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Posted: 12/20/2005 8:17:28 AM EDT
I need the brake pads replaced and the rotors turned on all four wheels on my '99 Subaru Outback. The shop is telling me it's going to cost $415.00 for parts and labor ($140 for parts, $185 for labor, plus $90 for a brake flush--I already knew it needed that as it's been several years). But $140 for parts seems pretty steep to me, especially if it's just for pads. Should I tell them to hold off or just bite the bullet?
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:18:29 AM EDT
Did they give you an itemized estimate? Did "parts" include rotors?
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:22:38 AM EDT
Buy the parts yourself and have them install them. Or, better yet, buy $20 in hand tools, a $25 manual and do it yourself. Have a friend drive you to PepBoys (or whatever) with your rotors and wait for them to get turned. Figure $15 each. Subaru OE pads shouldn't be more than $25/corner. That puts you to about $205, plus lunch for your buddy who drove you to PepBoys. Get a library card for free and save the $25 for the manual.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:41:04 AM EDT
Thats dirt cheap, if that includes all the fluid for the brake flush and premium pads.

Alldata calls for 4.1 hours to R&R pads, rotors, and turn the rotors. Retail on a set of premium cermamic pads from Carquest is in the $70 range per axle, based on a 30% mark up from cost.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:25:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 9:27:11 AM EDT by BlammO]
As a rule of thumb, you can usually expect to be charged 5 to 10 times what it would cost to do it yourself, since you'll be paying for things you don't need.

Have you been driving around without a cap on your brake reservoir? If not, you probably don't need a brake flush. And I'd be surprised if the pads cost much more than $50 to $100. Turning 4 rotors (if they even needed it) should be $20 to $40.

ETA: I had Pep Boys turn rotors for me a few weeks ago for $8 each. Most I've ever paid.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:28:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 9:29:07 AM EDT by moparman71]
List price on premium brake pads is about $73 per axle, and you can skip the brake flush. Other than that, sounds about right for the time involved. You can do it yourself for about $150 with premium pads and having all the rotors turned (if they're in spec).
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:42:12 AM EDT
Thanks for the info, guys. Sounds like it's not as bad as I thought. I'd like to just do it myself, but when I consider the time I'd have to take away from work to pull the old pads and rotors, haul the rotors down to Pep Boys to have them turned, and then install new pads and rotors, etc., the $185.00 for labor doesn't sound unreasonable.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:43:45 AM EDT
Don't know why you say you can skip the brake flush. Moisture gets into the brake fluid. It gathers in and allows the parts to rust internally. That being said, I would do the flush myself rather than pay 90 bucks for it.
If you have ABS, it could be tricky, but shouldn't be that big a deal.
As for the price, figure you are spending twice as much for parts than if you bought them. I doubt they are using premium pads. And yes it is about 5 to 10 bucks to get rotors turned.
25 bucks for a manual, or alldata.com has a diy section you can get the instructions that shop would use to change your brakes.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:45:33 AM EDT
You can flush your brakes for about 10 bucks tops. Just get the correct DOT fluid, or buy it from the dealer, pop the resivior, stick some tubing on the nipples behind the calipers and have a buddy pump the pedal while you screw/unscrew the nipples. I did my civic in about 30 minutes and it's cheap and easy.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:46:23 AM EDT
Do it yourself for $180 and a few hours on a day off. $140 for the parts and another $30-35 for the Mity-Vac and $5 more for a gallon of brake fluid. Might as well get yourself some chow on the way home too, with all the money you'll save.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:51:29 AM EDT
little hint---if ya dont KNOW brakes...dont F- with them!!!
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:51:53 AM EDT
Brakes are one of the easiest things in the world for a person to do themselves. On my old truck it was cheaper to buy new rotors than it was to get them turned. It is seriously easy, and the price places charge to do brakes is rediculous.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 10:00:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Kooter:
Brakes are one of the easiest things in the world for a person to do themselves. On my old truck it was cheaper to buy new rotors than it was to get them turned. It is seriously easy, and the price places charge to do brakes is rediculous.



I just got a quote from my regular mechanic for brake pads for my pickup. The cost is $140 for the front two pads and turning the rotors. I think your shop is trying to finance a Christmas trip at your expense.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 10:03:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Cleatus:
little hint---if ya dont KNOW brakes...dont F- with them!!!



There isn't much to know.

They are about as basic as car maintenence as you can get.

If you can't figure out front disc brakes, turn in your guy card, and donate your tools to the Girl Scouts.

As cheap as rotors are, buy new ones at Autozone.
Odds are they will measure them, and tell you they are scrap anyway.

Personally, I would skip flushing the brake fluid.
I've NEVER seen a vehicle's brake lines rust from the inside out.

Most important things of doing it yourself...

Don't get the brake fluid on the paint.
Brake fluid will take the paint off a car.

Make sure to clean the contact surface between the rotor and hub.
Even a tiny amount of crud will cant the rotor, and cause that tire to wobble a little.

Use a big-ass C-clamp to push the caliper piston back into the caliper.
Invest the money, because you will probably find other uses for it, as opposed to
a specialized tool that does the same thing.

Don't inhale the brake dust. It probably contains asbestos.

Apply the packet of Permatex-type stuff to the places where the caliper touches the pads.
Failure to do this will probably not harm anything, but your pads will rattle around in the
caliper, and can cause increased brake squeel.

Don't buy the "lifetime" metallic or semi-metallic brake pads unless you want squeeky brakes.

Factory "ceramic" pads seem to be about the best for shade tree mechanics.

Wipe the rotor surface with a solvent before installing.
Some I have bought had oil on them, which could damage the pads.

If nothing else, buy a Haynes manual for pointers and photos.

Seriously, front disc brakes are very straight forward.

Link Posted: 12/20/2005 10:05:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Midnight-Sniper:

Originally Posted By Kooter:
Brakes are one of the easiest things in the world for a person to do themselves. On my old truck it was cheaper to buy new rotors than it was to get them turned. It is seriously easy, and the price places charge to do brakes is rediculous.



I just got a quote from my regular mechanic for brake pads for my pickup. The cost is $140 for the front two pads and turning the rotors. I think your shop is trying to finance a Christmas trip at your expense.



You can probably buy two brand new rotors, and pads, and do it yourself for less than $100.

Although paying someone $40 to do it for you might be worth it.
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