Brake repair cost varies with the type and quality of brake parts used as well as the skill level of the mechanic performing the brake service. Most shops have a base price for brake replacement that is consistent with minor price variations that relate to the cost of a specific part or parts.
For example, disc brake replacement on a mid-sized car can cost between $150 and $200 per axle. This means either the two front or the two rear wheels. Depending on the manufacturer, a particular mid-sized vehicle may require a specific type brake pad that is more expensive making the brake repair cost go up accordingly. A pickup truck will have larger brake pads that cost more and increase the overall cost. Another type vehicle may have high performance brakes that require a more expensive brake parts.
The largest factor in brake repair cost relates to the condition of the brake rotors and whether the shop is repairing or replacing them. For many years, shops repaired and straightened rough or warped rotors by turning them on a lathe because this cost the customer less than installing new rotors. While this option worked for many brake repairs, rotors with extensive damage still required replacement.
Today, with Asian aftermarket rotors available at significantly lower costs, replacing existing rotors rather than repairing them can be done for a more reasonable price. Many shops recommend installing these new but less expensive rotors rather than repairing the old ones.
Other factors that affect brake repair cost relate to the condition of the brake master cylinder, brake calipers, or wheel cylinders. It used to be common for brake mechanics to overhaul these hydraulic components by replacing the worn rubber cups and springs. Today, most if not all brake repair shops simply replace the entire hydraulic component.
Does the quality of brake parts used make enough of a difference to really matter?
The simple answer is yes. Brake parts vary in quality, which influences the overall quality of the brake repair. Some shops may advertise a lower brake repair cost because they use less expensive parts. But sometimes a brake parts manufacturer will offer a price reduction on their more expensive parts, enabling the shop to share the savings with you by using better quality parts and charging less.
For example, a shop may use a less expensive disc brake pad for their “special” brake job offers. Low quality pads can end up making brake squeal noise in a relatively short time after installation. Made from material that does not meet your vehicle’s manufacturer standards, they can wear very quickly so that brake rotors require repair or replacement sooner than they otherwise would have. This means a less expensive brake repair cost becomes more expensive in the end.
Why do I have to pay more for a brake part like a master cylinder at a repair shop than at a parts store?
Frequently, you can purchase brake parts at a parts store for close the same cost a repair shop will pay. Repair shops, like any store, needs to make a profit on “goods” sold in addition to “services” they sell in order to stay in business. Without making a reasonable profit on the replacement parts used for each repair job, it is unlikely the shop can meet their expenses or provide warranty coverage.
Keep in mind that you are also paying the repair shop for their knowledge and expertise. Reputable shops and repair professionals know from their years of experience which parts provide the quality they can stand behind. It would be difficult for an average shopper to tell the difference in quality between a part from a parts store and the one installed by your repair shop.
As you think about the factors that can influence brake repair costs, be sure to remember the importance of quality brake parts and mechanics you can trust to give you the repair you need. At Tune Tech Downtown our ASE certified brake mechanics use quality brake parts that we stand behind with our brake repair warrantee of 12 months or 12 thousand miles. We can keep your brakes working to keep you stopping safely.