How Much Should Brake Repair Cost?

Does your car make an ear-shredding screech whenever you brake? Or does your brake pedal feel strangely soft and spongy? That means it’s time to get your brakes repaired.

Many drivers shudder at the thought of taking their car in for brake service. You need well-functioning brakes to stay safe, but the repair service costs so much.

But how much should brake repairs cost? How do you know you’re not getting overcharged, and how can you save money on brake repairs? Read on to find out!

How Much Should Brakes Cost to Repair?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple rule of thumb anyone can give you on how much brake repairs should cost. A slew of factors can affect the price and push it up or down. As such, please keep in mind that any numbers you’re about to see are estimates and averages.

For starters, the total cost of a brake job consists of two different parts. You’ll have to pay for both parts and labor.

Furthermore, the cost will depend on the type of repairs you need. If you just need your brake pads replaced, you might get off relatively cheap. In total, the parts and work for replacing brake pads cost generally between $350 and $450. However, this cost will vary depending on the car model, and shops may add additional taxes and fees to the price.

Rotor replacement is more expensive, but it’s often important to do since new brake pads can have problems gripping onto worn rotors. A single rotor costs around $50-$150.

Brake calipers are the most expensive part of your brake system. A single caliper can cost as much as $100-$175, depending on the vehicle.

What’s the Average Cost to Get Brakes Repaired?

With some basic math, we can calculate the average price of a brake job, at least for the parts. Just to repeat ourselves, these are merely estimates and the actual price you get can — and probably will — vary. 

You can use these numbers as guidelines to figure out if you’re getting a fair price. Just remember, like with all things, cheaper isn’t always better — you could be compromising the quality of your brake components or labor.

The average costs of different brake parts are:

  • Brake Pads: $175 to $225 per axle
  • Brake Rotors: $100 to $300 per axle
  • Calipers: $200 to $350 per axle

For the complete brake job, you also need to add in the cost of labor. How much car repair shops charge for labor will vary wildly, so we can’t give you accurate estimates. In general, the labor cost for a total brake replacement ranges from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on availability and the vehicle.

How Often Should You Replace Your Brakes?

How often you need to put money toward repairing your brakes depends on your car and driving habits. That said, the general guideline is to replace your brake pads every 20,000 miles. You should also get your rotors changed every 50,000-80,000 miles.

But to make sure you stay safe on the road, it’s a smart idea to get your brakes checked once a year. You can ask a technician to do this during your car’s regular annual check-up. As such, it may be a good idea to budget for some level of annual brake repair to avoid nasty surprises.

What Affects the Cost of Brake Repairs?

Although the parts and labor make up the majority of a brake job’s cost, they’re by far not the only factors. There are also many other things that can raise or lower the cost of parts and labor, or add new fees on top of them.

Here are some of the most common reasons for fluctuations in brake repair costs.

Your Car’s Year, Make, and Model

There are variations in brake systems between cars, so not every component will fit every single automobile. Additionally, replacement parts are more accessible for certain cars, so the make, model, and manufacturing year of your car can have a significant impact on how much you pay for brake repairs.

In general, brake repairs for European cars — like Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, or Mercedes — will be more expensive than those for American or Japanese cars. This is mostly due to spare part availability and shipping costs.

Additionally, the type of car you drive can affect the price. For example, new brakes for a heavy diesel truck will likely cost more than those for a Honda Civic.

The Type of Brakes

The type of brakes you have in your car will affect how much you have to pay to repair them. Car brakes fall into two categories — disc brakes and drum brakes. For more information on the different brake types, read our blog about preparing for a brake job.

Although disc brakes are fast replacing drum brakes, most non-performance vehicles still have drum brakes on their rear wheels. On average, disc brakes are more expensive to repair due to the drum brakes being older and slightly simpler in construction.

Specialty repairs, like ABS system maintenance, can also rack up the price.

Wear and Damage

The condition of your brakes will play a big role in determining the cost of brake repairs. If all components of your brakes are completely worn out, you can expect to pay a lot of money to get all of them replaced.

Regular brake inspections can help you anticipate when your brakes will need replacement and budget accordingly. Good driving habits can also minimize brake wear and help you save money. We’ll cover some good tips for maintaining your brakes in a moment, so keep reading!

Replacement Parts

You already know that you have to pay for the replacement parts, but every car will have options. These generally include:

  • Economy Parts: Economy components are made of lower-quality materials and have less advanced features. They are often the cheapest, but they’ll wear down quickly.
  • OEM Parts: Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are not necessarily made by your car’s manufacturer, but they imitate factory parts in price and quality. They’re usually a safe choice and give a decent price-quality balance.
  • Premium Parts: Premium parts are made from the highest-quality materials and as such, they cost more. They may not necessarily last longer than other parts, but they will usually have superior performance.

Location and Regulations

Local taxes and regulations may have a noticeable effect on auto repair services. The exact same brake job done by the same service shop could cost a lot more if it was done in a different state.

Additionally, the service shop you go to can increase or lower the price. Some shops add additional fees on top of labor, or they may simply charge more per hour. It’s a good idea to find a reliable service shop that offers quote matching and brake service coupons to keep your costs low.

5 Ways to Save Your Brakes (and Money)

You need to get your brakes inspected regularly to make sure you stay safe on the road. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend money on replacement parts and repairs every single time.

With good driving habits, you can maintain easily extend your brake components’ service life. At the same time, you’ll save money on repairs and stay safer on the roads. You win in every way!

Here are five simple things you can do to save money on brake repairs in the long run.

1) Buy OEM or Premium Brakes

When replacing your brake pads, shoes, or rotors, it might be a good idea to get OEM or premium quality parts. You’ll have to pay more up-front, but the tougher materials can in some cases last for a longer time. 

Even if they don’t, they’ll improve your car’s braking performance. Being able to stop faster can save you from much more expensive emergency repairs.

2) Brake Calmly and Slowly

Abrupt and heavy-footed braking wears your brake components down surprisingly quickly. Pay close attention to the traffic when driving and start braking in good time to gradually bring your speed down.

It’s a good idea to also learn how to coast with your car. Coasting means simply taking your foot off the gas pedal and letting your car slow down on its own.

3) Keep You Foot Off the Pedal

Don’t rest your foot on the brake pedal unless you mean to engage it. Brakes in modern cars are very sensitive and even slight pressure could partially engage your brakes. You may not notice it in the driver’s seat, but it will cause premature brake wear.

4) Obey the Speed Limit

Speed is your brake system’s worst enemy. Your brakes work by transforming energy into heat. Every MPH greatly increases the amount of energy they need to dissipate and consequently causes much more wear and tear.

5) Flush Brake Fluid Regularly

Brake fluid naturally attracts moisture into your brake lines. Water and air trapped in the lines will make your brakes less effective, which means you have to brake harder. The result is once again more wear on the parts.

You should get your brake fluid flushed every two years. The good news here is that most car service shops charge flat fees for brake fluid exchanges. For example, Advanced Automotive charges $99.95 for brake fluid service.

Get an Affordable Brake Job in Chantilly and Warrenton

To make sure you don’t pay more than you have to for brake service, you need to find a reliable and trustworthy car service shop. Advanced Automotive has been fixing brakes in northern Virginia for more than 35 years.

Our ASE-certified technicians are familiar with all car makes and models. Whatever kind of brake service you’ll need, we can do it quickly and affordably at our conveniently located Chantilly and Warrenton locations.

We give 100% free estimates before doing any work, so you know what you’ll be paying. We also offer quote matching to ensure you can stay safe in a way that fits your budget. And to sweeten the deal further, you can get an extra discount with our brake service coupons.

Book your brake service appointment online today.