Complete Brake Pads & Rotors – Cost & Replacement Guide

If there is one component of a vehicle that should be well maintained, invested in and understood, it is the brakes on your car. Having a quality, well-installed and reliable brake system is absolutely vital to the safety of yourself, your passengers and other drivers on the road.

In This Guide

It is interesting to note that the federal government sets quality standards for brakes installed in new vehicles, but there are no regulations for replacement pads. In addition to this, a high portion of the complaints received by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are regarding brakes.

It should now be clear why it’s so important to understand the many choices of parts and service available and what factors cause the extremely wide range of their costs.

Average Brake Pad Replacement Cost

There’s a great deal of variance when it comes to the cost of getting your brake pads replaced.

Brake Pads OnlyCost Range
Parts (set of 4)$35 to $150
Labour$80 to $120
Total$100 to $300 per axle

It costs an average of $100 to $300 per axle to get pads replaced by a professional service center or mechanic. The pads themselves range from $35 to $150 for a set of 4 (one axle), depending on the material and quality of the pads and the make and model of your vehicle.

If the front right wheel’s pads need to be replaced, you should get the ones on the front left wheel replaced at the same time to ensure that both sides wear out uniformly and prevent the car from pulling to one side when you press the brake.

Pads & RotorsCost Range
Rotors (Parts)$30 to $75 each
Pads (Parts)$35 to $150
Labour$150 to $200
Total$250 to $500 per axle

If your rotors need to be replaced as well, this could end up running you around $250 to $500 total (including pad replacement). Rotors themselves range from $30 to $75 each (some higher performance rotors are $100+). Prices depend heavily on type, quality and brand.

There is also the comparison and decision to use aftermarket vs manufacturer (OEM) parts. Aftermarket parts are typically less expensive, are more available and greater selection, while OEM parts have a greater assurance of quality, are easier to choose and come with a warranty.

Calipers ReplacementCost Range
Parts$70 to $130
Labour$120 to $160
Total$190 to $300

In addition, if the calipers (which are responsible for closing and retracting the pads) need replacing, you’re looking at a parts cost of $70 to $130 each for a common make and model or $100-$300+ for a high end vehicle. Rear calipers cost slightly more than those for the front.

A complete brake repair job for one wheel including pad replacement, new calipers, rotors and labor can cost anywhere from $300 to $800 depending on the factors discussed in the next section.

If all top-of-the-line parts need to be replaced, this can easily inflate to $1000+. The average price is right around $450.

Factors that Affect the Cost

  • Whether you DIY, go to an independent mechanic or the dealership
  • Year, make and model of your vehicle
  • Brand/quality and type of pads and rotors used
  • Cost of labor in your area (cities are usually more expensive)

DIY or Mechanic
The primary cost determining factor is whether you do the work yourself or have it done by a professional mechanic or technician. Having your brakes replaced by a mechanic will end up costing a lot more.

While replacing pads is a relatively simple process, rotor replacement is considerably more challenging so you might want to leave it to the professionals unless you are confident with your automotive skills. Buying tools might seem like an unnecessary expense, but consider it an investment as doing the job yourself will save you a considerable amount of money in the long run.

If you go with a reputable repair shop, then you shouldn’t pay too much more for the parts than you would if you bought them yourself. However, you’re probably going to pay a little more as shops try to make some money off the parts rather than relying solely on the cost of labor to make a profit, but it shouldn’t be too much over the list price for the part.

If you think you’re being overcharged, consider asking for the receipts or the exact part numbers of the components they installed.

Year, Make and Model
As mentioned above, the make and model of your vehicle has a significant impact on the price of pads and sometimes even the cost of installation. Luxury and/or imported vehicles typically have higher maintenance costs in general, not just for brake pads.

Type and Quality of Parts Used
Pads come in a wide range of quality and materials and the differences in price reflect that. Therefore, premium ceramic pads for a high end vehicle such as an Audi R8 will cost significantly more than standard semi-metallic pads for your Toyota Camry.

Doing some research to determine which parts best fit your needs and buying aftermarket parts yourself instead of paying a technician labor and markup costs to decide for you can save you hundreds of dollars.

Cost of Labor
The cost of labor is another major factor and depends on your geographical location (supply and demand of auto maintenance) and whether you get the job done at a dealership, national service center chain or an independent mechanic. The average is typically around $60 to $100 per hour.

Brake jobs are usually priced at anywhere from 1-2 hours per axle (sometimes 3 for the most comprehensive jobs) worth of labor based on a flat rate pay system. The costs can add up if you need both your front and back brakes repaired.

While paying someone to fix your brakes isn’t the most affordable option, having a professional handle this job is the best way to go for those that don’t possess the mechanical skills.

What are Brake Pads?

disc-brake-300x251Brake pads are one of three primary parts of disk brakes – the others are calipers and a rotor. The rotation of a car’s wheels is slowed by the friction created when two pads are pushed against either side of a rotor by a set of calipers.

The pads are typically made of some friction material (ranging in composition from composite to ceramic to organic to metallic) and a steel backing plate. Rotors can be made of ceramic matrix composites, reinforced carbon-carbon or simply cast iron and are attached to the wheel or axle. When you press down on the brake pedal, brake fluid is used to engage a piston that clamps the brake pads onto each rotor.

When to Replace Them?

Manufacturers state that semimetallic pads should typically last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles, but it really depends on the type of vehicle, your driving style and the kind of use they’re subjected to – stop & go traffic in the city will wear them out faster than highway driving.

The best way to determine if your brake pads need to be replaced is by removing the tires and doing a visual inspection. If the thickness is less than 2-3mm, then it’s time to replace them.

new-vs-worn-out-brake-padOver time, the material gets worn down. When the wear becomes significant, then it’s time to change the brake pads. Most pads have a way of indicating this in order to alert the driver.

At the very least, they will have a small tab made of a soft metal embedded underneath the friction material that causes a loud squealing noise every time the brakes are used when the pads are thin and need to be replaced. Other types have a similar metal tab that doesn’t cause squealing, but completes an electric circuit that turns on a warning light on the car’s dashboard.

Factors That Determine Wear and Tear

There are a number of factors that determine the amount of wear and tear that your brake pads are subjected to and, as a result, how long they will last in terms of mileage. The first is the quality of the brake pads and the type of friction material they use. The higher the quality, the longer the pads will last.

While organic pads have the shortest stopping distance, they don’t last as long because they use up more material per stop. Ceramic and semi-metallic pads last the longest, but have a shorter stopping distance.

The second factor is your personal driving style and the type of braking you do. Are you light on the brakes and slow down over a long distance or do you press the pedal down hard to stop at the last second? The harder you press, the faster the brakes will wear down. Other factors include:

  • Geographical areas – hilly or mountainous areas are harder on brakes
  • The type of car you have – heavier and sportier cars use up brake pads faster
  • Driving style – the faster you drive and the more often you stop also affects wear and tear
  • Manual transmission – downshifting to control speed instead of using the brakes can greatly extend pad life

What Should be Included?

The services provided depend on your car’s needs. The following are the typical procedures and services that make up a complete repair job.

  • Road test or in-shop diagnostic tests to find the problems and the vehicle’s current condition
  • Removing wheels to inspect and replace mounting clips, brake pads, calipers, rotors, fluid, hoses, shims and lines.
  • Removing, cleaning and reinstalling bearings, rotors, calipers and hoses

Finding the Right Shop

If you’re not up to the task of replacing them yourself and are looking for a shop to handle the repairs, you want a reputable, certified shop or mechanic that offers brake repair within your budget. Pick a shop that offers warranties on their work.

Selecting a shop with a good reputation and a history of satisfied customers is vital if you want to get the best service possible. Consider asking your friends and family to refer you to a mechanic they have used in the past and were satisfied with the value of their work.

If you don’t have a mechanic that you know and trust and none of your family or friends are able to refer you to one (or you just don’t want to bother them), you can use the shop locator provided by National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence to find a certified mechanic.

Call several shops in your local area and schedule a time for you to bring your car in to get a quote for the repairs it needs. Ask them to explain to you what they think is wrong and what needs to be done. Don’t tell each shop what the others’ diagnosis/prices were – let them all come to their own conclusions. This is another way to weed out the shady shops and find an honest and affordable mechanic.

You’ll also want a shop that offers a wide selection of quality brake related products. Names like Pagid, Monro, Wagner, Axxis, EBC and Akebono are all trusted, quality manufacturers. Unfortunately, there are many shady repair shops out there that will charge you big dollars for a “premium part”, install a generic part instead and pocket the difference.

Again, if you think you’re being overcharged, consider asking for the receipts or the exact part numbers of the components they installed and look them up online.

To save yourself time, money and headaches, consider learning the basics of vehicle maintenance including: changing the oil, replacing brake pads and fluid and changing the transmission fluid. Learning the basics will also help you understand the work involved and whether or not you’re getting a good deal on any future repair work.

Over to You

Had a repair or replacement done in the past? Have a quote on a job and not sure if it’s a good deal? Have a question about a particular situation? Please leave a comment below.

51 thoughts on “Complete Brake Pads & Rotors – Cost & Replacement Guide”

  1. labor hrs for mechanics is standarded. work done hours calculated and know by all mechanics( standard as well). To replace all front+rear rotors with pads and brake lines takes 3 hrs maximum. 85*3=255+tax

    prices for rotors can be very cheap or very expensive depends on what you want

  2. First you should consider the tools to replace both rotors and brake pads.
    1. Torque wrench
    2. Impact screwdriver
    3. Brake Caliper Retractor

  3. Hi could you tell me where you got your pads and rotors replaces I like the price gave a pt cruiser they are squeaking some I live in Benton harbor mi could have some one do it if I buy parts but would only be able to pay 50 in labor but it us just to cold would appreciatete it if you could send me a e mail

  4. I purchased the brake pads and rotors myself at a local Autozone for about $240 for the fronts and rears. I bought the “gold” quiet ride parts which are a step above the basic pads and rotors. My mechanic charged $100 for all labor. A little over an hour of his time.

  5. I paid 120 per axle for break pads on a mdx accura.. But on receipt, I only see cost for 2 pads and labor of 80. Doesn’t per axle mean 2 front wheels? Or did I only pay for 2 wheels?

    • Each axle has a (set) of brakes Right side and Left side = (one set) per AXLE, Hope this helps explain your question, So this means you only Paid $40.00 in Parts. And $80,00 in Labor

  6. I just charged $150.00 for labor 2 1/2 hrs they bought pads, rotors and calipers at Advance Auto. Thats both sides of front end Jimmy GMC truck plus bleeding pedal. Tt depends on how much trouble it is to get wheel off and loosen the bolts. If you don’t mind getting dirty and have your own tools at least you know job done right, but DO NOT do this as a first timer.

  7. Axel’s have two tires, one on each end of the axle. Your vehicle has two axles and four tires.
    your front pads are larger than your rears. replacing old pads onto rusted rotors will rust up the pads quite quickly.

    It sounds like you paid $200 for your front pads installed. premium pads no less.
    A mechanic that can do two axels in under an hour and still not charge for the book value of the 2 hours, is very kind.

  8. A local shop told me both my rear calipers were seized and that I needed new rotors pads and calipers all the way around. They said there was a lot of rust from the car just sitting. They charged me $1300.00 for the repair. It seemed quit high to me considering most seem to say 400-800 for brakes usually. The only thing that was replaced was what I listed. I am just a kid so I likely got screwed.

  9. I recently got an oil change and was told my rear brakes were 2mm. Didn’t really know what that meant so I went to the internet like I do for everything else. Now for them to just replace my rear pads would be 169. Am I better off getting the pads from autozone and letting my boyfriend do it? Or should I have it done professionally? I’m just really on a budget now and dont need to be worrying about my brakes giving out on me while I’m driving. I need cheap options here people!

  10. If your boyfriend is mechanically inclined, then you could save a lot if you but the pads and DIY. But first, search Google for rear disc brake installation for your car’s year and model. If you find a video tutorial (you’ll see some search results from Youtube), then you should be able to see how easy or difficult it is.

  11. So for a 2010 holden commodore omega SIDI – how much should it be all rotors and brakes i got charged close to 800 and cant justify the price….

  12. So I took in my vw tourage 2005 and got a quote for $1781.00 to have my brake pad, rotors and sensors done on all 4 sides. Is that an honest quote?

  13. I just brought in my lincoln aviator 2003 and was quoted about the same. Seems these luxury vehicles are either expensive as crap to repair, or we both went to a crappy repair shop. Seems the big names like canadian tire, mr lube, goodyear et al, like to over charge. Same goes for best buy, future shop etc,
    Best to find a mom and pop shop that still does minimal advertising (ie: kijiji, craigslist etc) to find a cheap, competent repair facility.
    I dont know about you, but im going to save some more cash and keep looking around for a better quote.

  14. I just paid $1100 to Tire Plus to change all 4 brake pads, 4 roters, and jamed rear calipers with brake fluid flush for 07 Quest. Price seemed high to me but I needed them ASAP.

  15. Same here, I only needed to replace one caliper but the whole thing ran me $650. It got to the point where it wasn’t safe for me to even drive my car TO the mechanic, nevermind away from it.

    I really think the type of car has a HUGE effect on price.

  16. I just called firestone and they gave me a quote for my breaks $159.00. That was for all 4 tires. Then they said if they had to replace the rotors, it would be $78 per axle. $16.00 labor fee.

  17. I just paid $290.00 at Firestone to have my front brakes and rotors replaced. Was told $315.00 but I told him no way. So he looked up and got me a $25.00 coupon code. I probably could have gotten it done cheaper else where. But who wants to play with their brakes.

  18. My mechanic did my Sonata’s front rotors and pads with Raybestos parts for $250 OTD. He did this in 40 minutes. It’s more than a fair price for a brake job. I thought that was still a lot so I you-tubed it for the rear axle. I bought Wagner pads (thermoquiet)and AC Delco rotors for a total of $75 on Amazon. I bought a 3 ton jack for $80 at HF. I bought the synthetic grease and anti-seize for a thorough job. I even had to drill out a rotor screw but the job came out great. Saved some $$ and learned something new. No squeals and I didn’t total the car afterwards.

  19. 11/18/14 — Complete brake job, all four rotors and pads on 2009 Buick Lacrosse, $460. I was happy with that since I have heard that job can run over $1,000 and the average cost is about $540.

  20. Just paid $184 for front brakes and rotors at pep boys for Toyota Sienna 2007. They wanted $207 and manage have me a discount when I was deciding if I wanted to do work. I also had a 15% coupon that I found online.

  21. I was quoted 413.00 for pads and rotors on the front brakes of a Chevy Silverado 2004. Does this sound right. Also includes labor for 2 hrs.

  22. I have a 2004 BMW 325 had front brake pads n rotors n sensors replaced today 9/29 – also engine n air
    filter – was charged $1.004.00 – did I overpay as I took car to European Foreign Domestic Auto Repair Centre.

  23. It’s so worth learning to do these kinds of jobs yourself. It’s not difficult, and you need just a few tools.

    I was quoted $400 for a brake job for my Toyota Tacoma. Just front pads and rotor replacement.

    I did the job myself in under an hour for $45 total.

    You need a jack, a box wrench, some pliers, perhaps a screwdriver, and a wheel brace to take off the wheel. That’s all.

    I’ve saved thousands by doing my own car repairs.

  24. Had to get the rear brakes repaired/replaced on my Honda CRV. Paid $329.00 for Wagner brake pads and rotors including labor and tax. Had it back in 2 hours.

  25. Just paid $435. to have rear brake job done on my 08 Corolla. When they pulled the drums, found I had a chip in one of them so I had to replace both as a set. These drums are heavy and moosy. In the circumstances, don’ feel the price was unreasonable. Meineke was fast, courteous, professional. With new tires I recently replaced, car runs like new, although it ran like new before. Don’t like driving around with 106K and iffy brakes therefore the cost was well worth it and a whole lot cheaper than putting ou $20K plus for a new car which these days means you are paying to buy a guaranteed callback for killer airbags.

  26. Had my brakes pads replace 1 week ago at Lee Haze garage in Glendenning NSW. Very professional service. He installed new bendex pads
    I paid $160 inc service. I even ask him to paint my caliper and brake drums and he only charge me $50 extra. I will refer him to anyone anytime.

  27. I have a quote from honda for my 2008 crv to replace front/rear brake pads, rotors, and calipers for $1000k. He said some parts will be re-manufactured. Can anyone tell me if this is a good deal?

  28. $366 for rear calipers and both front and rear brakes. 2003 Mazda Protege 5 with 180,000 miles. Not sure when last owner did any brake work. Luckily rotors are still good. Claudio Auto Shop in New Brunswick, NJ.

  29. Just had all 4 rotors and pads replaced, along with the rear calipers with a brake flush, cost me 1, 108 dollars, kind of a high price but I needed this done and didn’t have time to shop around everywhere.

  30. Today I go to replace: each abor total
    front brake service x1 135.00 135.00
    front brake pads x1 59.50 59.50
    front brake rotors x 2 59.00 118.00

    rear brake service 135.00 135.00
    rear brake pads x 1 59.50 59.50
    rear brake rotors x 2 59.00 118.00

    brake fluid service
    brake fluid
    tax 31.95

    total 656.95

  31. Replaced all four break pads and rotors on my vehicle. It was 3hrs labour. Total bill was $834.99 CND or $665.587 USD (Jan/2018)

  32. Brakes and disks are very easy to do. Basically look at YouTube and to them yourself if you have a mechanical mind. Did my SUV front axle (both wheels, pads and disks complete replacement) for $100. 03/2018. Labour is the killer as well as markup by mechanics. Took me 1.5 hours.

  33. Sitting at Firestone, St. Cloud, for rear pads, calipers, flush, labor, etc., to the tune of $850 +. That included a $100 discount. Yippee!

  34. I bought a Ford 41 Super Deluxe that I want to use as my everyday driver. I feel like it miggt be a food idea to have the heavy beast outfitted with an entirely new brake system rather than her current drum brakes (which had a tendency to overheat and give out). What do you think a fair price will be on a job this big and a car this old?

  35. Everything depends on make model and year of vehicle. Brake pads for a 2018 Ford truck is going to be more than a 2008 Ford truck. Also, a 2008 Ford truck brake pads are going to be more expensive than like a small car for example a 2008 Kia spectra.

    Remember, when you go to a shop or mechanic, they are only going to have select few brands of pads, rotors, and calipers. In some cases only 1 to choose from, and either take it or go somewhere else. They’ll tend to go middle of the road on parts unless it’s kind of a specialty part, so not the cheapest and not the most expensive.

    If you are having calipers replaced the cost goes up quite a bit. Normally just 1 caliper even on a small economy car like the Kia I stated earlier is around 100 dollars, and that’s just the cost of the caliper not labor.

    Remember that, and new brake fluid depending on if lines also have to be replaced, again increase the cost, but new fluid or a “flush” will be the cheapest increase. Air in brake fluids enemy and causes it to break down very quickly. So if you are told you have some kind of leak or hose that’s deteriorating, I would definitely consider replacement. New fluid might seem like an unnecessary cost, but if you’ve had your vehicle for over 30 thousand miles and never changed the brake fluid, I would at least think about it.

    When it comes to replacing brake pads/rotors/calipers, if you don’t know how to take off a tire, jack up a car and put it on jack stands, or don’t even have those standard tools and accessories, I would suggest not trying to replace yourself. YouTube is your friend, and more often than not you can find a video of your exact make and model vehicle with the step by step walkthrough that you could at least watch and determine if it’s something you could do. Pads and rotors are the “easiest” especially if you don’t have to bleed the brakes, but sometimes you do, and that will require 2 people unless you have a brake bleeder kit/pump machine that some parts stores sell.

    Replacing calipers take a little more effort and involve brake fluid and bleeding the brakes. Again, I would watch videos of each step if you really want to DIY, because paying more at a shop is better than having your car in pieces and can’t put it back together.

    Calling around never hurts, the people that answer the phone are usually the service advisors, and can give you a quote on your make and model vehicle and what you want done. Remember I said quote, often times once the mechanic starts a job they can find other things wrong or need replacing.

    Brakes are an important system of the vehicle, but they are admittedly “easy” IF you have some mechanical know-how. You could possibly even try craigslist like an independent mechanic and pay them a little extra for you to watch them do the work step by step. A nice one would do it at no extra cost. Remember, a skilled mechanic can do all pads/rotors/calipers/new fluid in at least 2 hours, so how long could it take you? If you run into problems or don’t have the necessary tools, who knows, maybe 6 hours maybe 2 days.

    Regular maintenance like brakes, belts, filters, and fluid changes can be very beneficial to know, but do not feel bad if you don’t, you’ll just have to pay for someone to do it for you. Do some research, there are even sites that will estimate repair costs so you have at least an idea of the cost so you’ll know if the price is high. Don’t accuse the shop or mechanic of over charging, instead ask for an explanation of the charges and say you think the price is high and either ask if they can do it for less (the worse than can say is no) or take your business elsewhere. I hope this long diatribe helps 1 person.

  36. I’m at the mercy of a new mechanic. But was referred to him by a friend front brakes and rotors rusted out. Cost 385.00 for front brake job, I guess that was reasonable.

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