How Much Does It Cost to Get a Brake Job?

There’s nothing like that screeching noise your car makes when it’s time to change the brakes. My dad always helps me do this, but I was wondering how much it would cost to get brakes done either myself or professionally.

To get a brake job at a professional garage you are looking at spending around $230-$540 for pad replacement. If you also need new rotors the price increases to $500-$1,000 on average. If you are skilled to perform this change, the cost of new brake pads ranges from $60-$150 and new rotors from $250-$500.

Let’s take a deeper look at the factors that affect the cost of a brake job, and how to extend the life of your breaks so that you don’t have to shell out money for this repair frequently.


Factors that affect the cost of your brake job

There are several factors to take into consideration when it comes to your vehicle’s brake system. When budgeting there are different options you could choose based on what you need and what you have. It’s also going to come down to what you can achieve on your own and what you are going to need help with.

Material of Pads

  • Semi-metallic pads- These are considered economical and tend to last for a long time. When they wear down, they can make a grinding or squealing noise.
  • Organic pads- This type of brake is eco-friendly, and the dust does not harm the environment. They are found to be quiet even after using them for a while. These pads can wear down a little faster and not suited well for heavy weighted vehicles.
  • Ceramic pads- Ceramic pads are more expensive than the other brakes and not recommended for regular road driving. You tend to find this type of brake pad on high-performance vehicles or race cars. These pads work well under harsh braking.


Experts recommend changing rotors every 70,000 miles but this could still vary depending on driving and weight of vehicle. You do not have to change your rotors every time you change the pads.

A good indication you need to change the rotors is when you feel a vibration or wobble while braking the vehicle. If the pads have worn an indentation in the rotor, then it’s a good idea to replace the rotor since it should have a smooth surface.

The Garage you use

Choosing a good quality garage or professional can affect your time, money and stress level when it comes to your brakes. You want a well-known person with experience to maintenance your car, so you know it is done properly the first time.

If by chance the system is installed wrong, you are going to have to spend more money to get it fixed and possibly have to replace the parts.

What is the Average life of breaks?

The average life of brakes is between 30,000 miles -70,000 miles. The life of your brakes is going to depend heavily on several factors:

  • Personal style of driving – This is where you must look at how you drive. If a driver is a hard breaker or tends to hit the brake more than average, then they’re not going to see as much life out of their pads as someone who does not do this.
  • Material of pads- Pads are made from several different materials. Where one has better-stopping power, another has a longer lifespan. Depending on how or what you drive will depend on which one you need most.
  • Weight of vehicle- A heavier vehicle is going to get more work out of your brake pads than a lighter vehicle. This can still depend on a variety of factors but this is something to think about.
  • Manual vs. Automatic- A manual car is going to generally get more life out its brakes than an automatic. This is because the stick driver has the option to downshift before braking, giving it an advantage over the automatic drivers.
  • Where are you driving? – Are you more of a back-road type driver or is the interstate your main thing? Driving on the interstate system generally means less traffic and fewer stops, this means you are not using the brakes as often.

Can you change your brakes on your own?

If you are unable to take your vehicle to a garage or professional, you can change the brakes yourself. It helps if you have previous knowledge of automotive repair. Maybe invite someone to help you in case something takes two pairs of hands or surf through some online tutorials.

To change brakes on your own car, gather a few basic tools:

  • Jack
  • Lug nut wrench
  • C-Clamp
  • Torque Wrench
  • Sockets
  • Socket extension
  • Ratchet
  • Grease

You’re going to have to remove your tires to get to the brakes. This extra task will require a few more tools like a cross nut wrench. Keep in mind accomplishing something like this could possibly take all day, especially if you are changing both the front and back brakes.

Here is a helpful video on how to change your brake pads. The steps discussed are performed after the tire has been properly removed.

  1. Take out the slide pins of the caliper.
  2. Pull the caliper off, slide off the grommet, and hang it out of the way.
  3. Slide the brakes off the hub.
  4. This is the point where you would check or replace the rotor if needed.
  5. Using your C-clamp compress your caliper. The new brake pads are larger than the old ones.
  6. Lube the caliper pins with grease.
  7. Clean any leftover grease from hands because you do not want to get grease all over new pads.
  8. Before replacing the inside brake pad (the one that goes up against the caliper) put some grease on the back. Then slide inside brake onto the hub.
  9. Slide the outside pad onto the hub.
  10. Replace caliper over the new brakes and tighten pins.
  11. Now you’re going to need to torque the caliper pins to the proper specs. Check with the user manual to find your cars specific spec.
  12. Replace grommet onto the mountain.
  13. Place spring clips back in place on the caliper.

How to save on your break jobs

  • Find a good mechanic- Do your research and find a good dependable mechanic. Once you establish a consistent relationship with this person not only will you get quality work but it’s possible your costs could be lower.
  • Read your car manual- Your car’s manual will give you tips and instructions on the best methods to prolong the parts of your car. This is where you will find model numbers and descriptions of the correct parts or pieces you should use for your specific car. This will save you time and money while shopping for parts.
  • Shop around- It’s always a good idea to see which garage or professional service offers the best deal. You will do this research at the same time you are asking about a good mechanic. Finding a good deal and a good mechanic should be your ultimate goal.
  • Do maintenance yourself- This is probably one of the best ways to save money as long as you know what you are doing. This will save you money on labor and parts. It’s also possible to do this on your own time and you won’t have to wait on a mechanic to have free time.
  • Buy you own parts- These days, because of the internet, you can find good deals on auto parts. Beware here though because you don’t know the quality of the parts until they are delivered to your door. Ask around and read reviews on the sites and pages.

How to extend the life of your breaks

You are going to want to get the most out of the brakes you have on your vehicle. By getting as much time on them as you can, you are going to save in money, time and stress. When it comes to getting the most out of your brakes here are some good tips.

Keep Everything Clean

On average you should wash your car every two weeks. This depends on what conditions you will be driving in because snow or other hazardous weather might increase your car’s need to get clean.

While washing your car be sure to spray off the tires, undercarriage, and rotors. By keeping everything clean and debris free you will help extend your brakes life.

Adjust Your Driving

If you are someone who likes to rev up the engine and find yourself doing a lot of braking, consider changing your habits. The continued braking at high speeds creates heat on your brakes causing them to wear down faster.

Be aware of how closely you follow other cars in traffic. If you put more distance between you and them, it lessens the need to brake, saving those pads.

Make Sure it Works

Brake systems have been found to not work properly. For example, a warped rotor can wear down one pad before the other one. While checking your brakes be sure to give a look over at all the parts involved that way it saves you time from having to break everything down again sooner than planned.

Faulty hoses can cause the car to pull to one side over the other when brakes are applied. It’s a good idea to always look at all the parts of a vehicle’s braking system when you change your current brake pads.

Another good idea is to check your brake fluid. Brakes tend to last longer if you bleed and flush out the brake fluid. This can be a really good tip to anyone who drives an older model vehicle.

Wrap Up

I mentioned early that loud screeching noise one generally hears right before a brake check is needed. Why does this happen? This is a built-in indicator for the driver to know it’s time for some maintenance for a long time.

It is not a good idea to ride around with that noise for too long. You are going to get some stares from passerby’s and could damage more than just the pads on your car. Get to a garage as soon as you are able, whether it be your own or the best one in town.

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