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Brake Repair Advise

This is a discussion on Brake Repair Advise within the Automotive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hi, I have to take my wife's car in for new brakes this weekend. I dont have the time or


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Old 02-15-2006, 11:53 AM   #1
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Hi,
I have to take my wife's car in for new brakes this weekend. I dont have the time or the know-how to do it, but it needs to be done. They were squeeking for a while and now, every now and again, you can detect a grinding noise. Anyhow, I've heard that a lot of mechanic shops and brake shops rip you off. Is there anything I should look for or be aware of so I dont get ripped off? About how much do you think it should cost, assuming there are no major problems? I live in Dallas and the car is a 2004 Chevy Cavalier. Thanks for any advice.

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Old 02-15-2006, 12:32 PM   #2
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It depends on what they charge per labor. I do mine with my father in law. The pads are $20-30. I have 155,000 miles and have only bought rotors twice. They should be able to turn them if they aren't too bad. I have never bought calipers.

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Old 02-15-2006, 02:31 PM   #3
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I think you would have rotors in the front and drums in the back. If you have been hearing grinding coming from the front for awhile chances are the rotors are shot. They are probably about $30 a piece. The drums probably just need to be replaced and they are about $30 also. Pads for the front will probably cost about $10-$15. I am not sure how much places mark up the prices though. If the noise is just coming from the front I would say do that yourself if possible because it is pretty easy to do without much car know how. The back drums are a little tricky. If you decide to do it yourself and take the rotors off most auto shops will tell you if your rotors can be resurfaced and they will do it for you for about $5 a rotor. You can also just take one of the front wheels off and see if the rotor has grooves in it. If they are deep grooves then they are most likely shot. Hope this helps a little.
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Old 02-15-2006, 07:01 PM   #4
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Don't be suprised at a $200 brake job. Inexpensive pads will cost about $20 and a premium set will run around $50. Most parts stores will turn your rotors for around $15. That's if they can be turned. A lot of todays cars have what they call throw away rotors. Minimum specs are about the same as a new rotor. Meaning they can't be turned. A lot of shops will charge suggested retail price for their parts. Which everyone knows is quite exhorbant.
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Old 02-16-2006, 06:51 AM   #5
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Just a though from an old guy, the best brakes and the best battery that you can buy are also the cheapest insurance you can buy.
The low price service chains ( Midas, and such) are sometimes cheaper, you are buying cheaper labor. That cheaper labor may be preforming it's very first brake job on your wifes car, well, that's a lot cheaper than a diviorce.
try to find ( by references) a small independent shop that has been around for awhile, yes they will have to charge you more because they pay their help a living wage.
I financial constraints require a very thrifty approach you can do the job yourself with a mimimum of tools and effort. Autozone has some of the best prices and will loan you any specialized tools that are required. Instructions and help are available online and in low cost repair manuals. You did not tell us the milage on the car but usually the rear brakes last well beyond 50,000 miles. Rotors are fairly cheap and new rotors greatly contribute to a nice brake job. I personally have not been able to detect a great difference between standard and top of the line premimum pads, I use the premimum pads on all trucks. Please remember to support the car on blocks or jack stands when it is jacked up. Please also remember that the only stupid question is the question that is not asked, help is available.
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Old 03-03-2006, 12:54 PM   #6
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I've got a 1992 cavalier that has a brake leak in the right rear brake drum. I don't know much about drun brakes but does anyone on this board think that it's too hard of a job for a novice to tackle? I only have a Hayne's manual to go by. Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2006, 04:17 PM   #7
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honestly ccaster, it depends on how much you have done with cars in your life.

i had to do my first brake job at 15 without even a book.

what i did, was to pull the drums off both sides, and then i tore one side apart, and used the other side as a guide. (this is the worst way, but i had no options at the time)

however, i grew up around cars, so it was sorta second nature for me.

if you've never worked on a car, then no, brakes are not where you want to start. alternators and water pumps, sure, brakes, probably not.

that said, i'd still list brakes as about a 3 on a scale of 1-10. (1 being changing oil, and 10 being piston/bearing/ring replacement.)
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Old 03-03-2006, 04:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazijoe
Don't be suprised at a $200 brake job. Inexpensive pads will cost about $20 and a premium set will run around $50. Most parts stores will turn your rotors for around $15. That's if they can be turned. A lot of todays cars have what they call throw away rotors. Minimum specs are about the same as a new rotor. Meaning they can't be turned. A lot of shops will charge suggested retail price for their parts. Which everyone knows is quite exhorbant.
an over the phone quote from 3 shops tells me this: (these are local to my town though) ***these quotes assume: the brakes are worn on all 4 wheels to the point of scarring the rotor/drum, and, the calipers themselves are not yet damaged. you may find that none of your drums/rotors are scarred. also, all three shops mentioned the option of using a more inexpensive set of pads/shoes.***

les schwabb said, a bunch of hooey about the rotors and drums normally not being turnable on those models, so they quoted me for a full replacement.

pads/shoes for all 4 wheels= 90$
rotors for front 2 wheels= 74$
drums for the rear 2 wheels= 40$
labor for the entire job= 65$ (they call it 1.6 hours)
TOTAL------------------------------------269$


precision tune said, more or less the same thing about the drums.

pads/shoes for all 4 wheels= 60$
rotors for front 2 wheels= 56$
drums for the rear 2 wheels= 34$
labor for the entire job= 70$ (they called it 1.8 hours)
TOTAL------------------------------------220$

Midas said nothing about the drums and rotors being unturnable, but said that in the event the rotors are worn badly, they would replace them. so this quote, has both charges

pads/shoes for all 4 wheels= 78$
turning 2 drums = 20$
turning 2 rotors = 20$
rotors for front 2 wheels= 62$
drums for the rear 2 wheels= 42$
labor for the entire job= 65$ (they called it 1.5 hours)
TOTAL------------------------------------183$ - 247$

so expect to start at around 200, and if they quote more than 300, you should run away.
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Old 03-03-2006, 05:45 PM   #9
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Don't know where some of you guys live, but the labor rate in my area is typically $65-$80 per hour. Some dealers labor rates are in excess of $110 per hour!

Semi-metallic front brake pads are typically in the range of $30-$60 wholesale depending on quality and supplier!

Rotors are going to be between $30-$50 each, wholesale depending on quality and supplier.

I would expect machining of drums and rotors be be at least $20 each.

As Dallas is a fairly big Metro area, it would not surprise me if the labor rates were in the $65-$80 per hour range!

Hold on to your wallet!

JamesO
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Old 03-04-2006, 05:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesO
Semi-metallic front brake pads are typically in the range of $30-$60 wholesale depending on quality and supplier!

Rotors are going to be between $30-$50 each, wholesale depending on quality and supplier.
The prices I found were all on the internet. Most of the parts stores I found (Advanced Auto, O'Reilly's Auto Parts, etc.) have an online parts lookup. These were non-wholesale, walk-in customer price.

Example for a 04 Cavalier from Autozone http://www.autozone.com/

Front Rotors - $24.99 ea
Front Pads (Lifetime Semi-Metallic) - $19.99
Rear Drums - $32.99 ea
Rear Shoes - $23.99
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Old 03-04-2006, 11:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesO
Don't know where some of you guys live, but the labor rate in my area is typically $65-$80 per hour. Some dealers labor rates are in excess of $110 per hour!
i didn't even bother asking a dealer for a quote, i already know they want too much.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesO
I would expect machining of drums and rotors be be at least $20 each.
earlier, i called 3 shops and asked if i handed them rotors and drums, what they'd want to turn them. 2 of them said 20$ each, and one of them, a small "good buddy" type shop said 15$ each. i guess if it's sitting in their shop, midas is willing to do it for next to nothing.
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Old 03-05-2006, 12:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volt-Schwibe
i didn't even bother asking a dealer for a quote, i already know they want too much.
Agreed V-S! It's best to give your local independent mechanic the business as well...give the dealer$hip$ some competition!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Volt-Schwibe
earlier, i called 3 shops and asked if i handed them rotors and drums, what they'd want to turn them. 2 of them said 20$ each, and one of them, a small "good buddy" type shop said 15$ each. i guess if it's sitting in their shop, midas is willing to do it for next to nothing.
We turn rotors and drums at the parts store I work at for $8.00 each...if they mark that up to list it'd be about $16 each....

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