How Much Should Replacement Brakes Cost?

January 27, 2012

It may sound like a simple question, but where replacement brakes are concerned there is such a huge variety that it is almost impossible to calculate.  The brakes are an intrinsic and highly important part of the car. Having a good brake system is paramount. Take these few pointers into consideration.

Make and Model

Firstly, do some research on your make of the vehicle. Which brakes need replacing? Is it the front or the back? Do the whole brakes need replacing or just the pads? If you need to replace the discs or calipers your costs will rise accordingly. You can check the user's manual for technical information about your car or you can go to a local parts dealer with the information about the make, model, age and engine size. Some cars may look identical but the brakes might be totally different.

Front or Back?

You can check the condition of the brake pads by looking behind the wheels. If you turn the steering wheel to the far right, then left you can see inside and behind the wheels. Right inside the wheel you should be able to see the thickness left on the brake pad. There should be at least a ¼ inch of pad lining visible.

If the replacement brake pads are in the front you can find out prices by checking an online auto parts website or your local auto spares dealer. If you wish to replace the discs on the front an average price for a set of brake pads is approximately $60.00 - $111.00 but depending on the make and model of your car it could cost a lot more than that.

Brake Discs and Calipers

Always keep in mind that not only does the price vary according to the make and model of your vehicle, but also where you purchase the replacement brake parts. Always shop around, unless you are taking your car to the mechanic for replacement parts. Calipers and discs are usually replaced less often than the brake pads themselves. Calipers will be between $90.00 and upwards of $500.00 depending on the model.

Rear Discs and Calipers

Again, the same rules apply here. Rear discs and calipers can range from anything around $60.00 - $1000.00 and more. It is suggested that you find a good online catalog for your auto part needs. Alternatively, local suppliers can always offer good deals and some may be having a discount sale or two for one offer. Research before you buy and make sure you are buying the exact replacement brake parts that you need. Fitting incorrect brake pads or calipers will put yourself and your vehicle in serious danger.

Final Advice 

Always service and check the brake system of your vehicle on a regular basis. By doing this you will not only prevent endangering the lives of others on the road, but also save money. Source comparable prices from different auto part stores and opt for solid brands with reasonable costs.

Related Questions and Answers

How often should I Get a Pair of Replacement Disc Brakes?

The pads need replacement on disc brakes on a regular basis. How often they need to be replaced will vary depending on your driving habits. The accepted lifespan of the front disc brake pads is roughly 30,000 miles. This can vary greatly though. If you drive the vehicle hard and ride the brakes, the pads may need to be replaced in only 10,000 miles. The rear brake pads should last twice as long as the front disc pads. Again, this will vary depending on how you drive. One sign of brakes that need to be replaced is if the steering wheel shakes when braking hard.

What Tools are Required for Changing Rear Drum Brakes?

Changing rear drum brakes can be tricky work, so you may want to get a professional involved. If you are doing the work yourself you will need the following tools: A car jack is necessary to the get the car off the ground. A jack stand is a good idea but is not absolutely necessary. A tire iron and a rubber mallet for removing and reinstalling the hubcaps and wheels. A screwdriver, and a variety of pliers. You will also need the new brake drum, calipers and shoes. A can of grease and something to sit on are required as well. Changing brake drums can take a few hours so make sure you schedule enough time to complete the work.

Will Performance Rotors and Pads Last Longer?

Performance rotors and pads may last a bit longer, but there are trade-offs. Ceramic pads have the longest life, but they are also the most expensive and can be a bit noisy. The main factor in the lifespan of brake pads is how you drive. If you tend to drive fast and use the brakes heavily, your pads will wear out quickly no matter what type you buy. Other factors that can affect pad and rotor life is the types of roads you drive and the weight of your vehicle. Heavy vehicles that are driven on hilly roads will wear the pads out quite fast. If you are looking for the longest lasting parts, shop for ceramic.

Should I Replace Brake Calipers in Pairs?

When replacing brake calipers, they do not have to be replaced in pairs. Items like pads and rotors are wear items, which means they need to wear at the same rate to work correctly. These need to be replaced in pairs. This is not the case with calipers. You can replace these one at a time as they wear out or break. A brake caliper is much like a clamp that fits over the brake rotor. Inside the caliper are brake pads. These pads use friction to slow down the rotors and bring the vehicle to a stop.

When Should I Get a Pair of New Brake Calipers?

You should not have to install new brake calipers very often. They are designed to last around 100,000 miles. When they do need replacing there are some signs you will probably notice. If a caliper is sticking, the car will pull to one side when braking. If it is seriously sticking or just completely frozen up, the brake rotor will be smoking and you will hear a grinding sound. You should have the calipers replaced immediately. If you notice leaking brake fluid you should have the braking system checked out. It could be a problem with the calipers. Replacing brake calipers can be tricky work, so unless you are very comfortable working on your car, you should have the work done by a pro.