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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello - I'm a new owner of a 2013, and have enjoyed the car in the past 3 weeks of ownership.

I'm in the salty Southeast-Michigan area and I've got a recurring brake noise from the left-rear. Sounds like a 'scrape, scrape, scrape' which increases in frequency with speed. The previous owner replaced the pads on the left-side only in an attempt to alleviate this noise shortly before I purchased the car.

I noticed when I pulled the wheel off a few days ago that the inner-side of the rotor is rusty, but the outer-side was shiny from use. Before I took the wheel off, the tire was not spinning freely, it definitely had a spot in it's rotation that something was rubbing. Once I took the caliper off, the hub spun freely, so I know it's brake-related. I took the pads off, cleaned the sliding-surfaces, greased and re-installed the pads and caliper, and the noise "seemed" to go away for that drive.

I've been using the parking-brake since I got it, and last night I engaged it, released it, engaged it, released it, about 3 times. This morning, my 10 mile drive to work used 15 miles of battery, and the wheel is hot and smells of brake-dust, and the drag-noise sounded louder.

I did just realize (as I type this) that if he only replaced the LEFT pads, and not the RIGHT (he left them in the trunk) maybe the parking-brake isn't able to function properly due to the right pads having significantly more travel. I'll replace the rights tonight (which should have been done anyway) and see what happens, but I was reading through the forum and it sounds like rear-brake issues is a pretty common issue with these cars, so I thought maybe there was some insight available from the Volt community..

Thanks,
David
 

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The biggest issue that relates to the car as a Volt is that the the Volt barely uses the physical brake, and the rears get even less use than that, due to all the usual reasons. So parts corrode, stick and generally malfunction before they wear out back there, and since they never wear out, people don't get the caliper operation checked and inspected as often as they should. There's undoubtedly Volts out there with the original pads still on.

So forgetting to put the pads back on doesn't have much to do with the Volt being a Volt and entirely rests on what's more commonly known as a "bonehead move".
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The biggest issue that relates to the car as a Volt is that the the Volt barely uses the physical brake, and the rears get even less use than that, due to all the usual reasons. So parts corrode, stick and generally malfunction before they wear out back there, and since they never wear out, people don't get the caliper operation checked and inspected as often as they should. There's undoubtedly Volts out there with the original pads still on.

So forgetting to put the pads back on doesn't have much to do with the Volt being a Volt and entirely rests on what's more commonly known as a "bonehead move".
Sorry - I should have been more clear, he only replaced the left, .. he left the right-side alone. There ARE pads present on the right.

My assumption just now was that the difference in NEW on the left and OLD on the right could make the parking brake adjustment wacky and make it pull more on the left-side.
 

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You need a full brake service. I'd suggest new rotors, ceramic pads, along with cleaning and lubing the slider pins and the pad hardware and abutments. The fact that one side of the rotor is clean means the caliper is not sliding on the pins.
 

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The parking brake mechanism is probably gunked up with rust as well and finally stuck. Also the previous owner probably rarely used it. (I use my parking brake on my 2011 maybe once or twice a year.) Before you toss $600 or $800 at rear brakes try to use WD40 or something to get the parking brake mechanically working. Take the car out and make about 20-30 hard stops on some desolate road in hopes of cleaning the corrosion off the rotors. It may not work but it’s worth a try. My 2011 with 175,000 on the odometer has had the rear pads replaced, only because they literally fell apart, but still has the original rotors. FYI my fronts have never been touched. I live in SW Michigan but I religiously wash the car at home in my heated garage all winter, so the salt and crud has no time to build up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Well I can't yet rule out parking brake mechanism issues, but a quick look at the pads has me thinking the previous owner either bought the cheapest ones he could find, or the wrong ones entirely. There are small pins on these pads which appear to be the only three surfaces that the outer pad is contacting the caliper. I assume this is not intended. Looking at the pictures, you can see the two points where the caliper simply smashed in half the little pins where it is contacting. Looking at images on rockauto of brake-pads for this vehicle, I don't see any that have pins like this. I see some with and some without - advice?

Thank you to everyone for the feedback!

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Welcome to my world ... my 2017 is a fiend for brakes
 

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Could be as simple as the PO having put the inboard pad into the outboard position. Regardless, take it all apart (both sides) and clean everything up, check for proper operation/movement, lube the correct points, and install new pads/hardware.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I swear last night when I was looking at pads online, I saw some that didn't have those pins, but now I don't see any - maybe I was looking at fronts and didn't realize it. I was probably too tired to be making a post.
Could be as simple as the PO having put the inboard pad into the outboard position. Regardless, take it all apart (both sides) and clean everything up, check for proper operation/movement, lube the correct points, and install new pads/hardware.
Looking at this "GM Genuine" brand on Rockauto, it has "INBOARD" written on the side with the wear-indicator, which the P.O. put on the outboard side. I wish I had taken the other wheel off and looked at that side, since then it would have been obvious to me, but I didn't have much time last night. It appears they are swapped around the wrong way. I'll correct tonight.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Could be as simple as the PO having put the inboard pad into the outboard position. Regardless, take it all apart (both sides) and clean everything up, check for proper operation/movement, lube the correct points, and install new pads/hardware.
BINGO. Installed new pads & rotor on left-side - PO did indeed have the inner & outer swapped. The right side had seized caliper-pins which I had to clean up the best I could and re-grease for use until the new ones arrive. Replaced pads & rotors on the right, and it's now a QUIET ride. I know I'm now biased, but I swear my efficiency improved as well.. my "guess-o-meter" only went down by 8 miles on my 10 mile drive to work today.

Thank you to everyone who provided input to this Volt newbie.

David
 
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