I visited the Meineke Car Care Center #1819 on 10/18/2012 for a brake pads/rotor service. Firestone and another licensed auto mechanic had indicated to me earlier this year that I needed a brake repair for my 2004 Hyundai Santa Fee. I initially contacted the service manager Michael at the Meineke store via phone to obtain a quote. He explained to me that he would not be able to give me the price until he inspected the vehicle.
When I arrived at the shop, I explained to Michael that I have not been having any issues with this vehicle, no brake noise, no grinding, no squeaking, but the brakes felt "soft". I also referred to other mechanics who had recommended servicing the brakes. I left the vehicle at the shop at approx. 2 pm, and Mike called me approx. 1 hr later with an update. He stated, the car did not (!) need brakes yet, and that I could continue driving it for another month. [continued below]....
..... Mike also explained that he could waive the brake inspection fee, if I decided to get the air cabin filter and the regular air filter replaced including a cleaning of the "air system". At that point, I did insist that Mike exchange the pads on both axles, as I was more concerned about road safety than air quality. And if he thought the brakes needed repair in 1 month, then they certainly needed replacement now already! The current Meineke 50% off special is priced at $99 per axle and includes resurfacing the rotors.
I called Mike again at 5 pm to obtain a status on my vehicle. He said the car would be ready in 25 minutes. I arrived at the shop 30 minutes later, and paid the total balance of $269.34. This included the brake system flush as well. The car was still on the rack at that time, and Mike said they could park it on their lot and leave the key in the passenger door for an after-hours pickup. I returned to the Meineke shop again at 6:30 pm, assuming that the car would be ready for pickup by now. To my surprise, the vehicle was still on the rack, and the mechanic was working on the rear right rotor! A friend of mine, who had given me a ride to the shop twice already, could no longer wait, and I took a seat in the Meineke waiting area. Eventually, after 30 minutes, Mike came to great me, and explained that they had discovered a clicking noise coming from the vehicle when braking, but it is fixed now and it won't be too much longer until the car is ready. I continued to wait until approx. 8:30 pm. The mechanic test drove my vehicle for the second time, and asked me to ride with him, as the clicking sound was still there. While I am in the passenger seat listening to the clicking sound (the slower the tire the slower the clicking sound, the faster the tire, etc.), which seemed to be coming from the right front or rear brakes of the car, I explained to the mechanic that I had NO problems with the car prior to the brake repair. I appears that this is something that was caused during the brake service. The mechanic seemed puzzled, and stated that this is the third vehicle in their shop "this" is happening to, and he believes the problem is the type of pads they are using. I asked the mechanic to keep the vehicle overnight and repair the issue, and also asked for a ride home.
The next day, on 10/19/2012, I followed up with Mike at the shop. He stated, that they checked the brakes again, and could not find any issues with it. The problem seems to be the struts. The car has 106,000 miles, and the manufacturer recommends replacing the struts at 100,000. The clicking sound must be coming from the front struts, when braking and the car leaning forward. Mike's explanation seemed to be far-fetched, and made no sense at all. There was no reasoning with the service manager, and the franchise owner did not seem to be available to discuss this problem with me. Since I had already paid for the full service the day prior, I decided to pickup the vehicle and take it to another licensed mechanic for a second opinion. After having the vehicle inspected the same day, my mechanic found nothing wrong with the struts. However, he found that the brake service was done incorrectly: The rear right (!) rotor is resurfaced unevenly and cut too low, too much silicone/grease had been applied and is leaking all over the rotor and pad. Furthermore, the lowest grade brake pad was used, which is of poor quality. My mechanic cleaned off the silicone/grease as much as possible, which reduced the noise temporarily - but returned after a couple of miles. I was informed that I could drive this vehicle for approx. 2,000 miles and hope that the pads and rotors wear down, which eventually would eliminate the brake clicking sound. The mechanic's recommendation however is to replace (!) the rear rotors now. The Meineke Car Care Center refuses to admit any wrong doing, and will not fix the problem. I have spent hours waiting for a basic brake procedure and repair to be completed, which was then done with absolute incompetence. Any brake services should be expected to be performed with greatest knowledge and care, as this ensures the safety of the driver and passengers of the vehicle.
I requested a partial refund in the total amount of $118.23 + tax from the corporate office, and I am currently awaiting their response. The services performed by the Meineke mechanic has damaged the rotors of my vehicle, which I am now forced to replace . Furthermore, the low-grade ceramic pads in the rear will need to be exchanged with at least mid-grade or OEM brake pads . I am prepared to submit my complaint to Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau.