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Read Before You Get Your Next Brake Job!

brakeHow much for a brake job?

Du Fresne's Auto Repair Brake Job

Q: Why is there such a range of prices for brake jobs? A Ford dealer estimated $500 (without a brake flush) to do the front and back brakes of my Ford F-150. Then, I got a flier in the mail from a chain servicer that offered $99 for new front and back pads, rotor resurfacing, bleeding the system, packing the bearings and an impressive warranty. They'll even rotate the tires if I bring in the flier. I don't get it. I assume brakes always have to be up to federal and/or DOT standards.

A: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules) do dictate required stopping distances, as well as the labeling and performance requirements for brake hose fittings and assemblies, hydraulic, vacuum and air brake hoses. However, beyond that, consumers are pretty much on their own in determining quality. $99 will get the job done; in terms of quality, it may be the equivalent of a $.99 value meal.

Brake pads are easily offered for this price, though customers often need more than that by the time they go in for their brakes. The auto diagnostic aspect itself could easily raise the price. In reality, the wholesale price for front or back Ford F-150 brake pads ranges from $5 to $100. Higher quality pads are better equipped to stay effective in varying temperatures, and are quieter and less abrasive. The technology has come a long way. Also consider that the labor will be about three hours to replace pads and turn rotors. Caliper servicing can add more time. Car repair is really not a predictable science.

For your specific case of auto diagnostic and auto repair, it's possible that the front wheel bearings can not be repacked. This is because they might be inside a sealed assembly. If they are in fact repairable, throw on another $20 for parts and an hour of labor. In addition, the brake system should not be bled, but flushed with every service to reduce corrosion and fade.

A tire rotation should always be performed without extra charge when the wheels are off the car. This is the case for any domestic or import auto repair.

All things considered, a $99 brake job will not be much of a money maker for a servicer, unless they use the absolute cheapest parts. They might not even perform all of the services they promise. Smooth sales and a complete inspection sheet can go a long way.

Trust Du Fresne's to provide the best domestic, Asian and European auto repair in Beaverton. From the brakes to an oil change, we're the team you can count on. Call today!


By CHIP KEENChip Keen, a writer from Washington, owned a car repair business for many years. He has an ASE certification as a Master Automotive Technician.