How Much Does it Cost to Replace Brake Pads?

by Jody L. Campbell
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Car Brake image by Joelyn Pullano from

Replacing brake pads on your vehicle is something every vehicle owner has to experience sooner or later. Since the front disc brakes provide 75 percent braking capacity for most all vehicles, they will require more frequent replacement than the rear brakes. Many repair facilities rarely install brake pads without tacking on additional services and charges.

Parts And Labor Rates

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Brake pads are relatively inexpensive. This depends on the type of vehicle you drive. A common domestic car will feature cheaper replacement parts than an imported sports vehicle. Supply and demand keeps prices down. An average cost when replacing brakes can range anywhere from $25 to $60, depending on quality and availability.

The cost of brake pads being installed on your car is based on labor rates at most repair facilities. On average, a brake pad replacement will take an hour or more per side. Flat rate labor is commonly applied to labor charges for new brake pads. This means the repair for brake pads is pre-calculated in a repair manual and applied to the bill. If the book says it will take 2.5 hours to install the pads on your vehicle, you will be charged 2.5 hours times the hourly labor rate. Even if the mechanic can get the job done quicker.

Shopping for parts prices and labor rates can be done in the comfort of your own home. Keep in mind that it's difficult for a repair facility to give you an accurate quote without actually seeing the vehicle and properly determining what it needs. Other services may be required when replacing brake pads, such as machining the rotors or replacing them and servicing the calipers and/or replacing brake pad hardware.

When shopping prices for the cost of brake pads, search by phone or in person to give you an idea what you will have to pay for parts and what the shop charges for hourly labor rates.


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As with anything in life, brake pads are commonly available in a variety of quality. You get what you pay for. Cheaper brake pads will not last as long as higher quality pads. Inexpensive pads commonly feature stick-on brake shims and a small tube of silicone grease. Higher quality brake pad set are more expensive, but may feature thicker friction material, will last longer and in some cases, provide hardware and staked-on shims.

Most all brake pads, no matter what quality, bought at parts stores or repair facilities, will feature a lifetime warranty. This means you pay labor only for the reinstallation of the pads when needed in the future.

Consider the DIY Project

If you really want to decrease the cost of replacing brake pads, a do-it-yourself project will save you hundreds of dollars in labor charges. Keep in mind that labor charges can average between $60 an hour to more than $100, depending on the competitive labor rates in the area. Buying tools to perform the job may be necessary, but you can still save money and then reuse the tools over and over again when necessary. Other services to your disc brakes can still be performed. You can remove the rotors and have them machined at most parts stores or repair facilities and not be charged the labor to remove and replace them. You can also buy rotors cheaper at the parts stores than you would pay for markup and labor cost for a repair facility to install for you.

As you can see there are many ways to save money when replacing brake pads. Finding the best solution for your budget is the only essential.

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