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Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:04 PM   #1
2000beamer
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One more brake thread

So the 323i goes in for service today. Tire rotation, oil change, new air and oil filters. Net invoice (with labor comes out at $179. This is a BMW/Merc shop that has been around forever and does a great job; however, there is a new owner (young kid) and this is a higher bill than the old guy used to charge. Which leads to my question, he says the car needs new front brake pads (totally agree with him about that) and said that for new brake pads (just on the front) and labor it would be in the ballpark of $500. Does this sound about right or is he ripping us off? Due to the lack of BMW shops around here and not wanting to take it to the stealership, I don't have many other options. Is this price fair?
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:23 PM   #2
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Bav auto has the front pads and Rotors for $225
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:34 PM   #3
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Front rotors can be as little as $100 even less if you go for the AutoZone Duralast variety. You can install yourself with ease, too. 500 is a rip off
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:35 PM   #4
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It is fair if you are OK with it. The actual cost can vary by where the shop sources it parts, what is done (do they bleed the system, for example), the warranty, and labor costs. What is a fair price in the sticks might not get you in the door of a service facility in Manhattan. It isn't as though there is anything magical about BMW brakes. Consider taking a few minutes to call around to get an idea of what it would run at other shops in the area.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:40 PM   #5
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He said for pads alone...not for the rotor.

OP...$500 for pads alone is crazy. OE textar pads, $50...with rotor, another $100. The job will take a shop about 30-45 mins...an hour if they have an issue.

You probably only need pads alone, but for $10 you can buy a micrometer and find out for yourself.

It's very easy work to diy. If you need tools, you'll pay for them in this job alone it sounds like...and have the tools to save you money moving forward.

Brakes are easy to do...get a local friend to help.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:17 PM   #6
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He said for pads alone...not for the rotor.

OP...$500 for pads alone is crazy. OE textar pads, $50...with rotor, another $100. The job will take a shop about 30-45 mins...an hour if they have an issue.

You probably only need pads alone, but for $10 you can buy a micrometer and find out for yourself.

It's very easy work to diy. If you need tools, you'll pay for them in this job alone it sounds like...and have the tools to save you money moving forward.

Brakes are easy to do...get a local friend to help.
Sounds like this guy is charging 100% just for labor. Not happening. Is it possible to DIY without having to jack the car up? My next door neighbor is the general manager of the service department at the local Land/Range Rover dealership. May ask him to help.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:18 PM   #7
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In fact, the BMW dealership said they would do it for $400 at most. Should be interesting to see how long this other guy stays in business.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:29 PM   #8
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Is it possible to DIY without having to jack the car up?
If you figure out how to take the wheels off to change the brake pads without jacking the car up, please post it here.

On a serious note, if you jack the car up, put jack stands under it to keep it off the ground. Do not rely on a jack to hold up the car!!! There are several good posts on this forum about how to properly raise and support the car when working on the front, rear, or both ends of the car. Do a search.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:30 PM   #9
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The pads are $50. That's all I needed after 60K miles. My rotors are still good. Most rotors can take two sets of pads...but you should measure.

Dealer price was for pads alone too? Maybe they're bleeding the system and not telling you....but I doubt it!

You can diy but one wheel needs to be up at a time at least. Your neighbor could help you.

Did you pad warning light go off, btw? If not...you can wait...or measure/examine pad thickness.

When my light went off, 700 miles later I had 1.5mm of pad surface. Close enough for me!
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:58 PM   #10
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I'm guessing that quote includes rotors as well, so it could easily be $200 or more in parts with a shop's markup. No shop that charges $500 for brakes on the front would slap pads on without at the very least turning the rotors--which you should definitely have done, even if you do it yourself.

Personally, I wouldn't re-use the rotors. I prefer to do it all at once and get it over with. BMWs tend to go through rotors almost as quickly as pads when using the OE compound. Resurfacing also has mixed results; I guess the thinner rotors are more prone to "warping" and problems with heat.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:50 AM   #11
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If you figure out how to take the wheels off to change the brake pads without jacking the car up, please post it here.

On a serious note, if you jack the car up, put jack stands under it to keep it off the ground. Do not rely on a jack to hold up the car!!! There are several good posts on this forum about how to properly raise and support the car when working on the front, rear, or both ends of the car. Do a search.
This is the primary reason that I would rather not do it myself. I've seen numerous threads on here about cars even falling down and being caught by the tire. Scary stuff. Thanks for your input.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:56 AM   #12
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The pads are $50. That's all I needed after 60K miles. My rotors are still good. Most rotors can take two sets of pads...but you should measure.

Dealer price was for pads alone too? Maybe they're bleeding the system and not telling you....but I doubt it!

You can diy but one wheel needs to be up at a time at least. Your neighbor could help you.

Did you pad warning light go off, btw? If not...you can wait...or measure/examine pad thickness.

When my light went off, 700 miles later I had 1.5mm of pad surface. Close enough for me!
After re-examining the estimates, both the dealer and the BMW shop the car's been going to for years do include rotors in their prices. However, the BMW center is at least one hundred dollars cheaper than the other place which is just unacceptable in my mind. I would really rather not do it myself and risk screwing anything up so I am inclined to just take it to the dealer after I investigate elsewhere. To answer your question, No. The pad warning light did not go off. Whenever coming to a stop they would squeal so loudly I'd wanna cry. So, it was coincidental when we picked the car up and the first thing the guy said was you need new brakes. I like to attract attention, but not in a squealing metal kind of way.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by 2000beamer View Post
So the 323i goes in for service today. Tire rotation, oil change, new air and oil filters. Net invoice (with labor comes out at $179. This is a BMW/Merc shop that has been around forever and does a great job; however, there is a new owner (young kid) and this is a higher bill than the old guy used to charge. Which leads to my question, he says the car needs new front brake pads (totally agree with him about that) and said that for new brake pads (just on the front) and labor it would be in the ballpark of $500. Does this sound about right or is he ripping us off? Due to the lack of BMW shops around here and not wanting to take it to the stealership, I don't have many other options. Is this price fair?
I JUST DID THIS.

The price quote is not fair.

He is charging you remarkbly high upcharge on parts and probably 130 on labor. He is marking up his price about 90%. You can get pads/rotors/sensor the cheapest on AZautohaus for 175. All the parts you need. Then ask them to install the parts you got and your out for 300 not 500.

45$ for OEM pads
110 for zimmerman vented rotors
9.00 for oem brake sensor.

all of autohausaz.com

400 is stealership price

I would just buy the parts online and have them installed by midas.

You could do all this work yourself and save the money. Everything listed is really easy with fairly basic tools.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:32 AM   #14
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This is the primary reason that I would rather not do it myself. I've seen numerous threads on here about cars even falling down and being caught by the tire. Scary stuff. Thanks for your input.
Dude, if your car falls while changing your brakes.

If you read the DIY's on here they have a great video its super easy if you don't have jack stands, you could even do it with the jack in the trunk.

Its seriously a retaining clip and one bolt.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:45 AM   #15
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I would just buy the parts online and have them installed by midas.

You could do all this work yourself and save the money. Everything listed is really easy with fairly basic tools.
I seriously doubt that Midas--or any chain--will install customer-supplied brake parts on a vehicle. Not only do they not make money on the parts, they can't offer a warranty, and there is the potential exposure to liability. An indie might, but you'd probably have to have a pretty good existing relationship.

We may recall that the OP took the car in for an oil change (and air filter). Which is easier than changing and bleeding the brakes (and, if done improperly, have small potential for death). So brakes are probably not the place to start DIY.

$500 seems to be quite a bit, but get the estimate in writing to understand what is covered. Then shop around. Each shop will have its price. There are places that I would gladly pay an extra $100 for a job vs the "local" dealer because they are closer, easier to "deal" with, better at having the vehicle ready when promised, etc.

But there is no need to go to a dealer (or even a shop the specializes in a marque) for brakes. It isn't rocket science. No need for special tools, processes, or electronics. Unless you track the car, any quality pad and rotor will be adequate. And, unless you keep the car a very long time, it is unlikely that you'll have to replace them again. Have them bleed the fluid and remind them that DOT 4 fluid is specified. If you don't like brake dust, you can pay a few dollars more and ask for ceramic pads. That's it.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:33 PM   #16
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I seriously doubt that Midas--or any chain--will install customer-supplied brake parts on a vehicle. Not only do they not make money on the parts, they can't offer a warranty, and there is the potential exposure to liability. An indie might, but you'd probably have to have a pretty good existing relationship.

We may recall that the OP took the car in for an oil change (and air filter). Which is easier than changing and bleeding the brakes (and, if done improperly, have small potential for death). So brakes are probably not the place to start DIY.

$500 seems to be quite a bit, but get the estimate in writing to understand what is covered. Then shop around. Each shop will have its price. There are places that I would gladly pay an extra $100 for a job vs the "local" dealer because they are closer, easier to "deal" with, better at having the vehicle ready when promised, etc.

But there is no need to go to a dealer (or even a shop the specializes in a marque) for brakes. It isn't rocket science. No need for special tools, processes, or electronics. Unless you track the car, any quality pad and rotor will be adequate. And, unless you keep the car a very long time, it is unlikely that you'll have to replace them again. Have them bleed the fluid and remind them that DOT 4 fluid is specified. If you don't like brake dust, you can pay a few dollars more and ask for ceramic pads. That's it.
Good point. I'd already considered ordering the parts myself but concluded that the shop wouldn't wanna do it anyways. Not only is the new owner pricey, he also kind of had a weird vibe. I'm sad to see such a great shop deteriorating so quickly. I'm also going to look for the invoice from the last time we had the brakes changed up front and possibly see if he'd match the previous price. This car only has 132,000 miles on it and travels AT LEAST 70 miles a day.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:47 PM   #17
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If it's just squeaking, you should read up on bedding...and follow directions carefully.

One of your pads may have slipped a little and it rubbing on the rotor's lip is all...maybe.

If you have pad material, a squeak is a minor thing usually, and not usually a safety issue...and I suspect if you'd just use your brakes harder, they'd get fine pretty soon. Don't use them when you don't need to, but when you do, use them hard and clean off the rotors well.

GL
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:56 PM   #18
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If it's just squeaking, you should read up on bedding...and follow directions carefully.

One of your pads may have slipped a little and it rubbing on the rotor's lip is all...maybe.

If you have pad material, a squeak is a minor thing usually, and not usually a safety issue...and I suspect if you'd just use your brakes harder, they'd get fine pretty soon. Don't use them when you don't need to, but when you do, use them hard and clean off the rotors well.

GL
Good suggestion. Considering the age/mileage of the brakes it is understandable that they are in need of replacing. My car is driven pretty hard (lots of stopping short in heavy traffic,) and I don't want to risk losing my brakes altogether. As you mentioned, it makes much more sense to replace both the pads and rotors simultaneously so that I won't have to get back down there anytime soon. I'm just waiting for estimates from a couple other places before I commit to anything. Thanks for your input!
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:45 PM   #19
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I'm the one that said it makes sense to spend $10 and buy a micrometer and measure your rotor thickness...the min thickness is stamped on the rotors...they usually can go two pads...for me, 120K miles on rotors. Nice!

Just saying...rotors could go 6 years easily.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:58 PM   #20
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I'm the one that said it makes sense to spend $10 and buy a micrometer and measure your rotor thickness...the min thickness is stamped on the rotors...they usually can go two pads...for me, 120K miles on rotors. Nice!

Just saying...rotors could go 6 years easily.
That's a good idea. I think the squealing is just the pads but can't see myself spending another $300+ in the future to go back and change the rotors. It makes sense to do it all at the same time.
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