How does the braking system function?
Braking systems in an automobile are consumable and subject to wear and tear, meaning parts are used up or break and will need to be replaced. Both disc and drum braking systems utilize the friction created when two materials are pressed into contact to safely and effortlessly stop the vehicle within a timely fashion. The pad or shoe materials are made from metal and ceramic shavings mixed with resin, and are meant to wear down and periodically be replaced. Rotors and drums, the other friction surface, are made from steel and will need machining or replacement with each change of pads/shoes. Hydraulic components including calipers, wheel cylinders and master cylinders will need replacement as a car reaches a high age or mileage becomes high.
What are the symptoms of faulty brakes?
Most people know when they need brakes. We have all heard the squealer - the piece of metal that will touch the rotor when the pads get low. For those of us who do not catch the squealing (or ignore it), the grinding sound will certainly be unavoidable as metal makes contact with metal to stop the car. Remember if we can stay on top of our brakes, like tire replacement, the quality will be higher and the price lower than if we put off the repair work needed. At the very least, find a good mechanic who will tell you, or better yet show you, where the brakes stand when you are in for a tire rotation or oil change.
How severe is a faulty brake system?
Do not ignore the signs that brakes need to be replaced; it will only cost you more down the road. If you know early on that brakes will need repair, then there is time to find a good mechanic. Everyone changes brakes but some mechanics will offer more than others. Look for shops that make machine rotors and drums as an alternative to purchase them. Also, look for factory parts options that will give you the same feel, stopping power and longevity as the original set. Many shops will order these parts ahead of time and schedule an appointment. Expect that most brake jobs can be done in a short amount of time, sometimes while you wait.
What is the typical cost for brake replacement?
- Estimated part(s) and labor cost = $300-$600 (depends on what parts need to be replaced)
The overall cost really depends on what you want out of the brakes, the age of the car, and the make and model. Typical brake replacement includes pads and rotors, and will cost around $300 including the labor. Drum brake replacement will be slightly more, around $350 to $400, only because the labor time is longer than disc system repair. European imports, sports or luxury models will be higher by at least $100, and could be significantly higher if factory or aftermarket upgrades are sought out. If hydraulics need to be changed as part of the repair expect cost to rise significantly. Calipers replaced along with pads and rotors will cost around $500 to $600 on common makes and models.
Keep in mind that in addition to you vehicle make and model, pricing will also vary by location. If you're not already, save time and money by using Openbay to compare pricing and book an appointment online with a service center in your area.
Service article written by an ASE Master Technician