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What Should I Pay for a Brake Repair Job in Columbia, Maryland?

Brian England, Mon, Oct 29, 2012

Did you ever try to find information online on how much it will cost to repair your brakes?  As a car owner, trying to figure out what the cost for a brake repair job will be is difficult to figure out because there are so many variations.

brakesIf you are sure you know what exactly what service or repair you need then you could use one of many websites that do estimates. I checked out the cost to replace front brake calipers on a 2004 Buick LeSabre in Columbia, MD.

  • Labor: $175 to $223
  • Parts: $150 to $544
  • Total price: $325 to $767

What a range! That’s a $442 spread.  My goodness what help is that? Why such a range?

The problem is that auto repair shops use many different sources and types of parts.  Also, they follow many different procedures.

A common misconception is that the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) parts are going to be the most expensive, but that’s not necessarily the case.  I have come across many examples of OEM parts being much better quality than the aftermarket parts and cheaper.

Also, when it comes to brake repairs, we often think about how important it is to have a skilled automotive technician.  People never even think about the service advisor, but it is also important to have a skilled service advisor.  That’s because there are different ways to accomplish the same repair; a skilled service advisor can help you decide on the best path by explaining what’s involved in each type of service.

Here are five examples of the differences you can come across when looking at estimate for different types of brake repairs……………

1. Brake Calipers – Calipers can be rebuilt, remanufactured or new!

2. Brake Pads – The quality of brake pads can vary significantly! One make of a specific vehicle can have four different types of brake pads with prices from $25 a set to $90 a set or even more — all for the same make and model!

3. Brake Rotors – Brake rotors can be machined or replaced using anything from cheap imports to new parts  from the manufacturer!

4. Brake Fluid Replacement or Flush – Bleeding the brakes after a repair can range from a quick bleed to remove air trapped in the system to a full brake system flush!

5. Brake Warranties – The actual warranty on different brake parts can range from three months to two years, and sometimes the parts can have an even longer warranty.

So where does this leave the customer who is trying to make sure they are paying a fair price?

Well it gets back to trust. Before you even need a brake repair check out local automotive service and repair shops in you area and try them out with a small job. Then follow these tips from this blog article I wrote last year.

For perspective, the example I noted above for calculating an estimate on a brake repair job also applies to other auto services, preventive maintenance and repairs that automotive repair shops perform. It also highlights how using the internet doesn’t work very well for estimating automotive service and repair.

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About Brian England

 

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care) got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in the northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD, and a few years later, started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. A big believer in preventive auto maintenance, Brian's philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of adhering to a regular maintenance plan.