The Complete Brake Pads Cost Guide

Location: United States

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The brake system is one of the most important components of your car, and a properly working system will greatly improve your ability to bring the car to a stop quickly. This will ensure the safety of your vehicle’s operation, keeping your passengers and other drivers on the road protected. This will be highly dependent on the quality of the material used as there is a significant difference between. The average brake pad replacement cost is $150 per axle, and can range from $100 per axle up to $300 per axle.

There are a few other pieces of hardware that are found in the brake system which might need to be serviced as well, including calipers and rotors, but the most common service will be to replace brake pads. A complete brake job cost will vary from $300 up to $1,000, with the majority of our users reporting an average price of $500.

If you start hearing any noise coming from the brakes or notice it becoming increasingly difficult to stop the vehicle, then make sure to have them checked as soon as possible. This will not only make the vehicle safer to drive, but extend the life of your rotors which are very expensive. When replacing any components on your braking system, you will want to do both sides of the axle simultaneously to evenly balance the system.

Brake Pad Replacement Cost Comparison

Shopping for the best deal on a brake service is not a simple task since there are many different pieces of equipment involved. There is also a drastic difference in quality and price of the components used, so be sure to find out exactly what pads are being installed to see the actual value of the service. We recommend that if you are taking the time to have your brake pads replaced, then you should consider investing in semi-metallics or ceramic pads which have extended life and higher performance. The service centers listed below have different packages available to help you find one that fits your budget. The following table can be used as a point of reference for calculating average costs for services related to your braking system.

Component Parts Labor Total
Brake Pads $50 – $150 $100 $150 – $250
Rotors $200 – $400 150 $350 – $550
Calipers $50 – $100 $100 $150 – $200

The cheapest is not always the best though, as it may end up costing more over year of owning your vehicle. The less expensive options such as Mr. Tire might be a great way to get the most bang for your buck as they offer a lifetime warranty on the pads with free replacement. This is usually just a sales tool, but if you drive often this could save you hundreds of dollars every year and is definitely something to consider.

How To Save Money

It is important to know that you can get better parts and save money on brake pad repair by purchasing the parts and giving them to the mechanic.

Pep Boys Basic

Type of Pads Warranty Price per Axle Rotor Resurfacing? New Hardware? Brake Fluid Replacement?
Standard 6 month / 6,000 mile $140 yes no no
Platinum 12 month / 12,000 mile $190 yes no no
Ceramic 18 month / 18,000 mile $210 yes no no
Akebono Ceramic 18 month / 18,000 mile $230 yes no no

Pep Boys Basic Plus

Type of Pads Warranty Price per Axle Rotor Resurfacing? New Hardware? Brake Fluid Replacement?
Standard 12 month / 12,000 mile $160 yes yes no
Platinum 18 month / 18,000 mile $210 yes yes no
Ceramic 24 month / 24,000 mile $230 yes yes no
Akebono Ceramic 24 month / 24,000 mile $250 yes yes no

Pep Boys Complete

Type of Pads Warranty Price per Axle Rotor Resurfacing? New Hardware? Brake Fluid Exchange?
Standard 18 month / 18,000 mile $210 yes yes yes
Platinum 24 month / 24,000 mile $260 yes yes yes
Ceramic 30 month / 30,000 mile $280 yes yes yes
Akebono Ceramic 30 month / 30,000 mile $300 yes yes yes

Firestone

 Package Type of Pads Warranty Price per Axle Rotor Resurfacing? New Hardware? Brake Fluid Exchange?
Standard Wagner 12 month / 12,000 mile call yes no no
Standard with Fluid Exchange Wagner 24 month / 24,000 mile call yes no yes
Lifetime Wagner 12 month / 12,000 mile call yes yes yes

GM Service Centers

Type of Pads Warranty Price per Axle Rotor Resurfacing? New Hardware? Brake Fluid Exchange?
DuraStop n/a $100 no no no

Mr. Tire

Type of Pads Warranty Price per Axle Rotor Resurfacing? New Hardware? Brake Fluid Exchange?
Basic Lifetime Pads $110 no no no

Monroe

Type of Pads Warranty Price per Axle Rotor Resurfacing? New Hardware? Brake Fluid Exchange?
Basic Lifetime pads $100 no no no

Considerations for Estimating Cost

Your brake replacement cost will be heavily influenced by the quality of components used during the service. This is especially true with the pads and rotors which can be very cheap and make an inferior repair appear to be a great deal. We recommend that you inquire about which parts are being installed and make sure that they are brand name components. You should be able to get all of this information over the phone, if they are not willing to comply, then you should move along to the next company.

As seen in the comparison table above, there are guarantees provided by some companies who stand behind their work and product. This needs to be factored into the quote that you receive, as it provides additional value. Not all brake replacements are created equal, so make sure to get all of the details. If you need additional work such as a rotor resurfacing or new calipers, your total cost can quickly go up. Brake pads and rotors cost almost triple the amount of a normal repair. The NHTA reports that many complaints and accidents are related to brake systems which were not installed properly or used low quality equipment. Be sure that you do not fall into this statistic by using reliable components.

Brake DiscQuality Brands:

  • Bendex
  • Akebono
  • Hawk
  • NAPA
  • AC Delco
  • Motorcraft
  • Brembo
  • Wagner

What Are Brake Pads?

Akebono Brake PadsBrake pads are used to create friction and slow the rotation of the wheels, which will ultimately bring your car to a halt. The pads can be made from composite ceramics to standard hardened organic materials. Ceramic and composite materials will last for the longest amount of miles and have the shortest stopping distance, but are also much more expensive, being up to triple the cost of a standard pad. Semi-metallic pads are recommended for heavier breaking on larger vehicles or for towing while ceramics are better for lighter sports cars. This material is mounted on a steel plate which is bolted to the caliper making them fairly simple to replace. These are one of four main components utilized in the braking system, but require maintenance most often. It is also important to understand the other components that work together with your brake pads to stop the car.

ACDelco RotorRotor: This is the disc that is connected to the wheel and has a smooth surface which is where the pad applies a force to in order to create friction. If you ever hear squeaking coming from the wheels, this is due to something rubbing on the rotor that is not a brake pad. Rotors are very expensive to replace, so keeping brake pads fresh is very important or they will become scratched and damaged. The car manufacturer will specific a minimum thickness for the face of a rotor, and they will need to be replaced when this is not met due to wear.

Raybestos CaliperCaliper: The calipers are the pieces that squeeze the brake pad onto the rotor, applying a large force which will stop the wheel’s rotation. A pneumatic system of brake fluid is used to create the pressure and pull the calipers closed. These do not need to be replaced often as it is very rigid and not subject to wear. You can check them for any leaks or pistons that appear to be seized. If the pads are wearing uneven, this is a sign that the caliper should be replaced.

Hardware: Mechanics will refer to everything else used to connect the brake pads, rotors and calipers as hardware. You don’t always need to replace this as long as it is not damaged, so don’t spend extra money where it is not necessary. Inspect the hardware yourself to see if you think it needs to be changed or not.

When To Change Brake Pads

Changing your brake pads is a necessary part of proper vehicle maintenance. Brake pads can last anywhere from 25,000 to 75,000 miles depending on how hard you press the pedal and what type of material they are made from. It is important to keep an eye and ear out for any signs that you brakes should be serviced, and furthermore, which specific components will need work. Some cars have a warning light that will come on when any metal to metal contact is made between the brake pads and rotors. If this is the case you need immediate service and run the risk of damaging the rotor.

Be aware of any of the following symptoms:

  • High pitch noise coming from wheels
  • A squeaking or grinding sound
  • Signs of a dark fluid leaking
  • Having to push hard on the brake pedal
  • ABS caution light is displayed
  • Slight loss of control while applying brakes

What To Expect

The brake service cost that you will pay will save you time and frustration from having to deal with other problems that can arise from depleted pads. The rotors price is very high and you want to prevent metal from every touching the surface of your rotor or drum which can be avoided by proper brake pad maintenance. A full service will include the replacement of the pads and shoes along with resurfacing the face of the rotors. On occasion your calipers and brake fluid will need to be changed, but this is not required every visit. The entire repair should take no longer than a few hours depending on how many axles and pads you are having changed. The shop should also test the thickness of your rotor and compare this to the factory recommendations before deciding if they need to be serviced or not.

While the shop is working on your brakes it is a great time to take a look at a few other systems that are much easier to inspect with the wheels removed. You should have them inspect your shocks and struts for damage or leaking fluid. Also take a look at the tire itself and look for any uneven wear which could be a sign that your tires need to be aligned. Each axle will need to have its bolts tightened and lubricated to prevent any issues in the future.

How To Install Brake Pads

For those that are fairly handy and experienced with automotive repairs, replacing the brake pads yourself can save a significant amount of money. If you need other work done such as rotors or calipers, then you should seek the help of a professional. Otherwise, follow the steps below to learn how to change brake pads and rotors by yourself.

  1. Loosen the lug nuts and remove the wheel from the vehicle.
  2. Remove the lower bolt from the caliper.
  3. Turn the caliper to allow access to the brake pad assembly.
  4. Remove any clips which are used to hold the pads in place.
  5. Replace them with new pads and apply lubricating grease.
  6. Retract the pistons which can be made easier by opening the brake fluid reservoir cap.
  7. Slide the caliper back into position and tighten the lower bolt.

Brake Job Costs Submitted By Our Users

Compare your quote to other individuals from around the country to make sure you are getting the best deal.

name location automobile type of service price company rating
Tammy R. Greenville, SC Chevy Tahoe pads – performance $350 Dealership 2
Mike P. Trenton, NJ Honda Civic pads and rotors $160 Pep Boys 5

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