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2016 Outback

I needed rear breaks for my outback and the dealer told me the roters needed the rust removed. The car has 72,000 miles. It’s the 1st replacement of pads. It feels like I was scammed, they charged me $450. for the job. Is my gut feeling correct?
Thanks Ilene

Ilene, can you give a little more detail, from the repair order (receipt) explaining what was replaced and/or the labor operations (and why, if noted) involved?

It seems a high charge, but in my opinion cannot be properly evaluated without more information. Our car experts and novices are standing by.

Thanks in advance,

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Any time the brake pads are replaced, you should get new rotors or have the rotors ground to provide a flat, smooth surface for the pads to grab. You were not scammed, but the explanation of removing the rust is hokey.

BTW, you might get better prices at an independent shop than the dealer. Indies don’t have the high overhead that a dealer does and can pass the savings to you.

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Hi thanks so much for the reply. Here’s what’s on the invoice
Rear pad kit $95.99 plus labor 250.00
It says resurface rotors and replace pads.cleaned and lubed slides. As for balance of amt paid they charged me 64.95 for synthetic oil change.
Actually now that I see breakdown maybe the pricing is ok?

Well personally I think its rather high, but the simple fact is you always pay a premium for service at a dealership. Assuming the oil change was a fixed price, you were charged at least 2 hours to change the rear brake pads. Word to the wise, they usually have to give you an estimate prior to doing the work. You have options at that point that may involve inconvenience but options none the less. You can opt to not have them do the work and find another mechanic. You also have the option of negotiating the price a bit. Personally I would have told the service manager I could do the job with jack stands and hand tools in less total time. That said, fully removing the caliper bracket, and rotor to clean up, handbrake adjustment or electronic handbrake reset, resetting abs, test driving it and breaking in the pads take extra time as does a good suspension examination. Its easy for places to make shortcuts, and while you may pay a bit less, you may also be receiving less. Kind of like paying less for lower quality brake parts and then having to replace them at half the mileage you got out of the originals.

Ok thx for info

Right , like that would put the service writer on your side.


Yes, that model does have an electronic e-brake, so that adds a bit to the labor.

Thx for info

Why?. Service manager works for the dealer, not for me, and his job is to sell me the highest price service possible. Moreover, many service advisors have never spun a wrench or done the actual repair in question, and basically add up book times for each job. If you do not negotiate that is not my issue. I do and usually ask them to justify the price. However I tend to know more than them, have already diagnosed the issue or had it diagnosed, and am familiar with part prices. I will usually be flexible and offer to bring it in on their least busy day to do repairs, and I do not usually wait for something to fully fail before having it fixed.
In one instance where I was being bs’d by a guy and decided to pay rather stay and fight, I returned the next morning with the appropriate pages from the factory service manual, and demanded to speak to the manager at the counter in front of all the assembled clients… Even he had to agree that they should not be charging me extra time to replace an outer tie rod when I was already paying for the inner to be changed as well as a 4 wheel alignment. The only extra time actually required was to open the box of the new part. I got a refund for the extra 20 minutes labor they were charging plus a further $25 goodwill discount for my troubles. I prefer to keep them honest rather than delude myself they are my friends looking out for my best interests.
However, I will concede that for a vehicle still under warranty, having a relationship with your dealer can beneficial should you require warranty work, and I will also concede that a dealership, for the most part, will do good quality work even if it tends to be expensive.

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Last year, I was having a wheel alignment done, along with the usual oil change/tire rotation. My friend dropped me off around the projected time for the work being completed. However, I had to hang around for almost 90 additional minutes. Being retired, I do have time to spare but…

So, I walked up to the service writer (who knows me by name), and–with a big smile on my face–I said, Al, in light of the extended waiting time, do you think that you can root-around in your drawer for a discount coupon for me to use?

When he had my bill prepared a few minutes later–sure enough–he had applied a 15% discount.
I have no doubt that a constant complainer would not have gotten that courtesy.

I do not go to that dealership anymore. I do most of my own automotive work, but some jobs I hire out. Not only have I brought donuts as a thank you, I have also given 10$ tips to the mechanic who did the work to buy himself a beer. I know how to be agreeable, but I really do not like the hard sell based upon BS.

Just to complete that story, I dropped the car off at 8 AM for a morning booking and then was called at 3:30 PM that an outer tie rod was a bit worn and needed changing. I asked them to order one from NAPA across the street from the dealer, but no according to the service rep if they did that my car would not be ready that day. So I agreed to pay the dealer price for the part which was over $120 compared to $26. And before you give me the song and dance about aftermarket parts, keep in mind I replaced that tie rod 6 years prior with the same Napa part. This compares to the OE part that lasted 4 years. And I also know for a fact that dealer has a merchant account at that NAPA. Lets put it this way I felt blackmailed, and then their tacking on extra labor charges was maddening. I should also point out that many aftermarket parts from quality manufacturers come with longer warranty periods than the 1 year the dealer offers.

I also question your idea that servicing is not where dealerships make money. It’s not a charity and from what I have read in the past for most dealers it is a primary profit center, not some loss leader that is part of the cost of selling cars.

Given the fact that most techs are paid by the job no matter the actual time it takes, most will fight for jobs that take them less time to do than the book time the customer is charged for. It is not news to me that those willing to pay the most are perceived as the best customers. Sometimes failing to be penny wise will see some businesses trying to take advantage of you.

I admit you complained nicely, but without a doubt you were complaining and were asking for some compensation. I wonder if you would have been so happy, if he had said sorry cannot do that or just ignored your request at the time of billing.

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Funny you say that I’m a baker and I do take care of them
I’ve tried taking my car to a repair center that had great reviews. When I asked them to check the breaks while the car was being serviced they wanted to charge me.
Never went back

I will refrain from personal comments about what you seem like. I won’t specify the dealership other than to say judging by their google reviews, I am not the only one who is not enamored with the place. Forgive me for sharing.
I will say you do engage in some pretty wide generalizations while completely missing the point of what was said.

How do u know I missed the point? Your right you DON’T KNOW ME

When I was the GM of a dealership many years ago, used vehicles were our #1 profit center, followed by service, finance/insurance, new vehicles, and parts, in that order. And if you, as a customer, tried to tell me where to source parts, I would have told you to never return to my dealership.

It is ( brakes ) and why would you expect them to remove the wheel to properly check the pads and rotors or drums for free.

I don’t think the - you missed the point statement was directed at you .