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Andrew Pitman ASKED THE GUIDE

Ask Smithy Xtra Early updated to brakes on VW Touareg

I had to replace all four discs and pads on my 2008 VW Touareg V6 TDI, even though it had done just 32,000 km. It cost me $3990. This seems excessive and not normal wear and tear. The car is driven round town, never offroad, and isn?t used for towing. I have sought compensation from VW claiming that this is not normal wear and tear, but they have rejected my claim suggesting that brakes are now made from a softer compound and it?s not unusual for this to occur at 30,000 km. Is this indeed normal wear and tear? If not what options do I have to pursue VW under the warranty or indeed compensation?

The problem is that no one can tell you what is fair wear and tear; there is no benchmark that determines what the life of the brakes should be. In the “good old days” when we all drove around in cars with drum brakes it was relatively simple, the brakes would last a long time and no one worried about brake wear, although the brakes were often so poor in those old cars it was hard to tell when the brakes were worn out. VW is correct in saying brakes are made of different materials today to get the braking performance we want, and as a result they wear out faster. Your experience is not unusual, it happens on a lot of cars, particularly those from Europe. I doubt you will have any success claiming against the warranty; your best course of action is to seek legal advice and perhaps claim the car has not performed to your expectations, and VW has not lived up to its end of the bargain when they sold you the car.

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