Cost of rear brake job?

Hi, first time poster so apologies if this isn’t in the right place or is a dumb question …

We have a 99 Honda Accord, around 139000 miles, just took it in today for a major service at the dealership (I know, I know, service at the dealership is always too expensive, but we used to live 2 blocks from the dealership and that was easiest, and it has always seemed like an OK deal until now). They called to tell us we need rear brake pads replaced and quoted us over $600. We live in the San Francisco bay area so things are expensive here – does that seem outrageous? Is it worth shopping around? Would appreciate any thoughts you might have, thanks.

Look around for a better deal. $600.00 to replace the rear brake pads/rotors seems a little high.

Now if you had said this price was for the front brakes, I could understand the price. As your vehicle has what are called trapped rotors on the front.


Of course it is worth shopping. Get at least 2 more estimates from independent shops. If you aren’t familiar with any, ask everyone you know for recommendations. Tell them give you a place that will do a rear brake job well and inexpensively. Take it to the places with the highest number ofmrecommendations. Make sure you get an itemized, written recommendation so you can compare them.

You did not state definitively whether or not the rotors are being serviced or replaced during this job. Pads only, that’s way high even for your area which is one of the pricier parts of the country.

If rotors are involved and considering the locale the price could be about right. For something like brakes I’d say just avoid the dealer and have it done for less at a reputable independent.

I’d have guessed you’d have drum brakes on the rear of a 99 Accord. Discs then? To replace rear disc pads, $600 does seem too much. Are you sure they are not doing other things? Dealerships often advise to have other stuff done at the same time, to bring all the routine maintenance up to date. In that case $600 might be reasonable, like if they are replacing the brake fluid and doing a general overall-look-see of both the front and back brake hardware. But $600 just to replace the rear pads seems an over-reach. Get a second opinion from a well-recommended local indep shop, preferably one that specializes in Hondas or Asian cars. Best of luck.


That price seems quite high, even if it includes the rotors

Wherever you do go, I highly suggest you use factory Honda brake parts

I’ve had many noise problems caused by aftermarket brakes, not so with factory brakes

GeorgeSanJose is right – I talked to the mechanic again and it does have drum brakes in the rear, so it’s the shoes that need replacing. I guess the cost makes sense then? I have found a few places by asking around among my friends and check them on the Mechanics Files part of the Forum, so I think I’ll call for a second opinion. Thanks all!

Which model Accord, LX or EX?

Nope! Even with new shoes/drums, and a hardware kit, it shouldn’t cost $600.00. Unless there’s leaking wheel cylinders?

Look around for a better deal.


I have a 99 Accord with rear drums. Rear shoes are about $25, hardware kit is about $25 (springs and clips) and drums run about $35 each. Labor should be no more than two hours total (and it should be less than that in reality but the book probably shows one hour per side). At $100 per hour labor cost the total with parts should come out to $320 plus parts mark up. I am guessing he is charging $100 each for drums and $75 for the shoes and $50 more for hardware because they are “Honda”. That comes out to $525. $600 is starting to sound close to the mark for a premium mechanic using OEM parts. I bet an independent shop would do it for around $300 and the job would be just as good.

So, interesting update . . . I called today to get more details on the estimate, and they told me $279! Seems the $600 figure included replacing the battery and flushing the brake lines, too (both of which we already had them do – the battery was why we took it in in the first place). I have to own my share of the misunderstanding, I don’t think they were trying to rip us off, but they said “and we have to replace the rear brakes, that’ll be $600,” which made it sound to us like that was the cost just for the brake job . . . but they meant, that’s the cost for the whole shebang. I did find the names of 3 good independent shops locally through friends – each of them recommended by several people – so might call around for a quick comparison, but $279 sounds MUCH more reasonable, especially based on what bloody_knuckles just described. An extra bonus . . . when I called back today, they told me they’ve put a coupon “on my account” so I’ll get some discount on the $279 (not clear how much) – so I think holding out and asking more questions literally paid off.

This forum is awesome! I’m really grateful for all the advice and input – especially since clearly it took me a while to figure out the details (what parts, what the estimate covered).

The $279 was parts AND labor, BTW. I did ask that. :slight_smile:

@keith – it is a DX actually I think

Breaking down a bill always helps and usually shows that no one is being ripped off at all.

Even if the original amount stated was for rear brakes only, the price could still be in line depending upon the hourly flat rate, whether the drums were surfaced under that flat rate time, and the use of Honda OEM parts which are usually going to be much higher in price than what the clerk at AutoZone shoves across the counter.

I think labor rates in the SF area are easily into the 125-150 an hour range and it wouldn’t take long to hit 600 at that rate. Tack on shop supplies charge, enviro fees, taxes, etc, etc.

At 279 my feeling is that the dealer is short-cutting the flat rate process to promote business and the mechanic is the one taking the loss; assuming drum surfacing is involved.

@keith – actually you know what, it is the LX 4dr sedan (not the V6 though) – because it has cruise control and ABS. So it must be the LX not the DX.

Thank you for the update

$279 sounds like a pretty fair deal, considering it’s at the dealer

If you trust these guys, there’s no reason not to give them your business

In my opinion, factory brakes are the quietest and give good performance

Glad you are back on track @hondadriver 99 . Yes, the pricing you describe now seems reasonable. As you’ve discovered, communication confusion rules the realm in car repair. Not surprising if you think about it. It is such a technically demanding job. There are thousands of different make/models/years/options combinations of cars. And each car has thousands of individual parts. To effect a quality repair, the exact part number with the exact functional and mechanic specs must be used, installed in the exact way described in the shop manual, etc. The jargon mechanics use is how they communicate this information so as to be unambiguous with their parts supplies. Otherwise they’d be inundated with the wrong part, delaying the completion of the job. So it is no wonder the car owner is in a state of bewilderment.

Front rotors warped = brake pedal kicking when brakes applied at freeway speeds

Rear rotors warped = vibration in “seat of pants” when brakes applied at freeway speeds

@ok4450, “At 279 my feeling is that the dealer is short-cutting the flat rate process to promote business and the mechanic is the one taking the loss; assuming drum surfacing is involved.”

One of the major national tire chains (I’ll call them BurningRock) pays the flatraters .8 hours for front brake pad service and resurface rotors. It won’t take long for the dealers to start “competing” with that. Even the last time I worked flat rate at an indy shop they started cutting brake job time from 2.0 per axle to 1.5 to be more competetive.

You might also notice that the drum brake service now reads “…resurface rear drums as needed” with “as needed” being the operative phrase.

@asemaster, I vaguely remember reading something about “BurningRock” (good one!) and their .8 brake job.
I’d like to say that whoever came up with that time probably knows nothing about how a brake lathe works but I’d probably be wrong. Corporate is just putting the screws to the tech.

Much like Ford’s Fast Lane service or whatever they call it. A whopping 39.95 total (and a 10 dollar rebate) total for an oil change, tire rotation, battery check, and 27 point inspection.
Weed out the retail price of the oil and filter and there’s not a lot of meat left on that 39.95 (less 10) steak… :frowning:

Mike Rowe just thinks he’s done some dirty jobs… :slight_smile: