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2002 Subaru Outback Wagon Brake Job

I was told that to fix my brakes, all 4, the cost would be $2500. That seems high to me. Does anyone know whether this is a reasonable estimate or not?


That does sound very high, but you have to enumerate what parts would be replaced, and what procedures are involved in order for anyone to give you a reasonably accurate answer.

Currently, your question is sort of like someone saying, “My surgeon wants to charge me $5,000. for abdominal surgery. Is this too expensive?” Depending on what type of abdominal surgery is involved, the answer could vary, as could the answer with your brake system.

Need a parts list. My brake jobs for pad replacement, no rotor replacement is around $200 per axle. Rotor replacement adds quite a bit to the cost. I have difficult with the estimate unless a bunch more parts (rotors, master cylinder, calipers) is included. If this was a franchise shop, some of them quote complete replacement, including calipers, whether needed or not, which increases the sale substantially even if the items are not required.

Get a second opinion from a trusted independent mechanic first.

They want to replace the pads and rotors. They said the rotors have some rust on them. I lived in Massachusetts from 2002 to 2006, where I probably picked up the rust problem. I have been in Arizona since 2006. They did not say how bad the problem is.

It appears way too high, based on Subaru OEM prices or aftermarket prices. I came up with approx $700 parts, using Subaru MSRP for a price. The rest is labor and some brake fluid.

Get a second opinion from a different shop. How many miles on this vehicle and have you had brake work done before?

This sounds way high unless there is something involved with an ABS master cylinder, the use of expensive high tech rotors/pads, etc.

Rust on brake rotors is entirely normal. You can remove a new brake rotor out of box, clean it off, place it outside on a warm humid night, and it will have rust on it the next morning without ever having been used.

I’d steer away from an estimate like this and especially with the bit about rust being thrown in there.

Depending on the parts source, markup, shop locale, etc. I don’t see this as being more than 7-800 dollars thereabouts and that’s doing all 4 wheels.

My milage is about 72,700 miles. I have not had any work on the brakes yet although I have periodically asked for pad inspections. Thanks for all your responses. I will get a second opinion from another garage listed in the recommended list.

If you have never had any brake work done by 72k, then clearly it is time for brake pad replacement and it is also reasonable to replace the rotors at the same time.

As has been said, this price quote that you received is very high and you could undoubtedly have the work done by an independent shop for a lot less. Just be sure that you specify that you want either US-made rotors or genuine Subaru rotors, because the Chinese-made rotors that are on the market are pure junk. A shop that quotes a low price may be using these junk Chinese rotors, so be very careful about what is installed on your car.

As long as you can find an honest independent shop that quotes a lower price and that doesn’t use Chinese rotors, you should be able to get a good-quality job at a decent price.

Just be sure to avoid Midas, Meineke, Sears, Monro, and any other chain operation. Those places will give you a low-ball quote, and then after they have disassembled your brake system, they will phone you and tell you that you desperately need hundreds of $$ more in repairs. A well-reputed independent mechanic is your best bet for a good-quality repair at a fair price.