Locked up brake calipers: I am at my wits end with this damn car.

mainegrw

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Location
CT
TDI
2012 Jetta TDI Premium
Brought my 2012 Jetta TDI Premium to the local auto shop for a brake service, had them do all four wheels, new pads and rotors. Took the car to work afterward, no problems on the way out, on the way home, left rear caliper locked up, and brakes were smoking when I pulled up to a stop sign. Limped the car back to the shop, they pulled it back apart, checked everything, put it back together and test drove it. Said there was nothing wrong and gave it back to me. I then drove the car 30 minutes away, on an errand, and 30inutes back. On the way out, no problem, nearly all the way back, pulled up to a traffic light, left rear caliper had locked up again, and the brakes were smoking again.

This morning I brought the car back to shop, they replaced the rotor again, pads and the caliper, free of charge thankfully. I then drove to work, no problems on the way out, on the way back now right rear caliper locked up and was smoking.

I've limped the car home for the night, but I'm at my wits end with this. Funny thing is, a year and a half ago, Volkswagen did the rear brakes on my car, and the exact same thing happened: drove around running errands after the service, drove home and got out of the car to find the right rear brakes smoking. VW "fixed" it and wouldn't tell me what they did, but it was fine up until yesterday when I brought it in for service. The shops answer and VW's as well was that clearly I drove around with the e brake engaged. I've owned the car for 3 years, I've never done that in that time, but have been acused of it twice now, coincidentally immediately following a brake job.


What could cause this? I'm beyond frustrated at this point.
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
COLORADO (SE of Denver)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress) I moved so now i got nothing but an AHU in a garage on a pallet.
ive had this happen to me 3 times. every time it was because the caliper was changed... took the piston out and low and behold sand from the sand blasting was in there sticking the piston to the caliper wall leaving scratches as well.
Did they replace the caliper when the 1st service was done? if so i grantee you it was a reman with some sand left in it.
nothing else (since it was replaced) would casue this other than a stuck slid pins or somehting. hand brake could easily do this but im going out on a limb and assuming this was looked at by you and the mechanic.
 

mainegrw

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Location
CT
TDI
2012 Jetta TDI Premium
Do you use your handbrake?
Yes, when I park the car I do, my TDI is a 6 speed manual. I am always sure that it's released though before moving. The e-brake in my car grabs hard enough typically that the car won't move if I try to drive away with it engaged. Kinda hard not to notice that it's on.
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
COLORADO (SE of Denver)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress) I moved so now i got nothing but an AHU in a garage on a pallet.
Yes, when I park the car I do, my TDI is a 6 speed manual. I am always sure that it's released though before moving. The e-brake in my car grabs hard enough typically that the car won't move if I try to drive away with it engaged. Kinda hard not to notice that it's on.
The reason he asked was not if you left it on but it could be the cable is sticking enough to lightly drag a new set of pads enough to heat them up and expand and drag and lock up. Its possible. It is 2 seperate cables... one could be all rusted up!
 

mainegrw

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Location
CT
TDI
2012 Jetta TDI Premium
ive had this happen to me 3 times. every time it was because the caliper was changed... took the piston out and low and behold sand from the sand blasting was in there sticking the piston to the caliper wall leaving scratches as well.
Did they replace the caliper when the 1st service was done? if so i grantee you it was a reman with some sand left in it.
nothing else (since it was replaced) would casue this other than a stuck slid pins or somehting. hand brake could easily do this but im going out on a limb and assuming this was looked at by you and the mechanic.
Interesting... No, up until yesterday, the calipers were all OEM parts to the best of my knowledge. I was having all service work done to the car by the dealer who sold me the vehicle until my warranty ran out last year. I stopped taking the car there for a variety of reasons, including the brake problem where in they initially refused to replace the gouged up rotor and glazed pads until the sales manager intervened on my behalf, but also because they broke my driver side mirror and then quoted me $750 to replace it, and at the last oil change they shuffled in pages from somebody else's bill for additional services more than doubling the price, and I had to fight with them to get the bill reduced.

That said, the left rear is now a Napa Total Eclipse remanufactured unit, but so far is working just fine. The problem migrated from left to right after servicing, affecting the remaining OEM rear caliper.
 

mainegrw

Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Location
CT
TDI
2012 Jetta TDI Premium
The reason he asked was not if you left it on but it could be the cable is sticking enough to lightly drag a new set of pads enough to heat them up and expand and drag and lock up. Its possible. It is 2 seperate cables... one could be all rusted up!
Ah, gotcha... The shop claims the e-brake isn't hung up in any way, that was the first thing I asked them to check, in disclosing that I had the same rear brake lock up before after service, and I suspected the e-brake was hung up then too. They said every looked normal under there and it was caused by something else.
 

TurboABA

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2010
Location
Kitchener, ON
TDI
RIP-2010 Jetta 6spd 2014 Touareg Execline
The ebrake cable would be the only component that is still original\common, especially if the caliper has been replaced.
Get new cables... they are cheap and they do wear\rust and then cause all sorts of headaches.
 

TurboABA

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2010
Location
Kitchener, ON
TDI
RIP-2010 Jetta 6spd 2014 Touareg Execline
It's a new caliper.... at least that's how I understood it and it "locked up" shortly after the OP driving away from the shop fixing it.
 

06bluebeetletdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Location
Middlesex, NC
TDI
'14 Passat TDI SEL and '13 Beetle TDI
Just wondering how many miles you are getting out of your brakes, all original on my 13 beetle at 108k and original rears on my 14 passat at 113k, replaced the fronts at 72k because of warped rotors for a 2nd time still had 50% or so pad life.
 

TurboABA

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2010
Location
Kitchener, ON
TDI
RIP-2010 Jetta 6spd 2014 Touareg Execline
Use pattern and driving style are a massive factor in brake pad\rotor life....
 

Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
I'm not sure exactly how the 2012 rear brakes are set up but I had an issue with my 05 rear brake locking up. It turned out to be one of the slider bolts. The bolt had seized in the bore so I hammered it out. During the process the head of the bolt bent under the hammering, which didn't allow the pads to set square in the caliper carrier. I replaced that bolt and all was good. Usually new calipers come with a caliper carrier and new bolts so this may not be your issue. If on the other hand the shop replaced the caliper and put the old bolts back in...?
 

TurboABA

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2010
Location
Kitchener, ON
TDI
RIP-2010 Jetta 6spd 2014 Touareg Execline
On my old '10, I had to "work" the ebrake lever\actuator on the caliper with a pair of channel lock pliers every so often when it would stick.... I'd lube the pivot and area as much as possible and then "actuate" the arm to apply the ebrake multiple times until it moved freely.... you should be able to "squeeze it" with your hand (without pliers) if it's as free as it should be. If you're in the salt belt, these crud up pretty frequently.
 

DSIre

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2004
Location
Dumont NJ
TDI
2004 Golf TDI (sold), 2011 A3 TDI, 2015 A3 TDI (Returned)
Also be aware that a clogged rubber brake line can act like a check valve. High pressure (when braking) fluid can go through, but return (less) pressure can be restricted.
 
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