New Brake Discs, Pads and Front Coil Springs

142,900 miles, 25th April 2013

I have spent just over £1,000 on my Golf Mk V, but surprisingly, I don't feel too bad about it. Let me explain.


At nearly 143,000 miles it was probably about time I had the original (yes original) discs and pads replaced. Apparently the average life is nearer 30,000 miles. It goes without saying though that I am a relatively light braker. Right up until they were replaced, there wasn't really anything wrong with them. Perhaps they had become a little noisy when applied, perhaps the handbrake wasn't really that strong anymore but generally they seemed pretty much as good as when the car was new.

However, a couple of months ago the ABS and ESP amber warning lights suddenly began appearing on the dash after a few minutes of driving. Upon investigating, I also noticed the rear right brake appeared to be binding a little. A scan with VCDS revealed the following fault code:

Address 03: ABS Brakes:
00287 - ABS Wheel Speed Sensor; Rear Right (G44)
		  003 - Mechanical Failure –  Intermittent

I did a little research on the internet. The fact that the fault mentions “Mechanical Fault” rather than “Electrical Fault” suggested that this was not a fault with the sensor but rather with the rotating toothed hub that the sensor measures. It was possible that a new hub would be required but it was also possible that this fault was being triggered by dirt/rust getting between the sensor and hub. Therefore, I decided now was the time to get new discs and pads fitted and see if that also got rid of the warning lights. It did, but only after a little extra work for the mechanic.

New Brake Disc and Pad
Click on photo to enlarge.

Most of the local VW dealers quoted the same price for new discs and pads: £249 all inc. for the front and £239 all inc. for the rear. Whilst the mechanic was working on my car he was unable to wind back the Rear Left calliper; it had seized solid. Perhaps it is surprising that none of the other callipers hadn't also seized since they hadn't been touched for nearly 9 years! I was just glad I hadn't attempted to do this work myself. I think I would have been fine so long as everything went without a hitch but a seized calliper would probably have thrown me. The new calliper cost £141 inc. VAT and the dealer waived the approximately £100 additional labour charge as a goodwill gesture, which was nice of them.

After the mechanic replaced the discs and pads, they took it for a test drive. As had been happening, the ABS & ESP warning lights appeared. The technician, thinking he had caused the problem, ended up stripping the affected brake, checked that the hub was ok and gave it a good clean.

UPDATE 22nd May 2013: That worked, but only for a couple of weeks. I ended up having to have a new wheel bearing and speed sensor fitted.

I am very happy with the new brakes. Unlike the old ones they are perfectly silent when used. Hopefully the binding brake might explain the recent dip in fuel economy and this will improve now. The new brakes are not yet quite as keen as the originals but obviously they haven't had time to bed in yet. The handbrake also now feels much smoother and positive. A job well done!

Front coil springs

New Front Coil Spring
Click on photo to enlarge.

I only noticed this problem the day before the car was due to go in for the brake work. I began hearing this horrible metallic clunking noise coming from the Front Right wheel area whenever that wheel went over a bump. A quick look showed the remains of a coil spring hanging down! As I had a long road trip coming up, I didn't have time to try to get other quotes for this work and so let the VW dealer replace both front coil springs at the same time as doing the brake work. They charged me £444 all inc. Ouch! Broken rear coil springs were the cause of my car's first (and only) MOT failure back in 2009. I had those replaced by a local independent garage for £140 all inc. What a difference!

The minute I drove the car away from the VW dealer, it felt like new again. I've never been good at judging a car's handling but I thoroughly enjoyed the drive home along fast, twisty country roads. Another job well done, if expensive!

So, I feel as if the car has had a new lease of life. £1,000 is a lot of money but it's a small fraction of the cost of a new Mk 7 Golf.

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