How Much Does it Cost to Replace Brake Pads?

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If your brakes do not work properly, you could be in serious danger. It might be time to replace your brake pads. On average, replacing brake pads will cost you about $220 per axel. Exactly how much it’s going to cost will depend on the cause and extent of the wear, how many pads you replace, and whether or not you replace your rotors as well.
Keeping your car’s brakes in good working order is one of the most important aspects of proper maintenance. No one wants to find themselves unable to stop while on the road! If you’re hearing a squeaking noise from your brakes, or if your brake pedal is shuddering when you press it, don’t ignore the signs!
Periodically replacing your brake pads is a necessary expense. But how much of an expense – that’s the real question. Luckily, insurance broker super-app Jerry is here to explain everything you need to know about replacing brake pads! 
In this article, we'll walk you through how to know if it’s time to replace your brake pads and how much you can expect it to cost.
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How much does it cost to replace brake pads?

If you need to replace all four of your brake pads, you’ll probably have to pay between $280 and $450 for parts and labor. However, the actual cost of replacing brake pads varies a lot depending on several factors. These include: 
  • The extent of wear on the brakes
  • The number of brake pads that need to be replaced
  • The mechanic you use
  • The type of car you have
Generally speaking though, you’ll pay between $30- $50 per wheel for the parts and $80-$120 per axle for labor.

Cost of front brake pads vs. rear brake pads

There is not typically a difference in the price between the front and rear brake pads. However, your front brakes do most of the work; they are responsible for about 70% of the breaking you do. 
Rear brakes only do about 30% of the work so they will wear down more slowly and need to be replaced less often. 

Cost of replacing your rotors

Depending on the age and type of your car, you may need to replace your rotors when you get new brake pads. If you only replace the pads, you could have issues with vibration and poor brake performance. 
The rotors are a bit more expensive to replace and will cost you about $40 - $70 per wheel for parts, and approximately $200 per axle for labor. This comes out to between $280 and $340 per axle for parts and labor. 
In total for rotors, pads, parts, and labor you can expect to pay between $420 and $560 per axle
Here’s a quick layout of the price for pads and rotors:
Part type Cost of parts Cost of labor
Brake Pads $30-$50 per wheel $80-$120 per axle
Rotors $40-$70 per wheel $200 per axle

What are brake pads?

Brake pads are an important part of your overall brakes system. Essentially, a brake pad is a flat piece of steel with either ceramic or a semi-metallic high-friction material on one side. When you press on your brake peddle, the brake pad is pushed against the rotors and the resulting friction stops your car.  

What’s the difference between brake pads and brakes

Brake pads are only one part of a larger system of parts collective called your brakes. The term “brakes” refers to all the parts involved in stopping your car including the brake pads, rotors, calipers, and more. 

What’s the difference between brake pads and rotors

Your rotors are disc-shaped parts attached to your axle right behind the wheel. When you hit the brakes, your brake pads press against the rotors. This creates the friction required to bring your car to a stop. 

Types of brake pads

There are many varieties and brands of brake pads, but they all generally break down into two main types: Ceramic brake pads and semi-metallic brake pads. 

Ceramic brake pads

Ceramic brake pads are significantly more expensive than semi-metallic ones. The added cost buys you superior performance, very little noise while breaking, and minimal brake dust.

Semi-metallic brake pads

Semi-metallic brake pads are the more affordable option. While not as high-performing, they do have other advantages. Semi-metallic pads are better suited for cold weather and they produce less wear on your overall brake system. 

How long do brake pads last?

Brake bad typically will last you between 20,000 and 70,000 miles depending on their quality and the driving conditions. Like the cost, the lifespan of brake pads varies widely. High-quality material, such as ceramic, will usually last longer
If you live in a place where there is more strain on your brakes, such as in a crowded city or a hilly area, your pads will wear down faster. Your driving habits also will put a strain on your brakes—especially if you tend to hit your brakes pretty hard. 

When to replace your brake pads

It’s important to get your brake pads replaced once they start to wear down. The longer you wait to replace your brake pads, the more worn down they will become and the worse they will perform. If you wait too long, your brakes could fail! 

How to tell if your brake pads are worn down

When your brake pads begin to wear down, they will start displaying some telltale signs. Here are some clues to watch out for: 
  • Your brake peddle shudders or vibrates when pressed
  • Some newer cars have a brake wear indicator light that will turn on
  • Your brakes will make a squealing sound when pressed. 
  • Your brakes will be less responsive and not perform as well
  • Your car might lean to one side when you stop

Will car insurance cover brake replacement?

Unfortunately, unless your brake pads are damaged as a result of a covered collision, your insurance probably won’t cover their replacement. Insurance does not generally cover required maintenance from normal wear and tear.

How to find cheap car insurance 

While most policies won’t cover brake pad replacements, that doesn’t mean you should skip car insurance. Most states require a minimum of liability insurance, but it is recommended that drivers carry more. 
If you need help finding a policy that works for you, use Jerry!
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In total for rotors, pads, parts, and labor you can expect to pay between $420 and $560 per axle. Keep in mind, though, that the exact price will vary from one mechanic to another.

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