last updated 25 Apr 2024

My Story:
Summary:
I got pissed off because I thought I was being ripped off for several reasons.
1. I did my own research and found out the price was 33% higher that the highest price on internet including AAA N. Cal and the dealer.
2. Based on the wear at my 30,000 service I should have had another 20,000 miles based on my usage, mostly highway.


The long Verson:
Skip to The bottom line - What I know now:
I take my car back to the dealer for service for the first 3 years, or to the 30,000 mile complete service. I took it to a local dealer, because 1. I could leave it and ride my bike home and 2. In NJ I had a local dealer who was less expensive and had a good reputation in town.
So I took my car into the Davis AAA for a service, which I trusted because they had originated from Hoffmann Auto who I with some of the same people..
They said I needed a brake job because the bakes pads were worn down to 2 mm, which was dangerously low. I went ahead and told them to do it even though the price would be about $1,300 which seemed high, but because I trusted them and it had been a long time since I had a brake job and figured with inflation that could be reasonable. When I got home a little later I checked pries on the web including AAA North California and found they were all from $700 to $1,000. I called them back to cancel but they had already ordered the parts, so let them do it. I checked my records and at 33,000 miles the dealer told me my brakes were good I had only put on 15,000 milse since then. Also 2 mm is low, but not an emergency. Pad wear averages 2 mm per 10,000 miles. So you have time to do some research. I complained about the price and they said it was because they use high end brake pads which were much better.
I was pissed, because with labor, brake rotors, flushing the brake lines included in the cost I couldn't image how the pads could make that much of a difference.
I got the email of the manager, who was Hoffmann's son and complained and was going to give them a rating of 2 on yelp.
As you can tell by now I can get a little obsessive about some things.
What I know now - Costs - brake pad life - types of brake pads: Akebonon ceramic pads which are more expensive. The pads cost $470, standard pads would run $100 - $150.
  • The wear in the 15,000 miles since my 30K service would have been twice that of the first 30K miles even though my driving habits didn't change. They claimed the dealer didn't do a good job of assessing the wear at 30K.
    This was also double the normal wear for primarily highway driving.
    I did find that pads wear faster when they get thinner because of less heat dissipation.
  • I asked for the old pads back a couple of days later and they did seem to be be about 3 mm.

    They seemed to have answers for all the inconsistencies, although their price answer didn't compute. I guess they had practice coming up with answers.


    Brake Pad Life:
    Brake pads typically wear out between 25,000 and 65,000 miles, but the exact number depends on a variety of factors, including driving style, terrain, weather conditions, and vehicle weight. In urban areas, brake pads and shoes are generally considered good for 30,000–35,000 miles, while on highways with light traffic, they may last 80,000 miles or more.

    New brake pads are typically 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick, or 10 to 12 millimeters, depending on the vehicle. Front brake pads are usually thicker than rear pads because they do most of the braking.
    So if they wear 1.5 mm for every 10,000 miles that would would 7.5 mm in 50,000 miles leaving 2.5 mm on a 10 mm new pad.

    How Long Do Brake Pads Last? | Firestone

    Most modern brakes make a squealing, screeching or whining noise when then need to be replaced. This sound is caused by a small metal attachment on the brake pad backing plate for just this purpose.


    Costs:
    How Much to Replace Brakes | AAA
    "Just pads, or more?: Sometimes when a vehicle needs new brake pads, it needs new rotors as well. If your vehicle does indeed need both of these replacements, it will be $250-$500 per axle — or $500-$1,000 for the entire vehicle - to replace both the brake pads and rotors."
    This was the highest estimate I saw.It may be a couple of years old.

    Note: A brake job at AAA in Davis cost $1,366.

    Auto Zone says "A complete brake repair — one that includes pads, rotor and caliper replacement — typically averages between $300 and $800."

    KellyBlue Book (may be 2022 ) says "$250-$400 per axle on average"
    Subaru Brake Repair Prices | Kelly Blue Book

    Maita Subaru quoted $489 each for front and back axles today.

    See also: Auto Service Reviews in Davis

    Cost Inflation:
    I checked some inflation numbers. In 2022, the cost of parts from automakers rose 10%, and aftermarket parts rose 17%. As of January 2023, CPI of car parts had risen a bit more than 8% vs the previous January.



    Lessons:
    Unless you hear strange noises when hitting the brakes or they tell you the pads are warn do 1 mm thickness or less, don't panic and take some time. You should have about 3,000 miles left
    However some places tell you to start making plans to replace them when they get to 3 mm.
    Ask to get the old pads back when you schedule the job. The's no way to tell you are getting your pads back, since there is no label on the pads, but it lets them know you will be checking.Links:
    Auto Service Reviews in Davis

    ceramic brake pads