Auto Repair Q&A



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Brake Repair Cost


Most routine brake maintenance can be done by any competent home mechanic. Many, however, prefer to have a professional do it because the vehicle's brakes are its primary safety feature and scrimping here can mean injury or death later.

Whether you do them yourself or hire a mechanic, there will be costs associated with the work. The following on the typical costs for parts and services (outside of labor to a mechanic) for escalating brake repair requirements.

The first step in brake maintenance is a routine check of the fluid levels in the master cylinder reservoir. You should always use a new bottle of fluid to ensure that it is clean. Prices for a half quart bottle range from $4 to $25, depending on the brand and type.

brake pads
Pad and Shoes
Light vehicles (cars, trucks) typically have 2 pads per wheel at front and 2 shoes per wheel at rear. Brake pads and shoes require replacement every few thousand miles as they get worn down from use. The average price is about $25-$50 per set or $50-$100 for the entire vehicle. Costs will vary depending on the type of pad/shoe chosen and the vehicle in question.

Springs and Kits
When replacing the shoes on the rear wheels of a vehicle, the springs should also be serviced and (usually) replaced. These are usually sold in kits for the vehicle and cost about $10 on average. A spring tool ($15+) is also a good idea to make the job easier.

Rotor and Drum Turning
Often, the rotors and drums become worn and grooved from the scraping of the brake pads (especially if they are also worn). These can be "turned" on a lathe by a specialist to smooth them out and ensure optimum braking power. Costs are typically $10-$25 per rotor/drum.

Rotor and Drum Replacement
Sometimes the rotors or drums are too worn for turning or have been turned too often already and are too thin to be safe. In this case, replacement is necessary. Typical brake rotors are about $45 each and drums are about $35.

Master Cylinder Replacement
Rarely, the master cylinder will become unreliable or inoperative and require replacement. The costs vary considerably between vehicles, with most master cylinders being $200 or more.

When visiting a mechanic to have routine brake maintenance done, costs are usually about $50 per wheel for pad replacement. Some shops include turning in their replacement fees.

Most shops will check the vehicle's brakes for free to be sure they are in good operating condition. It's recommended that everyone take their vehicle in at least once a year to have this done. At the very least, the mechanic can tell you what needs to be done so you can do it yourself.

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