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Brake Pad and Rotor Replacement Cost

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Brake Pad and Rotor Replacement Cost

When it comes to driving your car, both the brake pads and brake rotors are crucial to your ability to slow down and come to a stop. You may not realize it, but every time you drive your car, you break frequently. How much does it cost to replace brake pads and rotors?

Brake pad and rotor replacement costs between $250 and $500 per axle. This means that if you were to replace all four brake pads and brake rotors, you’d likely pay between $500 and $1000. It’s important that you don’t replace pads and rotors one at a time, but replace the axle.

Replacing brake pads and brake rotors is essential for your car’s ability to function correctly. Let’s take a deeper look at what brake pads and brake rotors are, what they do, how they work, and why you need to be sure to replace them.

Cost of Replacing Brake Pads and Brake Rotors

When replacing your brake pads and brake rotors, you will often need to pay for both the parts and the labor for replacing the parts in your car. 

Typically, the cost of brake pads is anywhere between $35 and $150 for parts for all four wheels. The cost of labor is normally between $80 and $120 per axle, making a grand total of replacing just the brake pads about $115 and $270 per axle.

Replacing brake rotors often costs a similar amount. New rotors tend to cost between $30 and $75 apiece, meaning anywhere between $60 and $150 for one axle and between $120 and $300 in total. Labor typically costs between $150 and $200 per axle. 

This means the total to replace just brake rotors is about $250 and $500 to replace all of the brake pads and brake rotors on an axle, including the cost of labor.

Important to note, however, is the fact that when replacing brake pads and brake rotors, you don’t want to replace them on only one tire, but rather on one whole axle. If you were to replace these parts on only one tire, you would have unequal braking power between the two tires on the axle, potentially causing significant damage to your car.

Also important to know is the fact that each mechanic and repair shop costs differently. Depending on the type of car and the mechanics’ pricing, you might spend more or less on replacing brake pads and brake rotors.

Read: Why Your Brakes Are Grinding When Driving

Brake Pads and Brake Rotors Explained

When you drive in your car, the functionality of it ultimately comes down to three important aspects: 

  • the ability to steer
  • the ability to go
  • the ability to break. 

While the many other aspects of a car are important, if your vehicle is not able to do these three basic tasks, then it will not be able to transport you from point A to point B – let alone be able to get you there safely.

With this in mind, you might not know that, in order to perform these important tasks, your car requires many parts that need to be replaced periodically after use. Two of these parts are the brake rotors and brake pads.

Brake Rotors

Brake rotors are basically disks that are attached to the tires of your car. Your car rests on, essentially, two long bars with tires on them. In order for your tire to function on your car, they must be attached to something that allows them to spin with the long bar in order to propel you forward or backward. 

This piece that attaches the tire to the bars (the axel), is known as the hub. Attached to this hub are a number of pieces, one of them being the brake rotors.

Brake rotors themselves are not the only thing that stops your car, however. One of the pieces that help to stop your car are the brake pads. 

Read: How To Temporary Fix Grinding Brakes?

Brake Pads

Brake pads are small panels that are attached to the brake rotor of your car that are made of a rubber-like material that helps to generate the friction that slows down the car. Without these pads, your car would not actually slow down when you apply the brake pedal with your foot.

Read: Driving With Parking Brake On: What Happens?

Brake Pad and Brake Rotor Function

Now that you understand what exactly brake pads and brake rotors are, you might be wondering how they work. Brakes typically work regardless of the temperature, the surface you are driving on, and the pitch of the surface you are driving on. How do breaks manage to be so versatile? 

Car brakes work similarly to how brakes on a bike work. If you have ever ridden a bike, or taken a close look at the brakes on a bike, you’ll notice what looks to be a little claw that pinches both sides of a tire to make it stop spinning. 

Depending on how hard you push on your brakes, the claw squeezes the tire harder, making it come to a stop faster. If you squeeze your brakes very hard and very quickly, you will stop very quickly.

This same process applies to cars. When you apply the breaks in your car, a computer recognizes that you are trying to slow down, and engages the brake pads. These pads then put pressure on part of the axle, creating friction. 

This friction converts the speed of the rotation into heat, slowing down the axle’s rate of rotation and, thus, your car. The harder the brake pad pushes, the slower your car will go. 

One critical issue that arises from this process, however, is the fact that a brake pad can’t be applied directly to the axle or the tire. The axle is too small for a brake pad to effectively slow it down, and if the brake pad was applied to the tire it would wear the tire out very quickly and destroy it. 

For this reason, the brake rotor was created. These disks connect directly to the axle, allowing a way for the brake pads to slow down the axle without damaging anything.

Read: Bad Wheel Bearing Replacement

Importance of Replacing Brake Pads and Brake Rotors

Understanding what brake pads and brake rotors are and how they work, you might be wondering if these are parts that last forever or are in need of frequent repair. How can brake pads consistently stop a car from moving anywhere between 65 and 85 miles (104 and 136 km)  per hour without damage? While brake pads are relatively strong and versatile, they do occasionally wear out. 

When these pads do wear out, your car will have a hard time stopping, making it unsafe to drive. Brake pads are also often checked during a vehicle’s inspection for safety, meaning that they should not be too worn out, melted, or broken in any other way. 

The general recommendation is to get your brake pads inspected every 12 months (annually) or every 12,000 miles (19,312 km) you drive.

Additionally, it is important that you regularly check the status of your brake rotors. Just like the brake pads, the brake rotors do get worn out after long periods of use and high levels of friction. 

Brake rotors can become warped, like brake pads, but even if your brake pads are in perfect shape, a warped brake rotor will make the pads incredibly inefficient, and your car will have a much harder time coming to a stop.

Another important thing to remember is that if you live in a climate with a lot of mud or ice, you might need to check your brake pads more frequently. Sometimes ice, mud, and other debris can interfere with your brake pads’ function. Though oftentimes a short drive will eliminate this debris, it can still be helpful to inspect these parts more frequently.

Read: What Is Average Car Mechanic Labor Rate?

Final Thoughts

When it comes to replacing brake pads and brake rotors, it normally costs anywhere between $250 and $500 per axle. Of course, the fluctuation in price depends on the mechanic and the type of car that you have, but the price will generally fall within this $250 range. 

It is incredibly important that you replace your brake pads and brake rotors frequently and ensure that they remain in good working condition. Brake pads and rotors are two of the most important parts of a car’s braking system, and it is essential for safety that these are kept in good condition.

Read: Why Brake Pedal Sinks to the Floor?

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