In August of 2007, I was told that my truck had about 3% of the brakes left (EEEK!!!), so I realized the time had come to shell out some big bucks. Let me also add that I have had the brakes done on my 98 Toyota Tacoma in 2000, 2002, 2004 and when this narrative begins, it is 2007. I chose Les Schwab to do the brakes mostly because of their 25,000 mile/3 year brake warranty and also because I felt valued as a customer at their stores, having received excellent service at another of their stores when I purchased a set of tires several years earlier.
8-25-07 (82,467 miles): I take my 98 Toyota Tacoma to the Les Schwab store on Sunrise Blvd. in Rancho Cordova for front brakes. They did the brakes, turned the rotors, and apparently installed remanufactured calipers. I paid $383.39 (this is more than twice what I had previously been charged by Brakemasters for the same work).
The brakes were fine until the Spring of 2009 when they started to make some squealing sounds.
4-7-09 (93,819 miles): I take this truck to the Les Schwab store on Bradshaw Road in Sacramento, which was a more convenient location as I was working nearby. This store re-did the brakes under warranty, including turning the rotors again and installing remanufactured calipers. This was covered 100% by their warranty and the store employees were very kind and helpful.
In late July 2009, the brakes started squealing again, a little at first and the last couple of days before I took it in again, the noise was similar to that of scraping your fingernails on a blackboard (very painful to the ears!).
8-5-09 (97,489 miles): I took the truck to the Les Schwab store on Florin Road in Sacramento, since I was then working in that area. I had drive approximately 4,000 miles since my last visit to Schwab on 4-7-09. The guys there performed the free brake inspection and declared my brakes to be in excellent condition. There is no record of service, other than the free brake inspection, on the receipt they gave me, yet they apparently did "something" as the horrible fingernails-on-blackboard sound was gone, however there was still an occasional squeal which became progressively more annoying as the days wore on.
8-22-09 (98,095 miles): Having tired of the feeling that I was being stared at by other drivers due to the horrible sounding brakes, I returned to the Sunrise store, where the original brakes were installed. I chose this store as it is closest to where I live. I asked them to take a look at the squealing brakes. I'm not sure they did (it's not indicated on the receipt), however they did inform me I desperately needed new tires and new shocks (at their suggestion I purchased front tires & front shocks, rather than tires all around on this visit); I thought it was funny that a TIRE STORE only had one type of tire in stock for the world's most popular light-duty pickup, but when they showed me the front tires, it was clear that new tires were indeed desperately needed and if this is all they had, then that is what I would buy. I paid $383.01 for 2 tires and 2 shocks.
The squealing brake noise continued ...
9-11-09 (99,094 miles): I took the truck back to the Bradshaw store. I thought it was taking extra pressure to get stopped, but the receipt indicates that the truck stopped great and no excessive pressure was needed to stop. I have come to the conclusion that I must have been going light on the brakes in hopes of minimizing the squealing. They recommended a "lube and bevel," which would be covered by the warranty, however they asked me to return a couple days later (Monday) for that service.
9-14-09 (99,153 miles): I return to the Bradshaw store for the "lube and bevel" procedure. I also purchased the 2 rear tires at this time (as I had just received a pink slip from my employer -- the County -- I didn't have the money for rear shocks, so that will have to be taken care of later).
My brakes were squeal-free ... for all of 20 miles!!! (Seriously ... I paid attention to the odometer!)
9-30-09 (99,964 miles): At the suggestion of a friend, I went to Big O Tires on Greenback in Orangevale for a second opinion. They told me the brakes were good, however they recommended that the rotors be machined and replacing the pads (preferably with a higher quality of pad) should stop the squealing. The guys at Big O forgot to put the hubcaps back on my truck and I had to make a second trip (of about 30 miles RT) because they wouldn't deliver them ... or even meet me halfway. They did compensate me with a free oil change which was nice.
And that brings me to today ... where I really don't know what to do other than make this situation public. I feel like Les Schwab DOES NOT WANT TO HONOR THEIR WARRANTY. I am torn between contacting whatever State agency regulates auto repair shops and contacting Les Schwab corporate (though I have read in other reports on this site that Corporate really doesn't care). I have also considered contacting "Call Kurtis" on CBS13 here in Sacramento; he seems to be able to get things made right for consumers. At this point, I think I would like a refund of some sort (pro-rated would be ok, IF that's the best I can get) from Les Schwab, and I would then go to a Toyota dealer and have them done right.