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2012 Volvo S-60, 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5 base, 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5 i Limited
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2013 Outback 2.5i 30k miles, DS Front caliper locking up, causing wheel shimmy and smoke!
Wife has it towed to dealer.
We have an extended warranty, this item is not covered, dealer quotes $965.00 for new caliper, brake pads and rotor!
Is something wrong here or is it just me!!:surprise::surprise:
 

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'18 2.5i Premium
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First, wrong generation of Outback.

Second, depending on the amount of rust on them, that doesn't sound out of this world. Five years seems to be a reasonable amount of time for a caliper. Also, that price most likely includes two calipers, two rotors and two sets of pads. Brakes should be replaced in pairs.

You can save a fair amount if you do it yourself. Brakes are easy. The hardest part would be the bleeding...
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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call around to a couple independent shops for estimates?
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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1. Does this car spend any time parked on grass? That holds moisture and rusts components quickly.
2. Wash your car underneath frequently in the spring so salt isn't lying on everything as the temperatures warm up. Put it on your google calendar or someting convenient and just do it every year.

I don't even know where to begin with this topic - there's just too much to cover and clearly a lot of fog and sad assumptions and misinformation on the diagnosis and repair quote.

First of all technically speaking calipers don't fail, or rather that's a really low grade 4th grade level diagnosis. That's like the Doctor saying "your arm has failed, we have to replace it this week". You would freak out with that lack of information. Is it nerves, is it bone, is it blood flow, what's going on? There are times when a caliper replacement is warranted, but when you're talking 4 digit repair tags on something this new with this drastic of a symptom, and I guarantee they are quoting unnecessary items, then I'd similarly want to diagnose this properly.

Simply put let me outline this for you:

I. Double check warranty coverage agreement.

II. Ask specifically what failed in the caliper? Calipers have two failure modes:
1. The slides seize.
2. The piston seizes.

Which one failed and how did they verify it?
I would want to see it myself, ask them to show you or send a picture. For two reasons - something caused this outlier failure and I'd want to know so I can prevent it from happening again. (caliper damage, excessive rust, better slide grease...etc)....and also because I know for a fact their diagnosis and repair suggestions are low grade and not quantitatively driven. They're just throwing an !(%)*%! of parts and your money at it.


This is an outlier and should be properly diagnosed. Subaru calipers routinely last the life of the vehicle if properly maintained. Most are needlessly replaced by mechanics when cleaning and regreasing or repairing slides is the proper and cheap repair, less than $100.


Five years seems to be a reasonable amount of time for a caliper.
This is absolutely untrue and unfounded for Subaru's. I don't know other brands but Subaru calipers easily last the life of the vehicle. 200,000 miles and 20 years is nothing for a Subaru caliper. I have driven and maintained and repaired countless Subaru's for 20+ years and what you're saying simply isn't even close to reality. My current daily drivers all have 270k, 190k, 170k and i can make a long list of others with original calipers that I've owned or worked on. This is the norm, 5 year replacement is not.
 

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2013 Outback 2.5i 30k miles, DS Front caliper locking up, causing wheel shimmy and smoke!
Wife has it towed to dealer.
We have an extended warranty, this item is not covered, dealer quotes $965.00 for new caliper, brake pads and rotor!
Is something wrong here or is it just me!!:surprise::surprise:
Do you have the Subaru warranty? I thought that covered calipers plus any consequential damages like pads & rotors.
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R Ltd. w. Eyesight
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Yeah, whatever happened to rebuilding components such as calipers; everything is R & R nowadays it seems. New seals, pistons, etc. and clean/polish/re-lube the sliders, etc. should be a lot cheaper than installing a whole new assembly. Is it just greed, attempts to eliminate returns for poorly-done work, or is it truly better somehow for the customer?
 

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Yeah, whatever happened to rebuilding components such as calipers; everything is R & R nowadays it seems. New seals, pistons, etc. and clean/polish/re-lube the sliders, etc. should be a lot cheaper than installing a whole new assembly. Is it just greed, attempts to eliminate returns for poorly-done work, or is it truly better somehow for the customer?
At the dealership it probably comes down to the liability of rebuilding parts vs replacing the whole unit. Plus they probably have a ton more markup in the price of the whole unit versus just a couple seals and guide pins.
 

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doug, I think it's like a lot of other areas, the ratio of labor costs to replacement costs have shifted. When it costs $100 to have an appliance repair guy show-up at your house, you have to figure that plus additional parts and labor costs into the utility of repairing your 10 year old clothes dryer.

If you can DIY (easier than it has been in the past with internet forums and youtube videos, etc.) you CAN repair stuff yourself - but many people just don't/can't so - another lump of metal heads to the recycler and another Korean clothes dryer gets purchased. Probably because of a bad $15 part.

this is part of the reason a lot of unreliable axles get put on Subarus, the messy labor of rebooting an OEM axle's inner joint vs just getting a $60 rebuilt axle.
 

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The most common cause of "caliper seizing" by a million miles are the slides seizing and bushings swelling. Both require $1 dollar in grease or a $5 bushing.

1. Seized slides are the most common issue with calipers. Happens all the time and is easily repairable.

They simply need removed, cleaned, and regreased with high quality grease and replace the slide pin bushings.
Cost is just grease and one tiny bushing. This is like 90%+ of Subaru caliper issues - so this is the most likely by far.
Sometimes they're so seized they need heated up - this is no big deal as shops are heating stuff up every day.

Here's your $3 + shipping bushings:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Disc-Brake-Caliper-Bushing-Front-Rear-ACDELCO-PRO-DURASTOP-18K2071/232686712757?fits=Year:2013|Make:Subaru&epid=5005413996&hash=item362d3577b5:g:hGgAAOSw1cNaBwdy&vxp=mtr

Although personally those bushings are pointless single points of failure so I've been throwing them away for years, but you likely wont have that capacity or experience or opportunity to make that decision.

If it is seized slides then this should be avoidable in the future (another reason you want to know the exact diagnosis):
A. don't park for extended periods over grass
B. schedule under car rinses frequently in the spring and well past snow season to make sure residual salts aren't sitting during hot weather.
C. make absolutely certain the slides only ever get high quality grease from Subaru or SilGlyde or equivalent. Generic greases cause the pin bushings to swell and seize the calipers.

I can not even tell you how many times this has happened:
Frantic phone call: "I'm at the shop and was quoted $WXYZ to replace all my brakes"
Me: "Relax, they're wrong, bring it here and I'll fix it for a few dollars"
And it's fixed for pocket change.
That's happened countless times, I've never been wrong, not even once over the phone without seeing a car that some "professionals" just "diagnosed" - I can not exaggerate how common this is in rust prone areas. It's almost a fun little game for me and i get to help someone all the time stressed out by these situations.

2. On Subaru's, particular this new, without compelling reason, you only replace the caliper and parts that have failed, replacing as "sets" (calipers and rotors) and "pairs" is archaic and has not quantitative justification. It's pointless to blindly replace both because they routinely last the life of the vehicle. Similarly it's also pointless to replace asymptomatic rotors. Likely replace the one that's been overheated maybe since you're out all this labor anyway, but it's pointless to replace them in pairs particularly in a very specific failure related episode like this.

3. pistons - these can be resealed if they're leaking, I've done it, it's no big deal. Pop out piston and replace ONE SEAL.
OOOOOHHHHHHH So difficult. The seal kit from Subaru in the link posted above, and copied here, is #6 and costs $22 or $24 depending which side has failed:
https://parts.subaruonlineparts.com/auto-parts/2013/subaru/outback/2-5i-trim/2-5l-h4-gas-engine/brakes-cat/front-brakes-scat

This is very rare and highly unlikely on an average daily driver 2013 (no wreck, no flood, no sitting for years in grass/mud, etc - thing that usually cause a seized piston).

Something in here is likely your root cause and has a $25 or less parts cost + labor to repair. I've done them all countless times so I'm not just guessing or making this stuff up.

4. Brake hoses can collapse internally and cause calipers to seize too. Very rare and unlikely given you live in the rust belt so it's probably seized slides but I'd still want a confirmed specific diagnosis (what exact part failed, not just "the caliper") before proceeding on throwing $1,000 in parts at it.
 

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Is it just greed, attempts to eliminate returns for poorly-done work, or is it truly better somehow for the customer?
For a dealer they need fast one-size-fits-all solutions and parts supply. A customer waiting for parts ends up hurting the dealer and customer and other customers (delays, time, etc).

Essentially this comes down to scale. Shops have to scale whatever they do - volume. Which means parts - they need steady supply of consistent parts. Easy to get and stock calipers than various parts for them and the training to diagnose as such.

Customers create the market/demand too - the market supports what customers are willing to tolerate. they're willing to pay, so in some sense it's all the people wiling to pay those amounts and demand speed, efficacy, etc. Whatever is happening is supported by customers, in my mind they're at least a percentage of the "problem" if you think it's a problem.

Takes time and training to diagnosis exceptionally well. Most training probably goes to service/repair than the detailed diagnosis i've described. I doubt they put their most experienced engine/trans tech's on simple brake stuff - i guarantee this is easy without even seeing it.

For general shops - they can't specialize and know as much about each brand/manufacturer. They need one size fits all approaches that work repeatably for all manufacturers and their existing parts suppliers.

Even a great shop - has to manage employees, they can't have their hands on every car. My friends that own shops tell me this - that's their largest concern. They are talented but there's only so much of them to go around and they need to train and catch mistakes.

Now - in all this fog there are shops/mechanics that take advantage of the nuances and lack of mechanical familiarity of consumers. That is clearly wrong, but that's not always the case and making direct assumptions that "cost equals thievery" is too simple and inaccurate for the current market.
 

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2013 Outback 2.5i 30k miles, DS Front caliper locking up, causing wheel shimmy and smoke!
Wife has it towed to dealer.
We have an extended warranty, this item is not covered, dealer quotes $965.00 for new caliper, brake pads and rotor!
Is something wrong here or is it just me!!:surprise::surprise:
Does not surprise me at all, the bad caliper or the dealer refusing the warranty(typical Subaru dealer M.O.). I found one of our front calipers pretty sticky when I did rotors, pads, carrier clean, and fluid flush. Was mildly surprised on our 2011 Outback 2.5 at 50k, to find a stuck caliper in front. Got it unstuck with a large adjustable wrench. Completely flushed the old fluid and cleaned/lubed the carrier. Had we waited longer on the fluid and brakes, it would have been toast.
Having said that, sorry to hear. You might call Subaru of America to see if they could help. Hope it turns out better.
Regards
 

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We have an extended warranty, this item is not covered ...
You might want to double-check that yourself. Since at least July, 2014, Subaru Added Security plans (both Classic and Gold Plus) have included brake calipers in their coverage. (Ref: Subaru Form AS-28, July 2014, January 2017)

Even a great shop - has to manage employees, they can't have their hands on every car. My friends that own shops tell me this - that's their largest concern. They are talented but there's only so much of them to go around and they need to train and catch mistakes.
Very true. That's a concern for any small service-oriented business ... how to grow the business and still deliver the same level of quality for your customers. As a start, the founder(s) of a business need to lead by example. One of the guiding principles in my small company was, "Zero defects is barely good enough."

"If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude." ~ Colin Powell
 

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keep in mind, it would be fair for Subaru to have proof that the inspections in the service schedule were done. If caliper slides were getting dry or rusty, they might have been dealt with before they actually freeze-up.
 

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2012 Outback Ltd 3.6r
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I'd have expected the calipers would be covered, but not the pads and other consumables, minus any deductible. Something doesn't sound right, the braking system is listed on the covered components on my extended warranty, I went back and checked.

Is the extended warranty a Subaru warranty, or is it perhaps the powertrain warranty they provide to 100k with a CPO? - I bought up to the Gold for a couple hundred when I purchased my Outback. (Yet to utilize it, but nice having piece of mind until the end of December).
 

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keep in mind, it would be fair for Subaru to have proof that the inspections in the service schedule were done. If caliper slides were getting dry or rusty, they might have been dealt with before they actually freeze-up.
Good point.....I believe they are to be inspected every 15k miles.
 
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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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This thread has me motivated now.

I just ordered me up (2) new lock pins (the lowers with the bushing) and (4) pin bushings. I am going to do an overhaul on the front of Cherry. Although I am having the opposite problem, my calipers are loose and rattly on the slider pins.
 

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I found one of our front calipers pretty sticky when I did rotors, pads, carrier clean, and fluid flush. Was mildly surprised on our 2011 Outback 2.5 at 50k, to find a stuck caliper in front. Got it unstuck with a large adjustable wrench.
Use high quality grease and periodically check them and the calipers, pins, brackets will last the life of the vehicle. I use SilGlyde but there's others and the subaru OEM stuff is excellent. avoid the cheap standard stuff - it isn't very good, detriorates quickly and swells the slide pin bushings.

I get that you properly fixed this but just for illustration purposes - none of the things you mentioned will fix a stuck caliper slide which is the only thing you'd put a large adjustable wrench on to get free. that illustrates part of the prevailing issues - Subaru calipers, fluid, and rotors are the common focus when in reality those have the lowest failure rates and quantitative degradation compared to grease, bushings, slide pins, boots and clips which are rarely mentioned.

with properly greased slide pins calipers and rear rotors will never need replaced, and the fronts can last the life of the vehicle too but more often sometimes need a replacement. i'm consistently seeing 200,000+ miles on OEM parts by simply regreasing with high quality grease and preventatively changing pad clips once around 150k-200k.

Stuck caliper slides are caused by:

1. lack of grease and rust.
solution: periodically clean and lubricate them with high quality grease.

2. swollen slide pin bushings. replace or remove them and use high quality grease. the lower grade stuff will cause them to swell and seize again in the future.

3. poor quality grease. it doesn't hold up well at all and causes bushings to swell in models equipped with bushings (which your subaru has, but not all of them do).

4. Pads can also hang over time as the pad clips get built up crust and corrosion or bent from prior pad changes.
 
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