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Brake Pads - Don't want to get messed with!

I have to get my brake pads repaired on a 2007 Honda Civic.

A grinding noise started about 2 days ago when I press the brake.

  1. How much should this cost?

  2. What additional stuff might they get me to purchase or pay for that I do not need?

  3. Should I avoid the brake “chain” establishments?

This is the last thing I need right now…

Well you can always get a couple of estimates, I know people that use chain shops, and do not complain. I use a brakes specialty shop. The reason I use the shop, it is a bit more expensive, but have had brake jobs done where the brakes just don’t seem as good as they used to be, and when we had my wife’s done she said they were better than they ever were. I also get information on what parts they have found to be good, better, best based on their experience, what pads work best in what vehicle etc… They completely flush the old brake fluid on any job, that is advised but may or may not happen. The other plus is they know improper lug nut torquing is a cause for rotor warping and will retorque the lug nuts for free after new tires, wheel rotation as it saves them or me costs if they have to replace the rotors because of someone elses negligence.etc. They also do a complete inspection, I was warned of a loose stableizer link in the rear a year ago, It is on my list, for the future, a burned out bulb, I’ll replace it and a bad rear windsheild wiper blade, replaced it myself. Sure they would have loved to have done it and make a little payola, but if I can do it I will.

I would figure you will be due for new rotors also.

Get the estimates and post any questionable suggestions.

In addition to new rotors, after at least 5 years of service, your brake fluid needs to be changed–unless it was done during the past 3 years.

Please check your service records to determine if the brake fluid has ever been changed.
If it has never been changed, it is overdue and needs to be done.

Personally, I would recommend that you avoid chain operations, as their advertised price is NEVER the final price. Chain operations thrive on “bait & switch”, and once they have your car on the lift, they can be depended on to drastically jack up the original estimate.

A grinding sound probably means you will need new rotors. The calipers should still be good. You should be looking at pads, rotors and brake fluid flush. Wild guess you are looking at $400 if front only, $800 for all four wheels. Use a good shop, get recommendations from friends, but avoid those from friends who have a lot of repairs done on their cars.

Budget $300-$350 Or learn how to install brakes…

Since this is the last thing you need (sorry to hear about your troubles), you may get away with only getting one axle done.
When they evaluate your brakes, they may suggest they all need replacing but most likely the front is the one with the more pressing as that’s where most the weight it. You may be able to hold of doing the rears.

It might be all you need is new pads. The mechanic can make the recommendation when he pulls the wheels.

Front pads are a common thing that needs replacement. Happens to all cars pretty much. If this is the first you need them, you must be a good driver. Some cars need new pads every couple of years.

I think what you need right away is not a list of options, but to find a good mechanic you can trust. The best way to find one is ask your friends and co-workers for a recommendation. Then let the mechanic know who recommended them to you. This works because the mechanic knows if he treats you poorly, you’ll likely inform the person who issued the recommendation, and not one but two customers will be lost, plus there won’t be any more recommendations.

Best of luck Cicily Linn.

Use this website to get an expected cost range for a brake job in your area:

Also, before you go into a shop, take a look at your front brake rotors and run your finger over the smooth shiny surface where the brake pads rub. If it’s heavily grooved or scored, the brake shop will likely tell you the rotors need to be replaced.

I have used a chain shop and have received excellent service. There was only a mild attempt at upsell, the offer to go to premium brake pads rather than the standard ones. I declined and there was no further hassle.

The point is that brake service is usually so routine that anyone can do it and do it well. You have no need to fear a discount repair shop for your brakes.

Any shop can be a good one, including chains. I suggest that you ask everyone you know where they go for work. brake pads and reground rotors are easy fixes. Any shop can do that. The trick is to find one that will do it fora good price and won’t upsell you on other work that may not be needed.

Not to muddle this but I totally agree with VDCdriver when he said to not use chains.
I’ve seen them screw up the simplest of things like oil changes, tire rotations and brake jobs.
If you can’t do the job yourself, find a good trustworthy independent mechanic.

2) What additional stuff might they get me to purchase or pay for that I do not need?

Since you implied that you are in a cash crunch, after getting this immediate problem resolved, then the answer to your question is probably that you should decline (for the moment) anything which is not a safety issue. But do make careful notes about what they advise, and attend to those as soon as you can. If you can, ask for some kind of priority ranking of any other recommended repairs. As Remco mentioned above, the odds are that the noise you hear is from your front (disc) brakes and for now, you may get by with postponing the rears for a month or two, unless they are likely to begin grinding any day.

The grinding noise suggests that you have worn through the brake pads or linings, which are “wear items.” Please be aware that this means your braking is now somewhat diminished as a result, so the sooner you can get this work done, the safer you’ll be. Unfortunately, the grinding itself suggests that you have begun to damage the rotors and may need them replaced, though depending on the circumstances, the shop may be able to have the rotors “turned”, allowing them to be reused - that may save a few bucks.

Something to remember in a year or two: it’s a good idea to have pads checked periodically to know in advance when they are due for replacement before they’ve worn through. Checking disc brakes is easy so many tire shops do that for free or very cheap. Checking drum brakes (if you have them- would be in the rear only) requires more disassembly so is less likely offered as a free service. Rear brakes wear less than the fronts.

If you already have a regular repair shop that you trust, then go there first. This brake work is a routine job so almost any mechanic can do it. If you don’t already have a shop that you use regularly, this may be a good time to start thinking about finding one, or at least begin your search. Simply having a relationship with a shop is valuable, you’ll generally get better treatment when they know you are a regular customer. Any kind of shop, independent or chain or dealer, can be good. I tend to prefer a place where I deal directly with the owner, or if not, then with the mechanic who actually does the work, rather than an office person.