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Am I being Taken? Brakes & Rotors Quote

Hi. Newbie here to this site.
My 2004 Chrysler Pacifica started making horrible noises when I stepped on the brakes so bad I thought my car was about to blow up! It then continued making noise as I drove. It felt like something was caught on my driver’s side wheel area. I’ve been scared to drive it…it sounds and feels so horrible-I used to drive for a living so that’s saying a lot.
Today, Farm & Fleet said I needed to replace the brake pads and rotors but that something was causing the caliper to rub which is causing the noise. He said I have metal on metal, yet that rotor is completely rusted since this started.
Can’t I take it apart, pop back the caliper, resurface the rotors and be fine, replace the pads? I didn’t see the brake pads yet. I asked him the same question and he talked in circles… said he didn’t have time to take apart the whole brake system but the caliper is rubbing and causing the horrible noise.
He kept pushing me and pushing me to make an appointment… Actually he made the appointment for Monday. I had to say no… I’ll call. So he made the appointment for Wed. I said again I would think about it and call. He said if i don’t fix it right away, I could get killed! He then said he had to order the parts so to call him Monday before the appt. I said AGAIN, IF I decide to go through with it., having to try to cut him off and be heard over his quite loud voice. I think he just talks that way all the time…but then again seems he never lets people get in a word edgewise.
I’m a woman, petite and sweet for the most part…haha… I went in saying I believe something is caught because my brakes were fine and didn’t start going bad over time.- no gradual squealing or change in the brake pedal’s pressure, that I did haul a heavy trailer and used my brakes quite a bit and at times had to slam on them… I thought I appeared that I wasn’t completely in the dark about my car-I’ve read up a lot, had about 4-5 major repairs and haven’t had to redo my brakes yet since I got her in 2010. Then again, my ex had it awhile then was ordered to give it back and said he just put $900 in it, part of I believe was on a used TCM.
I traveled 1100 miles having a full UHaul and slammed on my brakes quite a few times… near accidents, avoiding critters, missing a turn etc. But the noise didn’t start then, it just started randomly one day after I got back. For $364, he says he’ll do the repairs. There was to be a sale on labor at $60 an hour. This is the estimate:
Install Caliper: 29.99
Install Front Brakes 60.00
LF Calipers (brake) 86.81 ( How is this odd number supposed to be a labor cost at $60 an hour?)
Total Brakes: $176.10

General Maintenance Installation:
Front Premium Ceramic Pads 70.99
Hardware Kit Included-OE Recommended
Front Disc Brake Rotor: 45.99
Total $162.97

Am I being ripped? I can get the rotors and brakes myself and someone will do it for $75.
Do I need to buy a new Caliper? Its written up to look that way but there are only 2 parts to be ordered with part numbers.
He gave me the estimate for free for now and will take it off the job he said at first, then said he gave it to me at no charge but if he let everyone do that they’d be in every other day.($14.99). Says "Customer declined Brake Inspection’. on the estimate…just a way for me to not actually be charged the $14.99 inspection fee (I was told by phone would be $18) because he’s convinced himself he’s got me reeled in? Also, do I have to install ceramic pads? I can get the brakes and rotors for $80 on EBay. Reputable company. Do I need to buy the Hardware kit ( I’ve seen the kit included with the higher priced pads- is it necessary?) and now a new brake caliper? I’m confused since the price of the caliper alone would be almost $178 at O’Reilly if I’m not mistaken?
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Way too much info. The price sounds fair and no you don’t want to buy parts anywhere and then have someone put them on. Just get a second opinion which may have a charge.

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@ VOLVO-V70 I gave such detailed info so there wouldn’t be questions, just room for answers. I have had all but two repairs done by mechanics or other knowledgeable people outside of a shop for a flat fee, or even just a case of beer…there are people who understand being on a budget or why I don’t wish to have repairs done at a box store or the dealership. Thanks anyway.

The price for the caliper is excellent. I paid $75 for a remanufactured caliper from an auto parts store. There is almost no markup. The other prices are good, too. There is no rip-off that I can see.


Thanks for your reply @jtsanders.
It’s confusing since that cost is under “Labor” with no part number…he wouldn’t answer me if I needed to replace the caliper, he said he didn’t have time to take apart everything today, which is why I’m questioning it. He didn’t say that’s the cost “if” he needs to replace the caliper. It should be listed under the cost for the parts with the part number with the others, shouldn’t it, that he says need to be ordered and might I add, that was after he saw me looking up the cost of the brake pads and rotors to purchase myself just outside the service center. I agree the parts listed under “Parts” are fair, but I’m still confused.of that cost and why it’s under the labor section. He’s alos quoting the most expensive ceramic pads… do I HAVE to use ceramic or is that based on what’s already in there?

I don’t waste my money on cheaper pads, anymore. The ceramics last the longest and don’t make that nasty brake dust that gets all over the wheels.

One exception to that might be if you’re not planning to keep the vehicle very long. Then stick any old pads on there.

Oh, and another thing… Almost any time I shop for pads and open the boxes to compare different sets, the premium ceramic pads have better sound absorbing qualities and often come with brake installation hardware that is not included with the cheapo ones. It’s good to have it and if it proves necessary to replace it then the cost adds quickly to the lesser pad sets.


I can PARTIALLY agree with you

If the factory pads were semi-metallic, then I’ll get factory pads

I’ve had INCREDIBLY bad luck putting ceramic pads on vehicles that weren’t originally equipped with them. Made awful noises, chewed up the rotors, and didn’t even brake very well. And those were supposedly super duper premium ultra brake pads. Next time went back to factory brake pads and rotors. End of problem

But generally, I buy factory brakes, unless it’s a Sunday, and a family member needs brakes done right away, and can’t wait until the next day, when the dealer’s parts counter is open for business

If the choice is super duper premium ultra ceramic brake pads which make a lot of noise, chew up the rotor, don’t stop well, but don’t dust up the rims, versus factory semi-metallic brake pads, which make no noise, don’t chew up the rotor, stop well, but dust up the rims, I will and have chosen the latter. Easy choice for me

I’ve learned many lessons over the years, one of them being if you get factory parts, you’ll generally not go wrong


That’s good to know @common_sense_answer. My rim now has to be replaced since the rusted rotor threw rust on it. I would think if it was metal on metal that the rotor would be shiny, but it’s opposite of that. When I get a new rim, I definitely do not want a lot of brake dust all over it. When I needed new links, an inner tie rod and a sway bar replaced, I found a great store on eBay- their cost for everything I needed was what the others charged for just the tie rod. Good reviews go back for years and they have a 100% positive rating. I can get the rotors, pads and the hardware kit-if I need the kit-all for what O’Reilly’s charges for the rotors.

Anyway, what do you think about the caliper situation and is it necessary to buy the hardware kit? This is where I keep getting hung up…If the cost of labor is $60 an hour, which he’s charging to install the brakes, why $29.99 for the pads… why not charge a flat $30 for labor? But the figure for the caliper has dollars and cents too and is under “Labor” and has no part number. If the parts have to be ordered, like he said at the last minute to call him Monday so he can order them for the Wednesday appointment he basically forced on me, after seeing me looking up the brake pads and rotors in the reference books myself to purchase outright, wouldn’t that be important to have the caliper listed with a part number under the “Parts” section?
The way he acted, from not directly answering some questions, by talking loudly, doing all the talking, forcing an appointment on me, first by saying he can’t see if I make the appointment myself, it would go somewhere else, things could fill up fast, then saying I could get killed, then saying he’ll see me Wednesday, then saying he has to order the parts at least 2 days ahead of time so call him right away Monday, but the first appointment he tried to force on me was for today, the very next day-how is that possible if the parts have to be ordered 2 days in advance? I also asked if he’d look at my tire in the back seat quick. It was repaired with a plug but didn’t last long by a neighbor as a quick fix. I wanted to know if it was repairable or if I should just buy a new tire…I asked him 3 times!! Finally he said he’ll look at it when he sees me Wednesday.
These are all the reasons I’m just a little suspicious! I basically see 2 charges that make no sense. Like a brake and rotor job that only takes an hour isn’t going to make Farm and Fleet-or him- enough money, so let’s throw in some extra charges…Ugh…

Simply because the labor might book out at something like 1.2 hours or something like that.

Overall the price is quite reasonable in my book. A pair of front rotors and pads for my car costs around $250 for just the parts with no markup, it would well over double that if a shop did the work.

Brakes and tires are two ares where it’s unacceptable to go cheap IMHO.

I don’t think you’re been taken advantage of. The the price is well in line with what one can reasonably expect to pay for the work being done.

Those prices look reasonable to me OP. I can’t speak to the accuracy of diagnosis, the quality of the work done at that particular shop, or whether what they plan to do will fix all the problems of course. But new pads/rotors/calipers is a pretty common thing to have done to fix brake noise problems, from the reports here. I think what may be confusing you is that the shop wants to replace the calipers rather than fixing the existing ones. That’s also pretty common thing we here hear . The labor to fix a broken caliper often costs more than just buying new ones.

re: why does it cost $86.81 in labor apparently to install the LF caliper, that’s a good question. Shops usually have a computer or book that tells them how long any particular job will take in hours, which this shop would multiply by $60 to get the total charge. So why it comes up with 81 cents … hmmm … maybe there is a local tax or parts disposal charge involved. You could just ask them, right?

If you question the shop, the best way to find a shop is to ask friends, co-workers, fellow church-goers, anybody you have a trusted personal relationship with, who they use for their car. From that list select a shop that specializes in your make, and be sure to tell the shop you select who it was that recommended you to them.

Well I just found out one thing…to install the caliper is $29.99…why
not $30? I don’t know.
The $86.81 appears to be the price of the caliper without a part number and
is in the “labor” section.

O’Reilly’s most expensive Caliper is $52.99 with the mounting bracket and
$50.00 without.
Ceramic Brake Pads are $41.99 including the hardware kit. Cheaper without
the kit.
Rotors- I have to call, three are not in stock, one is $59.99 with the
hardware kit.
I have an experienced guy that will do the work for $50.00

All those parts I can get on ebay for cheaper.

I think I will call this guy at Farm &Fleet…hopefully he’ll let me talk!

Thanks for your info @GeorgeSanJose!

I figured out the info…it’s the cost of the caliper without a part number and the $29.99 is for the labor which makes no sense at all…why not put an even $30? a penny? lol

Thanks @FoDaddy

That changes my perspective on everything @db4690. He didn’t let me know what’s in there now…but Organic ones are just $21.99!

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That price is more than fair, I don’t know what part of the country you are in but where I am $60/hour is laughable and no one in her right mind would trust someone willing to work that cheap.

Prices on ebay are irrelevant unless ebay is the one doing the repair work. I can buy ceramic (what your car requires) brake pads for $30 but I will sell them to you for $55, because I run a business to make money, not make friends.

From what you describe you almost certainly need the work described, in addition to a complete inspection of the rear brakes.

Others here may chime in with their opinion of only replacing one front caliper instead of both. I know what mine is.


Hi @asemaster
I’m assuming you didn’t read through my entire lengthy post, despite my dad (who’s name was Ace- reminds me of the first half of your profile name) said to never assume! Women tend to write more and in more detail than men…it’s what we do!
If $60 an hour is laughable and I shouldn’t trust someone willing to do the work for that, then I guess the last laugh is on Farm&Fleet, right? Because they are the ones who quoted me and that is their labor price, which I said was on sale, at $60 an hour. I’ll assume again, that I’m lucky to be getting one terrific deal. I’m in Wisconsin, so to me, that price is not way out in left field. The cost of labor in California is laughable to me…I’ve lived there too.
I’m aware I need the work done…I’m not sure why you get the feeling I don’t think I do, although my brakes were inspected just last year by Farm &Fleet. They had a lot of life left to them but as I said, this brake issue didn’t gradually start happening with the tell tale signs that it’s time for a brake job. It was sudden and out of nowhere which is why I went in there saying I’m pretty sure something is stuck somewhere or along those lines.Turns out I was right. But he didn’t tell me much else at all. I don’t know if I have ceramic brakes in there now, he doesn’t know if a piston slipped and can just be popped back in…he didn’t answer that. It would be nice if it’s simply something that slipped and can be easily put back, but that’s not what he’s telling me. But when I go to a repair shop, I get taken advantage of time and time again, so without the guy who will do whatever it needs done for the $60 I offered that matched Farm & Fleets quote for labor, I won’t know.
Might I add- Farm & Fleet only wishes to replace one caliper and I order parts from EBay to avoid the mark-ups and pay and hire for the labor to be done through a private party… I’m on a budget for the first time in my life and doing repairs for the least expensive amount is what I try to accomplish. :slight_smile:

I replaced a stuck right rear brake caliper between Christmas and New Years. I did the left one, too. I didn’t want to take a chance of brake failure on the left. I’m thinking about replacing the front calipers when the weather is consistently warm as preventative maintenance. I commute over 100 miles each day at high speed, and functional brakes are very important to me.

Why are u replacing ur rim? Threw rust on it? Never heard that term. I have seen lots of rims that are discolored from brake dust and general road crap. I just spent 3 hrs cleaning the rims on my neglected new used car. Ur car is 13 yrs old. Where do u get a new Pacifica rim?

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Your vehicle is quite heavy and has fairly small brakes for its size. Cheap out on this at your and your fellow motorists’ peril.

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No, it all depends on where you are, which is why I asked. There are parts of the country where a shop labor rate of $110/hour is a bargain, and there are parts where $110/hour might be half again as much as the prevailing rate. I can tell you around here, $60/hour wouldn’t be enough to bother opening the doors in the morning.

Anyone competent in brake repair will tell you there’s nothing in a caliper that can be “popped” back in and expected to work safely. Best practices standards in the auto industry would dictate that both front calipers be replaced. The RF caliper is just as old and worn as the LF, and has been in the same operating conditions the whole time, chances are it may fail soon as well. Think of it this way: you buy a new lamp that has 2 bulbs. When one burns out chances are the other will soon as well.


around here, a typical dealer will charge around $90-$110/hr. for labor. The independent shops. are typically around $75-$90/hr. The place I use the most is a bargain at $68/hr, however it must be mentioned that the are a business partner with my employer and offer a 10% discount on parts and labor, their typical rate is $75/hr. They other place I’ve used is more a speed shop type of place, and they charge $120/hr, but the guys that work there do very specialized work that a typical shop either doesn’t or have little to no experience at.

But yeah, it’s all about location, any given shop in NYC or a metro area in California or any place that has a high cost of living will have much higher rates than some small town in Nebraska.