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Good Morning Everyone!

My mother's Kia soul is making a wierd grinding sound when you hit the brakes, it doesn't have any brake feel when you push the pedal, you must push it pretty far down before the brakes catch. Recently she took it to Kia and they had done an oil change, a brake fluid flush, and a tune up(whatever that means) for a whopping total of $566. I am sure the dealership just raked her over the coals. I recently went over to her house to swap the battery and charge it (I have to do this once a month because she drives very little her 2012 has 36000KM on it and we bought it new). We usually go for lunch, grocery shopping etc. But when we took the car out the brakes were incredibly soft, there is a grinding sound coming from the right passenger side of the car and I had found out she went in for an oil change and they had done a bunch of stuff.

Here are my observations the brake fluid is clear! However there are black particulates in it they are large and vary in size. There is a lot of rust build up on and in the rotors, the pads are about 5mm and the indicator isn't scratching the surface of the rotor yet. After some research I have a feeling the caliper is siezed and that would explain the grinding sound. Can anyone confirm or give me suggestions on how to further diagnose? I would like to take a go at repairing this for my mom as I am sure if she takes it back they're going to just cast a net and quote her to replace everything.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome. I photographed vehicles for 2 Kia dealers' websites for nearly 10 years. Occasionally, there would be a used car that came in and sat for 60-90 days (sometimes more), and the brake rotors would be rusted. I would take the car out for a drive where there was little/no traffic and do repeated stops at medium strength from 40-0-40-0-40-0 etc. Then, I would speed up to 60-0-60-0-60-0. Sometimes, it would take 5-10 miles of this to clean up the rotors. That MAY clear up the grinding noise, going on the info you gave about half the pads remaining.

If they properly flushed the brake fluid, there should be no particulates in the reservoir. Somebody screwed up.

As far as the squishy brake pedal, did the dealer properly bleed the air out of the system after the brake fluid flush? Even a little air remaining in the lines can do that.

I'm not sure about the $$ conversion from Canada to US, so I can't properly comment on the cost issue. With only 36,000KM on it, though, it should not need plugs - just maybe a few filters. Did they do a coolant flush or transmission flush just because of age? (The car's age, not your mom's. LOL)
 

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2012 Soul Plus. Automatic, 2.0 engine
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Rust on rotors can be severe enough to take chunks out of the surface. I have seen it especially on the back side. I would take the wheels off and then remove the rotors and take a good look at them. Really not worth turning if bad, cost almost as much as replacement even if you can find someone who still does that. I don't do brake fluid flushes without testing for water using test strips. A full sealed system should not get infected with water. The short time a cap is opened is not enough to allow much moisture if any. As pnoman said particles in fluid is a big no no. You might have to have a reputable shop redo it or try to argue with the one that did the work. Here is a sample of the test strips. Be sure what you get to test with is compatible with the brake fluid in your car.

 

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I've done brakes on my 2 for a lot of miles: 160k miles on mine and 75k on my wifes, and on my daughters at 80k miles. Think I've done brakes twice on mine, twice on wifes, once on daughter's. My observation is that the caliper puts a lot more stress on the piston pad than the rider pad, and the indicator rides on the rider. Every one I've done that inner pad was twice as worn as the outer. So I would almost guarantee you need pads. Don't go by the miles. My wife goes through brakes twice as fast as me. Part of it is the way she drives and part of it is the nature of her driving - I do mostly long interstate runs, she drives around town.

Easy enough to see if the piston is seized if you want to pull the wheel. Unbolt the caliper from the rotor; use a big C clamp and an old brake pad, or some other big flat metal or wood to push the piston back into the bore. Now put the caliper back on, spin the rotor once to get a feel for how loose it is now in the caliper. Go step on the brake pedal then come back and spin it again. If it's seized, it will be just as loose as when you put it back. If it's tight, then the caliper has set in place because the piston moved in the bore and thus not seized.
 

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If it's seized, it will be just as loose as when you put it back. If it's tight, then the caliper has set in place because the piston moved in the bore and thus not seized.
Although I agree that if the caliper piston doesn’t move up to the rotor it is stuck. If it was THAT STUCK it probably wouldn’t have allowed you to compress it in 1st place.
Another observation I disagree with is “If it's tight, then - the piston moved in the bore and thus not seized”.
In my experience, a stuck caliper moves the piston forward, but doesn’t allow it to release to allow the rotor to spin freely.
 

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Early indication of a stuck caliper is the smell it produces when it’s overheating the rotor and pads. Then you get out and check the wheel. The wheel with the stuck caliper will be hotter than the others. If you touch the rotor you’ll get burned. Spit on it it’ll SIZZLE. Unevenly worn pads i.e. one pad worn out and the other having a lot of material left is the LATE indicator of a stuck caliper.
 

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I’m reading this because I’m trying to track down why I have a grinding noise in my brakes.
I thought for sure it was from the pad sticking in the caliper mounting bracket. But after a wire brush them to a shine grease them and put it back together at highway speed it almost sounds like a rumble strip. At lower speeds it’s kind of a metallic growl.
It doesn’t pull to the side, the pedal doesn’t pulse. It stops just fine,but the noise is disturbing!
Could it be something other than brakes i. e. worn suspension?
(2012 base 70k miles)
 
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