We don’t need to tell you that your car’s brakes are very important – they stop you from having a crash! But since the brakes are such as important and major component, it’s no surprise that servicing or repairing them can be quite pricey. Let alone replacing them. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the top 10 cheapest place to get brakes done.
We’ll take a look at reviews and prices at the big chains, and give you some tips on what to look out for before you choose one. While we’re at it, we’ll also help you expand your knowledge on brakes in general. This includes what a brake service typically entails. Not to mention, the symptoms you need to look out for that you need a brake service ASAP.
- How Do Car Braking Systems Work?
- Signs (Symptoms) You Need A Brake Service
- Top 10 Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done
- How Much Does A Brake Job Cost?
- What’s Done During A Brake Service
- Tips And Tricks To Finding Trustworthy Shop
- Final Conclusion
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It’s obvious just how important car brakes are. But why do they need servicing? Why do they wear down? Well, let us explain how your braking system works and why they need servicing or even a replacement job from time to time.
There are two types of brakes: disc and drum brakes. They have different designs but both of them use hydraulic pressure to operate and stop the car by using friction. But since most modern cars use disc brakes, we’ll focus on disc brakes first.
The disc brake consists of a rotor (the disc) that attaches to the wheel hub, which sits inside a caliper. Within the calipers are the brake pads that will come in contact with the rotor. Additionally, some pistons will force the calipers to move with the help of hydraulic pressure, cylinders, and all the brake fluids.
When you press the brake pedal (if you want to learn more, check out our guide on which one is the brake), the master cylinder will apply hydraulic pressure to the system. This will then pump the brake fluid through the brake lines into the secondary cylinders at each of the wheel’s brakes.
Once the fluid reaches the cylinders, it will move the pistons which then move the calipers inwards. When the brake pads inside the calipers come into contact with the rotor, they will slow the rotation of the rotor which slows down your wheels and your car.
The rotor, the caliper, and the brake pads all have to deal with a lot of friction and heat when you brake. Over time, they will wear down and they won’t work as well. This is why you need them serviced or replaced from time to time.
How Drum Brakes Work
As mentioned, drum brakes also operate with hydraulic pressure and use friction to slow down the car. However, it has a different design to disc brakes. A drum brake consists of the backplate which serves as the base, the brake shoes, and the wheel cylinder which contains pistons and is connected to the hydraulic system. The drum that rotates with the wheels houses these components.
When you apply the brakes, the hydraulic pressure will push the pistons inside the wheel cylinder. These pistons will move the brake shoes outwards and they will come into contact with the drum. This will then slow the drums down, which in turn will slow down the car’s wheels.
Most modern cars will use disc brakes, but older cars and some entry-level vehicles still use drum brakes for the rear brakes since they’re cheaper. They also have other advantages, such as providing more braking force than an equal-diameter disc brake. They are also generally cheaper to maintain and require fewer maintenance thanks to better corrosion resistance.
However, drum brakes are prone to overheating. When it overheats, the drum can distort and increase in diameter due to thermal expansion. This results in vibrations and the driver needs to press the brake pedal farther. They are also a bit more complex, thus making maintenance more time-consuming even if they don’t require it very often.
Symptoms Of Bad Brakes
In most scenarios, disc brakes are clearly superior. But because some cars still use drums for the rear brakes since they’re cheaper and rear brakes don’t need to do much anyway in most driving conditions, and are mostly used as a parking brake.
Since your car’s braking system experience a lot of heat and friction, it will wear down over time and need to be serviced or even replaced. Here are some signs you might see when you have a brake problem along with what might be causing them:
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #1: Squealing Or Grinding Noises
The two sounds you might hear when you have brake problems are squealing and grinding noises. If you hear a high-pitch squealing noise when you apply the brakes, this likely comes from the brake pad wear indicators.
These indicators are made of steel, and when they come in contact with the rotor it will make a metallic squealing noise. This indicates that your brake pads are worn out and you will need to replace them.
Ignore the problem for too long and the squealing noise might turn into grinding noises. This is when your brake pads have worn out and now the calipers and rotors are touching metal-to-metal and creating grooves on the rotor. Changing your brake pads should solve this, but at this point, you may need to replace your rotors as well. This depends on the severity of the damage.
If you have new brake pads but you’re hearing squealing noises, this could be because of moisture inside the brakes. Or in the case of drum brakes, not enough lubricant may be causing this. If your front brakes are wet, the squealing noises should go away after you’ve driven for a while. If you have drum brakes, try applying brake lubricants and it should solve the problem.
Causes Behind Squealing or Grinding Noises
Brakes are a fundamental safety component in vehicles. Understanding what leads to squealing or grinding noises is crucial. The causes include:
- Worn-out Brake Pads: The primary cause is worn-down brake pads. The brake pad wear indicators (made of steel) alert you when replacements are due. These indicators create a high-pitched squeal when in contact with the rotor.
- Damaged Rotors: When brake pads wear down completely, the metal of the calipers contacts the rotor, leading to a grinding sound. This metal-to-metal contact can damage the rotor.
- Moisture: If you hear squealing even with new brake pads, it might be due to moisture. Rain, snow, or condensation can create this sound. For front brakes, it usually goes away after driving a bit.
- Lack of Lubrication: Especially in drum brakes, insufficient lubrication can produce squealing. Regular lubrication can prevent this issue.
Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
If you suspect brake issues, here’s how you can troubleshoot:
- Visual Inspection: Look at your brake pads through the spaces in your car’s wheel. If less than 1/4 inch of the pad is visible, consider replacing it.
- Listen Closely: Note the difference between squealing (indicating worn pads) and grinding (indicating potentially damaged rotors).
- Braking Test: Safely test your brakes on an empty road. If the car pulls to one side or if the brake pedal pulsates, it may indicate rotor issues.
DIY Repairs and Fixes
Fixing brake issues at home? Here’s how:
- Brake Pad Replacement: Purchase the right pads for your car model. Remove the wheel, locate the caliper, slide out old pads, and slide in new ones. Ensure everything is tightened and repositioned correctly.
- Rotor Examination: If you hear grinding, inspect the rotor for grooves. If severely damaged, consider professional help for replacement.
- Addressing Moisture: For moisture-induced squealing, drive your car for a while. The heat produced during braking should evaporate the moisture.
- Lubrication: For drum brakes, apply brake lubricant. Remove the tire and drum, clean any dust, and apply lubricant where metal meets metal.
Repair and Replacement Costs
The costs can vary based on location, car model, and severity of the issue:
- Brake Pads: The average cost for brake pad replacement ranges from $100 to $300 per axle. This includes parts ($35-$150) and labor ($75-$150).
- Rotors: Replacement costs average between $200 and $400 per axle. But if you only need them resurfaced, it can be less.
- Diagnosis Fee: Some mechanics might charge a fee (around $20-$50) to diagnose the issue.
- Additional Costs: If there’s damage to the calipers or brake lines, expect to pay more.
In conclusion, it’s paramount to address brake noises promptly. While some fixes are DIY-friendly, never hesitate to consult a mechanic when in doubt. Your safety, and that of others, depends on well-functioning brakes.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #2: Wobbling Or Vibrations When Braking
Since the brake discs or rotors have to deal with friction, over time they will wear down. It’s normal for the rotors to have variations, but when their difference in thickness is big enough, this can cause wobbling and vibrations when you brake. This is why the rotors sometimes need to be smoothed and evened out during servicing.
It’s also possible that some brake pad material is sticking to the rotor, creating a bump on the rotor. When the caliper hits that area as you brake, you will feel a vibration since the surface of the rotor isn’t smooth.
A sticky piston may also cause vibrations during braking. When a piston is sticky, it won’t retract properly and your caliper will still come into contact with the rotor even when you let go of the brake pedal.
Causes Behind Wobbling or Vibrations
Wobbling or vibrations during braking can be disconcerting. These sensations arise due to various reasons:
- Warped Rotors: As brake rotors wear down, unevenness in thickness, or “warping,” can occur. This leads to wobbling sensations when the brakes are applied.
- Deposits on the Rotor: Sometimes, brake pad material may stick to the rotor. This creates an uneven rotor surface, resulting in vibrations during braking.
- Sticky Piston: The piston, a component of the brake caliper, can sometimes become sticky. If it doesn’t retract properly, it continues to exert pressure on the rotor, leading to vibrations.
Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
Identifying the cause of the vibration requires a systematic approach:
- Physical Inspection: Examine the rotor for visible signs of warping or unevenness. Also, look for pad material deposits.
- Braking Test: On an empty stretch, apply brakes at varying intensities. Note when vibrations are most pronounced, as severe warping might cause more vibrations at high speeds.
- Caliper Check: Examine the brake caliper and piston for signs of sticking or malfunction.
DIY Repairs and Fixes
Should you wish to address the issue yourself:
- Rotor Resurfacing: If rotors are warped but not overly worn, they can be resurfaced. This requires specialized equipment and might be better suited for a garage.
- Rotor Replacement: If resurfacing is not possible due to extensive wear, replace the rotor.
- Cleaning Rotors: For pad material deposits, using brake cleaner can often remove these deposits, restoring smooth rotor function.
- Caliper and Piston Maintenance: If you suspect a sticky piston, you can try cleaning and lubricating it. However, if problems persist, a caliper replacement may be necessary.
Repair and Replacement Costs
Brake issues can vary in repair costs:
- Rotor Resurfacing: This typically costs between $30 and $100 per rotor.
- Rotor Replacement: Depending on the car’s make and model, this can range from $200 to $400 per axle, including labor.
- Brake Cleaner: A can of brake cleaner costs around $5-$15.
- Caliper Replacement: A new brake caliper can range from $50 to $200 for the part. With labor, total costs might range from $130 to $350.
Remember, while DIY solutions can be cost-effective, always prioritize safety. If unsure about a repair, consulting a mechanic is the best route.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #3: Car Pulling To One Side When Braking
A car pulling to one side during braking means that one of the brakes isn’t working properly. For example, if the front right brakes aren’t working, then the car will pull to the left. This is because only the front left wheels are slowing down, dragging the car to the left.
This can happen because of several causes. For example, a bad brake line isn’t transferring brake fluids to one of the brakes, and as a result, that particular brake can’t operate. Or, perhaps a sticky piston that won’t move or can’t fully move the caliper into place.
Needless to say, this is very dangerous as your car becomes difficult to control under braking. It also reduces the effectiveness of your brakes, meaning you will need longer distances to stop. It’s best to service the brakes immediately in this scenario.
Causes Behind Car Pulling to One Side
The sensation of your car pulling to one side when braking can be unsettling. Here’s why this may be happening:
- Faulty Brake Line: If one of the brake lines is compromised, it might not transfer brake fluid adequately. This would mean one of the brakes isn’t getting the necessary hydraulic pressure to operate effectively.
- Sticky Piston: As previously mentioned, a piston that’s not functioning can prevent the brake caliper from moving into its proper position, causing uneven braking.
- Worn-out Brake Pads: If the brake pads on one side are more worn than the other, it can cause the car to pull in the direction of the better-performing brake.
- Caliper Malfunction: If a brake caliper isn’t releasing as it should, it might cause the car to pull toward the side of the malfunctioning brake.
Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
To determine the root of the problem:
- Brake Line Examination: Check the brake lines for any signs of damage, wear, or leaks.
- Piston Inspection: Look at the piston’s movement when the brake is applied. If it’s not retracting or expanding correctly, it could be the culprit.
- Brake Pad Check: Examine the brake pads on both sides. If there’s an evident disparity in wear, consider replacing them.
- Caliper Functionality: Check if the caliper releases properly after braking.
DIY Repairs and Fixes
For those confident in tackling brake issues:
- Brake Line Replacement: If you spot a damaged brake line, replace it. Ensure you refill and bleed the brake system afterward.
- Lubricating the Piston: Clean and lubricate the piston to ensure smooth movement.
- Brake Pad Replacement: If you identify uneven wear, replace both sets of brake pads to ensure consistent performance.
- Caliper Repair: Calipers can sometimes be repaired by cleaning and lubricating. However, in cases of severe malfunction, replacement may be required.
Repair and Replacement Costs
Addressing this issue might come with various expenses:
- Brake Line Replacement: Typically, brake line parts cost between $30 and $50, with labor ranging from $100 to $150.
- Piston and Caliper Lubrication: A can of lubricant costs around $5-$15.
- Brake Pad Replacement: The average cost for brake pad replacement ranges from $100 to $300 per axle, inclusive of parts and labor.
- Caliper Replacement: Depending on your car’s model, a brake caliper’s part cost can range from $50 to $200. With labor, expect total expenses of $130 to $350.
It’s paramount to address any issue causing your car to pull to one side while braking promptly. While some solutions can be executed DIY-style, always err on the side of caution and seek professional help if unsure. Your safety, and that of others on the road, is of utmost importance.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #4: Spongy Or Soft Brake Pedal
A spongy or soft brake pedal means that there’s a loss of resistance from the brake pedal as you push it.
Most brake pedals will have relatively strong resistance. If you notice a difference in the resistance, it usually means there’s air or moisture trapped in the braking system. This will reduce the hydraulic pressure in the system, which reduces the effectiveness of the system and require you to press the brake pedal further to stop the car.
This usually happens because there’s a leak in the braking system, or the system is low on brake fluid. It could also mean a problem with the brake’s master cylinder. Either way, this is very dangerous and scary. You should get this sorted out immediately.
Causes Behind a Spongy or Soft Brake Pedal
Experiencing a soft brake pedal is a clear indicator of potential problems in the braking system. Here’s a breakdown of the reasons behind it:
- Air in the Brake Line: Air bubbles in the brake line can disrupt the hydraulic pressure needed for the brakes to function efficiently.
- Moisture in the System: Brake fluid attracts moisture over time. This moisture can lead to decreased braking efficiency and a spongy pedal feel.
- Brake Fluid Leak: If there’s a leak in the brake line or any component, you’ll lose brake fluid, impacting the system’s pressure.
- Faulty Master Cylinder: The master cylinder controls the hydraulic pressure. If it’s malfunctioning, it can result in a soft pedal feel.
Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
To ascertain the issue:
- Brake Fluid Level Check: Examine the brake fluid reservoir. If the level is low, it might be indicative of a leak or it’s time for a refill.
- Brake Line Examination: Look over the brake lines for any evident signs of leakage or damage.
- Pedal Test: Push down on the brake pedal. If it goes to the floor easily or feels unusually soft, there could be air or moisture in the system.
- Master Cylinder Inspection: Check the master cylinder for any visible damage or leaks.
DIY Repairs and Fixes
For the hands-on car owner:
- Brake Fluid Top-Up: If the fluid is low, refill it with the right type of brake fluid as specified in the car’s manual.
- Brake Bleeding: To remove air from the brake lines, you can bleed the brakes. This process involves pushing out the old brake fluid (and any trapped air) and replacing it with new fluid.
- Leak Repair: If you identify a leak, repair the damaged section or replace the entire brake line if necessary.
- Master Cylinder Replacement: If you deduce the master cylinder is at fault, it might be time for a replacement.
Repair and Replacement Costs
Costs associated with a spongy brake pedal can vary:
- Brake Fluid: A bottle of brake fluid generally costs between $10 and $20.
- Brake Bleeding: If you opt for a professional service, brake bleeding can range from $70 to $110.
- Brake Line Repair/Replacement: Repairing a section of the brake line can cost between $100 and $200, while replacing the entire line can run from $300 to $1,000, including labor.
- Master Cylinder Replacement: The part itself can cost between $100 and $200, with labor adding another $200 to $300 to the total.
A spongy brake pedal isn’t just a minor inconvenience; it’s a significant safety concern. Whether you choose to fix it yourself or consult a mechanic, addressing it promptly is crucial. Safe driving hinges on reliable brakes.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #5: Your Brake Lights Are On
Your car’s dashboard has a few warning lights that light up when the car’s computer detects a problem with certain components. For instance, it will light up the check engine light when it detects a powertrain-related problem.
Similarly, it will light up the brake warning lights if the car thinks you have a brake problem. There are usually two brake lights on the dashboard (you can learn more in our guide on why is my brake light on): the red round light with an exclamation mark in the middle (!), or the amber round light with ABS written on it.
The red brake light will light up every time you engage the parking brake. If the light stays on, this usually means that the brake fluid in the master cylinder is low. In this case, simply top up the fluid inside the brake fluid reservoir. If it doesn’t go away, you should take your car to a mechanic.
Meanwhile, the amber ABS light means the car has an ABS problem, usually an electrical problem. ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System, a safety feature that prevents the wheels from locking up under hard braking.
This is necessary because locking up the wheels will make it harder for the car to stop. That’s not to mention it will damage your tires. If you see this light, immediately see a mechanic and sort out the problem as it’s very dangerous. Believe me, hard braking without ABS is absolutely terrifying.
Understanding the Causes of Illuminated Brake Lights
There are primary reasons why your brake lights are on:
- Low Brake Fluid: The brake system relies on brake fluid to exert hydraulic pressure. If it’s running low, the car’s computer will alert you via the brake warning light.
- Faulty ABS System: The ABS light indicates a potential malfunction in the Anti-lock Braking System. This system is crucial for maintaining traction during heavy braking.
- Engaged Parking Brake: Sometimes, the brake light can simply indicate that the parking brake is still engaged. This is a basic reminder to disengage it before driving.
Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
Pinpointing the issue is key:
- Brake Fluid Level: Check the brake fluid reservoir. If the fluid level is low, it’s a straightforward sign.
- ABS System Scan: Utilize an OBD-II scanner to read potential fault codes in the ABS system. It’ll provide insights into what might be wrong.
- Parking Brake Check: Ensure your parking brake is fully disengaged. Even a slight engagement can trigger the brake light.
DIY Repairs and Fixes
For those inclined to address it themselves:
- Refilling Brake Fluid: If the brake fluid is low, refill the reservoir with the appropriate brake fluid.
- Check ABS Sensors: Sometimes, ABS sensors located at the wheels can accumulate dirt or debris. Cleaning them might solve the issue.
- Parking Brake Adjustment: Over time, parking brakes can require adjustment. Ensure it’s releasing fully when disengaged.
Repair and Replacement Costs
Addressing brake light issues has associated costs:
- Brake Fluid: Purchasing a bottle of brake fluid can range from $10 to $20.
- ABS Sensor Replacement: If found faulty, an ABS sensor might cost between $100 and $200 per wheel, including labor.
- ABS Module Replacement: In cases where the ABS control module is at fault, replacement costs can range from $400 to $1,200, depending on the vehicle’s make and model.
- Parking Brake Adjustment: A minor parking brake adjustment at a professional service center may cost between $50 and $100.
It’s important to understand that illuminated brake lights signal potential safety concerns. Addressing them in a timely manner is paramount. Remember, proactive measures ensure safe driving.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #6: Longer Stopping Distances
One clear sign that your brakes might not be in peak condition is if your car begins to require more distance to come to a complete stop. As brakes wear out or malfunction, they don’t provide the same grip, leading to extended stopping distances.
This can be especially hazardous in emergency situations, where every inch counts. A gradual increase in stopping distance could be a result of worn-out brake pads or diminished brake fluid levels. It’s essential to regularly monitor how your car behaves during braking and to consult a professional if you notice changes.
Why Are Your Stopping Distances Increasing?
- Worn Brake Pads: Over time, the brake pads undergo significant wear and tear. Their primary function is to create friction with the rotors, enabling your vehicle to stop. As they wear thin, their efficiency diminishes.
- Diminished Brake Fluid: Brake fluid is pivotal for the brake system to operate. If it’s leaking or at a low level, it can’t provide adequate hydraulic pressure, making the brakes less responsive.
- Warped Rotors: These are the discs the brake pads squeeze onto. If they’re uneven due to wear, they don’t provide an even surface for the brake pads to grip, affecting stopping distance.
- Degraded Brake Lines: Brake lines transfer the brake fluid. If they’re old or compromised, they might not transfer fluid efficiently.
Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
- Inspect Brake Pads: Look at the thickness of your brake pads. If they appear too thin (usually less than a quarter-inch), they might need replacing.
- Check Brake Fluid Level: Inspect the brake fluid reservoir. Low levels or signs of leakage need immediate attention.
- Rotor Examination: Check for grooves or apparent damage. Uneven surfaces indicate a need for repair or replacement.
- Brake Line Assessment: Look for signs of corrosion, damage, or leaks.
DIY Repairs and Fixes
- Replace Brake Pads: With basic automotive knowledge, brake pads can be replaced at home. Ensure you acquire pads suited to your vehicle.
- Top-Up Brake Fluid: If the level is low, refill with the appropriate brake fluid for your car.
- Resurface or Replace Rotors: This is a more advanced task, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be done.
- Brake Line Repair: If they’re slightly degraded, specific patches can be applied. However, significant damage might require a professional.
Repair and Replacement Costs
- Brake Pads: A set can range from $30 to $150, depending on quality and brand. With labor, the cost can range from $100 to $300.
- Brake Fluid: A bottle typically costs $10 to $20.
- Rotors: Depending on the vehicle, rotors can cost between $30 and $75 each for standard cars, and up to $200 for high-end vehicles. Labor can add $100 to $200 to the total.
- Brake Line Repair: Replacing a brake line can cost between $100 and $1,000, factoring in parts and labor.
Ensuring your brakes are in top condition is essential for safety. If you notice increased stopping distances, take it as a cue to check your brake system immediately. Your safety, and that of others on the road, depends on it.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #7: Burning Smell While Driving
Ever smelled a sharp, chemical-like scent when you’ve braked hard? That’s likely your brakes overheating. Overheated brakes or clutch can release a pungent odor. This can happen after prolonged use, like driving down a steep hill.
If you detect this scent, it’s crucial to pull over immediately in a safe location and let the brakes cool down. Continuously driving with overheated brakes can lead to brake fade, reducing their effectiveness, which can be extremely hazardous.
Why Does a Burning Smell Emerge from Brakes?
- Overheated Brake Pads: Friction causes heat. With aggressive or prolonged braking, especially during downhill driving, this heat can make the brake pads or rotors too hot, releasing that distinct smell.
- Stuck Caliper: A caliper that’s not releasing properly can cause the brake to remain partially engaged, producing excess heat due to friction.
- Glazed Pads and Rotors: Overheating can lead to a shiny appearance on the pads and rotors. This glazing reduces the brake’s ability to generate friction, hindering stopping power.
- Leaking Fluid: Sometimes, brake fluid or axle grease may leak onto the brake components. When these substances heat up, they emit a sharp, chemical odor.
Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
- Visual Check: Examine your wheels and brakes. If you see smoke or notice that the hubcap is hot to the touch, this indicates an overheating issue.
- Brake Test: If the brakes feel soft or less effective, it might be a result of overheating.
- Fluid Check: Inspect brake fluid levels and look for any signs of leakage around the brake components.
DIY Repairs and Fixes
- Cool Down: If you notice the smell while driving, immediately find a safe place to pull over and let the brakes cool down. Avoid putting on the parking brake during this time, as it can cause the brake pads to stick to the rotors if they’re very hot.
- Brake Fluid: Ensure the brake fluid is at the appropriate level and replace it if it appears dirty.
- Replace Brake Pads and Rotors: If you notice they are glazed, consider replacing them. The glazed surface can severely diminish braking capability.
Repair and Replacement Costs
- Brake Pads: Prices can range from $30 to $150 for parts. Labor can bring the total cost between $100 and $300.
- Rotors: For standard cars, rotors might cost between $30 and $75 each. High-end vehicles can have rotors costing up to $200. Labor can add another $100 to $200.
- Brake Fluid: A bottle typically costs between $10 and $20, though a complete brake fluid flush at a shop can range between $75 and $150.
A burning smell from your brakes isn’t just an annoyance; it’s a warning sign. Being proactive and addressing the issue immediately ensures that you maintain optimal safety while driving.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #8: Unusual Brake Pedal Behavior
Sometimes, a brake pedal may either go to the floor with very little pressure or may be very hard to press. Both are symptoms of potential brake problems. A hard brake pedal can indicate a problem with the brake booster, while a pedal that sinks suggests a master cylinder issue or a fluid leak.
Both of these conditions require immediate attention, as they directly impact your ability to stop your car safely.
Understanding Brake Pedal Behavior
Your car’s brake pedal acts as the communicator between you and your vehicle’s braking system. When its behavior changes, it’s signaling a disruption in this communication, which can compromise safety.
Causes of Unusual Pedal Behavior
- Brake Booster Issues: The brake booster aids the force of your foot on the brake pedal to stop the car. If it’s faulty, the pedal may feel hard and require more effort to push.
- Master Cylinder Problem: The master cylinder controls the release of brake fluid. If it’s failing, the pedal can sink to the floor.
- Brake Fluid Leak: A decrease in hydraulic pressure caused by a fluid leak can result in a sinking pedal. Look for signs of fluid under the car or near the wheels.
- Air in the Brake Line: Air bubbles can reduce the efficiency of the hydraulic system, leading to a soft or spongy pedal.
Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
- Check for Fluid Leaks: Inspect around the wheels and under the master cylinder for any wet spots or puddles.
- Pedal Test: If the pedal sinks when pressed but firms up when pumped, it indicates a fluid leak or air in the system.
- Booster Test: Turn off the engine and press the brake pedal several times. Then, while pressing the pedal, start the engine. If the booster is working, the pedal should drop slightly.
DIY Repairs and Fixes
- Bleed the Brakes: If there’s air in the lines, bleeding the brakes can help. This involves opening the bleeders on the brakes and pumping out the air-filled fluid.
- Check Brake Fluid: Ensure the reservoir is filled to the proper level. Top up with the recommended fluid if necessary.
- Inspect Brake Lines and Hoses: Look for physical damages, such as cracks or bulges.
Repair and Replacement Costs
- Brake Booster: Replacement parts range from $90 to $300. With labor, the total cost can be between $200 and $500.
- Master Cylinder: Parts usually cost between $40 and $200. With labor, expect to pay between $150 and $400.
- Brake Fluid: A bottle can cost between $10 and $20, while a full flush and replacement at a shop can be $75 to $150.
- Brake Line Replacement: Costs vary depending on the vehicle but expect between $150 and $500 for parts and labor.
Timely addressing unusual brake pedal behavior not only ensures driving safety but also prevents further, potentially more expensive, damage to your braking system.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #9: Brake Fluid Leaks
Brake fluid is the lifeblood of your braking system, providing the necessary hydraulic force to stop your vehicle. If you spot a small puddle of clear or amber fluid near a wheel or under the master cylinder, you might be looking at a brake fluid leak.
Low brake fluid levels can lead to reduced brake functionality, and a leak can be a sign of wear or damage to the brake lines or the master cylinder. This should be addressed promptly to ensure your safety on the road.
Understanding Brake Fluid Leaks
The efficiency of your car’s braking system relies heavily on the proper functioning and levels of brake fluid. The fluid is essential in transmitting the force of your foot on the brake pedal to the brake rotors, enabling your vehicle to halt.
Causes of Brake Fluid Leaks
- Worn Brake Lines: Over time, the metal or rubber lines carrying brake fluid can corrode or wear out, leading to leaks.
- Damaged Master Cylinder: The master cylinder, which holds the brake fluid, can develop leaks if its seals deteriorate.
- Faulty Brake Calipers: The calipers, which hold the brake pads and squeeze them against the rotors, might leak if their seals break down.
- Compromised Wheel Cylinders: In vehicles with drum brakes, wheel cylinders can wear out and leak fluid.
Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
- Visual Inspection: Examine the ground beneath the car, especially near the wheels, for wet spots. Also, check the master cylinder and other brake components for any dampness or puddles.
- Brake Pedal Test: A sinking brake pedal when pressed can be indicative of a fluid leak or air in the system.
- Fluid Level Check: Open the brake fluid reservoir and check if the fluid level is below the recommended level.
DIY Repairs and Fixes
- Brake Line Replacement: If you identify a leaky brake line, you can replace it, though it requires some technical know-how.
- Seal Repairs: Damaged seals in the master cylinder or calipers can sometimes be replaced without changing the entire component.
- Bleeding the Brakes: After addressing leaks, bleed the brake system to remove any air bubbles and replenish it with fresh fluid.
Repair and Replacement Costs
- Brake Line Replacement: Expect costs between $150 and $500, including parts and labor.
- Master Cylinder Replacement: Parts range between $40 and $200. Total costs, including labor, can fall between $150 and $400.
- Brake Caliper Replacement: Depending on the vehicle, caliper costs can vary from $50 to $200 for parts. Including labor, the total might be between $130 and $500.
- Brake Fluid: A bottle typically costs between $10 and $20. A professional flush and refill can range from $75 to $150.
Ensuring that your braking system is free from leaks is crucial for safe driving. Regularly inspecting and promptly addressing any brake fluid leaks will safeguard both your vehicle and your well-being on the road.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #10: Pedal Vibration With ABS Engaged
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is a safety feature designed to prevent wheel lockup. Under hard braking, it’s normal for ABS to cause a rapid pulsing sensation in the brake pedal. However, if you notice this pulsation during regular braking scenarios, it could indicate warped rotors or an issue with the ABS itself.
Either scenario warrants a check by a brake professional to diagnose and resolve the problem.
Understanding Pedal Vibration with ABS
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is a cornerstone of modern vehicle safety, ensuring that tires maintain traction with the road surface under heavy braking, thereby preventing uncontrolled skidding. This system modulates brake pressure in rapid succession to avoid wheel lock-up. However, unexpected pedal vibrations during regular braking can signal underlying issues.
Causes of Unusual Pedal Vibration
- Warped Rotors: Over time, or due to excessive heat, brake rotors can warp. When this happens, every time the brake pads make contact with the rotors, a vibration is felt.
- Faulty ABS Sensors: ABS relies on speed sensors to monitor wheel speed. If one of these sensors malfunctions, it can send inaccurate data, causing the ABS to engage incorrectly.
- Degraded ABS Module: The ABS control module processes signals from the speed sensors and controls brake pressure. Faulty modules can cause irregular ABS behavior.
- Uneven Brake Pad Wear: Irregular wear patterns on brake pads can contribute to pedal vibrations, especially if the ABS is engaging frequently.
Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
- Visual Inspection: Check the brake rotors for any signs of warping or uneven wear. Also, look at brake pads for irregular wear patterns.
- Sensor Test: A diagnostic tool can check if ABS speed sensors are functioning properly.
- ABS Module Test: Specialized scanners can test the ABS control module for any malfunction codes.
- Brake Fluid Inspection: Contaminated brake fluid can sometimes affect ABS performance. Check the fluid for clarity and level.
DIY Repairs and Fixes
- Rotor Resurfacing: If rotors are slightly warped but not excessively worn, they might be resurfaced to achieve a flat, even surface.
- Replace Brake Pads: If brake pads are unevenly worn, replace them to ensure consistent braking.
- Sensor Replacement: If a sensor is found to be faulty, replacing it can be straightforward, though it’s essential to follow vehicle-specific guidelines.
Repair and Replacement Costs
- Rotor Resurfacing: Prices can range between $30 and $75 per rotor.
- Brake Pad Replacement: Depending on the vehicle, you might pay between $100 and $300 for parts and labor.
- ABS Sensor Replacement: Parts can cost between $25 and $200, with labor adding $50 to $200.
- ABS Module Replacement: A more expensive repair, the module itself can cost between $200 and $600, with labor costs varying widely based on the vehicle’s make and model.
Unexpected pedal vibrations can compromise both the effectiveness and safety of your brakes. Regularly inspecting your braking system and promptly addressing any unusual behaviors is crucial for ensuring safety on the road.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #11: Rust or Corrosion
While not immediately impacting brake function, rust or corrosion on brake components can be a sign of aging or damage. Over time, if unchecked, corrosion can compromise the integrity of brake parts, leading to decreased functionality and potential failure. Regularly inspect your brakes for signs of rust, especially if you live in an area where road salt is used during winter months.
Decoding Rust and Corrosion on Brake Components
Rust and corrosion are natural enemies of metal parts, and brake components are no exception. Over time, environmental factors and exposure to water or road salt can lead to the formation of rust, which can gradually wear down the structural integrity of your brake system.
Spotting Rust and Its Implications
- Brake Rotors: It’s common for brake rotors to show some surface rust, especially after the car has been parked for a while in a damp environment. This superficial rust is typically scrubbed off by the brake pads the next time you drive. However, excessive rust that affects the rotor’s thickness can compromise its effectiveness and safety.
- Brake Lines: Made of metal, these lines are susceptible to rust, which can lead to leaks in the brake fluid system.
- Brake Calipers: These can become corroded over time, impacting their ability to squeeze the brake pads onto the rotors. This can lead to decreased brake performance.
- Brake Pads: If the metal backing plates of the brake pads become rusted, they can delaminate from the friction material, leading to brake failure.
Factors Contributing to Rust and Corrosion
- Environmental Conditions: Areas with high humidity or salt in the air can hasten rust formation.
- Road Salt: In places with snowy winters, road salt can significantly speed up the rusting process.
- Infrequent Use: Cars that sit unused for long periods can develop rust more quickly, especially on the brake rotors.
DIY Inspection and Prevention
- Visual Inspection: Regularly check brake components for rust. Ensure rotors have a smooth, even surface and that other brake parts like lines and calipers are free of excessive rust.
- Wash Your Car: Especially during winter, regularly wash the undercarriage of your vehicle to remove road salt and prevent corrosion.
- Drive Regularly: Using your car regularly can help prevent excessive rusting on brake rotors.
When to Seek Professional Help
- Deep Rust: If rust has penetrated deep into the brake rotors or other components, seek professional assessment.
- Rusty Brake Lines: Given the importance of brake fluid in the braking system, any rust on the brake lines should be immediately inspected by a professional.
Repair and Replacement Costs
- Brake Rotors: Replacing rotors can range from $30 to $250 per rotor, depending on the vehicle’s make and model.
- Brake Lines: Replacement cost can vary between $100 and $1,000, depending on the extent of rust and labor required.
- Calipers: Depending on the vehicle, replacing brake calipers can cost between $130 and $600 for parts and labor.
Rust and corrosion might seem minor initially, but left unchecked, they can undermine the reliability and safety of your braking system. Regular inspections and proactive maintenance can help you stay ahead of potential problems.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Symptoms #12: Vehicle Bouncing Up And Down When You Stop Short
When you brake hard, if you notice your vehicle bouncing up and down, it might not be an issue with the brakes themselves but rather the shock absorbers or struts. However, this can impact your braking effectiveness and should be addressed. Healthy shocks ensure that your tires have maximum road contact, which is vital when trying to stop in a hurry.
Understanding the “Bounce” during Hard Braking
A vehicle’s ability to halt efficiently doesn’t solely depend on the braking system. The suspension, which comprises the shock absorbers or struts, plays a pivotal role in ensuring tire-to-road contact, a crucial factor in stopping the car. When you experience excessive bouncing during hard braking, it’s often indicative of an underlying issue with the suspension.
Why Does Suspension Matter During Braking?
- Tire-to-Road Contact: Effective braking requires maximum tire-to-road contact to create the necessary friction. A faulty suspension system can compromise this contact, leading to longer stopping distances.
- Vehicle Stability: A healthy suspension system ensures that the vehicle remains stable and in control during sudden stops. If the shocks or struts are compromised, the car may nosedive or sway.
Potential Causes of the Bouncing:
- Worn Shock Absorbers or Struts: Over time, the constant stress of bumps and road imperfections can wear out shock absorbers or struts, reducing their dampening ability.
- Leaking Hydraulic Fluid: A visible sign of worn shocks or struts can be fluid leaking from them. This leak suggests that they are no longer functioning optimally.
- Broken or Worn-Out Coil Springs: These springs absorb road bumps. If they’re broken or worn out, they won’t provide the necessary stability, especially during hard braking.
- Push Test: Park your vehicle and press down hard on the front of the car. If the car bounces more than once or twice, the shock absorbers or struts may be worn out.
- Visual Inspection: Regularly check for visible signs of damage, rust, leakage, or wear in the suspension system.
Fixing the Issue:
- Replace Worn Components: If the shock absorbers, struts, or coil springs show signs of wear or damage, they should be replaced. It’s recommended to replace shocks and struts in pairs (both fronts or both rears) to ensure balanced performance.
- Regular Maintenance: Have your vehicle’s suspension checked periodically, especially if you frequently drive on rough or uneven roads.
- Shock Absorbers: Depending on the vehicle and brand, replacement shock absorbers can range from $100 to $300 each, excluding labor.
- Struts: Struts tend to be more expensive than shocks, ranging from $150 to $600 each, not including labor costs.
While bouncing during a sudden stop might not directly be a brake issue, it’s intrinsically linked to your vehicle’s stopping performance. Ensuring that your car’s suspension system is in top shape is pivotal for safety, especially in emergency braking scenarios.
In conclusion, maintaining your brakes isn’t just about saving money; it’s a crucial aspect of ensuring you, your passengers, and other road users’ safety. Regular inspections and understanding these symptoms can make a world of difference in brake longevity and, most importantly, safety.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done
So, where’s the cheapest place to get your brakes done? The cost will ultimately depend on what type of brake job you need. Routine service is going to be relatively cheap, but a replacement job will certainly cost more. We’ll list down the places where you can get a brake service and the estimates for each place.
However, keep in mind these are estimates that we found during the time of writing, so the estimate you get may differ. Additionally, the cost may be different depending on what state you’re in.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Option #1: Midas
Midas will charge $50 for a drum brake service, and about $60 if you need new brake fluids. As for the labor cost, they usually charge about $80 an hour for labor. So, assuming you need new brake pads for all four brakes, and let’s say it takes a couple of hours to finish, you will have to pay about $160 in labor.
The good thing about Midas is that you inquire online first before going there. They will give you an estimate for various services you’re looking to do. All you have to do is enter your zip code, then enter the shop nearest to your location. Then specify what services you need and fill in your contact information and then they will send you an estimate.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Option #2: Pep Boys
Pep Boys offer several brake services. The standard service will run you about $210 per axle, this includes the installation of new brake pads from Wagner, a brake system inspection, and a lifetime warranty for the brake pads. There’s also the Premium service, which includes everything in the standard service and a brake fluid exchange.
Additionally, Pep Boys have what’s called the Akebono Ultra Ceramic brake pads. These brake pads are made from ceramic which is stronger and will perform better and last longer. Should you opt to have these brake pads, they will charge you around $300 for each axle. So if you’re replacing all four, that’s about $600.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Option #3: Jiffy Lube
Next, there’s Jiffy Lube. Jiffy Lube has a good reputation when it comes to brake services, and they will charge you about $365 for a brake pad replacement per axle. But they’re currently running a promotion at some stores and will set you back at just $179 per axle.
This makes them a bit cheaper than Pep Boys and is recommended by a lot of customers. Of course, other replacement jobs may cost more. Rotors will usually take longer to replace, so expect to pay more for this service.
Keep in mind that not all of Jiffy Lube’s outlets can provide brake services. Check their location finder and see if the shop nearest to you can do brake services. But unlike Midas, you can’t seem to get an estimate online, so you’ll have to call to get an estimate.
The upside is that they will list down available coupons on their website, so be sure to check that to get an even better deal. Additionally, if you have a Jiffy Lube credit card you can finance your brake service.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Option #4: Firestone Complete Auto Care
We’ve saved the cheapest place to get brakes done for last.
As far as we can tell, Firestone is the cheapest place to get brakes done. Firestone has similar offers to Pep Boys. They have the standard service which includes Wagner brake pads installation, resurfacing of brake rotors or drums, an inspection of the brake system, a lifetime warranty for the brake pads, and a 12-month or 12,000-mile warranty for labor.
The higher services will include brake fluid exchange and better warranty coverage depending on which service you choose. The standard job will cost you about $159 at Firestone. But unfortunately, we can’t find any information on how much the higher-tier brake service will cost, so you’ll have to make a phone call to your nearest Firestone service center.
However, they sometimes have coupons available. So if you need to get your brakes done, now might be a good time to go to Firestone. Of course, this coupon is only for the brake pads and does not include rotors, drums, and caliper jobs.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Option #5: Local Repair Shops
You can also consider your local repair shops to get your brakes done. But we won’t be able to help you to get an estimate on this one since you will need to check locally. If you already have a trusted repair shop and a mechanic that you trust, then by all means get your brakes done at your local repair shop.
We don’t recommend going for the cheapest available service when it comes to brakes. It’s an essential part of your car’s operation and is crucial for your driving safety. Go to a repair shop that you trust and you know will do a good job, whether they’re big national chains or local shops.
If you don’t have a trusted shop, read customer reviews and recommendations. If a previous customer has the same car as you do and had a good experience, that’s a plus point for the shop since it means they know how to handle your car.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Option #6: Walmart Auto Centers
Walmart is a name synonymous with budget shopping, and their auto centers aren’t any different. With hundreds of locations across the US, Walmart Auto Centers offer several automotive services, including brake jobs. Typically, brake pad replacement starts from as low as $90 per axle.
This price might fluctuate slightly based on your location, but it’s undoubtedly a competitive price in the market. However, take note that while Walmart offers budget-friendly services, they might not offer specialty brake products or services.
Before you head over, make a call to your local Walmart Auto Center to confirm the exact prices and if they have the specific brake parts you need. Remember, while they are a cost-effective option, always double-check the quality of the parts they’re using for your vehicle.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Option #7: Sears Auto Centers
Sears Auto Centers might not be as prevalent as they once were, but they’re still present in many parts of the US. Known for its robust customer service, Sears offers brake services starting at around $100 per axle for standard brake pad replacement.
Moreover, Sears often has special promotions or discounts, which could bring down the service cost even further. Before heading in, it’s always a good idea to check their website or call the nearest center for any available offers. Also, if you have a Sears credit card, they often provide interest-free financing on services, making the payments even more manageable.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Option #8: Brake Masters
A lesser-known but equally competent chain is Brake Masters. Specializing in brake services, they offer highly competitive rates, with brake pad replacements often starting at about $99 per axle. Their technicians are trained specifically for brake jobs, meaning a level of expertise that’s hard to match.
Since Brake Masters focuses on brakes, they offer a more comprehensive range of services. Whether you’re looking for standard brake pad replacements or more extensive services like rotor replacements, they’ve got you covered.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Option #9: Meineke Car Care Centers
Meineke is another major player in the auto service industry, with centers spread out across the country. Their brake service packages often start at around $130 per axle. While this might be slightly pricier than some of the other options listed, Meineke has built a reputation for quality work and reliable service.
Meineke also has a rewards program, so frequent visitors can gather points and avail discounts on future visits. Furthermore, keep an eye on their website or sign up for their newsletter; they often have discounts or promotions running, which can be a real money-saver.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Option #10: Go Mobile with Mobile Mechanics
In today’s digital age, mobile mechanics are rising in popularity. Platforms like YourMechanic allow users to book certified mechanics who come to their location, be it your home or workplace, to perform the services. This saves time and offers convenience.
For brake services, the prices vary based on your car model and location, but many users report competitive pricing, often cheaper than brick-and-mortar shops. Since these mechanics don’t bear the overhead costs of a physical location, they often pass on the savings to customers. Plus, with clear, upfront pricing on their website, you know exactly what you’re paying for.
In conclusion, when it comes to brake services, affordability shouldn’t compromise safety. Always prioritize quality and ensure you’re getting the best parts and service for your vehicle. Regular maintenance, combined with prompt attention to any brake issues, will ensure a longer lifespan for your brakes and, more importantly, safer driving conditions for you.
Brake Job Cost
The total cost of your brake service will depend largely on the components you need to replace or repair. Brake pads will wear out the quickest, they will wear out after about 40,000 miles on average.
They’re typically around $100 – $150 for each axle or about around $200 – $300 for all four brakes. We recommend changing them as soon as you need to, neglecting the brake pads can cause the brake rotors to wear out quicker.
Rotors meanwhile are around $80 each, so if you need to replace all four, expect to pay around $320 before labor. You will need to replace them at around 30,000 to 70,000 miles, depending on the quality and the load that your brake experiences in day-to-day driving. Meanwhile, the calipers can last anywhere between 75,000 to 100,000 miles or about 10 years.
But they are quite expensive, at around $200 each to replace before labor. Keep in mind those are estimates for hatchbacks and compact sedans. SUVs, trucks, and performance cars have larger brakes and sometimes from more expensive materials, so they will likely cost more.
Additionally, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) will likely cost more as well, but you know it will fit your car and work perfectly. Meanwhile, aftermarket parts could be cheaper, but you will need to double-check whether or not the part will fit your car. But it’s a good option if you’re looking to save money.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Cost Factors #1: Type of Brake Service
Full Brake Job or Partial: Not all brake services are created equal. There’s a difference between getting a complete brake overhaul and merely replacing specific components. While a full service includes changing pads, rotors, and sometimes even calipers, a partial job might only involve replacing the brake pads. Obviously, a more comprehensive service will cost more due to the increased labor and parts involved.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Cost Factors #2: Location of Brakes: Front vs. Rear
Front Brakes Tend to Wear Faster: Typically, the front brakes of most vehicles bear the brunt of the stopping force. Consequently, they might wear out faster than rear brakes. It’s essential to recognize which set needs replacement to determine the potential cost. And, as many have pointed out, it’s always advisable to replace brakes in pairs, either front or back, to ensure even braking.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Cost Factors #3: Vehicle Size and Type
Size Matters: Larger vehicles like trucks or SUVs tend to have bigger and more robust brakes to handle the additional weight. These larger brakes often come with a higher price tag due to their size and complexity. On the contrary, smaller cars will generally have more affordable brake components.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Cost Factors #4: Brand of the Vehicle
Domestic vs. Foreign: It’s a general observation that parts for domestic cars, like Ford or Chevy, might be less expensive than those for foreign brands, especially luxury ones like BMW or Mercedes. However, this is not a strict rule, as certain domestic models can also have high-end brakes that cost a premium.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Cost Factors #5: DIY or Get a Pro?
The Labor Factor: If you’re handy with tools and know your way around cars, you might save a significant amount by doing the job yourself. However, it’s essential to ensure you’re confident in your skills, as brakes are crucial for safety. On the other hand, getting professional help ensures the job is done right but comes at a labor cost. And, as mentioned, dealership rates can be particularly high.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Cost Factors #6: Material of Brake Components
Choices Abound: Brake pads come in various materials – from organic to semi-metallic to ceramic. Each has its own price point, longevity, and performance characteristics. The type you choose can have a considerable impact on the cost. For instance, ceramic pads might last longer and offer better performance but usually come at a higher price.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Cost Factors #7: Your Driving Style and Environment
Wear and Tear: If you have a habit of hard braking or live in an area with lots of hills, your brakes might wear out faster. Similarly, driving in urban settings with frequent stops can lead to quicker brake wear than highway driving. Environmental factors, like driving on salty roads in winter or dusty terrains, can also accelerate brake deterioration. Sometimes, these conditions might necessitate more durable (and expensive) brake components.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done, Cost Factors #8: Aftermarket vs. OEM Parts
Making the Right Choice: Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are designed specifically for your vehicle by the carmaker. While they might offer a perfect fit and performance, they can be pricier. Aftermarket parts, produced by third-party companies, can be more affordable and sometimes even offer superior performance or durability than OEM. However, it’s crucial to choose reputable aftermarket brands to ensure quality and safety.
In conclusion, while the cost might be a determining factor when considering brake service, it’s crucial to never compromise on safety. Always choose quality parts and ensure proper installation, whether you’re doing it yourself or relying on a professional. Your vehicle’s brakes are its most vital safety feature – they deserve careful consideration.
What’s Done During A Brake Service
When discussing the cheapest places to get brakes done, it’s crucial to first understand what the brake service process entails. As the brakes are among the most critical safety features of a vehicle, ensuring they’re in top condition is paramount. Here’s a breakdown of the process:
1. Initial Brake System Inspection
Before diving into the specifics, a mechanic will conduct an initial inspection of the brake system. They’ll look for any visible signs of wear, damage, or leaks. This step helps in determining what might need further attention or replacement.
2. Brake Pads and Brake Shoes Replacement
One of the most common brake maintenance tasks is replacing brake pads or shoes. These components experience direct friction and wear out over time. The mechanic will remove the old pads or shoes and install new ones, ensuring they fit snugly and correctly.
3. Rotor and Drum Examination
Brake rotors and drums can develop wear patterns over time. If these patterns are deep or uneven, the mechanic might either resurface the rotors to make them smooth again or recommend their replacement if they’re beyond repair.
4. Checking Brake Hardware
Brake hardware refers to the various springs and clips that support the brake system. Over time, they can rust, break, or lose their tension. A comprehensive brake job will often include replacing old or faulty brake hardware to maintain optimal brake function.
5. Calipers and Wheel Cylinders
The calipers and wheel cylinders play a pivotal role in creating the friction needed to stop the vehicle. Over time, they can get sticky, leak, or even seize. Mechanics may choose to rebuild them or replace them entirely.
6. Hoses, Lines, and Master Cylinder
The brake system operates on hydraulic principles, with fluid transferring pressure from the master cylinder to the brakes themselves. Mechanics will check for any rusted or leaking hoses and lines. If the master cylinder is compromised, it might require replacement.
7. Brake Fluid Inspection
Brake fluid can deteriorate or become contaminated. Mechanics will often check its condition and may recommend a brake fluid flush to ensure the system works under optimal conditions.
8. Parking Brake Adjustment
Although often overlooked, the parking brake is an essential component. Mechanics will inspect its condition and make necessary adjustments, ensuring it engages and releases properly.
9. Test Drive and Bedding-In
After all the components have been addressed, a test drive is essential. This not only ensures everything is working properly but also helps in “bedding in” new components. It’s a process where new brake pads and rotors are conditioned to work together efficiently.
10. Feedback and Recommendations
Upon completion, a reliable mechanic will provide feedback on the service done. They’ll discuss any potential issues spotted and offer recommendations for future maintenance.
While the process might seem straightforward, the nuances of each step and the expertise required make brake servicing a task for trained professionals or experienced DIY enthusiasts. Remember, cheaper doesn’t always mean better. Opt for a service provider who combines affordability with quality and safety, ensuring your brakes will keep you safe on the road.
Where Can I Get My Brakes Done
Before you choose, we have a few tips that you should keep in mind:
Get estimates and compare them. We can’t stress how important this is when you want to do a major service or repair job for your car. They can be quite expensive so you’ll want to get estimates and compare prices to make sure you get the best possible service for a reasonable price.
Read customer reviews. You’ll want to make sure that the shop can actually do a good brake job. If you’re looking to get your brakes done at a national chain, find reviews of the outlet that you’re planning to go to.
An outlet in Indiana may have good reviews, but then the one in Chicago may not have good reviews. There’s no point saving money for a brake service only to find out they didn’t do a thorough job. Reading customer reviews is also a good way of finding out whether or not they have hidden costs that aren’t listed in the estimate.
Finding a Trustworthy Workshop for Your Brake Job
If you’re using non-OEM parts, make sure that the aftermarket manufacturer has a good reputation and that there’s a warranty. Look for deals and coupons before you proceed with a brake service. Big national chains may list available coupons on their website. Or you can search for deals on websites like Groupon.
Find out what kind of brake service your car needs. Brake pads? Rotors? Calipers? Or do you need to bleed the system (or want to learn how to get air out of brake lines without bleeding)? The cost for each service will vary, so it’ll be a good idea to find out what you need. This will help you get a clear estimate as well as find deals and coupons for the service that you need.
Automotive care, especially when it involves the safety of your vehicle, should never be compromised for price. Finding the right balance between affordability and quality is key. Here are ways to ensure you select a dependable workshop for your brake service.
1. Seek Personal Recommendations
Word-of-Mouth Wisdom: One of the most reliable sources of information is word-of-mouth recommendations. Family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors might have firsthand experience with a particular brake service shop. They can provide feedback on work quality, pricing, and customer service.
2. Investigate Shop Credentials
Certifications Matter: Look for workshops that employ ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified technicians. This certification indicates that the mechanics have passed specialty exams and possess expertise in automotive repair. A shop’s affiliation with AAA can also be a good sign.
3. Inspect Online Reputation
Online Reviews and Testimonials: Online platforms like Yelp, Google Reviews, and the Better Business Bureau give insights into a shop’s reputation. While occasional negative reviews are common, frequent complaints should be a red flag.
4. Prioritize Transparent Pricing
Hidden Costs and Estimates: A reputable shop will offer transparent pricing, with no hidden fees. It’s advisable to get written estimates before any work begins. This ensures that you won’t be taken by surprise with unexpected costs.
5. Value Quality over Price
Parts Longevity: Opt for brake parts from reputable manufacturers, even if they cost a bit more. Higher quality parts can result in a longer lifespan for your brakes and better performance.
6. Gauge Customer Service
First Impressions Matter: The way a workshop treats you from the outset can tell you a lot. Good customer service is a sign of professionalism and can indicate the quality of their work. Trust your instincts.
7. Warranty Offerings
Protection for Your Investment: Always ask if the shop offers a warranty on parts and labor. A good warranty can offer peace of mind and protection in case something goes wrong post-repair.
8. Convenience and Amenities
More than Just Repairs: Consider if the shop offers shuttle services, loaner vehicles, or waiting rooms with Wi-Fi. These conveniences can make the repair experience smoother.
9. Ask the Right Questions
Engage with the Technician: Before committing, engage with the mechanic or technician. Some pertinent questions might include:
- What’s the scope of the brake job? Does it involve only the pads or rotors as well?
- Can you explain the reason behind each suggested repair?
- Is there any current promotion or discount available?
Remember, a good mechanic will welcome questions and provide answers that put your mind at ease.
10. Trust but Verify
Post-Service Check: Once the brake job is done, do a quick check. Ensure the brakes feel right, the car stops effectively, and there are no unusual noises. If something feels off, don’t hesitate to return to the shop for adjustments.
Your vehicle’s brakes are a critical component of your safety on the road. While cost considerations are essential, prioritizing quality and reliability is paramount. By following the above steps, you can confidently choose a brake service shop that offers both affordability and quality, ensuring safe travels for you and your loved ones.
Facts: Cheapest Places to Get Brakes Done
- Jiffy Lube, Midas, Pep Boys, and Firestone Complete Auto Care offers cheap rates for brake repair or replacement, with prices varying based on where you live, what vehicle you drive, and what needs to be done. Local repair shops can also be a cost-effective option, but the costs will depend on what’s available near you.
- The cost of a brake job is going to depend on what parts are needed and what type of vehicle you drive, with prices generally ranging from $150-$250 per axle for brake pads and $100 or more per axle for rotor replacement, plus labor costs.
- To choose the best place for a cheap brake job, compare estimates, read reviews, research parts, and look for coupons. Additionally, it’s wise to talk to trusted family and friends to see where they take their vehicle and ask for any discounts or specials.
- After your brakes are replaced, there should be a warranty on the parts and labor, with the length of the warranty depending on what brakes you choose and where you have them replaced.
- It’s possible to drive your car with grinding brakes, but it’s not recommended as it can increase stopping time and potentially cause an accident.
Cheapest Place to Get Brakes Done: In Conclusion…
We all like to save money when it comes to servicing our cars. But since brakes are essential to your car’s operation and safety, make sure you’re still getting a good service despite the cheap price. Believe me, medical bills from car accidents can be way higher. Firestone seems to be the cheapest place to get brakes done of all the places we list down, but be sure to compare prices and reviews.
And, remember to read reviews for the specific shop you’re planning to go to, as their quality may differ even at big national chains! Hopefully, this post has helped you in making an informed decision on where to get your brakes serviced.
Cheapest Place To Get Brakes Done: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you’re still curious to learn more about the cheapest place to get brakes done, our FAQs here might help…
How Much Are Brake Pads
Of your car’s braking system, the brake pads will wear out the quickest. Usually, it’s good to replace them (or, at least have them checked) every 40,000 or so miles. Or, even sooner if you drive very frequently. The average cost to replace the brake pads is usually relatively cheap compared to other parts of a car’s brakes. Typically, a new set of brake pads will set you back between $100 to $150 per axle (two wheels at a time). Therefore, all four wheels will cost you between $200 to $300. It’s also worth mentioning to those who are considering it – make sure you replace the brake pads on both sides, not just one wheel, to ensure consistent and reliable braking.
How Much Should It Cost To Replace Brake Pads And Rotors
If your car’s brakes aren’t stopping as effectively as they used to, it’s worth looking at replacing them. And if you’re keen on maximizing a workshop’s labor hours (work that is charged by the hour), you may as well replace both the brake pads and rotors at the same time. However, this is only if it’s justified to replace the rotors – usually, the rotors are rated to last between 30,000 to 70,000 miles between replacements. A new set of brake pads should cost you between $100 to $150 per axle. So, that’s between $200 to $300 for all four wheels. Meanwhile, a single rotor will often cost you about $80 – so, that’s another $320 for all four wheels.
How To Check Brake Pads
There are numerous ways to check the brake pads to determine if you need to replace them anytime soon. The easiest method would be to keep an eye out for the tell-tale signs a worn-out brake pad might exhibit. For instance, pay attention to any odd squealing noises as you’re braking, or if the brake pedals judder, pulsate, and vibrate when you press them. Your car pulling to one side as you brake is also another common symptom of worn brake pads. However, a more thorough brake pad inspection will often require that you remove the wheels altogether. Then, you can use a set of calipers to measure the thickness of the brake pads.
When To Replace Rotors
Brake rotors are typically designed to last quite a long time. For example, a common set of steel brake rotors/discs would last you upward of 70,000 miles, for the most part. Although, they might last as little as 30,000 miles or thereabouts depending on your driving style. Consistently putting a lot of strain on your brakes – such as in stop-and-go traffic, spending a lot of time off-roading, or going to track days all too often – will wear the rotors out much quicker. Moreover, differing brake rotor designs would also impact how long they last. For instance, high-end carbon-ceramic brake rotors could sometimes last the entire lifetime of a car.
How Long Does It Take To Change Brakes
The amount of time required to repair or change the brakes on your car will vary hugely depending on what needs doing. On average, it would take a skilled technician around 1 to 3 hours for a common brake service. More specifically, the type of service required could take as little as just 15 minutes, or sometimes upwards of 8 hours! Brake pads and rotors that need replacing can usually be done relatively quickly. Meanwhile, needing to replace parts buried deep inside the car, like the master brake cylinder, might take quite a while. Also, you’ll have to consider the additional time needed for diagnosing brake-related issues, as well.
How Much Does a Mechanic Make
On average, a mechanic in the US earns around $40,000 to $50,000 annually. This range varies depending on factors like location, years of experience, and the specific shop or dealer they work for. Some highly specialized or experienced mechanics can earn more than this average.
Which One Is the Brake
The brake is a device in vehicles that helps slow down or stop the vehicle. It’s essential for safety. In most cars, there’s a brake pedal located to the left of the gas pedal. When you press down on the brake pedal, it activates the braking system to slow or halt the car.
How Much Do Brakes Cost
The cost for brakes varies depending on your vehicle’s make and model, as well as where you get the service. On average, brake pad replacement can cost between $100 and $300 per axle. Including labor, this might go up a bit more.
How Much Do New Brakes Cost
New brakes, which include both pads and rotors, can cost anywhere from $300 to $800 for most vehicles. Luxury cars or trucks may have a higher cost. Remember, prices vary based on where you go and the type of brakes you choose.
How Much to Change Brake Pads
To change brake pads, the average cost usually lies between $100 and $300 per axle. Labor fees and the type of brake pads chosen can influence this price. It’s essential to shop around for the best value without compromising quality.
Does Walmart Do Brakes
Walmart does offer auto services at many of its locations, but as of writing, they typically do not offer brake services. However, they do sell brake parts. It’s always good to check with your local Walmart auto center to confirm the services they provide.
How Many Brake Pads per Wheel
Each wheel usually has two brake pads, one on each side of the rotor. So, for a standard four-wheel vehicle, you’d typically need eight brake pads in total for a complete brake pad replacement.
Does Costco Do Brakes
As of writing, Costco does not offer brake services at their tire centers. They focus mainly on tires and related services. If you’re looking for brake services, it’s advisable to consult with local garages or specialized brake service providers.
Does Jiffy Lube Do Brakes
As of writing, Jiffy Lube offers a variety of automotive services, but its primary focus is on oil changes and other fluid-related services. Some Jiffy Lube locations might offer brake services, but it’s best to check with your local center to confirm their offerings.
What Happens If You Replace Brake Pads Without Turning the Rotors
If you replace brake pads without turning the rotors, there’s a risk of uneven wear or the new pads not bedding in properly. This can cause braking noise, reduced brake performance, or vibrations when braking. Turning or resurfacing the rotors ensures a smooth and even surface for the new brake pads, promoting better brake performance and longevity.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix Brakes
The cost to fix brakes can vary greatly based on the specific issue and the vehicle’s make and model. A simple brake pad replacement can range from $100 to $300 per axle. If rotors need to be replaced or turned, or if other components like calipers are involved, the cost can increase, ranging from $300 to $800 or more.
How Long Do Brakes Last
The lifespan of brakes depends on several factors like the type of brake pads, driving conditions, and driving habits. On average, brake pads last between 30,000 to 70,000 miles. However, aggressive driving or frequent city driving with lots of stops can shorten this lifespan.
How to Change Rear Brake Pads
Changing rear brake pads involves the following steps: 1) Ensure safety first by jacking up the vehicle and using jack stands. 2) Remove the wheel to access the brake assembly. 3) Locate the caliper and remove the bolts securing it. 4) Slide out the old brake pads and replace them with new ones. 5) If necessary, compress the caliper piston to fit over the new pads. 6) Reattach the caliper and ensure everything is tight. 7) Reinstall the wheel, and repeat on the other side. 8) Always consult your vehicle’s manual and consider seeking a professional if unsure.
How Much Are Brake Calipers
The cost of brake calipers varies based on the make and model of your vehicle. On average, a single brake caliper can range from $50 to $200. High-performance or specialized vehicles might have calipers at a higher price point.
How Long Do Brake Calipers Last
Brake calipers generally have a long lifespan and can last anywhere from 75,000 to 150,000 miles. However, their longevity depends on driving conditions and maintenance. Regular inspections can help identify issues before they become major problems.
How Much Should I Charge for a Brake Job
If you’re a mechanic or a professional offering brake services, the charge for a brake job should cover parts, labor, and a margin for profit. Rates vary based on region, the complexity of the job, and competition. Research local rates, consider your expertise, and ensure you’re providing value for the cost. On average, brake jobs can range from $100 to $800, but this varies widely based on the specifics of the service.
How Much Do Diesel Mechanics Make an Hour
Diesel mechanics, on average, can make between $20 to $30 an hour. This range varies depending on experience, certifications, location, and the employer. Some experienced diesel mechanics or those in specialized industries might earn more.
How Much Do Front Brakes Cost
The cost for front brake replacement depends on the vehicle and where the service is done. On average, front brake pad replacement can range from $100 to $300. If you need to replace rotors or other components, the cost can be higher.
How to Resurface Rotors
Resurfacing rotors involves smoothing out their surface to remove any grooves or imperfections. Here’s a basic rundown: 1) Remove the wheel and then the brake caliper to access the rotor. 2) Take off the rotor from the wheel hub. 3) Use a brake lathe to trim a thin layer off the rotor’s surface, ensuring an even finish. 4) Once resurfaced, reinstall the rotor, followed by the caliper and the wheel. 5) Always ensure you have the right tools and follow safety protocols.
How Much to Resurface Rotors
The cost to resurface rotors can range from $30 to $60 per rotor. This price can be influenced by the vehicle’s make and model, the auto shop’s rates, and regional factors.
Does Walmart Sell Brake Pads
Yes, Walmart does sell brake pads. They offer a variety of brands and models suitable for different vehicles. It’s a good idea to check online or at a local Walmart auto section to see specific availability.
How Expensive Is Meineke
Meineke offers a range of automotive services, and prices can vary based on what you need and where you’re located. For basic services, they might be competitively priced, but for more complex jobs, costs can increase. Always get a quote before having work done to understand potential costs.
Can Worn Brake Pads Cause ABS Light to Come On
While worn brake pads primarily affect braking performance, they usually don’t directly trigger the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) light. However, if the wear leads to damage to the wheel speed sensors or other related components, it could cause the ABS light to come on.
Does Walmart Do Brakes and Rotors
As of writing, Walmart’s auto centers primarily focus on tire services and do not offer brake and rotor replacements. However, they do sell brake parts, including pads and rotors. It’s always recommended to check with your local Walmart auto center to confirm their specific services.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Axle
Replacing an axle can range between $500 to $1,000, including both parts and labor. The price varies based on whether it’s a front or rear axle, the make and model of the vehicle, and labor costs in your region.
How Much Does Firestone Charge for Brakes
The charge for brakes at Firestone can vary based on the specific needs of your vehicle and location. On average, brake pad replacements can start around $99 per axle and go up, depending on additional services like rotor resurfacing or replacement. It’s best to get a quote from your local Firestone for the most accurate estimate.
How Much Is a Brake Light
The cost of a brake light bulb can range from $5 to $20, depending on the vehicle’s make and model. If you’re considering replacing the entire brake light assembly, prices can be higher, often ranging from $50 to $200 or more, based on the vehicle and the part’s quality.
How Often Are Brakes Replaced
Brake pads typically need replacement between 30,000 to 70,000 miles, depending on driving habits, conditions, and the brake pad material. Aggressive driving or frequent city driving with many stops can lead to more frequent replacements.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Brake Line
Fixing a brake line, which includes replacing it and refilling it with brake fluid, can range between $100 to $300. The price varies based on labor rates, the vehicle’s make and model, and the length and type of brake line needed.
When Should Rotors Be Replaced
Rotors should be replaced when they reach their minimum thickness, which is usually stamped on the edge of the rotor. Other indicators for replacement include deep grooves, cracks, or warping. Typically, rotors can last through two or three sets of brake pads before needing replacement.
How Much Does a Mechanic Make Per Hour
On average, a mechanic in the US earns between $15 to $30 per hour. This range varies based on experience, certifications, location, and the specific employer. Highly experienced or specialized mechanics might earn more.
Where to Get Brakes Checked
Brakes can be checked at most auto repair shops or dealerships. Popular chain auto centers like Firestone, Pep Boys, and Midas also offer brake inspection services. Always look for reputable places with certified mechanics to ensure a thorough and accurate brake check.