questionshelp! my car needs brake work stat, local…

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If you have a C-clamp, a car-jack, and some wrenches, why not do it yourself? It's not difficult and will save you a ton of money on service.

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if the local mechanic left a bad taste, why even consider going back? get some recommendations for other local mechanics.

otherwise, i've used midas for brakes for my car and my wife's. never had any issues.

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You can find dishonest mechanics anywhere. My suggestion is to talk to friends/neighbors/coworkers. Ask them where they take their car, and whether they are happy with the service. That's going to be your best bet. I've had good & bad luck at some of the big chains. Haven't ever gone to Midas, but know other who have, again mixed results.

My current mechanic came from a glowing recommendation from a friend. I've been very happy with them (often they will diagnose, then I will repair), and recommended them to friends.

You can probably go to any national chain and have a good chance of getting decent service. If it sounds odd/wrong/expensive, get another opinion.

@capguncowboy I'm in that camp myself, but not everyone is comfortable with spinning wrenches.

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@capguncowboy: Yeah that's what my brother said.... Told me to you-tube it and probably only take me 1 hour per axle. Just worried about running into a problem, not having a second car to get me to the parts store....I certainly have enough of the tools!

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Just fix it yourself. Brakes are a piece of cake to replace. My Click and Clack diagnostic would be to replace the brake pads and have your roters ground. Autozone carries the pads and will do the grinding for cheap (or free). Jump online and find out how to do it.

Then if it breaks, you know exactly who to blame... :)

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@jimmyd103: Buying the pads yourself should run you between $25-75 depending on what sort of car you drive. It's not difficult to change them. The first time I did it, I had a friend of mine who was a mechanic at Toyota at the time as an emergency backup in case I ran into anything. He ended up just watching and all went smoothly. I did my wife's the following weekend.

You'd be surprised how much money I've saved over the years by learning to do things myself.

@dergage: If your rotors are worn, it's sometimes easier to just replace them as well than it is to have them turned, as turning them takes a thin layer off of them and can make them more prone to warping. I think I was able to just replace my rotors for about $15 each, but that will get more expensive depending on what sort of car you drive.

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@jimmyd103 What they said above. You can save money (at least at Advance Auto Parts) by finding coupon codes, then ordering online for in-store pickup.

Where I would be concerned: Diagnosing the problem, especially if it is with a caliper. I am competent to replace pads and rotors (usually not too much more to buy new than grind). I can replace a caliper also, although bleeding the system afterward is a pain. But being sure of what needs to be fixed can be a problem, especially if its your first time. Just my $0.02. Teh interwebs has made diagnosing things a lot easier, too. A good forum (Saturnfans was awesome when I had a Saturn) is a great place to start.

A grinding noise (to me) suggests pad backing material (metal) against the rotor.

Having a friend as emergency backup is an excellent idea. Also, see what your parts store's return policy is. Sometimes it's easier to buy too much, then just take back what you didn't use.

Shoprunner + Autozone = 2nd day free

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@capguncowboy & @dergage: I questioned the "local mechanic" about the cost for parts the last time he did the brakes. At that time I had checked on new rotors and ceramic pads at the local NTB and Autozone and they were around 25% cheaper than he was charging me. He said that the "Autozones of the world" sell a lesser quality part and that they would not last as long. Do you think this is valid? Would it be worth my while to buy the parts from Nissan? I guess it wouldn't be smart to buy Nissan rotors and brake pads because once I've changed them this first time is shouldn't be any problem for me to do it again. (I'm assuming aftermarket are cheaper than factory.)

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@jimmyd103: They all sell a wide range of parts. IMHO, even the Wearever Silver (usually cheapest name brand option) is probably as good as OEM. And they usually run $20/set for most cars. I usually go a level or two up, but still... Remember - this is just an opinion. ;-)

I just put in EBC pads in my car (performance - yes its overkill), and it only ran me about $60 for the parts.

Unless he was putting in performance parts, sounds like your mechanic was feeding you a bunch of male cattle droppings.

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From personal experience I would never go to NTB

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@75grandville: Ugh. I just watched a youtube video on how to change brake pads and now I feel like a complete ass. Looks like a piece of cake. I have all the tools so I hope it should go smoothly. My local Advanced Auto Parts is offering Wearever, Wagner, and Akebono (Also Economy but that's not an option IMO). Any thoughts on these brands?

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@jimmyd103: I drive an older BMW so the roters are quite a bit more expensive than having them resurfaced. If you can find roters for cheaper, replace them. As for the brake pads, I buy the cheap ones (semi-metallic) from Autozone and they work great. I don't drive all that often--I'm a PubTran-er like you, but I'm guessing I have about 18 months and 8k-10k miles on my pads and they work great.

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@jimmyd103: Wagner & Warner are both OEM-equivalent. I think Akebono is considered a step up, but have never used their products. I've put both Wagner & Warner on my cars with no complaints. Go with whichever is cheaper.

BTW, always remember to use stands to support your car when you work on it, even if it's "just a few minutes". I usually use stands, and leave the jack in place about 1/4" down as insurance.

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@75grandville: Thanks for the advice! The jack was the only piece missing from the puzzle for me. I used to own a 3 ton floor jack but when I got married and moved from my mom's place, it remained. Now it lives at my brothers house so, I was able to find a 2 ton compact jack and jack stands combo on sale at Kmart for $32 (used coupon code OFFERS10 to get it down to this price) with free in store pickup. And now I will have it for the next time!

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Just turn the music up and forget about it! It will work itself out.

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You should do them yourself. You will save alot of money and it is actually really easy to do so. The first time that I needed brakes changed I looked up how to do so and have since then changed the breaks on 6 other peoples cars for free. My wife actually changed her own breaks and it just seems to be quite a bit cheaper and we have never had a problem with our breaks after we change them ourselves. Just an idea :)

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I'd highly recommend finding a local shop that's part of the NAPA auto parts group. Before I moved I had a little shop that I'd go to, that was not only a great place, but has a warranty as part of the NAPA group. If it ends up being a bad job, any of the over 13,000 locations that are part of the group will honor the warranty and fix it. It also adds a certain credibility to the shop-they don't let just any crappy shop in because of that warranty.

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Don't forget about possibly getting a chiltons for your car. That will normally walk you through every thing you will need to do. You could also get a shop manual for your car. Most things will be explained by steps and have blow up diagrams of smaller parts.

I think you already got good advice, and I will second that the rotors can be turned. My truck gets them turned before being replaced.

Your mechanic is partially right though, if your are getting quality materials instead of el cheapo. Ceramic/organics/semi metallic is a price difference.

Even with a video, sometimes things happen or you have questions halfway through. Some areas have DIY garages where you can rent a bay or lift. Normally a lot of motorheads frequent those areas and they are sometimes very helpful if you get stuck. If you notice a lot of motorcycles there, and they are all wearing their colors, and it says something like hells angels/outlaws/pagans, you may want to go somewhere else:)

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I've done brakes once. It took forever and got very dirty but it was doable.

However, if someone wants to take it somewhere, check the mechanics files on cartalk.com. I found a very good mechanic on there.

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