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rotor/brake pad stuck problem for 1 week of sitting in garage

drqili

Member
Apr 6, 2021
9
2
Boston
just want to share with the community members. model 3 was left in garage when we went on 1 week vacation. when we return, we couldn't drive the car for more than one wheel rotation. the car felt stuck on rear passenger side like the brake is on. after towed to Tesla service center, I was told the rotor is stuck to the brake and now needs to be replaced. model 3 has 15k miles on it and under 3 years old. this was considered brake wear/tear and not covered by warranty. I was told I should have serviced the brake annually where they would clean the rotor/brakepad. I ended up paying the cost $630. but it sounded absurd. nobody told me that the brake needs to be cleaned/serviced yearly. and, one week of sitting in a garage (Boston weather) that is not humid would cause the rotor to get stuck. more importantly, I see it as malfunction of the rotor/brake rather than wear and tear.

just one thing to share with the community so others can be aware. also, I was told I might not want to rely on regenerative brake too much so the rear brake pads get used. I am sure it makes sense mechanically but just absurd that Tesla wouldn't own the problem here and fix it. at the minimum, remind us about this 'annual service'.
 
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shingles

Member
Feb 23, 2021
59
32
Texas, USA
When you last drove it, was it wet out?

For what it's worth, Tesla does mention brake service:

Pads can stick to calipers, it's not that uncommon. If I wash a car, then park it, the pads will stick. But it's nothing a little extra squeeze of the go pedal doesn't fix, or sometimes a lot more squeeze.
 

Billee

Member
Nov 28, 2020
15
14
Tampa
This is a known thing on all Tesla cars and even recommended specifically for your area to have yearly brake service. This is not a failing on Tesla's part or a failure/problem with the brake system.

It's an easy DIY, especially if you're swapping winter tires on/off:
Is it recommended by Tesla? I don't see it in my owners manual.
 
I can't see your copy, obviously-- but using the Google Machine I literally found it in about 10 seconds.

Download the manual PDF here: https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/model_3_owners_manual_north_america_en.pdf

Go to page 161 and read the "Service Interval" section and you'll find, among other things, this:

1617802969985.png


Now the OP is in Boston, for which this is a no-brainer. Being in Tampa, you might not need to do this as often... but since you have salt air/rain/humidity/etc. I would suggest you have it on your radar screen to proactively verify the lubrication is at least PRESENT
because I know deliveries local to me have come with ZERO factory applied brake lubricant.
 

coleAK

Member
Oct 23, 2018
868
578
Alaska
I do it every spring my self when I swap back to my summer wheels/tires. If I remember in 4-6 weeks when the snow/ice is gone I’ll make a video.
 

P3dStealth

Member
Nov 12, 2019
916
990
USA
Sounds like there was nothing wrong and they charged you $600 for a brake job. It likely would have gone away if you drove a few miles and used the brakes.

It happens more often on a tesla because when the car is in park the brake is on. With a normal car the transmission in park holds the vehicle and the brakes are off.

Very common for parking brakes to get stuck in manual transmission vehicles for the same reason.
 

Bill Foster

I'm going home!
Mar 6, 2019
901
738
Nashville
Sounds like there was nothing wrong and they charged you $600 for a brake job. It likely would have gone away if you drove a few miles and used the brakes.

It happens more often on a tesla because when the car is in park the brake is on. With a normal car the transmission in park holds the vehicle and the brakes are off.

Very common for parking brakes to get stuck in manual transmission vehicles for the same reason.
Just FYI… more and more cars are not using a parking prawl and just using rear brakes as the parking brakes.
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,380
3,080
Maine
just want to share with the community members. model 3 was left in garage when we went on 1 week vacation. when we return, we couldn't drive the car for more than one wheel rotation. the car felt stuck on rear passenger side like the brake is on. after towed to Tesla service center, I was told the rotor is stuck to the brake and now needs to be replaced. model 3 has 15k miles on it and under 3 years old. this was considered brake wear/tear and not covered by warranty. I was told I should have serviced the brake annually where they would clean the rotor/brakepad. I ended up paying the cost $630. but it sounded absurd. nobody told me that the brake needs to be cleaned/serviced yearly. and, one week of sitting in a garage (Boston weather) that is not humid would cause the rotor to get stuck. more importantly, I see it as malfunction of the rotor/brake rather than wear and tear.

just one thing to share with the community so others can be aware. also, I was told I might not want to rely on regenerative brake too much so the rear brake pads get used. I am sure it makes sense mechanically but just absurd that Tesla wouldn't own the problem here and fix it. at the minimum, remind us about this 'annual service'.
Pics would be nice.

Pads and rotors are generally considered wear and tear like wiper blades. However, there are instances where it could be warranty.

For Teslas, it's generally not pad wear since we use our physical pads so little. And likewise, it's generally not rotors. However, lightly used brakes can glaze over or get sticky, so creating a driver profile called "Sunday" where you change the regen setting from high regen to low regen, might allow you to regularly use the brakes a little more to reduce glazing.

Lastly, there are 3rd-party shops in the Boston area that can do a brake service. Doesn't RichRebuilds have a shop in Boston? And there's the shop in Seabrook, NH, EVsomething. It is recommended in New England to do a brake service annually, to check for corrosion and lube the calipers.
 

fiehlsport

Member
Jul 30, 2020
44
19
Binghamton, NY
Sounds like there was nothing wrong and they charged you $600 for a brake job. It likely would have gone away if you drove a few miles and used the brakes.

It happens more often on a tesla because when the car is in park the brake is on. With a normal car the transmission in park holds the vehicle and the brakes are off.

Very common for parking brakes to get stuck in manual transmission vehicles for the same reason.
From what I understood, one of the wheels was locked up, so they couldn't.

And with everyone else talking about caliper maintenance - this wasn't the pad getting stuck in the caliper, it was the pads sticking to the rotor due to humidity.

In any case, I bet with some rocking back and forth it would have broken free. Even if it was 5 minutes of going from D to R, aggressively. Then some driving and hard braking would've cleaned up the rust. Crazy they sold a brake job on that one wheel just for this...
 
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drqili

Member
Apr 6, 2021
9
2
Boston
When you last drove it, was it wet out?

For what it's worth, Tesla does mention brake service:

Pads can stick to calipers, it's not that uncommon. If I wash a car, then park it, the pads will stick. But it's nothing a little extra squeeze of the go pedal doesn't fix, or sometimes a lot more squeeze.
it was not wet. I couldn't even do extra squeeze of the go pedal as the wheel will NOT turn. I looked online and thought it might be wet or a rock got stuck. I tried brake hard with back end forth movement to shake it off. nothing helped.
 

drqili

Member
Apr 6, 2021
9
2
Boston
From what I understood, one of the wheels was locked up, so they couldn't.

And with everyone else talking about caliper maintenance - this wasn't the pad getting stuck in the caliper, it was the pads sticking to the rotor due to humidity.

In any case, I bet with some rocking back and forth it would have broken free. Even if it was 5 minutes of going from D to R, aggressively. Then some driving and hard braking would've cleaned up the rust. Crazy they sold a brake job on that one wheel just for this...
great advice. I searched online and tried this back and forth motion with hard braking. didn't work.
 

drqili

Member
Apr 6, 2021
9
2
Boston
Pics would be nice.

Pads and rotors are generally considered wear and tear like wiper blades. However, there are instances where it could be warranty.

For Teslas, it's generally not pad wear since we use our physical pads so little. And likewise, it's generally not rotors. However, lightly used brakes can glaze over or get sticky, so creating a driver profile called "Sunday" where you change the regen setting from high regen to low regen, might allow you to regularly use the brakes a little more to reduce glazing.

Lastly, there are 3rd-party shops in the Boston area that can do a brake service. Doesn't RichRebuilds have a shop in Boston? And there's the shop in Seabrook, NH, EVsomething. It is recommended in New England to do a brake service annually, to check for corrosion and lube the calipers.
awesome advice. I do enjoy regen brake but change the setting will be good. by the way, before Tesla, we drive Prius prime (plug in) that has regen brakes but never happened to us. I know cars are different so I shouldn't compare. but it's just odd.
 

drqili

Member
Apr 6, 2021
9
2
Boston
Sounds like there was nothing wrong and they charged you $600 for a brake job. It likely would have gone away if you drove a few miles and used the brakes.

It happens more often on a tesla because when the car is in park the brake is on. With a normal car the transmission in park holds the vehicle and the brakes are off.

Very common for parking brakes to get stuck in manual transmission vehicles for the same reason.
that's good to know. I did sense that the brake is on that wheel while the others are off. so it makes sense that one was "stuck" in the "parking" mode.
 

drqili

Member
Apr 6, 2021
9
2
Boston
I do it every spring my self when I swap back to my summer wheels/tires. If I remember in 4-6 weeks when the snow/ice is gone I’ll make a video.
excellent point, I have winter tires on for the Boston snow so I could have the tire place check it out every time. thank you.
 

drqili

Member
Apr 6, 2021
9
2
Boston
I can't see your copy, obviously-- but using the Google Machine I literally found it in about 10 seconds.

Download the manual PDF here: https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/model_3_owners_manual_north_america_en.pdf

Go to page 161 and read the "Service Interval" section and you'll find, among other things, this:

View attachment 651695

Now the OP is in Boston, for which this is a no-brainer. Being in Tampa, you might not need to do this as often... but since you have salt air/rain/humidity/etc. I would suggest you have it on your radar screen to proactively verify the lubrication is at least PRESENT
because I know deliveries local to me have come with ZERO factory applied brake lubricant.
indeed, the service center pointed this out too. shame on me for not reading the owner's manual. I just thought the car will be so smart and tell me what to do in terms of maintenance. heck, it knows how to drive itself!
 

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