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Uneven Car brake wear

Old 08-21-21, 11:28 PM
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Garcon
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Uneven Car brake wear

Hi I own a Subaru Forester 2015 and use it to tow a standard Trek street bike with a Kuat bike rack. I discovered my rear brake pads need replacing about 20 000 miles after buying the rack. Is this commonplace or am I a rough braker? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-22-21, 12:16 AM
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I'm no expert but seriously those items (Trek bike & Kuat rack) are so light that they'd still make zero difference if they weighed four times as much.
You say 20k miles after buying the rack, but this does not indicate the total odometer mileage that your 2015 Forester has.
My guess is that your 2015 Subaru Forester likely has been driven on average at least 7000 miles per year, perhaps except during year 2020 and 2021 thus far......so just guestimating based on such conservative numbers ( five x 7000) = 35,000 from 2015 thru 2019.........add just 2500 miles for year 2020, and add another 3000 for the year 2021 thus far through August 2021.........and that conservative estimate guess says that your 2015 Forester likely has driven 40,500 MILES thus far, IF NOT FARTHER.....
****Now yes in my opinion, you should be getting more than say 40,500 MILES between BRAKE PAD REPLACEMENT INTERVALS.
********* In my opinion, you have a serious issue if you are only getting 20k miles between BRAKE PAD REPLACEMENT INTERVALS.
You're not pulling a J24 sailboat or pulling a horse trailer.... (not that the Forester is capable of pulling something as heavy as a horse trailer or a decent size sailboat)
Again I am not qualified to give you a more specific answer like Gomer, Guu-burr, or Cooter might.

Last edited by Vintage Schwinn; 08-22-21 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 08-22-21, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Garcon View Post
Hi I own a Subaru Forester 2015 and use it to tow a standard Trek street bike with a Kuat bike rack. I discovered my rear brake pads need replacing about 20 000 miles after buying the rack. Is this commonplace or am I a rough braker? Thanks in advance.
There is not enough info here to answer your question.
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Old 08-22-21, 12:50 AM
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Definitely need to know pad brand etc. also how long they’re on before the bike rack was installed!
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Old 08-22-21, 03:07 AM
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Brake pads are cheap. What are they, $20 to $30 for an axle set (two front hubs or two rear hubs) of your favorite semi-metallic, ceramic, or hybrid pads.

They're even cheaper than tiny tiny bicycle brake pads.

Just put them on and keep driving.

Personally, if the rotors or drums are good, I just use them as-is.
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Old 08-22-21, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Garcon View Post
Hi I own a Subaru Forester 2015 and use it to tow a standard Trek street bike with a Kuat bike rack. I discovered my rear brake pads need replacing about 20 000 miles after buying the rack. Is this commonplace or am I a rough braker? Thanks in advance.
Well I can 100% confirm that your brake pad wear has nothing whatsoever to do with your bike rack. That is purely coincidental.
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Old 08-22-21, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
I'm no expert but seriously those items (Trek bike & Kuat rack) are so light that they'd still make zero difference if they weighed four times as much.
You say 20k miles after buying the rack, but this does not indicate the total odometer mileage that your 2015 Forester has.
My guess is that your 2015 Subaru Forester likely has been driven on average at least 7000 miles per year, perhaps except during year 2020 and 2021 thus far......so just guestimating based on such conservative numbers ( five x 7000) = 35,000 from 2015 thru 2019.........add just 2500 miles for year 2020, and add another 3000 for the year 2021 thus far through August 2021.........and that conservative estimate guess says that your 2015 Forester likely has driven 40,500 MILES thus far, IF NOT FARTHER.....
****Now yes in my opinion, you should be getting more than say 40,500 MILES between BRAKE PAD REPLACEMENT INTERVALS.
********* In my opinion, you have a serious issue if you are only getting 20k miles between BRAKE PAD REPLACEMENT INTERVALS.
You're not pulling a J24 sailboat or pulling a horse trailer.... (not that the Forester is capable of pulling something as heavy as a horse trailer or a decent size sailboat)
Again I am not qualified to give you a more specific answer like Gomer, Guu-burr, or Cooter might.
+1 Yep, Cooter says you need a lighter and more aero bike.
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Old 08-22-21, 06:15 AM
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You should post this on a Subaru Forum. I am sure you would get better more helpful answers.
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Old 08-22-21, 06:19 AM
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Thatís weird. I put a bike rack on my car, and a few months later it needed an oil change! I wonder if thereís a connection?
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Old 08-22-21, 06:25 AM
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The bike rack and bicycle have nothing to do with it. Its hard to make a suggestion without more information, such as how many miles on the existing brake pads, how many miles on the car, drum or disc brakes on the rear axle? Are you driving with the parking brake on? Could be a sticky brake pad, bad cylinder, bad brake pad itself, junk stuck in between the pad and rotor/drum, a bad rotor/drum, or ??? Either take the brakes apart and check them yourself, or take it in to a shop and get it serviced.
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Old 08-22-21, 08:57 AM
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I can't offer any advice other than it's not the rack, and normally front brakes wear out first. I haven't done any car wrenching in a long time and if you don't change your own brakes a mechanic will be happy to. Based on a full brake/ wheel inspection you might want to read up on braking techniques. My little 2005 work beater I bought new is fast approaching 250,000 miles on its original brakes. Bicycles get tossed in the hatchback.
Just my 2 cents.
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Old 08-22-21, 10:47 AM
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Driving around with a parking brake engaged will do that...
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Old 08-22-21, 04:10 PM
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Just one google search brought this up.
20 thousand miles eh?
https://m.carcomplaints.com/Subaru/Forester/2015/brakes/excess_corrosion_wear_on_rear_brakes.shtml
Quote: "Last Foresters (2009 & 2015) have problems with corrosion on rear & front brakes. Northeast climate tears them apart and they need replacement every 15-20k miles. Cleaning/lubricating rotors semi-annually helps, but is $100 per trip.

Subaru unresponsive about the ongoing problem. They need to revert back to DRUM rear brakes, or at least make them an option.

This will be my fifth and last Subaru simply because of the recurring brake issues.

- Dana R., Port Kent, US"
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Old 08-22-21, 04:32 PM
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I do most of my own wrenching on our cars, and over the years I've come to expect the fronts to go around 50K miles, and the rears longer. Then we bought a new 2016 Subaru Crosstrek, and had the same issue as the OP. Had to replace the rear pads around 25K miles. Subaru insisted this was normal, that the brake bias was different on Subarus than other cars. Didn't really believe them, but just went ahead anyway and replaced the pads with new Subaru pads. Now here we are with over 60K miles on the car and the fronts are still the originals (but pads are getting low) and the rear look fine too.

I can't explain why the original pads wore so quickly and the replacements have not. Braking seems fine. Now we also have a 2021 Mazda CX-5 and I've read on the forums that their rear brakes wear out quickly too. Less than 6K miles on it though, so too soon to tell.

Mark
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Old 08-22-21, 07:24 PM
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Same bs happened with my '14 Outback...sans the bike rack factor. I thought WTF?! Went to the Soob forum. Apparently it's commonplace. Another reason this'll likely be my first and last Soob. I've had other issues with it. Stuff that didn't happen with previous makes (Toy, Maz, Honda)
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Old 08-22-21, 07:32 PM
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From the Soob Outback forum:
"In the past, there used to be a 'proportioning valve' which always fed less hydraulic pressure to the rear brakes. This was a reliable design that simply forced the front brakes to do more of the work. This difference in hydraulic pressure was preset at the factory in an effort to eliminate the rear tires locking up before the fronts.

Modern Subaru DOES NOT HAVE a 'proportioning valve'. Instead a better way to dole out the hydraulic pressure to the individual wheels is used. This is known as 'electronic brake proportioning'. The technology has evolved to allow realtime, dynamic braking instead of pre-setting the brake-proportioning at the factory.

The ABS system monitors all the wheels at all times. When braking, forces ALL the wheels to do as much work as possible without locking-up. You can think of 'electronic brake proportioning' as traction-control while braking.

The result of this better technology is that the rear brakes wear faster than the older, archaic designs which sacrificed braking-power based on the fear of locking up the rear tires.

Additionally, the traction-control has the ability to apply brakes at any wheel. When driving in slippery conditions, the brakes may be applied at any time WITHOUT touching the brake-pedal. This is done to distribute engine-torque away from the wheels which are slipping to the wheels that have traction."
Rear brakes, premature wear
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Old 08-22-21, 08:02 PM
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My Honda Ridgeline and Pilot wear out the rears before the fronts. 60k or so on the rears, who knows on the fronts. Rear brakes do less work usually but rear pads also have a lot less surface area.
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Old 08-23-21, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by grizzly59 View Post
My Honda Ridgeline and Pilot wear out the rears before the fronts. 60k or so on the rears, who knows on the fronts. Rear brakes do less work usually but rear pads also have a lot less surface area.
i've never seen this phenomenon with any of my cars. three all had drums in the rear, so that's incomparable, but the other three i've had/have you could use any of the pads left to right or front to rear. they were all uniform
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Old 08-23-21, 02:05 PM
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Our 2003 VW Passat wagon wears out the rear pads twice as fast as the front pads. It's been like that since new and we're now at 193,000 miles. The explanation I've seen has to do with the bias, as others have said. Doesn't help that I'm in a hilly section of the Western PA.
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Old 08-23-21, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by skijor View Post
From the Soob Outback forum:
"In the past, there used to be a 'proportioning valve' which always fed less hydraulic pressure to the rear brakes. This was a reliable design that simply forced the front brakes to do more of the work. This difference in hydraulic pressure was preset at the factory in an effort to eliminate the rear tires locking up before the fronts.

Modern Subaru DOES NOT HAVE a 'proportioning valve'. Instead a better way to dole out the hydraulic pressure to the individual wheels is used. This is known as 'electronic brake proportioning'. The technology has evolved to allow realtime, dynamic braking instead of pre-setting the brake-proportioning at the factory.

The ABS system monitors all the wheels at all times. When braking, forces ALL the wheels to do as much work as possible without locking-up. You can think of 'electronic brake proportioning' as traction-control while braking.

The result of this better technology is that the rear brakes wear faster than the older, archaic designs which sacrificed braking-power based on the fear of locking up the rear tires.

Additionally, the traction-control has the ability to apply brakes at any wheel. When driving in slippery conditions, the brakes may be applied at any time WITHOUT touching the brake-pedal. This is done to distribute engine-torque away from the wheels which are slipping to the wheels that have traction."
Rear brakes, premature wear
Sounds fair to me. So I might have to replace the rear pads more often than the fronts, it's inexpensive and easy to do.

I was going to speculate that perhaps the OP's car had already been through a set of front pads and it was just the rear pads' turn, but maybe everything is working as expected.

Time-honored way to make brake pads and rotors last longer is to simply use the brakes less. Rather than accelerating to every stop and then slamming on the brakes, coast down as much as traffic will allow.
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Old 08-23-21, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Time-honored way to make brake pads and rotors last longer is to simply use the brakes less. Rather than accelerating to every stop and then slamming on the brakes, coast down as much as traffic will allow.
Yep. My wife stays on the gas about 50 yards further than I do and I'm always asking her why she just doesn't coast up to the other cards.
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Old 08-23-21, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
Driving around with a parking brake engaged will do that...
Not on a Forester. Subaru uses internal shoes on the rear drum/rotor that are independent of the brake pads.
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Old 08-24-21, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
****Now yes in my opinion, you should be getting more than say 40,500 MILES between BRAKE PAD REPLACEMENT INTERVALS.
********* In my opinion, you have a serious issue if you are only getting 20k miles between BRAKE PAD REPLACEMENT INTERVALS.
You absolutely cannot say how many miles one can get, or if there is a 'serious issue' with a vehicle if pad replacements are required in less than 20K miles. There are so many variables. Ever get behind someone on the highway, and watch the brake lights constantly flash on and off? We used to call them "two-footers": those that drive with one foot on the gas, and one foot on the brake. As a technician, we loved them, because they could wear out a set of pads in 5K miles. Unlike drum brakes, disc brakes have very little pad to rotor clearance when released, and no heavy springs to retract the shoes, so even a light pressure on the brake pedal causes drag, and increases wear. As has been mentioned, some drivers wait until the last second to stop when needed, and that puts more wear on the brakes. Even where you drive matters. If you're constantly driving in city stop and go traffic, you'll have to replace brakes sooner than someone who drives mostly highway miles.
Are there conditions that can cause premature pad wear? Of course. Corrosion on caliper slide pins, or between pads and caliper can affect the retraction of the pads, and is fairly common in areas with snow and salt on the roads. A lot of DIY mechanics don't know to check and correct these issues, and just do a "pad slap" (replacing brake pads without properly cleaning and lubing where necessary, or checking rotors for proper tolerances) or use cheap, aftermarket pads that don't meet OEM specifications and will wear faster.
(p.s.: ASE Certified Master Technician L1 from 1972 to my retirement, with the last 28 years as a regional technical rep for an unnamed import manufacturer)
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Old 08-27-21, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
Are there conditions that can cause premature pad wear? Of course. Corrosion on caliper slide pins, or between pads and caliper can affect the retraction of the pads, and is fairly common in areas with snow and salt on the roads. A lot of DIY mechanics don't know to check and correct these issues, and just do a "pad slap" (replacing brake pads without properly cleaning and lubing where necessary, or checking rotors for proper tolerances) or use cheap, aftermarket pads that don't meet OEM specifications and will wear faster.)
Here in the rust belt you pretty much pick up a pin kit when you get the pads. If you find out the pins & boots are good you return it. You buy anti-seize in the big bottle.
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