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Brake Pad Replacement: How Much Will It Cost?

  • Auto Insurance
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 7 minutes

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Is there an annoying squeaking noise coming from the brakes when you drive? Or is your car taking longer to stop while braking? These can be quite annoying while on a drive. But these probably indicate that there’s a need for brake pad replacement!

One of the key factors of regular maintenance is keeping your car’s brakes in the best functioning order. Driving a car without properly functioning brakes greatly threatens your life! Be cautious and head for a repair if you hear a squeaking noise from your brakes or if the brake pedal trembles when you press it. 

Replacing your brake pads is an unavoidable expense. The exact cost depends on the reason and level of wear, the number of pads you replace, and whether you replace the rotors. Keep reading to know when to replace brake pads and how much it will cost! 

brake pad replacement

What are brake pads? 

Brake pads are one of the most vital parts of your brake system. A brake pad is a steel piece, usually with ceramic or semi-metallic on one side. Your car will stop when you press the brake pedal, pushing the brake pad against the rotors. 

Difference between brakes and brake pads  

‘Brakes’ refers to all components that go into stopping cars, such as the brake calipers, rotors, and pads. However, brake pads are a part of a bigger system of parts collectively known as brakes.  

Difference between rotors and brake pads  

Rotors are disc-shaped components joined to your axle just behind the wheel. Your brake pads and rotors come into contact when you use the brakes, resulting in friction needed to stop your car. 

How much will it cost for brake pad replacement? 

You could expect to pay between $280-$450 for components and labor if you need to replace all four brake pads. However, the actual cost may differ depending on several factors, like the following. 

  • The degree of brake wear 
  • Your car type 
  • The number of brake pads that need replacement 
  • The mechanic you hire 

However, you’ll generally pay $30-$50 for each wheel’s parts and $80-$120 for each axle’s labor. While calculating brake pad replacement cost, you must also determine the cost of replacing rotors! 

The cost of the front and rear brake pads is usually the same. However, most of the effort front brakes do most of the job, which accounts for around 70% of your braking. Since the rear brakes only perform around 30% of the work, they will gradually deteriorate and require less frequent replacement. 

How much will it cost to replace your car’s rotors? 

Now, you have an idea of how much brake pad replacement costs! Based on the age and make of your car, you might need to replace your rotors when you obtain new brake pads. The cost to replace the rotors is slightly higher; the parts range from $40-$70 per wheel, and labor costs run about $200 per axle. Expect to pay between $280-$340 for each axle for parts and labor. 

So for each axle, expect to spend between $420-$560 for rotors, pads, materials, and labor. 

Part   Parts cost  Labor cost 
Brake pads  $30-$50 for each wheel  $80-$120 for each axle 
Rotors  $40-$70 for each wheel  $200 for each axle 

When should you do the brake pad replacement? 

Based on the driving conditions, brake pads typically need replacement every 25,000-65,000 miles. Your brake pads will wear out more quickly if you reside in an area where your brakes are under more stress, such as a congested city or a hilly region. Your driving habits will also stress your brakes, particularly if you have the habit of slamming on the brakes. 

via GIPHY

Also, expect to replace the rotors every 30,000-70,000 miles. Brake pads will last longer if you drive carefully and in good driving conditions. Also, using high-quality materials like ceramic will help brake pads last longer.  

What are the symptoms that it’s time to replace your brake pads? 

Be mindful that your car needs brake pad replacement when it shows these signs. 

Squeaking or squealing sounds 

The first symptom is that your brake pads are getting worn out is a squeaking or screaming sound coming from the brakes. Heavily worn-out brake pads frequently produce squealing noises. When your pads get adequately worn down, you can hear a grinding sound, damaging the rotors and increasing the repair cost. 

Grinding noise during braking 

If you hear grinding noises while pressing the brake pedal, your brake pads need immediate replacement. When it’s time for replacement, built-in metal wear indicators will produce a loud noise. You risk more serious damage and costly repairs if you allow the brake pads to grind. 

It takes more time to stop 

via GIPHY

A decrease in performance when applying the brakes is another sign that your brakes need an inspection. If Your brake pads may be entirely worn out, your brake fluid may be low if you’ve trouble stopping when you press the brakes. You should take your car for inspection quickly to know the defect with your brakes, so your car doesn’t lose all braking capability. 

Vibration while braking 

Another sign that the braking system needs examination is the vibration when you press the brakes. Your rotors are likely warped, causing uneven brake pad wear. 

The brake pad indicator light illuminates 

Most current has brake warning lights located on the dashboard. The brake light won’t always come on when there’s an issue; it also turns on when your parking brake gets used. However, suppose your parking brake isn’t on, and you’re seeing a warning light. In that case, it’s time to have a specialist examine your brake system to identify the issues. 

Thin-looking brake pads 

Visually examining your brake pads for wear is one simple way to check their condition. To do this, find your brake pad by looking between the spokes on your wheels. You should generally replace your brake pads if they appear less than 14 inches thick or 6.4 mm. 

Does car insurance cover brake pad replacement cost?  

Unfortunately, your insurance is unlikely to pay for the repair of your brake pads unless they happen due to a covered collision. Auto insurance typically does cover maintenance because of regular wear and tear. But it doesn’t mean you should skip buying a car insurance policy. Most states mandate minimum liability insurance, but we recommend you have one with more coverage! 

Way.com can always help you in finding an affordable auto insurance policy that covers the replacement cost. Use our app or website to get quotes from all the insurers in your area. Then, compare and buy the most affordable one with ample coverage! 

Is it bad to only replace one set of brakes? 

We won’t recommend that. Doing so will only result in further uneven wear and could be unsafe. It is normally advisable to replace both front and rear brake pads simultaneously when having your brake pads changed. 

Is it bad to replace brake pads without replacing rotors? 

When a brake comes in contact with a rotor with deep grooves, it gets damaged because the deep grooves serve as a shredder or hole-puncher. When changing the brake pads, make sure also to replace the rotors. 

Should I replace both brake calipers if one goes bad? 

Replace calipers on either side, even if only one side gets damaged. If only one caliper gets replaced, you might feel a brake imbalance between the front wheels and tires. The new brake caliper will quickly apply the brake pads to the rotor than the older one. 

The bottom line 

You should totally avoid driving a car with a defective braking system. It is always advisable to replace worn-out brake pads as soon as possible for your safety because worn-out brake pads can increase stopping distances. Also, take your car for inspection if there are squeaking sounds from brakes, grinding noise while braking or the brake pad indicator light illuminates! Get a replacement as soon as you diagnose the issue.  

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