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Warranty denied for Painted Brake Calipers

Discussion in 'Warranty questions' started by james3342, Jul 18, 2012.

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    james3342

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    I've owned BMWs for many years and currently have 3 - '03 330ci convertible, '08 135i, and an '08 M Coupe. The M Coupe warranty was ending due to time (only had 34.570 miles on it) so I took it in the Roadshow BMW in Cordova, TN to have it checked over. There was a problem with the volume control button on the steering wheel sticking and the trunk latch. Both were repaired and they checked over the vehicle. When I picked it up I looked over the work order and it showed they had checked brakes and they were fine. With a clean bill of health I headed home. Upon pulling into the garage the front left brake was SMOKING - so hot the wheel itself was untouchable. I hadn't noticed any pulling but the brake caliper was definitely sticking.

    I take the car back the next morning and then get a call saying that it needs a new caliper but it won't be covered under warranty because there was paint on it. We bought the car used in 2010 and it had painted calipers. A couple of questions.

    Any master techs out there - Can painting a caliper while it is on the car with over the counter paint cause it to fail? This was painted with a small brush, not sprayed on. Can BMW void my warranty because of an appearance modification? I've already talked to the Service Manager and he said to call BMW NA Customer care. So I did. They said the same thing. So I talked with THEIR manager (next one up the food chain) and they are supposed to get back to me. It's been 3 days and no word. I also contacted one of our Ombudsman here in the CCA. Any suggestions, tactics, advice, etc. would be much appreciated.

    Thanks!
    James Parker
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    MGarrison

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    Did you have any warranty service performed any other times prior to this? If they've checked the brakes anytime in the past while you've owned the car and didn't say anything about painted calipers being a problem or not covered, denying warranty coverage the first time something happens, rings kind of hollow, if ya ask me.

    IF there is or plainly was paint that got on the caliper piston, I suppose it's possible to say that it _may_ have caused an issue. If paint got on the piston, and remained, I could see a possibility of a piston hanging, but it would take some brake service where the piston was pushed/retracted into the piston, and the paint somehow made the piston hang up in the caliper bore. I suppose the car's at the dealer, perhaps run by the dealer and ask to see the caliper in question; a look for yourself might indicate if there's anything obvious about the paint job that might have created a problem.
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    james3342

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    I've had the usual oil changes, service inspections, etc done but no brake work - never any issues. I don't think they even took the caliper off - they saw the paint and said, "Nope - denied." I'll check today and see if they took it off.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Might be worth clarifying what they do exactly when their work order says 'checked brakes'. If it was a visual inspection only, whether or not they pulled a wheel, they also could have mentioned the potential for painted calipers to be a problem; it would be hard to believe that, if their brake check was anything more than pushing the brake pedal during a test drive, they would not have plainly seen the calipers were painted. Assuming your calipers/pistons have rubber boots to protect the piston (I think, ostensibly, from rusting, once they're at a maximum level out of the piston bore with a brake pad worn to its minimum level), the scenario I could envision where a haphazard attempt at caliper painting _might_ cause an issue, was if dried paint on the protective boot somehow damaged/compromised the boot, allowing for the piston to get rusty. Then, if new pads were installed or the piston pushed back into the bore for some other reason, the rust might cause it to hang. Not too many moving parts there, so not sure in what other way having the calipers painted could affect much there.

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