The Real Cost of Brake Repair: What You Can’t Learn From an Online Search

by | Oct 10, 2023 | Auto Tips, Car Problems & Repairs

Getting a car repair estimate online looks easy. If you know exactly what service or repair you need,  then an online estimate can be helpful. Or it could make things very confusing. I recently checked out the cost of new front brakes on my wife’s 2016 Acura by searching online and prices ranged from $350 to $750!

What a range!   That’s not much help. 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.  Many times, I have found OEM parts to be higher quality and less expensive than some of their aftermarket counterparts. However, there are also quality aftermarket parts that perform better than the original equipment.

When it comes to brake repairs, we usually think about how important it is to have a skilled automotive technician.  People usually don’t think about their 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. Your vehicle could have four different types of brake pads available 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? At the end of the day, it gets back to trust. Before you need a brake repair, check out the local automotive service and repair shops in your area. Try them out with a small job. Then pick the shop that wins the tryouts.


About the Author

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 northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD. A few years later, he started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. Brian is a big believe in preventative maintenance, and his philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of a regular maintenance plan.