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Rotor Replacement

Took my car to my local mechanic’s shop for an oil change about 6000 miles ago and they said that I would probably need brakes next time I came in for an oil change. Had it in today and decided to get both front and rear done (they said one was at 20% and the other at 25%). The bill for this was $840. They replaced all the rotors. I had not had any feeling of any problems with my brakes prior to this. They said that with my mileage (160,000) it was time to replace the rotors. Was I played for a sucker? I hope not, because I’ve been going to this shop for about 25 years and have always trusted them in the past.

Depends on what type of vehicle, and what the brake inspection revealed.


On many modern cars, the rotors are too thin to resurface without risking easy warping soon thereafter. If the rotors were the originals, you got your money’s worth out of them.

I won’t say you were taken for a sucker, but I’ll bet you could have done the job your self for less than $200 in parts.

I agree that at 160k miles the rotors were probably down to the minimum thickness, or below it. The price could be fair but it all depends on the type of car, the locale where the shop is at, flat rate labor rate charge, the type of parts used, and where the parts are procured.

Brakes and rotors for all four wheels for $200, those would be the real cheap junk that wouldn’t last and wouldn’t work too well. I’m sure that for $840, he got more than just pads and rotors. If his mechanic used quality parts, then he got a fair price.

You’re probably right, the real cheap junk - but I challenge you to find a shop that doesn’t put the real cheap junk on cars for their standard brake service. Any time you go into a Tires Plus or any of the chain places, that’s all you get is the real cheap chinese junk.

Thanks for the input. I was mostly concerned that I didn’t really need the rotors. I’m glad that you all think that I probably did (these were the original rotors). Might have gotten it done a little cheaper somewhere else (one of the big chains) but I prefer to do business with local independents. Thanks again–I’ll continue to trust these guys!

You didn’t mention the type of car, but if these were the original rotors, you definitely got good service out of them at 160k miles. For some cars, this would have been the second set. The price you cite would be OK for a complete brake pad and rotor job, especially if they packed or replaced any wheel bearings or did other related work along the way.

“Any time you go into a Tires Plus or any of the chain places, that’s all you get is the real cheap chinese junk.
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And that is just one of the many reasons why the veterans of this board recommend that people avoid chain operations such as Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, and–yes–Tires Plus. Just as Aamco, Lee Myles, Cottman, and the other chain transmission places should be avoided because of their substandard, frequently overpriced, unnecessary transmission repairs, those other chains should be avoided for brake or suspension work.

Yes, depending on the car, the price isn’t that bad. I have a set of 4 rotors and pads sitting in my garage waiting to be installed on my Pacifica. Not the cheapest available, but not the most expensive either. My cost just for the parts: over $350 with tax.

The only reason to replace the rotors is if they are warped or otherwise damaged. The shop should have checked the “runout” (the amount of warpage) with a gauge. If the rotors were in spec, they didn’t need to be replaced. Usually you can feel when rotors are warped; you’ll feel a pulsing in the brake pedal when you apply the brakes.

FYI, I just replaced the brakes on my Civic for the first time at 130K miles and the rotors were fine. But I’ve also had cars that needed new brakes and rotors every 60K miles, so it just depends on the car and how it is driven.

One of the best ways to get a shop you can trust…you’re already doing correctly…use the same shop all the time. You know them, they know you, they know you car and it’s history, good move here. They’ve probably been keeping an eye on your break wear all along and, only now that it’s time, they bring up the brake issue.

20 and 25% sounds like a lot of brake material left to me. If the rotors were going to be replaced, especially, there would have been little risk in letting them go another 6000.

“Brakes and rotors for all four wheels for $200, those would be the real cheap junk that wouldn’t last and wouldn’t work too well.”

No, they are OEM replacements. There’s nothing junky about that. Unless you race the car, there is only one reason for vented rotors or ceramic brake pads: OEM replacement parts. I’ve used the cheapest rotors and pads for years with no ill effects. I don’t race, by wife doesn’t race, and my children don’t race. Everything works just fine.

I guess I did go top-of-the-line when I replaced my brake fluid last weekend. I bought the heavy-duty synthetic with the high boiling point. But it is OEM replacement for a 2005 Honda AccordV6 EX.