was no benefit. So I assumed that their nagging me about the brake wear was "upselling" service where it wasn't required.

For tires I'm always cautious and replace before the wear bars appear. I would have been similarly cautious with brakes if I'd only known.

Follow-up question: you mentioned piston, should that be replaced? I don't think that's on the program, not sure though.
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  #4  
Old 08-29-2013, 11:13 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spokelizard View Post
Follow-up question: you mentioned piston, should that be replaced? I don't think that's on the program, not sure though.
No, calipers don't usually need rebuilding, or replacing, until you really have a lot of miles.

Or if you neglect the scheduled brake fluid flushes and/or seals get otherwise damaged and corrosion sets in.
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  #5  
Old 08-29-2013, 01:16 PM
simsima325 simsima325 is offline
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Did you notice any decreased braking capability, or noise while braking?

I see it as the shops being relatively honest, and trying to get you your moneys worth on the brakes. But there does come a point that you shouldn't wait for the sensor to trip. Could be a failed sensor, and good idea to spend the couple dollars extra on new sensors front and rear when you have the job done.
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  #6  
Old 08-29-2013, 08:16 PM
spokelizard spokelizard is offline
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Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
No, calipers don't usually need rebuilding, or replacing, until you really have a lot of miles.

Or if you neglect the scheduled brake fluid flushes and/or seals get otherwise damaged and corrosion sets in.
Brake job is done. Calipers didn't need rebuilding or replacing. I've been getting brake flushes annually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simsima325 View Post
Did you notice any decreased braking capability, or noise while braking?

I see it as the shops being relatively honest, and trying to get you your moneys worth on the brakes. But there does come a point that you shouldn't wait for the sensor to trip. Could be a failed sensor, and good idea to spend the couple dollars extra on new sensors front and rear when you have the job done.
I agree, I've been pleased with both shops as far as integrity and honesty. No indications of declining brake performance at all, that's why I was depending on inspections or warning lights. Shop replaced the sensor, they do that routinely for brake jobs.


The good news is I got almost 80K from the original brakes. I'm really glad I didn't spring for the maintenance plan when I bought the car (as a CPO 2 years old). They offered me a plan that would "pay for itself" if I had front and rears done in the first 60K miles. Well I just had the rears done long after 60K, and the fronts are still OK, the shop measured them at 70% worn.

Last edited by spokelizard; 08-29-2013 at 08:23 PM. Reason: added a sentence
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2013, 02:36 AM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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By the book

2mm pass's inspection on a bonded pad

granted... Im going to fail you at 5mm (and im not going to mic the pad ) This is something a average descant mechanic can just look at and say... your getting close..... your there.... and your not leaving here till its done, Its unsafe (although ive had people say... No Im going)

Sounds like they didnt want the work... Or they wanted more work then a single brake job

EXC: wait till your rotors are shot then you have to replace them as well..

Regardless... get your brakes done..
and if you dont wait till the sensors hit... you dont have to replace them
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  #8  
Old 09-06-2013, 08:38 PM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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These sensor wont trip until the pads are very thin. Approx 500mi of city driving (BMW will try to maximize any brake life due to orig maintenance warranty). Its not unusual. If you check your car regularly, replace the brakes when you feel they are ready.
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  #9  
Old 09-08-2013, 11:47 AM
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Dave 20T Dave 20T is offline
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With the big open slots on many wheels today, it's easy to check the brake pad thickness with a flashlight. Of course, you only see the outer pads, not the inner pads, but that's useful information.
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