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When should i change my disks (brakes)

I brought my 2015 Lexus NX200t to the dealer for a tire change. I asked them to check the brakes while doing so.

I was surprised to get a 2,100$ (Cnd$) bill when I came to pick up the car. They informed me that they changed all brakes and disks.
I have 42,000 km on the car. I checked my breaks twice a year to avoid this situation.
I knew the brakes needed to be changed, but the disks…at 42,000 km…mmmmmmm

i feel like i have been ripped off, but don’t know enough about cars.
My pads were at 2mm. which means that there was no steel to steel contact with the disks…they told me that they found "spots’’ on the disks. When i asked to see the disks as I was not convinced that they needed changing, they informed me that they wouldn’t be able to determine which they were as they put them with other disks they changed during the same day.

what are your thoughts…

Discs should be serviced at every brake job. This means either replacing or machining them.

It also sounds like some miscommunication going on. You say you asked them to check the brakes. They went ahead and did the job.


thank you. is it ‘normal’ to change the disks at 42,000 km however. I though you only had to change the disks when the pads were gone resulting in the disks being damaged. but why change them if the pads were still at 2mm and therefore caused no damage to the disks

(I did not mind them changing the pads since they were at 2 mm however).

I am not surprised that the shop replaced the rotors (disks) along with the brake pads. If the shop had your authorization to do the brake work (your post is not clear about that) and they did not replace the rotors you would have been back with complaints of noise, vibration or other symptoms. These complaints happen a lot if the rotors are not changed along with pads. I do my own brake pad replacement and only a few times have I not replaced the rotors. I only re use them when they look pristine, but they usually have hot spots or groves or have started to pulse a bit. The price seems to be be high, but the work was not out of line.

The reason for servicing the discs is to prevent potential shudders, squeaks, squeals, and so on. Yes it’s possible the discs needed to be replaced but I’m not the one who was there inspecting the discs.

The problems with replacing pads only is that quite often problems develop (shudders, noise, etc) and then the customer comes back irate at the shop and blaming them for screwing something up. I’m NOT saying you would do this; only that it is a very common thing to happen.


ok, thank you very much Steve and ok4450… greatly appreciated

My 2012 Corolla had approximately 42,000 km when I replaced the pads and rotors.Cost me $180 in parts.Shops don’t turn rotors anymore because its simpler for them to install new ones because they hate comebacks.

Shops will typically NOT save the customer’s parts for inspection . . . unless he specifically stated to do so

I never machine or replace rotors unless they’re obviously damaged, and I’ve never had a problem.

2100 is a lot for pads and rotors and tires. but the question is should i change my rotors?
nothing asked about cost. but i have to say that 2100 is a lot
pads and rotors are about $150/axle so 300 total. labor would be double that so 600 total? your total bill for brakes and tires was 2000? really? whew.

You should have asked to see the brake rotors before they were removed from the vehicle.

Those “hot spots” on the rotors are difficult to machine out and can damage the blades on the brake lathe.

Brake pads generally last twice as long on the NX 200t, with the short brake pad life and hot spots on the rotors it seems that you must really be enjoying that turbo.

We get $400 for brake pads, shims and labor per axle. Front brake rotors are $83 each for this vehicle, these prices are for Toyota supplied parts not Auto Zone.

42,000 km is about 26.000 miles. Seems to be very early for a brake job, but not unheard of.

Same here. I change the disks at every other brake pad change (Toyota Avalon 1995). On my easy to service 1982 Cressida and 1979 Celica, I change them when I repack wheel bearings.

I also own a light airplane (1972 Piper Seneca). Not allowed to do my own brakes (Per FAA Part 43 regulations), but if I were to ask an A&P mechanic to machine the brake discs when changing pads (Cleveland Brakes), he’d look at my funny.

I replace the rotors when I replace the pads. Since I do it myself, this is the quickest and most cost effective way to do it.

The rotors should certainly be resurfaced at least, and the cost is not too different. It seems to me that 42,000 km is a short time period for brake life, but maybe you do a lot of stop and go driving.

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Changing the rotors when the brakes are done is now the default according to the many mechanics we interviewed at BestRide when we looking into this topic. Here is some information on why.

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Exactly! This is a great article

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I have some thoughts on the idea of replacing the brake rotors every time the pads are due . . .

I’m a fleet mechanic, as most of you know

Our “customer” doesn’t care and/or complain about brake squeaks, as long as the brakes are actually performing their duties

replacing brake rotors can be a major chore on certain vehicles . . . ESPECIALLY rear rotors on duallies with a full floater rear. There’s a lot of additional work and parts involved on such vehicles

Heck, even replacing front brake rotors on a common F-250 super duty with hubbed rotors is a fair amount of work, because you’re cleaning, lubing and adjusting wheel bearings.

as long as brake thickness and runout are well within specs, it’s not always feasible to replace the rotors, just because the brake pads are due for replacement

I’m by no means the only fleet mechanic regular on this website, and there have been a few guys on this website asking for brake advice on their duallies

cars and small trucks are not the entire automotive spectrum

so, with all due respects to John, I would submit that “changing the rotors when the brakes are done” is not quite the default. Common, yes, but not quite the default

Our shop has 4 brake lathes, 2 on-vehicle lathes and 2 bench lathes, sometimes I have to wait an hour for my turn to machine rotors.

Most rotors are .075" to .090" above minimum thickness after resurfacing, plenty of usable material left.

The vehicle manufacture won’t allow us to replace warped rotors under warranty, they must be resurfaced with the on-vehicle lathe.

It all depends on the climate you live in. If the vehicule is never driven in the snow or on salted roads for that matter,you could machine them because rust isn’t a problem.I live in the rust belt and I just replaced my 5 year old rotors.Chunks of rusted metal fell off the fins and around the rotors when I removed them.They were useless.