As a mechanic, I cringe at the prices I see people say they are paying for brake jobs. And 90 percent of the time I doubt that the pads are even half worn out. At 100,000 miles I bought new pads for all four wheels on my GMC. When I removed the original pads, they still had well over 75 percent of the pads left, so I put the new pads back in the box and stored them on my shelf to install in another ten years or so.
Replacing disc brake pads takes about an hour at most, and is almost as simple as changing a light bulb. My wife could do it easily. Turning the discs is never required unless they are heavily damaged, and turning them weakens them and shortens their life. And calipers virtually never require any servicing or repairs.
I always encourage car owners to learn basic maintenance (and it doesn't get much more basic than brake pad replacement). It can save a fortune.
My mechanic gives me a percentage of actual pads left. I can then elect to wait or proceed. I am fair and give his shop business on 3 vehicles. He does a comprehensive check and prints it out to review. I would like to believe if there is cringing, he would be honest and fair enough to get me next trip.
There are definitely honest shops out there. I found one twenty years ago and refuse to go anywhere else. A friend of mine recently dropped his Corolla off to have his front pads checked. He was told "You've got another 15,000 miles or so left. I can change them now for $160 or you guys can do it yourself for about $15. ". My friend opted to do it himself, but now goes to that shop for any repair he can't do. Honesty does pay.
You can buy cheap pads and do them again soon. I buy high end pads.
My Acura needed pads every 20k miles, and the rears wore out first. I always felt the brakes were undersized. The plus of having it done in a shop is they inspect the rotors, flush the brake fluid and repack the wheel bearings. And check the tie rods. Not just jack up a car in a driveway with a slotted screwdriver, a socket and a pair of needle nose pliers.
Don't forget the disc brake quiet on back of the pads. Otherwise you get to enjoy noise while you drive. My son went to Brembo brakes on his car, and it stops on a dime.
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