Maintaining your car for all types of services including oil changes, repairs as well as the brake service cost can be pricey. It is important to get all the help you can to lower your vehicle maintenance expenses. This site will provide you with some useful tips to help control your car maintenance and lower the costs involved. You will also find some brake service coupons to help keep expenses low.

How does the braking system of a car work?

Most cars are equipped with disc brakes front and rear drums:

Disc brakes: hydraulic pressure (brake fluid), pistons squeeze the pads on disks in harmony with the wheels, causing the vehicle to decelerate.

Drum brakes: by pressing the brake pedal, the system pressure pushes the brake shoes outward and the plate trim (the trim is the material bonded to the brake pads to increase the coefficient of friction) on the drums. Then the friction will slow the rotation of the wheels.

Know that when you change your pads, they require a break-in period because they must adapt to the brake discs. So, avoid braking too harshly for the first 300 km.

How disc brakes work

Of the two common braking systems used in automobiles, disc brakes, and drum brakes, the disc system is more reliable. Disc brakes work on the principle of applying friction to a rotation disc.

The brake has three major elements:

  1. a cast iron disc that is attached to the wheel
  2. brake pads on either side which apply friction
  3. a hydraulic piston that pushes each pad against the disc

When the brake pedal is stepped on the hydraulic fluid is forced from the master cylinder to the slave cylinders at each wheel. A hydraulic system is used because it delivers pressure equally to all wheels. The pressurized fluid pushes the slave pistons which in turn push the brake pads against the rotating disc. The greater the pressure, the harder the pads rub and the faster the braking.

How Much Does Brake Service Cost

Have you ever seen those TV commercials claiming that the service departments of car dealerships have the best vehicle service? They say that they know your car best and have certified technicians that use only original parts. That great servicing comes at a cost. For example, a typical brake service cost can be anywhere from$75 to $95 charged for each hour.

How To Lower Your Brake Service Costs

brake repair costBut in most cases, brake servicing and other repairs can be done for much less. And that does not mean that the quality is any lower. If you look around you are sure to find a local independent garage that employs mechanics that have ASE certification. The rate is usually much lower, about $40-50 an hour. That’s roughly half the price asked by the car dealers.

Try talking to friends and people in your neighborhood to get recommendations for a good local garage. Sometimes it helps to know which mechanics are the savviest and qualified. Especially pay attention when the same garage is mentioned by several times by different people.

The next step is to actually go to the top recommended garages. It’s best to try and talk directly with the garage owner if possible. Inquire about the hourly rate and how much the total brake service cost would be.

Make sure you ask if they charge based on a “straight hourly” or “book” rate. The difference is that the straight rate is simply the amount of time the mechanic really spends on your vehicle. The book rate means that you will be charged a fixed amount for the job based on a predetermined price.

Sample Brake Service Estimate

Take a typical brake job, for example. It might take your mechanic one hour to install new brake pads on a car. Based on a $50 per hour straight rate, the brake service cost will be $50 + price of new brake pads. On the other hand, the book rate may indicate that it usually takes 90 minutes to complete the brake job. You would be charged $75 for service + price of new brake pads.

So, with the book rate example, if the mechanic only needs one hour to change the brake pads, you will still be charged for 90 minutes of labor. In most cases, the garage will benefit more than the client under the book rate system.

When asking about the method used for charging for labor, if the owner seems unwilling to give you a straight answer then it might be an idea to look elsewhere. Of course, there are many other factors that are important to determine a suitable garage that will help you lower your brake service cost. Be sure to inquire about ASE certification and licensing of mechanics as well. Take a look to see if things seem orderly and well run in the garage area. If the shop looks neat and efficient then that is a good indicator of how the garage operates.

In many cases, there will be a markup on the price for parts needed in car maintenance and repairs. It is normal practice to buy auto parts wholesale and then increase the price listed to the customer. If you are lucky you might find a garage that lets you provide the replacement parts used on your car. Then you just have to pay the service cost for installation.

Separate the costs

It may be advantageous to obtain a quote for the parts and labor separately before getting your vehicle serviced. Then you can check the price of the parts listed at retail auto parts stores such as NAPA or AutoZone. It is especially easy to look online and find the prices.

If you want to lower your brake service cost, then take time to inquire about the local garages. It will really be worthwhile to develop good relationships with the owner and mechanics in an independent shop. Finding a good quality garage and a trustworthy mechanic can really pay off in the long run. You can also check out this page to understand other factors involved in calculating a brake service repair estimate.

Brake Repair Cost Estimate

During a vehicle’s lifetime, the brakes will definitely need some attention. The average car will have about three brake jobs performed over its entire lifecycle. How much the brake service costs will depend on a few different factors.

Vehicle Make and Model

The type of car you drive is an important aspect when calculating the brake repair cost estimate. That is due to the fact that different vehicles can have different numbers and types of parts in their brake systems. It can also affect how easy it is to obtain the parts necessary for your car as well as the actual price paid for them.

Driving Conditions

Brake service cost can be influenced by the driving conditions the vehicle has experienced. If the car has been used in situations requiring a lot of braking then the brakes will be worn down more quickly. And if the vehicle is used for extended periods of time while the brakes are showing signs of wear then that can also increase the brake repair cost estimate. That’s because the car will be more likely to need additional work on the brake system. Some parts may have to be completely replaced if the damage is too extensive.


Where you live will affect how much you can expect to pay for brake service. Some areas of the country are pricier than others. So what may seem like a high price quoted in a brake repair cost estimate for a vehicle in one town may actually be a good deal in another.

Manufacturer’s Warranty

Applicable warranties can affect the brake repair cost estimate. Brakes that exhibit problems or even fail while covered by a warranty may cost the vehicle owner nothing to be repaired. That may seem obvious, but if you don’t check your warranty and ask then you will end up paying the full price for the brake job. Exactly what will be covered depending on the warranties specified terms and conditions. Some warranties will pay all or a certain percentage of the total cost. But, mostly you will find that they cover either parts or labor. It’s good to check first so any reduction can be included in the brake repair cost estimate before you get the work done.

The average life of brake parts

  • Disks: 60 000 km
  • Pads: 30 000 km
  • Brake drums: 90 000 km

How Much Does Brake Service Cost?

Here is a typical price estimate form changing rotors and pads at all 4 corners.

  • Rotors- $160 ($50 x2 front + $30 x2 rear)
  • Pads- $100 ($50 for front pads and $50 for rear pads)
  • Shop mark up of parts is about 25%, so add another $65
  • Miscellaneous parts – $20
  • Total cost for parts – $345
  • Labor – $75/hr x 2 hours = $150
  • Total – $495 + about $50 in tax will give a grand total of $545

Ways to Keep Brake Service Costs Low

brake service costTo keep the cost of a brake job down you can try to get replacement parts from a wholesaler rather from a car dealership. That way you can avoid the price mark up that usually occurs. An added benefit is that you can ensure that quality pieces are used. But before buying make sure that the shop you take your car to is ok with using parts you bring in. That way you will only have to pay for labor. Of course, you can save even more if you install the parts yourself. If maintaining your vehicle yourself is something that interests you then it would be a good idea to learn. Performing easy, common repairs like brake jobs will help you feel confident about your car’s safety as well as keep the costs down. Another way to reduce the cost is to use brake service coupons. They can help lower the overall price you would pay at the garage.

Recognize Brake Problems Early

It’s important to listen to the sounds your car makes and pay attention to how it reacts. If it makes a grinding or screeching noise when you apply the brakes or if you just feel a vibration through the brake pedal then it’s time to investigate. You may just need to replace the brake pads to solve the problem before it gets worse. If you deal with problems early on then it is much less likely that you run into trouble. If you ignore the first symptoms of brake problems then it could escalate to worse cases such as damaged rotors or even a safety-compromising pressure loss in the brake fluid lines.

Typical Brake Repair Cost

Brake service for most vehicles will usually mean resurfacing the rotors and replace the front brake pads. Additional work could include adjusting the rear drums (if present). A rough brake repair cost estimate for a minimal brake job would be between one hundred to two hundred and fifty dollars. If you want to narrow down the price then try using this tool to get a more accurate brake repair cost estimate for your vehicle. You will have to enter detailed information about your car and also your location to get a good idea of the price you can expect to pay.

Word of Caution

The importance of having functional brakes cannot be emphasized enough. So, don’t try to do any brake repairs on your car unless you have the experience or someone qualified is helping you. Even if it costs more to have brake service in a garage, it may be worth it in the long run. Improperly installed brakes can cause more damage to the vehicle not to mention the safety risk to yourself, your passengers and other people on the road.

Brake Service Facts You Need to Know

Brakes are obviously not an optional equipment on a car. And brake service shouldn’t be optional either.

All manufacturers recommend that a regular brake inspection should be part of a vehicle’s maintenance program. A good inspection will verify if any problems exist within your brake system. That way they can be fixed before disaster strikes.

Obviously, if you’re already noticing trouble with the brakes then take your vehicle to a service center as soon as possible. And look out for any of these signs:

  • Spongy or low brake pedal
  • Hard to press brake pedal
  • Constant brake warning light signal
  • Consistently noisy brakes
  • Clunking or vibrations when applying brakes

Brake Types

There are basically two different types of brakes: drum brakes and disc brakes. Disc brakes are made with a rotor that is attached to the axle. There are calipers that straddle the rotor and work by pressing on the rotor similar to the brakes on a bike. Drum brakes are commonly found on back wheels. They have pads or “shoes” that press against the interior of the wheel drum to stop the car.

Brake Pads

Brake pads are made in several different grades. There are regular brake pads, metallic brake pads, and ceramic brake pads. The highest grades are generally more expensive but you can expect better brake performance and more even brake operation. It’s fine to change your brake pads to a higher grade. But it is never recommended to change to a grade that’s less than the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Frequently Asked Brake Service Questions

What needs to be serviced in a vehicle’s brake system?

  • The brake pads and shoes will wear out over time and get too thin to work correctly. They will need to be replaced when that happens.

But if the brake pads completely wear down, will that cause damage to the rotors?

  • Yes, when that happens the calipers can make grooves on the rotor. Then the rotor needs to be resurfaced or replaced if the grooves are too deep. And that’s not only expensive, it can be dangerous because the vehicle will not slow down and stop as fast. Rotors can even warp or crack and then they definitely have to be replaced.

Is brake fluid important?

  • Yes, when applying the brakes, the pressure in the brake fluid triggers the pads or shoes. If you don’t have enough fluid, then there will not be enough pressure for the brakes to work well. Over time, water can also collect in the brake fluid. This can lead to leaks, brake damage, corrosion, and with firm use, the brakes could fade or eventually fail. So, it is very important to replace the brake fluid according to the manufacturer recommendation to avoid problems.

Be sure to properly maintain your vehicle’s brakes to keep your brake service cost low. Because it will be a lot less expensive than paying for your car to be towed to the garage for emergency service.