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What should it cost for a general mechanic (not a dealer, not a brakes-specific place) to do the front brakes an 8 year old mopar car? I mean, I know there'll be a bit of variation from car to car for parts, and a smaller variation for labor, but ballpark? I'm in Iraq, so I can't do anything for myself, and my fiancee just authorized a brake job (that I'm not sure is even needed) that seems insanely overpriced...
 

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No more than $125, for pads, turned rotors if needed, minimal shop fluids. I did the brakes on my LS400 in less than 30 min each side and the pads were $50 or so. No reason a good pad for a Mopar should be any more. A friend was quoted $800 for new flex lines and "flushing" the brake fluid on her Audi, I sent her to my local mechanic and she got it done for $300 using Audi factory parts.

OK, maybe $150 tops, Autozone or NAPA pads are not expensive and labor is a breeze for discs. Problem is the book will say 3 hours labor, even if rotors are needed, they are cheap, my dad's Grand Marquis rotors were about $25 each. My 92 Park Ave alternator, they wanted $200+ in labor, I did it in the parking lot at Autozone in the dark under a light in 30 min!
 

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I put brakes all the way around on a 93 Crown Vic this past weekend. The front rotors were $25.95 each. When the rotors are that cheap, I don't waste the time to turn the old ones. The front pads were $37.77.

Of course, prices vary widely. Go to a place like autozone.com or advanceautoparts.com to check on the part components for your particular car.

For labor & parts, visit justbrakes.com. They will replace pads/shoes & turn rotors/drums. $99 (this is for all four wheels) with the standard disclaimer about extra parts not included.
 

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quality of parts varies greatly as well. You can get $25 'made in china' rotors or $50 'made in USA or CANADA' rotors for the same car, and usually at least 3, sometimes 4 grades of pads ranging from $12.95 to $50.00 or more all for the same application. NAPA for example used to only carry the 'top line' stuff but to be competitive with the mass merchandisers and places like Autozone now will have several quality levels.... at least you get a choice but you get what you pay for. And it also depends on what the 'brake job' consists of. If you have a question about whether she's getting ripped off usually the best advertisement is word of mouth, does she have friends or co-workers who have had good experience with a particular shop? Also have her check with a local "Real" parts store ( i.e. NAPA or Similar, not an Autozone or Advanced) that supply and do business with local shops. The guys (and gals) at the parts house know who's reputable and who's not. Now they are not going to say BAD things about any shop unless it's an out and out crooked joint - - but if you ask the question right ( i.e. "where would YOU take YOUR car" ) you'll probably get steered in the right direction. I've got 16 years in Auto Parts stores, and believe me I know which shops are to be avoided in my local area; I would always find a tactful way to steer anyone who asked to a shop that is fair and competent. Just be aware that the cheapest isn't always the best.
 

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you get what you pays for

If you aren't sure about them don't let them work on your car. A reputable shop should take the time to carefully explain what and why, then give you exact prices.

i agree with Kevenj about rotors and pad prices. Some of the cheap parts are not even worth the time and effort to bolt on. Just sold a 99 Ram and did the front brakes as a courtesy, Napa ceramics were like sixty bucks but so smooth and nice I wouldn't even consider less.

These are your brakes! Save money somewhere else. Our fleet vehicles have burnt up cheap front pads in as little as 6-9 thousand miles. High quality ones last 30 thousand!

Steve
06 CSRT8
all stock all original
everything but DVD
waiting for software
 

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Discussion Starter #6
~sigh~

Like I said, I'm in Iraq, way out of the loop. She's already authorized the work, and I believe it's already been done. She says she went to high school with the manager, so there's no way they'd cheat her...right ~rolls eyes~

It started with her getting a flat tire...well, the tires were getting pretty bad anyway, I was hoping for them to last till I got home in a few weeks. But I jumped on tirerack and had some dropped to the shop. They said I needed two rims. I knew this to be true, I'd been told the last time I was in my mechanic's that there were two that were dinged pretty bad and they couldn't understand why I wasn't losing air like mad...but to leave them alone till I got new tires, as they were maintaining a seal. Also the shop she used advised her to get the rims from someone else, as the place they "were forced to order from" was expensive. No problem, I had those drop-shipped as well, getting knockoff OEM rims so I only had to buy two, instead of four. So when she tells me the total bill is about $500 (they had quoted $60 for the tire change), I'm thinking $400+ to change the front brakes is...insane. I know what a pain bleeding them is, but I've done a set of four with one other person in...maybe 2 hours? It's been a while, but it sounds like They're charging $100+/hour labor here....And I have the impression that something like $50/hour is "normal" in Georgia.

So, I'm pretty sure almost $450 is theft when it comes to changing the front brake pads (they did not mention the rotors to her, so I doubt those were turned or replaced...) Well, I'll have to get her to email me a scan of the itemized bill.
 

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Sounds like a good story for your local paper or TV station to pick up, they robbed her, you don't need me to tell you that. I would like to see your local "tv troubleshooter" do a hidden camera expose on these crooks. It can be done, have her contact the local media.
 

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Before you jump to conclusions about theft, marnepup, or call in the local TV crew, look at the bill and see what the charges were for. If she did in fact get new rotors , perhaps needed a master cylinder, maybe a brake hose, or what about something like a wheel bearing? Maybe I'm assuming too much here, but it SOUNDS like your fiance' is not particularly car-savvy. It could be that she was taken advantage of; but it could just as easily be that she was treated fairly and that other work was needed and done, but in her mind she just got brakes done. Stuff ads up; you mentioned an 8 year old Mopar, so I don't know exactly what kind of car it is but with most cars built in the last 10-15 years it is likely it did need new rotors; they are thinner than they were in the "good old days" in the interest of weight savings and fuel economy. A Front wheel bearing is no longer a $10 item; but rather a complete hub and bearing assembly that could easily cost a couple hundred bucks; and they can't be repacked either, once they are bad you have to replace. what about a half-shaft? (again I'm assuming Front Wheel Drive).... could easily be $75 to $100 or more for a rebuilt one plus labor time.

All I'm saying is make sure of the facts before you accuse the shop of doing something wrong and certainly before you contact the newspaper or TV station. IF she got ripped off then by all means do all those things and more; but on the other hand consider this: Suppose her car did need a new wheel bearing, brake hose, half shaft, etc. and they just slapped a new set of pads on it and sent her down the road - - when it failed they would be liable and you would be upset and (rightfully) wondering "Why the hell didn't they catch that when they did the brakes??"

One thing I'm curious about; you mentioned that "Your" mechanic had already brought the tire issue to your attention. Since you apparently have a trusted, regular mechanic, why didn't she just take the car to him in the first place? For the mechanics that ARE honest, and competent, and charge a fair price, repeat business is EVERYTHING. Obviously there could be any number of reasons why she ended up at the other shop, like distance, etc. but it's something to think about.

All of this discussion is pure speculation, really - - none of us on this forum know exactly what was done to her car, or whether or not it was needed. So just find out all the facts - firsthand - before you decide she got ripped off. Hopefully she didn't; but if she did, then they deserve any negative publicity you can bring their way.....
 

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kevenj said:
quality of parts varies greatly as well. You can get $25 'made in china' rotors or $50 'made in USA or CANADA' rotors for the same car, and usually at least 3, sometimes 4 grades of pads ranging from $12.95 to $50.00 or more all for the same application. NAPA for example used to only carry the 'top line' stuff but to be competitive with the mass merchandisers and places like Autozone now will have several quality levels.... at least you get a choice but you get what you pay for. And it also depends on what the 'brake job' consists of. If you have a question about whether she's getting ripped off usually the best advertisement is word of mouth, does she have friends or co-workers who have had good experience with a particular shop? Also have her check with a local "Real" parts store ( i.e. NAPA or Similar, not an Autozone or Advanced) that supply and do business with local shops. The guys (and gals) at the parts house know who's reputable and who's not. Now they are not going to say BAD things about any shop unless it's an out and out crooked joint - - but if you ask the question right ( i.e. "where would YOU take YOUR car" ) you'll probably get steered in the right direction. I've got 16 years in Auto Parts stores, and believe me I know which shops are to be avoided in my local area; I would always find a tactful way to steer anyone who asked to a shop that is fair and competent. Just be aware that the cheapest isn't always the best.
Remember the factory parts are made in China. Some of the US and Canada made parts are poor quality, some of the China product is top quality.
 

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adaptabl said:
Remember the factory parts are made in China. Some of the US and Canada made parts are poor quality, some of the China product is top quality.
I just don't get what your problem is here Mr. Negative. First you put down the "big three", most notably DaimlerChrysler every chance you get on quality. Nothing new here though. Same comments on DodgeIntrepid.net and ChargerForums.com (banned) as well. I see you're well known over there as well for the same things. Now you question US & Canadian parts. I wonder what DC would say if it was discovered you were a disgruntled Chrysler dealership salesman from Windsor who drives a 2002 Altima 3.5 5 speed. Your busted adaptabl!

Rambit
 

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adaptabl said:
Remember the factory parts are made in China. Some of the US and Canada made parts are poor quality, some of the China product is top quality.
Whatever dude. I worked for NAPA for 16 years, and a good chance I will be again starting next week.

The Napa "Truestop" Rotors are made in China, and they exists to allow NAPA to compete with mass merchanidiser such as Autozone, Shucks, Advanced, Checker.....and on and on. They are perfectly Safe to use and meet DOT standards, but the chamfers on mounting holes will not be to OE specs, and vented rotors will have fewer cooling fins. They also will typically need to be turned before use. By contrast the Napa "United" Rotors which are made in North America (usually Canada, sometimes U.S.A.) will match the OE exactly, with the same chamfers and number of cooling fins. In addition they have a hard-face surface and are guaranteed 'true' out of the box so they can be installed without turning them.

Same for brake pads...... $10 pads will meet minimum safety standards but they will not last very long, nor will they stop nearly as fast as the premium pads that may cost $40, $50, $60 or more. The cheap material does not dissipate heat nearly as well, so the pads get hot, and the brakes fade, causing longer stopping distances - - not to mention faster wear on the pads.
Again these exist to compete with mass merchandisers, the people who patronize those stores are simply too big a market to ignore and there are always people who want the cheapest they can get, sometimes by necessity. But for those who want quality the more expensive stuff is better. and Invariably it's the stuff made in China, India, Taiwan, etc. that is of inferior quality. Notice I didn't say cheap Japanese parts.... the good stuff comes from USA, Canada, and , yes.... Japan.

Oh and sorry , adaptabl, to use big words such as "chamfer" and "dissipate" - - I'm sure you'll have some sort of put down reply to me after you go consult your dictionary.
 

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marnepup said:
~sigh~

Like I said, I'm in Iraq, way out of the loop. She's already authorized the work, and I believe it's already been done. She says she went to high school with the manager, so there's no way they'd cheat her...right ~rolls eyes~

It started with her getting a flat tire...well, the tires were getting pretty bad anyway, I was hoping for them to last till I got home in a few weeks. But I jumped on tirerack and had some dropped to the shop. They said I needed two rims. I knew this to be true, I'd been told the last time I was in my mechanic's that there were two that were dinged pretty bad and they couldn't understand why I wasn't losing air like mad...but to leave them alone till I got new tires, as they were maintaining a seal. Also the shop she used advised her to get the rims from someone else, as the place they "were forced to order from" was expensive. No problem, I had those drop-shipped as well, getting knockoff OEM rims so I only had to buy two, instead of four. So when she tells me the total bill is about $500 (they had quoted $60 for the tire change), I'm thinking $400+ to change the front brakes is...insane. I know what a pain bleeding them is, but I've done a set of four with one other person in...maybe 2 hours? It's been a while, but it sounds like They're charging $100+/hour labor here....And I have the impression that something like $50/hour is "normal" in Georgia.

So, I'm pretty sure almost $450 is theft when it comes to changing the front brake pads (they did not mention the rotors to her, so I doubt those were turned or replaced...) Well, I'll have to get her to email me a scan of the itemized bill.
I'll be the first to retract my "crook" label if indeed they did a complete brake job including rotors and master cyl (we all know/highly suspect they did not). As Marne stated above, only the pads were done as far as he presently knows. Let's see what that bill shows, my guess is pads, labor, shop supplies, and fluid. They may have been feeling generous and tossed in turning the rotors. "I may be wrong but I doubt it" -Charles Barkley
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
kevenj said:
Before you jump to conclusions about theft, marnepup, or call in the local TV crew, look at the bill and see what the charges were for. If she did in fact get new rotors , perhaps needed a master cylinder, maybe a brake hose, or what about something like a wheel bearing? Maybe I'm assuming too much here, but it SOUNDS like your fiance' is not particularly car-savvy. It could be that she was taken advantage of; but it could just as easily be that she was treated fairly and that other work was needed and done, but in her mind she just got brakes done. Stuff ads up; you mentioned an 8 year old Mopar, so I don't know exactly what kind of car it is but with most cars built in the last 10-15 years it is likely it did need new rotors; they are thinner than they were in the "good old days" in the interest of weight savings and fuel economy. A Front wheel bearing is no longer a $10 item; but rather a complete hub and bearing assembly that could easily cost a couple hundred bucks; and they can't be repacked either, once they are bad you have to replace. what about a half-shaft? (again I'm assuming Front Wheel Drive).... could easily be $75 to $100 or more for a rebuilt one plus labor time.

All I'm saying is make sure of the facts before you accuse the shop of doing something wrong and certainly before you contact the newspaper or TV station. IF she got ripped off then by all means do all those things and more; but on the other hand consider this: Suppose her car did need a new wheel bearing, brake hose, half shaft, etc. and they just slapped a new set of pads on it and sent her down the road - - when it failed they would be liable and you would be upset and (rightfully) wondering "Why the hell didn't they catch that when they did the brakes??"

One thing I'm curious about; you mentioned that "Your" mechanic had already brought the tire issue to your attention. Since you apparently have a trusted, regular mechanic, why didn't she just take the car to him in the first place? For the mechanics that ARE honest, and competent, and charge a fair price, repeat business is EVERYTHING. Obviously there could be any number of reasons why she ended up at the other shop, like distance, etc. but it's something to think about.

All of this discussion is pure speculation, really - - none of us on this forum know exactly what was done to her car, or whether or not it was needed. So just find out all the facts - firsthand - before you decide she got ripped off. Hopefully she didn't; but if she did, then they deserve any negative publicity you can bring their way.....

Fantastic post. Are you psychic? Anyway, it was all relatively on the level.

Okay, the reason she didn't use the mechanic I trust is that she's four hours away from him. I wouldn't have given her a choice but to use him, otherwise. But this one seems to have been okay. She just wasn't telling me the whole story before. I guess we can all go back to the theory that women (finding one like hemeee is like discovering atlantis) generally don't know much about cars. Well, changing a tire is the one thing Maggie can probably handle. But she couldn't find the key for my locking nuts (in the center console, I'd show it to her again when I get home, but it's no longer an issue :silly: ). So she had it towed...and they cut them off. And another part of the expense is my fault. While I drop-shipped the two wheels and four tires to the shop, it never occurred to me to do the same for the brake pads...so they ordered them from the nearest Chrysler dealer :nutkick: ...so, I could have gotten some nice high-quality pads and come away cheaper, but instead I got the $10 variety...at dealer markup, plus mechanic markup. Doh! Overall, though, the mechanic did okay:

Break Pads from Chrystler $97.87

Towing charge $70.00

Remove the lock lug nuts $85.00

Tires mounted and balanced $42.50

Frt pads and resurface rotors $112.50

They did a break fluid flush at no cost.

4 wheel allignment $85.00

The real crook here (besides my criminal stupidity for not anticipating them ordering the pads from Chrysler) is the tow truck. $70 to move the car half a mile! So that's the story of a flat tire costing me $1300. ($91 each for 4 khumo tires that got great reviews from vette, stang, and MB owners, and $178 each for OEM wheels from someone other than Chryco, who wanted over $300 each) :eek:uch: :eek:uch: :eek:uch: :eek:uch: :eek:uch:
 

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marnepup said:
Fantastic post. Are you psychic? Anyway, it was all relatively on the level.

:) No I'm not psychic!..... Just that I have been dealing with Auto Repair shops in my job for many years, and contrary to what the perception is, MOST of them are not out and out crooks. Of course some are more 'honest' than others so it still pays to be an educated consumer. In my experience, incompetence is a bigger problem than dishonestly, and that's only getting worse as cars get more complex.

It is a head scratcher why they got the pads from the dealer; but while a bit 'pricey' at least they are probably good quality. Usually the Manufacturers don't have several grades, just the ones that came on the car.

Glad to hear it wasn't so bad after all though.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
yeah, but how good are the OEM pads? I doubt they're $45 pads...those are prolly, at best, $30 pads...with a 70% markup! I could have gotten $40 pads and come away cheaper.

Anyway, my guess is that they reduce their liability by only using OEM parts when the customer doesn't state a preference. I could still theoretically try to sue them for poorly installing them if my brakes were to fail, but they're off the hook as far as cheaping out on the parts if they get them from DCX...just my theory.
 

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most shops use the dealer as a last resort; because prices are generally higher and service is generally lower. They'd generally rather get parts for all the cars they may work on from one source as well, and all the local Auto Parts stores will be competing for their business with pricing and delivery service. My best guess is their normal supplier was out of the pads for your fiance's car and they got them from the dealer to get the job done and get the next car on the rack. time=money in the auto repair industry.
 

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kevenj said:
Whatever dude. I worked for NAPA for 16 years, and a good chance I will be again starting next week.

The Napa "Truestop" Rotors are made in China, and they exists to allow NAPA to compete with mass merchanidiser such as Autozone, Shucks, Advanced, Checker.....and on and on. They are perfectly Safe to use and meet DOT standards, but the chamfers on mounting holes will not be to OE specs, and vented rotors will have fewer cooling fins. They also will typically need to be turned before use. By contrast the Napa "United" Rotors which are made in North America (usually Canada, sometimes U.S.A.) will match the OE exactly, with the same chamfers and number of cooling fins. In addition they have a hard-face surface and are guaranteed 'true' out of the box so they can be installed without turning them.

Same for brake pads...... $10 pads will meet minimum safety standards but they will not last very long, nor will they stop nearly as fast as the premium pads that may cost $40, $50, $60 or more. The cheap material does not dissipate heat nearly as well, so the pads get hot, and the brakes fade, causing longer stopping distances - - not to mention faster wear on the pads.
Again these exist to compete with mass merchandisers, the people who patronize those stores are simply too big a market to ignore and there are always people who want the cheapest they can get, sometimes by necessity. But for those who want quality the more expensive stuff is better. and Invariably it's the stuff made in China, India, Taiwan, etc. that is of inferior quality. Notice I didn't say cheap Japanese parts.... the good stuff comes from USA, Canada, and , yes.... Japan.

Oh and sorry , adaptabl, to use big words such as "chamfer" and "dissipate" - - I'm sure you'll have some sort of put down reply to me after you go consult your dictionary.

Wow I wish you worked at NAPA here. I go there for everything I can (I wish they had heater cores for a '66 Chrysler because I am sick of replacing AutoZone's AutoLeakers) and everyone who works at the local NAPA is a raging a-hole. Everyone there is horribly arrogant, condescending, and unhelpful.

But they have the best parts, so I keep going back.
 

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marnepup said:
What should it cost for a general mechanic (not a dealer, not a brakes-specific place) to do the front brakes an 8 year old mopar car? I mean, I know there'll be a bit of variation from car to car for parts, and a smaller variation for labor, but ballpark? I'm in Iraq, so I can't do anything for myself, and my fiancee just authorized a brake job (that I'm not sure is even needed) that seems insanely overpriced...
I can tell you this: Your SRT-8 has front pads that cost $310 and rears that are just over $125. Now replace / re-surface your rotors and finally pay the tech to do the install.

Be thankful that you are replacing them on the 8 year old car and not your new car.
 

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OK I'll retract my crook statement KJ, not all are crooks and I have had good experiences with mechanics/repairmen largely because I usually know more than they do about a particular issue, I know many (especially some of the women who work for me) who have been robbed which is the basis for my original crook claim. Nevertheless, these guys are on the up and up.

Marne, you might think about a AAA membership for less that $50 a year, the towing would have been free and even without the towing a couple nights a year in a hotel when you are stateside will pay for the membership if you never use the towing.
 

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Dutch said:
Wow I wish you worked at NAPA here. I go there for everything I can (I wish they had heater cores for a '66 Chrysler because I am sick of replacing AutoZone's AutoLeakers) and everyone who works at the local NAPA is a raging a-hole.

I'm not sure where Chandler is, but if that is in the Phoenix-Metro area I'll bet you dollars to donuts that the NAPA store you are talking about is owned by the parent company (Genuine Parts Co.) out of Atlanta rather than locally owned and operated. It makes all the difference in the world in terms of accountability and service level you get. The store I work for is one of 3 stores owned by a local family, not some huge corporation thousands of miles away. We must be doing something right in terms of service because our sales are up 10 percent SINCE Autozone came to town.

I'll check and see if there's still a part number for the heater core for the '66 Chrysler; it's entirely possible that the guy at your Napa said they couldn't get it simply if it was not in the computer; I still got old books I can look in for the older stuff, so I'll let you know.
 
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