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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
2010 KIA Soul Sport 2L Auto, 108.6K, one owner

Failed state inspection for P-brake…

…according to the KIA dealer (not where I bought the car, but a competent—if expensive—service dept.), the whole parking brake system needs replacing; very labor intensive: quoted $2,900.00, up from a $400-$500 estimated fix the day before, I guess before they had done a more in depth investigation. $2,900.00 just so I can get the “R” inspection sticker removed and drive my otherwise good car legally (FYI: KIA did not do the inspection). That’s almost 1/7th the cost of the car brand new!

IS THIS AN UNREASONABLY RIDICULOUS REPAIR QUOTE?

The history:
I bought the car new in July 2009; it was manufactured the prior April. I have maintained it well, having oil changed every 4K miles…it hasn’t needed much service (other than tires, brakes (2x), battery, fuel line, AC, timing belt, Trans. fluid & pan replaced; changed head & fog lamps myself), and has been very reliable, and has relatively low mileage: 108.6K.

Oct. 2014: the 4 disc brakes were extremely worn & corroded, and the KIA dealer wanted $500+ for the repair. I was underemployed. My young housemate, who I’d seen replacing his brakes & doing other repairs, had recently lost his job and offered to do my brakes for just $25 if I provided the parts…sounded too good to be true…as I found out it was. Too late and well into the job, I realized he exaggerated his abilities, had never worked on an import, nor had he even bothered to research my car at all. The parking brake had locked up (probably due to him wrenching hard on the lever AFTER I had told him I had set the break), and he was stumped as to how to get it to release so he could remove the rear rotors. In spite of my misgivings, he wailed on them with a hammer! After way too long, he took a break, and finally googled the solution (stupidly easy: stick a screwdriver in a hole). As he removed each rotor, little springs and other parking brake parts flew off in every direction. Amazingly, we were able to find them all (or did we?), and he put them back in place…

[KIA dealer now reports one of the bolts was inserted backwards, causing a big groove in that rotor—I remember seeing such a groove when a different mechanic did the next brake job 3 years ago]

…but when he finished the job, the parking brake simply did not work at all! I got him to ride with me, and followed his coaching of engaging & disengaging the parking brake, which he claimed was “self adjusting.” Amazingly, they slowly began gripping, until they completely stopped the car on a pretty steep incline. I was not really convinced, but there wasn’t much I could do.

A year or two later, they weren’t too effective; KIA dealer tightened the cable enough to pass inspection, but cautioned me it was not a permanent fix, they would need at least $200 to do a labor-intensive fix, and there was a lot of rust that was probably also an issue. A couple years later, my pre-KIA mechanic tightened the P-brake again, also cautioned that it needed more work, which he was not keen to attempt suspecting a “can o’ worms” and not having enough experience w/KIAs.

Since then, the brake has been “iffy” for stopping forward motion, but seemed to stop reverse rolling…until 2-3 years ago, when they did nothing to stop forward rolling. Since the lever ratcheted with tension normally, and the dash light came on, I guess it fooled the state inspectors…until this year (same guy passed my car last year, and the P-brake was as dysfunctional as now).

I'm in for (at least) $60 with the KIA dealer, who is waiting for my decision what to do next…cannot legally drive the car until it passes inspection…I have AAA+, but not sure whether to have it towed again somewhere…I just don't know any other garages I can trust. There are some other impending issues one might expect on a 13-year-old northern car, but on a very low fixed income, I'm not ready to purchase another car in the current market…
 

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Never go to the dealer for brake jobs. Find an independent shop to do it, even a Meineke. Depending on what the actual problem is, replacing parking brake shoes and the hardware (springs, etc) is a fairly easy job. If you need new cables that will add cost, but unless you stretched the heck out of them they should be fine once adjusted. Even if you need new rotors, pads, parking brake shoes, brake hardware, it shouldn’t come anywhere close to $2,9000. Get another quote somewhere else.
 

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Since we can't see your car and all that is wrong with it I will make some assumptions based on the rust you mention and the incorrect bolt installation. So what your idiot friend did is not realized that on the Gen1 the caliper bracket bolts are 2 different lengths and put them in the wrong position so it ate into the rotor. As for the parking brake issue, chances are your backing plates are rusted out so the dealer wants to replace them, the dealer doesn't have much choice even if the backing plates are good as Kia only sells the parking brake assembly complete with the shoes, after market offers shoes and hardware seperately. The backing plates with the parking brake run just over $200 per side. Your rotors are probably deemed not safe so they are probably going to do the brake job back there as well with Kia rotors and pads. If you start adding it up you have around $400-500 in parts for the backing plates, another $100 if the cable is bad, plus the cost of a rear brake job with rotors and pads and another 2 hours labor to remove the wheel bearings and install the backing plates. 2900 sounds like double what it should cost but we don't know what else they found and what else needs replacing.
 

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Take it to an independent mechanic for a second opinion. If you drive it and get caught it's a ticket.
As long as you have insurance and a valid drivers license it's a tolerable risk as long as the driving brakes are still working and you only go from the dealership to the mechanic.
Next time don't let your inspection go to the last minute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Take it to an independent mechanic for a second opinion. If you drive it and get caught it's a ticket.
As long as you have insurance and a valid drivers license it's a tolerable risk as long as the driving brakes are still working and you only go from the dealership to the mechanic.
Next time don't let your inspection go to the last minute.
I'd have it towed…if you get stopped in MA w/a red "R" inspection reject sticker, it's not only a fine, but points as well. Getting inspected at the last minute or first would make no difference: still cannot legally drive the car, have 60 days to get the repair & free re-inspection…I was actually more concerned about my rear tires being too worn (can see the wear bars), but the inspector said "they look like new" & dealer confirmed they're well within the tread requirements (BTW, driving brakes and everything else work fine).
 

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Dealer offered to replace rear rotors & pads for "parts cost only" ($250) ON TOP of the $2900 since they will have removed everything else anyway.
Do you have the quote? Can they email you the parts and labor quote? We must be missing something, your entire parking brake system is a handle, a cable, two backing plates with shoes on them they sit inside the drum part of the rotor, what adds up to 3k is beyond me. It would really help to see the quote as there must be something else wrong that we just can't see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Take it to an independent mechanic for a second opinion. If you drive it and get caught it's a ticket.
As long as you have insurance and a valid drivers license it's a tolerable risk as long as the driving brakes are still working and you only go from the dealership to the mechanic…
I'd have it towed…if you get stopped in MA w/a red "R" inspection reject sticker, it's not only a fine, but points as well.
[tiny bit off-topic] Now that's odd…been a AAA+ member for years & years (with a 5-year break while KIA provided roadside assistance), and this time, when I called to ask whether a tow from the dealer to another mechanic would be covered, the rep was all "sure, fine…" UNTIL I mentioned it had failed inspection for the parking brake…she became a brick wall:
"No, the car must be registered, licensed, safe and legally driveable …it's in our membership services agreement…that previous tow should not have been allowed…"
This is ridiculous…I'm hoping it's just a case of getting the right person on the phone…I made a similar call last week before actually ordering the tow days later via the phone app, explaining EVERYTHING to the phone rep, who was ready to place the order right then; when the tow driver showed up for the tow, he made no comments at all…I even pulled out of my parking space to make it easier for him to load it on the flatbed. Even the dealer said AAA would cover that initial tow even though the car was driveable: "Yeah, just mention you failed inspection for the parking brake…"
 

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You have 60 days to fix the car with a rejection sticker. Just drive it to a shop. If a cop pulls you over you have the paperwork that shows that. I had a rejection sticker on my old Elantra because the emissions monitors were not ready which is an automatic fail, and I drove it all over the place for over a month because I kept forgetting to have it rechecked. The car is still insured and registered, so don’t know what the AAA person was going on about. Also, don’t tell AAA anything more than what they need to know. (Location, destination, make and model)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You have 60 days to fix the car with a rejection sticker. Just drive it to a shop. If a cop pulls you over you have the paperwork that shows that. I had a rejection sticker on my old Elantra because the emissions monitors were not ready which is an automatic fail, and I drove it all over the place for over a month because I kept forgetting to have it rechecked. The car is still insured and registered, so don’t know what the AAA person was going on about. Also, don’t tell AAA anything more than what they need to know. (Location, destination, make and model)
Are the cops in NH more laid back than in MA? I've heard similar advice locally, with the caveat that it all comes down to the discretion of the officer…the law here states that the car may not be driven with a SAFETY VIOLATION (which the P-brake is)…60 days to get it repaired & re-inspected, but technically, you are not permitted to drive or park on public roads during that time. The only paperwork I have is the inspection record (besides my registration).

What happens if I get pulled over by police when I have a safety rejection sticker, but have already scheduled an appointment to have repairs made?

You should not drive a vehicle that failed its safety inspection and has not yet been repaired. If you continue to drive your vehicle, you may be cited by police for operating an unsafe vehicle. After you get safety defects fixed, your Certificate of Rejection allows you to operate your vehicle for up to 60 days, while arranging for re-inspection. Until your vehicle is re-inspected, be sure to keep the repair receipts in your vehicle as proof that you are complying with the law. This is especially important for safety defects because you are required to have them repaired right away.

My auto insurance is too expensive already (even w/clean record and never a claim)…I don't wanna get any points to make it completely unaffordable.
 

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I live in MA, right on the border but I like NH better so that’s why I put it as my location.

What I take from that is you have 60 days to operate the vehicle with the rejection sticker. Yes technically after the repair, but a cop is not a qualified mechanic and doesn’t need to know if the repair is complete or what the repair is.

Make something up like “my emission monitors weren’t ready because I just got a new battery (or the battery was disconnected) and the inspector told me to drive around for a couple of days till the monitors run and then bring it back to get rechecked”. He probably won’t have any idea what you’re talking about, and the likelihood of being pulled over is slim anyway. — that’s why my Elantra failed because I got a new battery the same day I went for an inspection and the monitors reset and didn’t all run, and that’s exactly what the inspector told me to do. By the time I finally went back, the monitors ran and passed and I got my sticker.

If you’re worried. Set up an appointment so you can drop the car off at a shop at night (it gets dark now by 5pm, and they may still be open) to get fixed the next morning. You can’t see the sticker at night. Most shops have a key drop if they’re closed. Have a friend or Uber for a ride back home. When you pick up the car it will be “fixed” and you can head back to get your passing inspection sticker.
 

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TBH I am not surprised about the cost id they are replacing everything. I did this a few years ago and the parts alone from the dealer were a lot. 2 rear cables -$600, backing plates $400, shoes $75, hardware kit $35. The labor was more than the parts. I did the job by myself with parts from various areas for about $700 total.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Do you have the quote? Can they email you the parts and labor quote? We must be missing something, your entire parking brake system is a handle, a cable, two backing plates with shoes on them they sit inside the drum part of the rotor, what adds up to 3k is beyond me. It would really help to see the quote as there must be something else wrong that we just can't see.
Here are the quotes from an email I requested this morning…P-brake stuff is in 1st paragraph.

Quotes for Repairs
To properly repair the parking brake assembly we would need to replace the shoes, hardware and the cables. Like we had talked about the hubs are currently frozen to the knuckles so I can not guarantee that they would be able to be reused. The rear brake pads are at about 4mm and the rotors are very rusted so we would recommend replacing them while they have to come off anyway so that way it would save you the cost of the additional labor to have it replaced later. The cost for parts and labor for all of that together is about $2850 and tax is about another $85. If we were to hold off on the rear pads and rotors it would save about $200 in parts.
The other items that we had talked about are:
the leaking transmission pan
the front suspension and lower radiator support being very rusted
the transmission shifter lever being very tight and difficult to move
the oil change
Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions,
Thank you!
--
Service Advisor
Kia Dealer

On the phone this morning, I think he said new hubs were @ $500 (or was that for the pair?…I was sleepy). I think it was the hubs being frozen to the knuckles, plus needing to remove them to attach new cables is what made the total cost jump so radically over 24 hrs. last week. He also confirmed that I still only owed them the originally quoted $60 for checking it out [phew!].

The "other items" I may wait on for now until the P-brake is fixed and passes inspection…I don't think the transmission fluid is leaking that badly, though I would get it attended to soon (just not at the dealer, which charges several times just for the fluid you can buy in the store…I had it changed along w/the pan 3 years ago). I think the leak is very recent…I only noticed the drip stains on my parking spot after AAA towed the car away…I do check the level occasionally, and it's been right where it should be. I'd also wait on new pads & rotors, despite the groove & corrosion…braking has been fine, and mostly depends on the front anyway.
Shifter lever has been sticky/imprecise on & off for years; I've gotten used to manipulating it. Dealer improved that years ago as well, just cleaning out crud.

The front suspension & radiator support being "very rusted" is new to me (I don't recall him mentioning this on the phone last Friday), but not a surprise: when Town Fair Tire replaced the front tires 3 yrs ago, they balked on the "included alignment" due to rust on the tie rods (?); "we don't want to break them." Dealer mentioned the tie rods (?), but agreed it's not critical yet (no problems w/steering, and tires are wearing evenly).

When he called with the "bad news" at the end of last Friday, 11/11, he gravely alerted me about the "other issues" ("this is the type of call we don't like to make") and suggested I do a cost/benefit analysis, and perhaps "keep the $2900 for a down payment on a new car" (dealers always seem to have that motive—I'm sure they could turn a profit on my car if they acquired it from me—it would be better to get it totaled: my ins. appraises it at $4K, though it's worth way more to me).

For me, buying a new car in the current market is out of the question (I officially became a senior citizen this year, with a fixed income barely over the FPL)…I was hoping this would be the last car I buy in my life (unrealistic without a garage in NE, I guess). The handwriting is on the wall…glad I've put off getting new rear tires & the AC fixed…If I could get the P-Brake fixed for even around $1K, pass inspection, get the transmission fluid leak dealt with, it would be worth it to get through the winter.

If ZipCar served my neighborhood, I'd consider becoming "car-free" and would love not paying for insurance and maintaining a car. I don't live in Boston proper, and MBTA is not so convenient here. Due to being high-risk for Covid, and doctor's orders to stay away from public enclosures, I haven't used my "Transportation Access Pass" (discounted) Charlie Card since the pandemic began. Or any ride services with a driver & prior passengers you cannot vet for health precautions. Driving less than 1K per year…but having a safe "capsule" is invaluable.

I'm calling other garages around me…at least for advice, I was gonna call my pre-KIA mechanic, Oriental Car King (formerly Hondaa King) in Brighton…but he's closed up shop! It was a pain to get to & from, but Scott was really good at "doing just what you need right now" at a fair price. I'm open to suggestions for honest & competent mechanics in Metro NW.

Or, is it even worth fixing at this point?

Thanks to everyone who has commented…this forum was very helpful when I began shopping for a car 13 yrs ago, your input now has helped a lot.

—BD
 

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[tiny bit off-topic] Now that's odd…been a AAA+ member for years & years (with a 5-year break while KIA provided roadside assistance), and this time, when I called to ask whether a tow from the dealer to another mechanic would be covered, the rep was all "sure, fine…" UNTIL I mentioned it had failed inspection for the parking brake…she became a brick wall:
"No, the car must be registered, licensed, safe and legally driveable …it's in our membership services agreement…that previous tow should not have been allowed…"
This is ridiculous…I'm hoping it's just a case of getting the right person on the phone…I made a similar call last week before actually ordering the tow days later via the phone app, explaining EVERYTHING to the phone rep, who was ready to place the order right then; when the tow driver showed up for the tow, he made no comments at all…I even pulled out of my parking space to make it easier for him to load it on the flatbed. Even the dealer said AAA would cover that initial tow even though the car was driveable: "Yeah, just mention you failed inspection for the parking brake…"
WTF !!!!!????? If the vehicle WAS registered, licensed, safe and legally driveable WTF would you need towed for ?
 

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Here are the quotes from an email I requested this morning…P-brake stuff is in 1st paragraph.

Quotes for Repairs
To properly repair the parking brake assembly we would need to replace the shoes, hardware and the cables. Like we had talked about the hubs are currently frozen to the knuckles so I can not guarantee that they would be able to be reused. The rear brake pads are at about 4mm and the rotors are very rusted so we would recommend replacing them while they have to come off anyway so that way it would save you the cost of the additional labor to have it replaced later. The cost for parts and labor for all of that together is about $2850 and tax is about another $85. If we were to hold off on the rear pads and rotors it would save about $200 in parts.
I have changed the cables on my 11' without removing the hubs but it was more difficult. I later went back and did the hubs/backing plates and it went much smoother. I can also say the KIA parts were double the price I found online.
 

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Before you do anything…How bad is the underbody rust? Is it turning into rot? Not sure how much money I would put into a car that might be rotting away, but it wouldn’t be much.

If you can get the parking brake fixed for at least half the cost the dealer is asking, you could probably get a couple more years out of the car.

(I don’t know how bad the rust is, just going by your post.)

But that Elantra I mentioned had a front subframe (the part of the car the suspension is bolted to) that was rotting away. I was about to junk the car but luckily Hyundai replaced it as “good will” and brought new life into the old girl. If that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have put any more money into the car.

So that’s something you have to decide. It sucks. Salty roads kill cars around here. My 2011 Soul only has another year or two left in her because of the underbody rust which is worse than I thought it was 🙁
 

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Not sure where the math is going wrong here. You have about $200 for all the parking brake cable pieces, a little over $400 for both side parking brake shoes, hardware and backing plates (they come assembled as a unit, I have replaced them before and it comes assembled with the springs on it and everything, just bolt it on and hook up the cable). Your're probably looking at an hour per side labor and another hour to run the new cables. As for rusted hubs, they all are even after just a couple of years in any northern state that uses salt on the roads. The Kia ones for some reason come off rather easy as it is a metal hub on a metal axle unlike the metal hubs on an aluminum knuckle that I have spent an hour heating and air hammering before. There is a really good chance they will pop right off with a little persuasion but obviously we do not know what yours look like to say that for sure. Add the hubs and you have another $200ish per side.
 

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Suggest bring the car to a local shop that has good reviews and explain you are retired and just want to get the car to pass inspection and really just can't afford to spend a fortune and get an estimate. You may get lucky and just need to replace two rotors and get a hardware kit installed for the new adjusters to adjust the park brake if park brakes themselves are still ok I looked quick on Amazon and that's between 60 and 100 on parts ( park brake hardware kit with adjusters and rotors) dependant on what quality you choose. New Raybestos park brake shoes add another 30 to that if needed. If you double parts cost for shop markup and add a couple hours labor that should still be less than $600. Problem is I'm assuming backer plates are usable and not all rusted out cause to replace them you need to remove hubs to install backer plates and that adds a lot of expense and labor, but suspect you could still be under 1000. I'm just a do it your selfer so really do not have a good feel for shop costs but think you should really get a second estimate here . Best of luck
 
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