Seeking to put an end to grinding and squeaky brakes? Not sure how much a brake pad replacement cost is? We can help with how much you'll need to spend!
For those grinding or squeaking brakes, it’s time for a brake replacement. Although dealing with loud brakes is no fun, a brake pad replacement cost is relatively low, compared to other car repairs. A brake pad replacement is one of the many repairs that you will face, if you have a car that you keep for years. In fact, a brake pad replacement is one of the many repairs will become necessary as your car ages. Therefore, you will need to gauge what you need to spend, in order to stay safe. You will also need to allocate funds to get this done, while not causing additional car problems, if you let your grinding brakes lapse over time. The average brake pad replacement cost is about $150 per axle, and can range from about $100 per axle, up to approximately $300 per axle.
What is a Car Brake and What is a Rotor?
A brake is a mechanical device that constrains motion by absorbing energy from a moving structure.
When speaking of driving and your car brakes, you’re speaking of a brake allowing for the stopping or slowing of a moving vehicle.
A rotor is a brake disk that attaches to the wheel of the vehicle. When you have a disc brake system, the brake pad will be pressed against the rotor. The friction will allow the car to slow or stop. So, for a brake pad, you need to keep that brake pad thick with padding, due to the amount of stopping or slowing a driver makes in a car.
So, if you allow your brake pads to wear out( which is why you hear that grinding and squeaking when you slow down or stop), you risk damaging your rotors.
Brake Pad Replacement Cost- The Four Types of Car Brakes
Brakes are probably the most important safety feature of any vehicle. SO, when you know the various kinds of brakes, you will know why it is important to have a safe and working brake system for your car. You can also be knowledgeable when the time comes for knowing the cost of a brake pad replacement. Continue reading and find out the four specific kinds of brakes.
Disc brakes contain a brake rotor that is attached directly to the wheel. Hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder causes a caliper to tighten the brake pads on either side of the rotor. The friction between the rotor as well as the pads cause your vehicle to slow and stop, once you press on your break.
Drum brakes contain a brake drum which is attached to the inside of the wheel. When the brake pedal tightens, there is hydraulic pressure that will then press the two brake shoes against the brake drum. Then you have friction which causes both slowing down and stopping of a vehicle.
Emergency brakes or your parking brakes, are a secondary braking system of your car. They work independently of your service brakes. You don’t use them as you do your brake system. With an array of emergency brakes, you can find that generally just about all emergency brakes get their power from cables which mechanically apply pressure to the wheels of your vehicle. You use an emergency brake to keep your car while its stationary. Lots of times, if you have to park your car on a hill or elevated surface, you will activate your emergency brake.
Anti-lock braking systems are usually known by their initials, ABS. You can find these kinds of brakes on newer vehicles. If you suddenly apply your stationary brakes, your ABS will prevent the car’s wheels from locking up. This also prevents your tires from skidding. Drivers find this feature especially useful when driving on slippery, snowy or rainy and wet roads.
To better understand what goes into the price of a brake job, it may help to think about the principle of disc brakes.
How Much Should It Cost to Replace Brake Pads and Rotors?
Your car’s wheels are bolted down to smooth steel discs/rotors. You also have a caliper enclosing the rotor like a closure or a clamp. Once you press on the brake pedal, there is hydraulic pressure that will now force those brake pads against the rotor. This slows the vehicle with friction.
There is also the factor of physics here. We don’t want to get all “scientific” here, but think about this: Once you hit your brakes, the weight of your car transfers to the front. Given such, your car’s front brakes are gonna wear out, long before and even twice as fast as your car’s rear brakes. Lots of drivers find that they have to replace front brakes a lot whereas rear brakes are OK. So, in four-wheel brake job.
So, with this in mind, we're going to consider the typical cost of a front brake job, including brake pads, the hardware that should be replaced with them, and the brake rotors.
Your brake pad and rotor replacement cost will depend on some things.
- What kind of vehicle are you driving? Are you driving a SUV? A pickup truck? Your brake pads on a vehicle like a Dodge Ram 3500 Cummins will be a bit more, than the brake pads for a Ford Fiesta. The heavier and bigger and heavier the vehicle, the more your brake pad and rotor replacement will cost you.
- What is the grand name of your vehicle? When you talk about replacing the brakes and rotors of a Mercedes, BMW, a Jaguar or an Audi, you are talking more in cost compared to American counterpart vehicles.
- What brand of brake pads do you want and what material do you desire? The quality of your parts, plays a factor in the cost of your bake pad and rotor job.
- What kind of are you? If you have the nickname “Daily Driver with the Lead Foot”, then chances are, you’re coming out of pocket for a brake pad and rotor job more frequently than someone else who doesn’t drive as often as you do.
So, back to your original question of cost…
So, how much will it cost to replace brake pads? Well, for your average vehicle, the average cost of front brake pads will be about $50.
And the cost and front rotors will be about $50 per wheel. This brings your grand total to about $150, give or take some money.
For a professional to replace your brakes, you want to budget for additional costs.
Most obviously, you will have to pay that professional the cost of his or her labor. Sometimes this can double your overall cost.
And don't forget the markup on parts too. UGH.
So, with all things considered, you taking on the job of replacing your own brakes could save you two to three times the amount you would pay at a repair shop.
But at least when you get your replacement brake pad and rotor job done at a professional repair shop, that repair will be covered under warranty.
So, if you are hard-pressed for cash, consider doing it yourself. Or even finding someone who used to work at a dealership and is now retired, but loves to repair cars, may be a viable option.
How often should you replace brake pads?
Generally speaking, you should replace your brake pads after you have driven at least 50,000 miles.
Some drivers may find that their brake pads must be replaced after 25,000. Some pads can last up to 70,000 miles.
Your replacement needs, depend on the factors we list above.
So, when you experience the following, it's time for a brake pad replacement:
- Brake pads are thin. You need to take the time to inspect your brake pads regularly. You’ll want to do this if you, say for example, drive a lot for work as a delivery person or something similar. A good way to get those brake pads inspected regularly, is to have your mechanic look at them each time you go in for a tire rotation.
- You hear that squealing or even hear and “feel” grinding. Once your car makes noises like a pig, or you hear the “chug chug” of grinding every time you slow down or stop, then it’s time for brake pad replacement. If you put it off, you risk damaging your rotors. This can add up in repair costs.
- “Jittery braking” is also an indicator that you need to replace those brakes. Once you braking becomes jittery, then you may have rotors that are warped.
Can I Replace My Own Brake Pads?
While it might seem difficult or even intimidating, you can indeed change your own brake pads. In today’s day and age, there is a YouTube for just about everything that needs to be done these days! In fact, one “YouTuber” offers a “complete guide” to changing your brake pads and rotors.
Given the ease of the job, we encourage anyone out there who is wanting to learn about auto maintenance and saving money on your own car repairs, to learn how to replace brake pads and rotors.
Because you know just as well as we do, that when you do something yourself, you can end up saving yourself hundreds of dollars!
” I just may try to change my own brake pads and rotors then! What tools do I need?”
Well, speaking generally, we suggest that you have the following handy and ready to go, to do your own brake and rotor replacement job:
- Lug wrench
- Jack and jack stands
- A bungee cord, huge tie or a sturdy piece of string
- A C-clamp or length of wood that will retract the piston
- Turkey baster or a tool that will draw out the brake fluid
- Disposable gloves made for a mechanic. These gloves will protect your hands and keep them clean
- Wrench- Be sure to choose your specific socket. You can also use an open end or adjustable wrench for the job too!
- We found another “YouTubeer” who offers information on the tools needed to replace your brake pads! Click here!
- Now for any questions you have or concerns, you may want to visit a mechanic and even ask how it's done.
We are in no way affiliated with the men's videos we hyperlinked to, in this post!
You should plan on taking about an hour to an hour and 30 minutes to finish the job.
Can I Just Replace Brake Pads and Not Rotors?
This is a great question and it depends. You may not need to replace your rotors every time you need to replace your brakes.
In fact, some car and auto manufacturers recommend simply replacing your brake pads themselves without having to replace or resurface your rotors.
But before you bypass the rotors, make sure that they measure more than the minimum thickness. And you want to make sure that they spin and are not warped.
How long do rotors last?
Generally, rotors can last from anywhere between 30,000 to 70,000 miles. If you are a light and lucky driver, you may find that they last longer than that!
But at the end of the day, the life of your rotors depends on your driving style, the weight of your vehicle and the quality of your brake parts and overall brake system.
Please Take Care of Your Brakes!
We as drivers are guilty of not paying much attention to our brakes, unless we hear sounds or start feeling things in our cars, as we drive.
Check out some factors that help to play a role in preserving your brakes:
- Eco-Driving- This refers to driving to preserve your car. Some trips we need to make in our car and some we don't. Being conscious of how much driving you do, is a way to preserve not only your brakes, but your car.
- Being a “light-footed driver”- Heavy-footed drivers tend to have to pay for a lots more brake jobs, than their counterparts. So, if you are one of those “lead-foot drivers”, then we mean no disrespect, but …”lighten up”, please!
- Pay attention to the loads you carry- If you are a pickup driver, or a delivery driver, think about how much weight your car sustains in any given week. If you find yourself spending lots of money on brake jobs, you should consider making some adjustments, in an effort to pocket more money from your deliveries, and not spending it on brake jobs.
- Routine maintenance- We all know that when we take care of our cars, they “take care of us”. From oil changes, to tire rotations, we have to invest in our cars. So, don't forget to inspect your pads and other car parts, ever so often. You want to look out for your car, so it can continue to be the dependable machine you need it to be!