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I got new brake pads for my Explorer Sport Trac. Since day one, the right one has been grinding. Took it back and they did a rotor grind. Still, the grinding noise. Took in again, they say it’s just a Ford noise problem. Didn’t have it when I bought it. Next? – Debbie

They just don’t want to deal with it.

Corroded brake rotors is one of the most common issues plaguing current-generation vehicles.

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Only replacing the brake pads may offer savings initially, but this rarely works out in the long run.

In my own business, I almost never change brake pads without replacing the corresponding rotors. I know a lot of do-it-yourself readers will disagree, but as a repair shop owner, I have a different perspective and additional issues to consider.

First, no one, myself included, wants to roll up to a set of lights with the window down and hear that dreaded brake squeal or grinding noise. That is just inviting upset customers. Second, I know how difficult the warranty application process is going to be when I submit a claim for noisy brake pads without also having replaced the rotors.

It may be more trouble than it’s worth, but the only thing you can do now is visit another facility for a second opinion. I suspect they will recommend replacing the pads again, with a set of rotors.

I am considering the Volkswagen Alltrack but have read about problems with the pano sunroof. Any comments? –- Al

A quick internet research reveals significant complaints regrading this vehicle’s panoramic sunroof. A USA technical service bulletin (TSB) details that “spot welds around the perimeter of the sunroof opening may be too large.” The bulletin also dictates the appropriate repair procedures.

There is not much advice I can offer regarding this defect that you haven’t undoubtedly already discovered online, but here are my thoughts on new-car-buying in general.

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It’s expected that you need to research a new car before you make such a significant purchase. But, just like heading to the doctor having already researched your symptoms, you have to be careful to not let this research misdirect you.

My customers regularly want to discuss their next car purchase. What car do I like personally? What is the least troublesome vehicle?

I answer these questions with this: Every vehicle on the road has factory defects that have to be dealt with. Look up top-10 lists of the worst cars as reviewed by professional trusted sources. You will find common vehicles populating those lists.

It’s safe to say that you should stay away from those. Otherwise, just choose something that fits your lifestyle, budget, that you won’t get bored of quickly, and deal with the flaws as they appear.

Pay no attention to the internet armchair experts.

For the record, my daily driver has that exact sunroof, and I’m not concerned about it.

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Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

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