questionshow much would you pay for brakes and rotors?

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This is difficult to answer because pricing on brakes varies so wildly from vehicle to vehicle. My best advice would be for you to call around - check with a few local shops and your local Ford dealership. If they're all within $20, then pick the one you trust most. If they vary wildly, figure out why - is it parts costs? Are the factory parts worth the markup to you? Is it labor costs that are out of line with the local standard?

All of these prices vary from region to region. Good luck!

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Nissan wanted $360 for new brakes all the way around on my wife's van. I opted to do it myself and saved about $300. The rotors (which they said were grooved) were fine. I even had friend that's a mechanic double check them to make sure. It took about an hour and a half and all was done.

I'm cheap and I know that not everyone wants to do it themselves but if you have the tools and a little bit of time, it's not hard.

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Looking around Advance Auto Parts online, if your Ranger is 4WD then $300 isn't that bad at all.
For my typical daily drivers I always buy my brake parts from Advance (or sometimes Napa) because Advance has the best coupon codes and painless returns.
But it looks like even if you buy the parts yourself and pay a shop $50/hr then $300 isn't bad.

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Do you need new rotors? You should really only need new rotors if you let your brake-pads get so bad that they're causing metal on metal grinding, or if your rotors are warped and uneven. Just inspect your rotors visually, if you don't see any gouging or warping then you probably only need break pads. I assume a 2001 will have drum brakes in the rear, but checking drums and shoes for wear can be a little bit more tricky, but just do a youtube search and you'll find some helpful videos.

If you have some mechanical ability, changing brake pads and shoes isn't all that difficult if you want to try to save some money and do it yourself. There are plenty of good youtube videos that will be helpful. Just stay away from the franchise service centers (meineke, pepboys, etc) I find those are the ones that will rip you off the most. But $300 for an entire brake job (pads, rotors, drums, shoes) + labor sounds like a good deal.

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@eraten: To clarify this response: you have to keep the mating surfaces flat when changing. So if you don't need new rotors you at least have to get them "turned" at the same time you get new brake pads. Otherwise the grooves worn into the rotors will cause a smaller contact patch and your brake performance will be worse and it will wear out the brake pads faster.

Summary:
new pads require new or turned rotors
new rotors always require new pads

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$300 is like $200 too much, you can do it yourself in like 20-30 mins (add an hour or two if you went for the drum brakes in the back.) You could buy the jack stands / jack / and all the stuff you need without getting close to $300.

If your rotors are really bad you gotta get new ones but from what you're saying I bet you can just get away with a resurfacing.

but yea I looked at O'reilly's and its $50 for 4 brake pads which will do either the front or back completely, so $100 in pads and maybe $50 for all the tools you'd need (a c-clamp, brake fluid, an allen wrench, and jack + jack stands) and $20 for the chiltons book if you're completely useless with a spanner.

So yea like roughly $170 if you don't have the tools / instruction book...

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Yeah you can do this yourself much cheaper (Advanced Auto ALWAYS has great coupon codes, google em). But I realize some people don't have the time, don't care to get dirty, or are mechanically inept.

$300 for all four brake pads, rotors, and labor sounds completely reasonable. $200 would be almost suspiciously cheap and $400 would start becoming a ripoff. As was said, you don't HAVE TO buy rotors. If they're still thick enough, they can turn them to make them true again. This could save you some money. But please take some precautions if you pay for all new rotors.... make sure you're getting all new rotors. Use a permanent marker to mark the back of all your old rotors or something.

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$300 for all four wheels isn't bad. If it's $300 for only the front, I'd say do it yourself or at least get another quote.

Did they say anything about the calipers? If your pads are really worn down to nothing, your caliper pistons might be overextended which would require replacing them as well, that could triple the price easily as caliper replacement adds to both parts and labor significantly.

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@sporadic: thanks, I forgot to mention that part.

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I don't know about brakes and rotors, but I do know one thing:
I'm not gonna pay a lot for this muffler!

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Conan, If you want factory original parts my uncle is the owner of cal-state auto in Chatsworth and I could get some factory originals to my shop today at employee price. If you're not doing the work yourself, off the top of my head right now I could speak highly of camarillo independent. Whenever I ask them if there's supplemental parts that they'd like to tack on because they could recommend them at the same time they're always really honest and I'll sometimes hear something like "well this customer can't afford to do everything they need right now, so I just want to make sure they get what then need first, but i'll let them know about it for the future." They specialize in japanese cars but I'm sure he'd be able to get you in if you wanted.

I'll try to think up some other shops in your area too. I think you have my email (it's real easy to guess, it's my woot name @gmail.com) let me know if I can help you out.

Also I still have a lot of wine in case you want some too.

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Also, If your brake rotors have the hub built in, It could get pretty expensive, 750 a pair and upwards at list price

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Easy answer. You've been putting it off(DON'T tell the shop this!!) and you've not priced it anywhere. Take it to 3 shops, skip any dealership- the reason is, the best you'll get are OEM quality parts. Many aftermarket parts have had improvements done while the OEMs are usually no better or worse than you started with.
Check the warranties- if you do the brakes yourself, most pads and rotors have a lifetime warranty. A shop might help honor that warranty, but the standard 90-day labour warranty won't help you much in a year.

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@cowboydann: Thank you very so much! I'll be emailing you sometime today.

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A brake job is probably the BIGGEST money maker for a shop. Normal wear parts are typically CHEAP, but they bank on the fact that 'brakes keep you safe, and you'll pay anything when you need new ones'. Here is how they will get you:

Beware that initial estimates like that are usually for replacing the friction components only (IE the pads/shoes). NOTHING ELSE.

As has been said, the rotors and drums need to be at least turned. They may charge $10-$20 additional each.

Something other than the normal wear items will ALWAYS be broken, or worn according to the shop. Not that they really ARE, but the shop needs to make extra money. Typically these include slide pins and hardware kits. These items in themselves shouldn't be TOO expensive, but watch out for the shop that charges ADDITIONAL labor to replace them! Why? If they were good, they would need to be re-installed and that cost is already included in the $300. (Continued)

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Usually however you'll be hit with a BIG ticket item that is broken and unsafe - to the point where the shop will tell you 'We can't let you drive that away from here unless you get it fixed'. Watch out for ripoffs like requiring new calipers (for disc), or wheel cylinders (for drum). They may even go as far as 'showing' you the leaks by pulling back the boots or popping out the puck and showing 'fluid'. Unless you are adding brake fluid or you see a puddle in your garage, this is usually bunk.

They may also tell you that your rotors/drums are too thin and you need to replace them rather than turn them. Yes, that can happen. However, ask them: What the minimum thickness for the rotor, and what was the thickness you measured? Chances are you'll get an answer like 'we can tell just by looking'. At that point, run.

The best way to not be ripped off is to be informed. (cont. again)

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That's easy. As others have said, go to the Autozone website and plug in your make/model/etc and see how much parts really cost. Typically you'll want to research the cost of the friction materials (pads/shoes), the cost of hardware kits (slide pins/springs), and the cost of decent NEW drums and rotors. Bring that info with you and compare what they are quoting you vs the 'real' cost. The shops prices will be higher (and that's OK), as long as they are within REASON. If the rotors for your car are $25 and the shop wants $35, fine. If they want $75 that's a bit much! :)

The other way to be informed is read a manual on how to do the job. You don't need to understand all of it, but you may catch them. For example if you know it's only 2 bolts that need to be removed to replace a rotor, don't let them tell you it's an hour labor to replace it!