We have written the brake pad replacement cost guide to inform you about all aspects regarding the maintenance of your cars brake system and to help you come to an informed decision about brake repair, replacement, inspection and general auto repair costs.
A complete overhaul of a single wheels braking system can cost from $300 – $800 dependent on car, and components used.
In terms of Safety, the braking system is the most important part of your car and road safety. A properly maintained and working brake system can greatly increase your car’s ability to come to a complete stop quickly and safely. The effectiveness of your brake system depends primarily on the quality of the components used as well as the workmanship applied when installing them. There is no excuse for neglecting to regularly perform a brake inspection, especially when a free brake check is available at many high street garages.

About This Brake Replacement Pad Cost Guide

Getting your car serviced or taking it in for repair can be a daunting task for any car owners, especially those that are not tech savvy or in the know relating to such things. Many of us lead busy lives with high paced careers and even children to take care of so we cannot be spending time researching in-depth about such small things like brake pads. Of all the components that make up a car, one of the most important components to take care of are the brakes. They are vital to you and your family’s safety as well as the safety of the general public. You must have well maintained brake pads and they must be installed correctly by a trained professional.

This guide aims to give you the best information in a concise and easy to digest form. We will give you the basic overview of brake pads and their relating components as well as the pro’s and cons of the types of material used as well as the rough budget estimates.

Federal Government Guidelines

For brakes installed in new cars, the federal government has set quality standards, however they do not have standards for replacement brake pads. Another key thing to note is most of the complaints sent to the NHTSA are relating to brakes. This should make it obvious the importance of getting the job done correctly and with the right parts.

About Car Brakes

In the late 1960’s car braking components and mechanisms were considerably improved. The old style drum brakes were replaced with a new system based around disks and pads. These later type of brakes are based on converting the kinetic energy of the wheel into heat. The primary braking component are the pads which are covered in frictional material. When the driver applies the brakes, the pads come into contact with the rotors or disks and the friction causes the car wheels to slow down and eventually stop. The frictional material wears down over time depending on how much the brakes are used and how hard they’re applied.

brake pad replacement cost

When to change brake pads

For semi-metallic pads – manufacturers generally state that brake pads should last you between 30,000 to 70,000.

Brake pad materials wears down over time. The wear becomes significant when the braking performance is diminished making your driving less safe. Modern cars come equipped with an indicator that makes a squeaking sound when the frictional material of the brake pads have run low.

When you hear your brakes squeaking, that is a sure sign that you need new brake pads. A lot of modern cars actually have a metal tab that instead of squeaking, completes an electrical circuit in order to turn on a warning light on the dashboard. If you are still in doubt you can find out the state of your pads by removing the tyres and performing a visual inspection. A good rule to follow is replace the brake pads if the thickness is less than 3/16th of an inch. If you are not confident to do this you can get a free brake inspection at your local garage but beware they are primarily after your custom.

Be aware of other symptoms of brake wear

  • Grinding or squeaking sounds
  • High pitch sounds  coming from the axles
  • The need to press harder than usual on the braking pedal
  • Noticing dark fluid (leak)on your driveway
  • Losing control of the vehicle when pressing the brakes
  • ABS or other cation lights being displayed on the dash

Factors of Brake Wear and Tear

Brake pads suffer from wear and tear as they are used and as your mileage increases. There are a number of factors that determine wear rate that your brake pads endure.

The main factor is the type of material your brake pads are made of and their overall quality. Poorer quality pads wear out quicker. Semi-metallic and ceramic pads last the longest but they have a shorter stopping distance.

Driving Style

Brake Pad Replacement Cost

Another big factor is driving style and how you use your brakes. You can save a lot of wear and tear by driving more efficiently. Plan ahead, if you know you’re going to need to slow down in the near future then lift your foot of the accelerator and gradually slow down instead of braking harshly. When driving down hill, instead of keeping your foot on the brake to top acceleration you can utilize engine braking by  dropping down to a lower gear letting the engine retarding forces to slow the car down.

Some other factors:

  • Manual Transmission – The ability to down-shift and use engine braking saves wear on the brakes
  • Type of car – Sports cars and heavier cars use up brake pads quicker
  • Driving style – Driving faster and aggressively will use up your pads quicker
  • Geographical location – If you live in mountainous or hilly areas you will utilize your brakes more, wearing them out.

How Much to Change Brake Pads

The cost of replacing a single brake pad is averaging at between $150 to $250 per axle however this is highly dependent on the quality of parts used as well as the labor cost for your chosen garage. There may be other components of the braking system that might need servicing or replacing as well such as rotors or brake calipers so bear that in mind when asking for quotes on the phone.  The most commonly required service though, is indeed just replacing the brake pads as they are pads that do eventually wear down because of the friction in the braking process.  A good set of calipers and rotors should see a few sets of pads throughout their lifetime.

The cheapest is not always the wisest choice as it may cost you overall more if you have the vehicle longer than a year. Places such as Mr Tire offer great value for money as well as offering a ‘free brake pads for a year’ warranty. We suggest that if you’re going to take the time to replace your bake pads then you should think about spending extra and getting ceramic or semi-metallic brake pads which have better performance and a longer life.

Tip: You can save a lot of money if you know how to replace your brake pads by yourself.

It is not easy finding the best deal but a good place to start is phoning around all of your local garages and asking them to quote you a price. There is a large difference in quality and cost of components used when servicing brakes and indeed all car servicing jobs.
estimating the brake pad cost

Average Cost of Brake Replacement

As we will discuss later in this article – There is a great degree of variation when it comes to the cost of replacing your brake pads. Simply put, it depends on parts used and their quality, brand of these parts and the cost of labor.

Brake Pads

ItemPrice Range
Set of 4 Brake Pads$30 - $150
Labor Fees$80 - $120
Total$90 - $300 per axle

As you can see from this small table, the average cost to get your brake pads replaced by a trained mechanic is  is $90  – $300 (per axle). This depends greatly on the quality of the pads used as well as the mechanics labor fees. You should always replace pads by axle. If your front left pad is worn down, then the whole axle of pads should be replaced. This is so that the new pads will wear down at an equal rate. If you replace only a single pad on an axle then the two brake pads will be at different levels of wear and you might experience the car pulling to the left or the right when you brake. If you are noticing differing rate of wear on an axle then that might indicate another problem and it should be investigated. If you’re just looking for the brake pad replacement cost, then you don’t need to go further.

Brake Rotors & Pads

Parts and ServicePrice Range
Pads$35 - $140
Rotors$30 - $70
Labor Fees$150 - $200
Total (Per Axle)$230 - $500

Your costs could end up running to well over $250 if your brake rotors need placing as well, this includes the pads as well. As a standalone part, rotors can range from $30 – $70 for standard models. High performance rotors designed for sports cars can even exceed $100! As with most things auto related, the prices are dependent on brand, quality and specifications.

Typically OEM (manufacturer) parts are less costly and are less available – auto repair shops often stock a huge range of after market parts parts whereas they would have to order in specific OEM parts for certain cars. Another great advantage OEM parts have is that they usually come with a warranty.


Calipers Parts & ServicePrice Range
Parts (Per Wheel)$70 - $140
Labor$120 - $150
Total$190 - $310
The calipers are responsible for retracting and closing the brake pads and are very important so take notice of their state of wear and operation. If they fall into a state of disrepair it can have the same effects worn down brake pads. Calipers typically cost anywhere from $70 to $130 each for a mainstream brand and model. If you have a prestigious brand or luxury vehicle calipers can cost roughly $100 to $300 per wheel.

A complete overhaul of a single wheels braking system can cost from $300 – $800 dependent on car, and components used.


As a guide – A compete replacement service for one wheels braking components will cost anywhere from $300 – $900. This includes the pads, rotors, calipers and the labor involved.

Estimating the Cost

Factors Affecting the brake pad replacement cost

  • Servicing your brakes yourself (DIY) or going to a dealership or independent mechanic
  • Make, model and year of your vehicle.
  • Quality and brand of the brake pads and parts used
  • Labor cost in your area (it is usually more expensive in large cities)

Doing it yourself or paying a mechanic

You can save a lot of money if you do the servicing yourself with bought components, however it does require some mechanical skill and knowledge. Replacement brake pads is relatively simple but changing the rotors can be quite challenging so you might want to pay for professional services for that. If you go the DIY route, you will need the necessary tools but they can be thought of an investment for life with regards to your whole car servicing.

We at recommend you pay a professional to get this job done. It is not something you can afford to make a mistake on or do a poor job as it can have disastrous consequences.

A complete overhaul of a single wheels braking system can cost from $300 – $800 dependent on car, and components used.

Make, model and year of your vehicle

The type of car (brand and year) has a huge impact on brake, and all auto repair costs. Luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes will command a premium where as mainstream car brands have lower costs.

Average Brake Pad Replacement Cost in the United States is $150 per axle.

Quality of Parts

The main thing that will influence the brake pads cost is the quality of the components used in a service. This is especially the case regards the brake rotors and brake pads which can be very cheap if they are poor quality. Be warned though, poor quality is not a great deal and purchasing good quality components could last much longer saving you further future costs. We recommend, that, when inquiring on the phone – you ask about the brands of parts used.

Servicing/Repair Labor Costs

Labor costs are a major factor in brake servicing costs and highly depends on your location. While paying someone to fix your brakes isn’t the most affordable option, having a professional handle this job is the best way to go for those that don’t possess the mechanical skills. If a mechanic appears too cheap to be true, then it usually is. Make sure to ask for any add-on or hidden costs involved such as VAT or other “taxes”.

High Quality Brands:

  • Hawk
  • Wagner
  • NAPA
  • Bendex
  • Akebono
  • Motorcraft
  • Brembo
  • AC Delco

What People are Paying

We have collected some data from people that have wrote in or left comments regarding their experiences and what they have paid. This table is refers to brake pad replacement only.

CarYearPrice of LaborTotal Price of PartsTotal
Mazda Protege2001$77$50$127
Jaguar Vanden2008$72$130$202
Scion xD2005$75$50$125
BMW X32004$75$100$175
 Jeep Patriot2011$75$50$125
Suzuki Vitara2004$120$48$168
BMW X62009$105$168$273
Ford F-350 Truck2005$82$54$136
Ford F-350 Truck2005$96$115$211

Want to submit your quotes? – leave a comment!

Brake Coupons

A number of nationwide auto repair shops are offering brake coupons that you can print out from their website. They offer special offers and discounts brake repair and general auto repair services. Coupons can go a long way to saving money, especially when you need a full brake replacement service performing.A lot of companies offer generic “auto repair” coupons that can offer money off all auto services.

What Should be Included in a Brake Service

It will greatly depend on your cars needs, however, the following is a typical services and procedures list that a complete repair job will include.

  • Diagnostic tests and test drive on the road to find the vehicles current driving performance.
  • Removing the wheels and inspecting and replacing any mounting clips, calipers, rotors, fluid, shims, links, pads and fluid as required.
  • Removing, cleaning and reinstalling rotors, calipers, hoses and bearings as required.

What are Brake Pads?

Brake pads are a key component of your cars braking system and arguably the single most important component in your car in terms of safety. Brake pads are basically the component that
contacts , applies friction and pressure to a cars brake rotors (the shiny disks). These pads can be made from a variety of materials including composite, hardened ceramics and semi-metallic. Typically, the brake pad replacement cost is highly dependent on materials used. The more expensive composite and ceramic materials tend to last for the longest amount of miles, usage and they have the shortest stopping distance.  These premium brake pads can be up to three times the standard pad price.
If you do a lot of heavy breaking such as on larger vehicles or whilst towing then semi-metallic pads are recommended as ceramics are better suited for lighter sporty cars.

The semi-metallic ones are mounted on steel plates which are bolted to the brake caliper making them very easy to replace. The pads are one of four main components that are utilized in the braking system but they are wearing thus requiring maintenance the most often. In order to fully understand the car braking system you must be familiar with the other three components that work together to stop the car.

What are Rotors?

Rotors are the disks that are connected to the wheel. They have a smooth surface which is where the pad applies force in order to create friction and heat. You will know when your brake pads have worn down when you start hearing clicking noises and a high-pitched screeching sound, The screeching is caused by a small metal shim that is designed as a brake pad wear indicator. Brake Rotors are quite expensive to replace so it is very important to replace your brake pads when they need it or your rotors will get scratched and damaged.

What are Calipers?

Calipers are the components used to hold the brake pads and push them against the surface of the rotor in order to slow the car down. Calipers work under hydraulic pressure. Pressing the brake pedal makes the brake fluid travel from the master cylinder to the proportioning value. If the car is equipped with ABS then the fluid travels through the ABS control unit and then onto the brake calipers via the brake lines. The final part of the process is when the hydraulic pressure from the fluid pushes one or more cylinders inside the caliper which pushes the brake pads onto the brake rotor. In a fully functioning and well serviced system the force applied to the brake pedal will be equal to the pressure of the brake pads against the rotor.

Choosing the best mechanic

If you are not comfortable replacing your brake pads and wanting to pay a professional to do it, you will want to find a certified and reputable shop that offers good value brake repair and servicing within your budget. Finding one can be a long and painful process but we have some great tips that can help!

Ask friends and family

It is a prudent idea to choose a shop that will provide you with a warranty. It is also a good idea to choose a shop with a good reputation and a visible list of online reviews from satisfied customers. Consider asking family and friends and ask them for recommendations of a mechanic they have use previously.
If you cannot find a good mechanic recommended by friends or family you can try using one of the shop locators provided by ASE to find a good certified mechanic. Phone a number of shops in your area and arrange to take your car in to get a free brake inspection then a follow on quote for the servicing or repairs you need. When speaking with the auto repair shop, don’t let them know your other quotes you have received. This is a good method of finding a good, honest and reputable mechanic.


Some Walmart stores provide auto maintenance services and often this includes a full brake service. More often than not they can only replace brake pads and rotors as well as the shoes. Other brake services included refilling the brake fluid and bleeding the brakes. If you have a common make of car then this could be a good cost-effective option but if you have a sporty or high-end brand of car then you probably would be best going to a specialist.

Good Luck

We hope you enjoy our brake pad replacement cost guide and have used the information provided to find a great deal on servicing your cars brake pads! Please let us know how you get on in the comments section below. We also welcome personal stories and quotes that you have received so we can add it to our database of brake pad replacement quotes!

replacing car pads price