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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

My 2017 Premier just crested the 78k mark today (which means about 9,000 miles since I got it in April). It's running the original pads and discs all around. I'm a "D" user myself -- I wish I liked "L", but I'm still a coaster. While the brakes have never sounded very smooth nor stopped the car with much urgency, I always chalked it up as a regen quirk. More recently I've noticed that at least one rotor is warped; on the highway you can clearly feel it.

Well, within the last week, the situation changed again -- now there is a badly dragging pad on the passenger side, which was constant for a day or two, and is now intermittent but still very persistent and very noticeable. You can actually hear it with all the windows closed and the AC on. It comes and goes depending on steering angle, too.

Funny as I always hear that Volts don't really go through brakes. The car will need inspection in December anyways, so it's probably time for a once-over anyways. Has anybody else had this issue with a Gen2? And are there any discs or pads that are preferable to OEM?
 

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Disc brakes should drag on the discs as there are no retard springs. While pistons can stick, the most common problem is the slider pins may need to be greased, especially in the rust belt. Rotors can be turned if slightly warped, but probably better idea to replace them with the treated new ones. The brakes are hardly used on a Volt except in hard braking, neutral and reverse so special discs like green or red pads aren't needed.
 

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I too am a coaster, reminds me of my '71 Bug...regarding your brake drag, EV's and hybrids actually need regular brake service because they don't get used much, especially rears. As FI Spyder says ^ caliper slider bolts need attention, so too the pad tabs need wire brushing and a dab of copper antiseize.
After you get the rear brakes repaired, you'll soon learn the trick many of us here know. The friction brakes get used very little due to regen, so every now and then when you're going down a good grade, with nobody behind you, pop it into neutral and hit those binders hard to clean them off. Neutral deactivates regen braking, friction only.
 

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Dragging pads are usually due to corroded caliper slide pins or corroded pistons that fail to retract. If you drive in the Rust Belt, these are both common problems. Start with the easier slide pins. If the pistons turn out stuck, your best bet is a rebuilt caliper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, this is all great info so far. As much as I know about cars, brakes are not the area in which I'm best versed, for whatever reason. The car may be going in for a service before December so I will definitely get the caliper pins and pistons looked at. I live in New Hampshire and the car is nearly five years old, so it's definitely a little worse for wear.
 

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I live in NH as well. I just did a brake job on our 18 Volt myself, $140 total, 4 rotors resurfaced, $20 each, and new pads at only 14K and 2.5 yrs. The pads were barely worn. You may not have a warped rotor but scaling rust that can be removed with a brake lathe. At about 80K there might not have enough rotor left to resurface however.

I use D as well but now I'll be putting the car and neutral and using the hydraulic brakes more, especially in the winter. Regeneration is nice but the cost factor weighs in favor of using the friction brakes more. We charge at home and have solar that provides all of our electrical needs. On a side note we had a VW eGolf before the Volt and it had the same brake rotor rusting problems. Our daughters 2012 Gen 1 Volt made it to 80K before I replaced the brakes last year. They still look fine.
 

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Here's a link to my post about how I changed my brakes and rotors (including links to the brand I purchased and a few pics and tools you might need).

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There are some great replies here. Since there is definitely a warped rotor somewhere and the dragging is not linear but more like an on/off swiping noise, it would probably just make more sense to replace instead of resurface. The tip about the caliper pins is very useful however, I will definitely look into that.

I got in the car this morning (it was parked outside in the rain last night, because the cooling fan was running suspiciously hard after it had been charging in the garage for 2+ hours) and it actually felt physically slower from the dragging/rust accumulation. For about a mile there was a definite scraping/whistling sound. After a few brake applications it lessened, but I still think something is out of adjustment or just severely scored/rusted.
 

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Are you certain it's a dragging/warped rotor and not a bad passenger side front wheel bearing? Drive around a subdivision that has curbs (to reflect sound) with windows down. Does the noise go away when you turn left or right? If so, it's likely the bearing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Are you certain it's a dragging/warped rotor and not a bad passenger side front wheel bearing? Drive around a subdivision that has curbs (to reflect sound) with windows down. Does the noise go away when you turn left or right? If so, it's likely the bearing.
Oh, that sounds like it. I've been hearing that sound reflected. At first it was constant, now it does indeed change with steering angle (which did really confuse me, when I thought it was just a disc).

It could also be both brakes and bearing(s). Under hard braking I have felt a pulse in the pedal, and the brakes are LOUD. I'm having it looked at soon. Who knows what they'll find!

Again, brakes /bearings are not my area of expertise as much as some other components. I really appreciate all the input.
 

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It's possible your brake pad separated from the backing plate. I believe there are a couple threads about that, however they were regarding gen1 volts if I remember correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's possible your brake pad separated from the backing plate. I believe there are a couple threads about that, however they were regarding gen1 volts if I remember correctly.
That would make sense too. I'll see if I can poke around that area; maybe I'll discover something!
 

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It's possible your brake pad separated from the backing plate. I believe there are a couple threads about that, however they were regarding gen1 volts if I remember correctly.
That happened to me during a neutral stand-on-it-and-clean-the-rotors maneuver.
Before that, lots of coasting.
Afterwards, not so much. Like anything else, use it or lose it.

Replaced with a PowerStop drilled and coated rotor and pad kit, because racecar.
 

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I live in NH as well. I just did a brake job on our 18 Volt myself, $140 total, 4 rotors resurfaced, $20 each, and new pads at only 14K and 2.5 yrs. The pads were barely worn. You may not have a warped rotor but scaling rust that can be removed with a brake lathe. At about 80K there might not have enough rotor left to resurface however.

I use D as well but now I'll be putting the car and neutral and using the hydraulic brakes more, especially in the winter. Regeneration is nice but the cost factor weighs in favor of using the friction brakes more. We charge at home and have solar that provides all of our electrical needs. On a side note we had a VW eGolf before the Volt and it had the same brake rotor rusting problems. Our daughters 2012 Gen 1 Volt made it to 80K before I replaced the brakes last year. They still look fine.
Did you replace the brake pads on the 2012 on principle, or were they worn to the point of needing replacement?
Other than the worry of a pad separating from its backing plate (I had that happen on a 2002 Prius), I'm not in need of pad replacement at 144k miles on the odometer. I have them visually checked once a year.
 
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Did you replace the brake pads on the 2012 on principle, or were they worn to the point of needing replacement?
Other than the worry of a pad separating from its backing plate (I had that happen on a 2002 Prius), I'm not in need of pad replacement at 144k miles on the odometer. I have them visually checked once a year.
The rotors were rusted and needed replacement and thus new pads. I don't remember exactly how much of the pads were left but they weren't totally worn out.
 
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