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View Full Version : The Truth about Brake Pad Replacement?


Peter330i
07-16-2012, 08:21 PM
I just got the red warning light and iDrive notification that I need to replace both front and rear pads on my '08 535i with 57K miles. Talked to an Indy shop and Dealer...both told me that the E60 requires not only pads, but rotor replacement. True? Indy says job will cost $1100, dealer is $1500. My brakes don't squeal and my rotors are not grooved. Seems excessive to me, but if I just replace pads, am I asking for trouble? Thanks in advance for any info/experience!

Simonnim916
07-16-2012, 11:18 PM
Is your safety worth saving a few extra $$? Just pay it.

JohnathanDM
07-16-2012, 11:30 PM
If thats the case Just buy the Brake's and Rotor's Your self. I work at O'Reily auto part's and I bought Brakes For My E39. With Life Time Warranty From Performance Friction .. Its Best Just to buy the Bosch Rotors With Life time warranty if your trying to save a few bucks on your brake job.I took mine to the Dealer and they wanted 900.

bimmerfan52
07-17-2012, 12:06 AM
I just got the red warning light and iDrive notification that I need to replace both front and rear pads on my '08 535i with 57K miles. Talked to an Indy shop and Dealer...both told me that the E60 requires not only pads, but rotor replacement. True? Indy says job will cost $1100, dealer is $1500. My brakes don't squeal and my rotors are not grooved. Seems excessive to me, but if I just replace pads, am I asking for trouble? Thanks in advance for any info/experience!

BMW does recommend replacement of rotors with pads.
However, the dealer who did pads on all four corners of my car (2K miles before I bought it) deemed the rear rotors in good condition and only replaced the rotors in the front.

But more importantly, it is your car and you should decide what you want. If you feel that you can evaluate the rotors for a true surface and minimum thickness then tell them you only want pads. If your rotors are in good shape you will never notice the difference.

Driving style also should enter into your decision. If you push the car's braking to the limit often with very hard driving then new rotors would be a good investment. If you use it for general transportation with an occasional panic stop don't waste the money.

If the dealer or Indy refuses to do just pads then take it to any good mechanic or do it yourself. On the 1-10 scale of difficulty brakes are like a 3.

Pads are cheap and with wear sensors (one front, one rear) all four wheels would be $140-$250 depending upon what type of pads you use if you do it yourself. Rotors aren't much more difficult and would run an additional $400 for 4 wheels.

The dealer will tell you the oil only needs to be changed every 15K miles. No one believes them, and only those who lease or don't know better follow them.

txag_530i
07-17-2012, 02:22 AM
There is a minimum rotor thickness specification. A competent repair shop will have brake rotor calipers that can measure the thickness of the rotors and make a recommendation based on fact. The minimum rotor thickness is usually stamped on the rotor somewhere.

EDIT: Attached are the specifications for rotor thickness.

333153

333154

SoLucky
07-17-2012, 03:42 AM
If your rotors are at or under the minimum thickness -- replace them. There is a minimum thickness spec for good reason. If rotors wear too thin they will be less capable of absorbing and dissipating the heat generated by a high-speed panic stop and eventually the structural integrity of the rotor will be compromised and they will crack, which could lead to a very bad outcome for you or people in cars you share the road with. Don't skimp out on brakes. Along with tires, they are a very important safety feature!

Having said all of that, if your rotors are above min thickness by a good margin then by all means only replace the pads. I would just recommend measuring rotor thickness periodically (every 5000 miles or so).

BMW535xia
07-17-2012, 04:59 AM
i have been informed (by a mechanic) that the rotors of european cars are generally "softer", hence needing replacement more often. so, believe it if you wish. however, i had the front pads replaced under warranty, but not the rotors and currrently have 40xxx miles with no rear brake replacement yet.

altmwt
07-17-2012, 09:08 AM
Jumping on the brake band wagon. I have a 2009 535i with 43k miles and under warranty until March. Just had car services. 5mm left on pads. Idrive say 9k front, 11k back. Question is at what poing can I get them changed under warranty. Service adviser said he "thought" they could get them replaced when I get close to 49k. Anyone else experience this?

scriss
07-17-2012, 01:25 PM
Whatever you do, ask for ceramic pads. I have an extremely conservative Indy who ordinarily only uses oem parts, but when he did my brakes recently, he recommended ceramic, which are just as good, last just as long, and - most importantly - leave no brake dust on on the wheels. Woo Hoo!!

Oh - and they cost the same or less!

bimmerfan52
07-17-2012, 01:45 PM
Whatever you do, ask for ceramic pads. I have an extremely conservative Indy who ordinarily only uses oem parts, but when he did my brakes recently, he recommended ceramic, which are just as good, last just as long, and - most importantly - leave no brake dust on on the wheels. Woo Hoo!!

Oh - and they cost the same or less!


I find the OE metallic pads on my 545i are too grabby and it is sometimes hard to come to a smooth stop.
I put ceramic pads (EBC Redstuff) on my wife's SC430 and I like that the brake pedal pressure to stopping force is very linear, with no jerky grabbing.

How do you compare the grab or "bite" of the ceramic compared to OEM metallic on the BMW? Do you see longer stopping distances before you heat the ceramic pads up?

Neubs1
07-17-2012, 03:23 PM
Don't rely on the brake warning lights to come-on. You should measure each time service inspection is called for. My orig rear pads were @ 2mm with no light from the sensor. And as said above, the rotors have a minimum thickness too. Measure it.

Cheers,

Neubs

karlallen90
07-17-2012, 06:02 PM
The sensor doesn't measure the rotors, just the pads, found out the hard way. Anyways, yeah most people will charge a lot to do brakes because it does take a little bit. I'm somewhat good at doing brakes, I know what I'm doing, just haven't done it enough to get really good at it. I paid $231 for front pads, rotors and sensor from an online supplier. My rear brakes are ok, those will get done after vacation though. I paid that for the front stuff and then I paid $20 shop fee to have access to a lift and every tool imaginable.

jsimon7777
07-17-2012, 08:01 PM
If the discs are under spec, change them. When my front discs were replaced, you could reach in and feel a deep group all the way around the edge of the disk from where the pad wore away. It's not like we have light cars.

Peter330i
07-17-2012, 09:00 PM
This is why I like this forum. Thanks all for your valuable input!

karlallen90
07-17-2012, 09:07 PM
Not to high jack your thread, but I'm about to do a bleed and service, what brake fluid should I use? I see all these fluids like blue fluid, red fluid etc, will I be ok if I go to autozone and get the top dollar brake fluid?

SoLucky
07-18-2012, 02:36 AM
Not to high jack your thread, but I'm about to do a bleed and service, what brake fluid should I use? I see all these fluids like blue fluid, red fluid etc, will I be ok if I go to autozone and get the top dollar brake fluid?

Any good quality fluid will perform fine. Make sure you match the DOT type (e.g., 3, 4, or 5) marked on the top of the fluid reservoir. You can't mix types -- if you do the fluids react to each other and make a mess of your braking system.

BMW535xia
07-18-2012, 04:28 AM
Any good quality fluid will perform fine. Make sure you match the DOT type (e.g., 3, 4, or 5) marked on the top of the fluid reservoir. You can't mix types -- if you do the fluids react to each other and make a mess of your braking system.

okay, so this from the service manual...

BMW preferred fluid --- low viscosity DOT 4 brake fluid

low viscosity fluid may be used in all 5 series vehicles. DOT 4 and low viscosity DOT 4 may be mixed.

bleed in this order >>> right rear, left rear, right front, left front.

there is also referencing to pressurizing the reservoir and using the scan tool when bleeding brakes.

scriss
07-18-2012, 11:04 AM
I find the OE metallic pads on my 545i are too grabby and it is sometimes hard to come to a smooth stop.
I put ceramic pads (EBC Redstuff) on my wife's SC430 and I like that the brake pedal pressure to stopping force is very linear, with no jerky grabbing.

How do you compare the grab or "bite" of the ceramic compared to OEM metallic on the BMW? Do you see longer stopping distances before you heat the ceramic pads up?

I haven't noticed a difference. But, I replaced the fronts and the rears at different times, so there was a mix of pads on the car for a time, and now they are all ceramic. So I eased into the ceramics, so to speak. So perhaps I am not noticing the difference because of the transition.

That said, I don't ordinarily drive all that aggressively, so I'm not that in tune with what the "usual" stopping distance would have been.

txag_530i
07-18-2012, 08:19 PM
Not to high jack your thread, but I'm about to do a bleed and service, what brake fluid should I use? I see all these fluids like blue fluid, red fluid etc, will I be ok if I go to autozone and get the top dollar brake fluid?

okay, so this from the service manual...

BMW preferred fluid --- low viscosity DOT 4 brake fluid

low viscosity fluid may be used in all 5 series vehicles. DOT 4 and low viscosity DOT 4 may be mixed.

bleed in this order >>> right rear, left rear, right front, left front.

there is also referencing to pressurizing the reservoir and using the scan tool when bleeding brakes.

BMW recommends a low viscosity brake fluid. Two brands to consider are Pentosin Dot4 LV (http://www.pentosin.net/f_brakefluid.asp) or ATE SL6 (http://www.ate-na.com/generator/www/us/en/ate/ate/themes/20_ate_brake_products/brake_fluid/bf_sl6_us.html).

The low viscosity fluids can be had for about $10 on-line versus $8.00 for Valvoline DOT4 (http://www.valvoline.com/products/consumer-products/brake-fluids/dot-4-brake-fluid/28) (which is what I use in my other car) so it is worth the extra $2 to get the correct fluid.

You do not need a scan tool to bleed the brakes. You can use a vacuum system (like Mityvac), a pressure bleed system (like Motive Products) or just do it the old-fashioned two man way with one guy pressing the pedal whilst the other guy opens and closes the bleeder valve.

Hogie
07-18-2012, 09:25 PM
As you can see there is a lot of input on performing a brake change. It is so simple, non-complex.

you can buy BMW pads and rotor plus the sensor for 485.00 at BMW pricing. you can also buy BMW OEM parts for 310.00 using after-market sites yet staying with OEM quality. This is related to your own labor to do the work.

There is no secret sauce here. Also for normal driving BMW OEM is all that you need.

bimmerfan52
07-18-2012, 10:41 PM
As you can see there is a lot of input on performing a brake change. It is so simple, non-complex.

you can buy BMW pads and rotor plus the sensor for 485.00 at BMW pricing. you can also buy BMW OEM parts for 310.00 using after-market sites yet staying with OEM quality. This is related to your own labor to do the work.

There is no secret sauce here. Also for normal driving BMW OEM is all that you need.

For my future brake changes - where do you buy four BMW pads, four BMW rotors and two sensors for $485? Or are you talking about just the front?

racooper3
07-19-2012, 06:31 PM
Jumping on the brake band wagon. I have a 2009 535i with 43k miles and under warranty until March. Just had car services. 5mm left on pads. Idrive say 9k front, 11k back. Question is at what poing can I get them changed under warranty. Service adviser said he "thought" they could get them replaced when I get close to 49k. Anyone else experience this?

Drive the car aggressively and brake hard for the next several thousand miles. Have fun driving your car. Then you will ensure a brake job for front and rear before 50K warranty expires. :thumbup:

racooper3
07-19-2012, 06:37 PM
Whatever you do, ask for ceramic pads. I have an extremely conservative Indy who ordinarily only uses oem parts, but when he did my brakes recently, he recommended ceramic, which are just as good, last just as long, and - most importantly - leave no brake dust on on the wheels. Woo Hoo!!

Oh - and they cost the same or less!

I have done the same in the past on my old e39 528. There is a braking tradeoff in going ceramic. The more metallic BMW pads are going to give you shorter braking distances. They are more effective and bite better on metal to metal vs. ceramic to metal.
The ceramics are easier on the wheel cleanup. My e60 has about 5k left on front pads and I plan on finding some ceramic pads (PBR Deluxe or similar). I am tired of working on the wheels every weekend. :dunno:

racooper3
07-19-2012, 06:50 PM
I also wanted to add that Brembo makes excellent rotors and I opted for the vented dual disc on e39 528 rear rotors. BMW called for solid single disc in rear. The vented disc allows for better cooling of the rotor and longer rotor life. Also less warping of the disc for more aggressive braking. The rotors were actually made in Brembo Mexico factory. I used fronts too and put about 100K on my discs with still more life in them. I also at the same time installed PBR Deluxe ceramic pads to reduce the dust. I didn't drive as aggressively as some of my BMW friends. I found the stopping power sufficient for my normal driving style. I plan on changing things a bit on my e60 when it's time to service them.

MachtSchnell
07-19-2012, 07:06 PM
The brake job is easy. Did all 4 pad and rotors 1 Saturday awhile back. My suggestion is hose out as much brake dust as possible before starting then have a piece I'd cardboard to slide underneath the wheel well you are working on. You'll also need a wire hanger, a good jack and stands. Like another poster said is about a 3 or so on the difficulty scale. Did mine for about 700 i believe and that was with R1 cross drilled rotors and hawk HPS, sensors and grease.

jackMA
07-23-2012, 08:26 AM
Macht,
How do you like the Hawk HPS pads?
Better or same stopping distances?
More, same or less dust on the rims?

Just as an FYI, mine has approx. 70K miles on it. The original rotors have worn below the minimum thickness (28.4 mm = 1.118") at the OD of the rotor, in normal driving. So there may be some validity to the "soft" rotor material. You will need a 7 mm allen wrench for the caliper removal and a 16 mm or 5/8" to remove the caliper support arm.

jim165
07-23-2012, 01:08 PM
I have done the same in the past on my old e39 528. There is a braking tradeoff in going ceramic. The more metallic BMW pads are going to give you shorter braking distances. They are more effective and bite better on metal to metal vs. ceramic to metal.
The ceramics are easier on the wheel cleanup. My e60 has about 5k left on front pads and I plan on finding some ceramic pads (PBR Deluxe or similar). I am tired of working on the wheels every weekend. :dunno:
+1000,
Geez, I'm tired of putting in the effort of cleaning my car only to have it look filthy after only a day's worth of driving! :mad:

MachtSchnell
07-24-2012, 09:43 AM
Macht,
How do you like the Hawk HPS pads?
Better or same stopping distances?
More, same or less dust on the rims?

Just as an FYI, mine has approx. 70K miles on it. The original rotors have worn below the minimum thickness (28.4 mm = 1.118") at the OD of the rotor, in normal driving. So there may be some validity to the "soft" rotor material. You will need a 7 mm allen wrench for the caliper removal and a 16 mm or 5/8" to remove the caliper support arm.


I like them a lot. They bite well and have recently had a coyote run out in front of me and stopped the car from 60-0 and didn't hit the coyote. So much less dust! I could wash my car, drive a mile and the rims looked dirty as hell. now I can go a few days before they need a rinse. Not sure if that is the pads alone or if the cross drilled rotors help.

bimmerfan52
07-24-2012, 01:00 PM
I have done the same in the past on my old e39 528. There is a braking tradeoff in going ceramic. The more metallic BMW pads are going to give you shorter braking distances. They are more effective and bite better on metal to metal vs. ceramic to metal.
The ceramics are easier on the wheel cleanup. My e60 has about 5k left on front pads and I plan on finding some ceramic pads (PBR Deluxe or similar). I am tired of working on the wheels every weekend. :dunno:

I have used EBC Redstuff high performance ceramic pads on my wife's SC430, and if anything the stopping distances are shorter compared to OE semi-metallic.

I expect the same or shorter stopping distances with Redstuff on the 545i.

NSBMW04
11-25-2012, 12:03 AM
How did you get the brake pad anti rattle clip back in place. It was easy for me to take off a painn to put back.
2004 530i

Hogie
11-25-2012, 07:44 AM
Below is from AutohausAZ.com for buying everything for front brake job. Basically 260.00 for all parts, plus free shipping with this dollar amount. You can select different rotors and pads, below is what I would purchase. I have 4200 miles in iDrive for front. 175K miles and this will be the 3rd set for the front, second set for rear.


34116763824 Zimmermann Coat Z
Brake Disc/Brake Rotor; Front Left/Right; Vented 348x30mm
2004 BMW 545I $98.47 each

Front Total $196.94

34211161806
Genuine BMW
Brake Disc/Brake Rotor; Front/Rear Allen Head Bolt for Brake Disc to Hub; 8x14mm
2004 BMW 545I each $1.61

Total $3.22

83192158851 Genuine BMW
Brake Pad Set; Brake Pad Installation Lubricant; 3 Gram Packet
2004 BMW 545I

Total $1.61

BP918

Bosch QuietCast
Brake Pad Set; Front; OE Supplier Compound
2004 BMW 545I $44.80

34356768595

Pex
Brake Pad Wear Sensor; Front Left; 670mm
2004 BMW 545I $9.43

bschmidt25
11-25-2012, 11:31 AM
How does the i-drive determine how many miles are left on the pads? Is it strictly mileage/usage based or does it use the wear sensor in the caliper?