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I went to my Honda dealership for a B-1 service, and he came back saying that I needed to replace both my front brake pads and rotors. The quote for that is $531. I am wondering if I should go ahead and get it done, or have someone else take a look at it. Any thoughts?

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you can ask for a detailed breakdown of the service quote, listing parts and labor separately. You'll find that the labor costs are what they are but you can confirm that the parts prices are in line with reasonable market values. –  Bob Cross Jul 20 '11 at 17:36
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@Bob Cross: should be an answer. vivekian: You can also compare their hourly labor rate and number of hours for the job with other shops. Also, changing disc brake pads and rotors is a pretty simple job requiring very few tools, if you have any inclination to DIY. –  qes Jul 20 '11 at 17:44
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A word of warning for first-time DIYers. The procedure is easy, the tools few, but there's opportunity for problems. Have a backup plan in case you break something. Don't do it the night before having to travel out of town for work, when all the parts stores are closed. The risk is MUCH greater for people that live in the rust-belt, even a year old bolt could easily be seized up and strip on removal. Even the simplest car repairs can result in unanticipated downtime. However, you can save a ton of money doing many of these things yourself if you can live with the extra risk. –  Brian Knoblauch Jul 20 '11 at 18:49
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@qes, I thought it could be part of an answer but then had a big blank. What to do if you don't like the breakdown? "Uh, go to another shop?" I'm more comfortable being vague in the comments.... ;-) –  Bob Cross Jul 20 '11 at 21:22

3 Answers 3

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As already stated, get the estimate on paper with parts and labor broken down.

Go to another shop and get an estimate, tell them reasons related to your car of why you want the estimate, not "i have this estimate, can you do better". If you've noticed vibration under heavy braking, noises or just reached the number of miles where you want them checked for safety.

Then compare the two and armed with that information, you can question either shop about the differences.

"Hey Dealership, explain to me why you want to replace the rotors but Shop B is going to just turn them?" They might say they are showing signs of damage, too much warping, too thin or "we can just turn them if that is what you want but next time you will need to replace them".


There will be two big differences between the dealer and a local shop.

Parts cost of OEM vs Aftermarket. OEM are going to be more expensive then Aftermarket "OEM Equivalent" parts (ones built to meet the OEM specs) but will be cheaper then upgraded Aftermarket parts (larger rotors, slotted, drilled, etc).

Neither the dealership or a local shop should change their labor cost if you purchase the parts yourself (as long as there isn't additional work created by what you choose) so go ahead and shop around too. Depending on what kind of markup they put on their parts, you can save some money this way.

Labor cost should be higher at the dealership. In some situations it might be worth it to pay the people that are trained for your vehicle, a brake job isn't typically one of those.


If you want to go the DIY route, brake jobs are remarkably easy, but I wouldn't go at it alone your first time, we are talking about the device that stops your car after all.

Find a friend that has done it before, doesn't have to have been on a Honda and ask them to go through it with you or someone that is about to do theirs and ask to watch and be an extra set of hands. Once you've seen it through once, you won't need to pay for a brake job ever again.

If you don't have any car savvy friends, look up a local car club, there are a lot of Honda clubs around.

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Thanks for the detailed explanation. Appreciate the response. Eventually, I found out that the rotors don't need to be changed - just resurfaced. From what I saw in this case, the major portion of the cost is the labor. I don't know if that differs a lot between a local shop vs a dealership. I still have a bunch of other maintenance items on my list which need to be taken care of. Maybe I can go DIY on some of them. –  Vivek Aseeja Jul 21 '11 at 20:35

I always check Repairpal before considering any repairs. I find that it tends to be on the low side of estimates I get from shops, but maybe I'm not shopping around enough.

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Check the prices for the parts and the labor, and you should probably get a 2nd estimate, because that does seem a bit high, but I don't know what else is included in the service you mention.

Dealers generally have higher prices, and often you can get similar quality parts much cheaper from other sources. For example, I looked up rotors for a 2008 Honda Civic at Rock Auto, and prices ranged from $16 to $75.

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