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97 Honda Accord Cost to Replace Rotors and Pads

I just got a quote of almost $500 to replace the front rotors and brake pads on my 97 Honda Accord. The mechanic (new one to me) said it’s mostly labor because its 3.5 hrs to do the job because of the brake system design for this year (need to remove and repack bearings for example). Is this true and does this sound reasonable?

I don’t remember exactly what the labor pays for this job, but it’s true. Accords of that year used a captured brake rotor design that makes replacing rotors more labor intensive. They make a special tool to cut down on the time required to replace the rotors, but many mechanics don’t own it because it’s quite expensive. You have to remove the steering knuckle and press the hub out of the bearing to replace the rotor. As a FYI, now would also be the time to replace your front wheel bearings if those are not on the quote, just to prevent problems down the road.

My wife owned a 96 Accord…It’s very easy…if Mark is correct…then they changed their design of the rotors in 97…

Two bolts to remove the caliper…On a lift with an impact wrench it MIGHT take him 30 seconds…Once the caliper is removed then removing the rotor is easy…There might be factory retention screws he’ll have to remove (I had to drill mine out)…This is probably the LONGEST part of the whole procedure…Probably 10 minutes per rotor…Slap on the new rotor…(put in a new hardware kit…grease up the slides…put the new pads on…put the caliper back on…DONE…

I believe they used the captured rotor design from about '93 or '94 to '97. It got redesigned with the new body style for the 1998 model year. You may be thinking of the rear brakes, or a different year or model. Removing a front wheel will tell the tale. If you see four bolts going into the hat of the rotor, between the wheel lugs, it’s a captured rotor. If there are two screws, or no screws or bolts at all, the rotor slips off.

Some ways you could save money on this job may be available to you. If you have no brake pulsation and did not wear the pads down to the point of grinding into the rotor, and the rotor mics out in spec, you could just replace the pads. If you do have a pulsation, and the rotor mics out in spec, you could have the rotors turned. You will still have to pay almost as much labor, unless your shop has an on-the-car lathe, but this is an option. Those rotors can be turned while still attached to the steering knuckle, it just requires a little outside the box thinking. I know, I’ve done it. You could also shop around and see if any other shops have a Hub Tamer and will cut you a break on the labor to do the brake job. Shops are pretty competitive and you may get lucky.

Thanks to all who responded. Since this is a new shop, I mostly wanted to make sure they weren’t just fabricating this whole “It’s really labor intensive to remove the rotors on this particular car…” thing. Unfortunately, many years have led me not to trust what many mechanics (though certainly not all) say. FYI, I did indeed warp the rotors and they had already been ground down once for this about a year ago (benefits of living in a mtn state). Thanks again.

You may be thinking of the rear brake

NO…Definitely the front brakes. The rear brakes for the 96 were Shoe brakes…

The rotor for the 96 was NOT incorporated with the hub…They were seperate.

I would call for a 2nd quote. This type of thing can be done on the phone.

Accords are beyond common cars and if mechanic has not seen one then something is really wrong.

I own a 97 Accord, and the front brake rotors are trapped rotors. This requires that the hub/bearing be seperated from the steering knuckle in order to replace the rotor. Thus the high labor rate.


They changed the design for the front brakes in 1998, if you still have the car what is the 10th digit on the vin because it might say anything from 06/97-11/97 on the vin placard on the door but that’s a 1998, I know that it’s a 3.5 hour job to replace the front rotors from 94-98…

You responded to a post that is 8 years old. That car is long gone. After over 300k miles it was time to get a new one.