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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 01-26-2012, 12:57 PM
Satsblk328 Satsblk328 is offline
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Front Brake Job estimate 08' 328I- fair price?

Hey guys,

It's time to do the front end brake job on my 08' 328I, I have called around to a few Euro Car shops in the Houston area to get some estimates. The estimates I have recieved are based on OEM pads, rotors and sensors. Since this is the first time for me to have this service done, I was wondering if the prices are fair and in the right ballpark. They have ranged from the lowest $588.46 to 700.00. Do you know if this is fair market price? Also how much money could I save if I do it myself? I have read up in the DIY section that this is a fairly straight forward DIY, that a novice wrench turner could do (is it ???). If the money savings of me doing it is more than $100, then I may consider doing it myself. If you think this is something I should let a mechanic handle then so be it. Just looking for some good advise. Thanks and Brgds.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:06 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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I bet our resident pro mechanic-guru would probably say something like, "They are not that hard, brakes are not a complex DIY . . . but you better respect the hell out of them, and do it absolutely right . . . because they ARE your BRAKES."

What I hope to do in the future is have someone show and help me do mine when the time comes. Even if it means I must pay something. There is also the possibility of bartering, something I wish I could do more of. I've become a relatively knowledgeable detailer, so maybe that is a possibility.

I had a friend earlier this week tell me to call him anytime if I need some assistance. He is not very experienced, but he has changed brakes, and a few other things.

Got any knowledgeable friends or acquaintances? Even if you don't save much the first time, the knowledge gained might help save on all other future jobs. It's an idea anyway.

No comment on the pricing. I'd just look up what they go for, and then form an opinion.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:12 PM
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cwinter cwinter is offline
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Not sure about your locale, but the North Texas BMW CCA chapter sometimes puts DIY clinics on, where you can bring your parts to one of the shops they partner with and you can pay for an hour of lift time and do work on the car using the shop's tools. This also includes having knowledgeable staff around that helps out with questions.

Might be a good way to save some money, do it right, and learn for the future. Aside from BMW CCA putting these on, I have also seen other independent shops offering this type of service on a regular basis (first Saturday of each month or something like that). Just search around!

Other than that, the prices quoted seem pretty fair to me if all OEM parts are used. You can price the parts online fairly easily to figure out potential savings.
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:59 PM
Wihelm G Wihelm G is offline
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Originally Posted by Satsblk328 View Post
They have ranged from the lowest $588.46 to 700.00. Do you know if this is fair market price? Also how much money could I save if I do it myself? I have read up in the DIY section that this is a fairly straight forward DIY, that a novice wrench turner could do (is it ???)..
The $588.46 is reasonable if from a reputable shop. It should take them about 1/2 hour or less.

Board sponsor Tischer sells a front brake kit with OE pads, rotors, sensor and the anti-squeal paste for about $335, including shipping. If you shop around on ebay, tirerack, other places, you may get comparable stuff (better pads and rotors) for about $250 or so, including shipping. You may not need new rotors or a new sensor, but it's not a decision you should make on your own if you don't know what you're doing. If the system hasn't been flushed within the past year or so, you ought to have that done, too, although that probably wasn't included in the estimates you got.

A shop usually charges way more than their usual hourly for brakes because it's kind of a high profit item for them, mainly because of the potential liability for them and the customer's ignorance and fear factors.

It's not a difficult job maybe a 2 out of 5 as DIY jobs go, if everything goes smoothly. But relatively simple stuff can be a challenge if you're inexperienced. Like SAFELY getting the car up on jack stands. Or getting a rusted wheel, rotor retention screw or rotor off. And sometimes the caliper bolts are on a little tight and you need to put some meat on you're breaker bar at an uncomfortable angle. Or you forget to tie up a caliper and let it dangle, causing a brake line to break. Lots of little things can go wrong if you're not careful and, of course, the consequences can be catastrophic.

If I was you and going to do my own front brakes, I'd just check to see my liability and health insurance was in effect, order the parts from Tischer, watch at least a couple of good youtube videos, make sure I had all the tools and just jump into it.

Last edited by Wihelm G; 01-26-2012 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:21 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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I own a garage in NH. Using OEM Pads, rotors and sensors we would charge $535 to do the job. That includes 1.4 hours of labor. Gotta disagree with WilhelmG, there is no way a good shop can do that job for half an hour's labor. Where is the test drive which includes seating in the new pads to the rotors? Where is the flange cleanup using abrasive pads? Where is the examination of the calipers and hoses to make sure the car is safe? Where is the bring the car in, put it on a lift, take it out labor? Where is siphoning out the excess fluid you're going to have after pushing in the caliper pistons to fit the new pads and rotors labor? Where is the get the tools out, do the job, torque the wheels, put the tools away and wash your hands labor? I could go on but I've made my point. Could I do the job as an Indy 500 pitstop special in half an hour? Yep. Would I do it on a customer's car? Not on your life. Or his.
If you do this as a DIY expect to take a couple hours to do it properly.
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Old 01-26-2012, 03:42 PM
Wihelm G Wihelm G is offline
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Using OEM Pads, rotors and sensors we would charge $535 to do the job. .
But does that include the cost of shipping his car to NH and return via UPS Ground shipping? I didn't think so.

Quote:
Gotta disagree with WilhelmG, there is no way a good shop can do that job for half an hour's labor. Where is the test drive which includes seating in the new pads to the rotors? Where is the flange cleanup using abrasive pads? Where is the examination of the calipers and hoses to make sure the car is safe? Where is the bring the car in, put it on a lift, take it out labor? Where is siphoning out the excess fluid you're going to have after pushing in the caliper pistons to fit the new pads and rotors labor? Where is the get the tools out, do the job, torque the wheels, put the tools away and wash your hands labor? I could go on but I've made my point.
OK, I just got schooled. You are absolutely right about the time. I based the half hour time estimate on a youtube video, which was about 7 minutes. The guy was moving kinda slow, but there seemed to be a lot of stuff done in magical, time shifting leaps. I didn't think most professionals would have access to time shifting equipment, so I guestimated. Won't happen again, at least not soon.

Personally, it takes me about seven hours, including multiple bathroom and beer breaks, breaking up a fight between my dog and some wandering stray, trying to get the cigar smoke smell out of the garage before the wife gets home, etc. I suppose a professional could shave a few minutes off my time if he wore astronaut diapers and one of those hats that holds two cans of beer with a plastic hose IV drip inserted in a major vein. Or stopped smoking cigars in the garage. Or took the collar off the dog and released him into the wild. I could go on, but I've made my point.

Last edited by Wihelm G; 01-26-2012 at 03:44 PM.
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  #7  
Old 01-26-2012, 04:17 PM
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LarkHouston LarkHouston is offline
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Don't know who you got your estimates from, but let me throw my favorite indie shop in Houston in the ring. Call Hans at Texas German Autohaus. Great guys. Been using them since my first 325is in 1986 (and before there was "free" mainenance). They probably will not be the cheapest, but cheapest isn't always the best.
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:25 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wihelm G View Post
But does that include the cost of shipping his car to NH and return via UPS Ground shipping? I didn't think so.



OK, I just got schooled. You are absolutely right about the time. I based the half hour time estimate on a youtube video, which was about 7 minutes. The guy was moving kinda slow, but there seemed to be a lot of stuff done in magical, time shifting leaps. I didn't think most professionals would have access to time shifting equipment, so I guestimated. Won't happen again, at least not soon.

Personally, it takes me about seven hours, including multiple bathroom and beer breaks, breaking up a fight between my dog and some wandering stray, trying to get the cigar smoke smell out of the garage before the wife gets home, etc. I suppose a professional could shave a few minutes off my time if he wore astronaut diapers and one of those hats that holds two cans of beer with a plastic hose IV drip inserted in a major vein. Or stopped smoking cigars in the garage. Or took the collar off the dog and released him into the wild. I could go on, but I've made my point.
LOL
Thanks for the DIY perspective. Sounds like me on weekends around the house, including the cigar bit. Sorry for coming on too strong, it was overreaction. Sometimes people read posts and tackle jobs that may be more than they want to deal with once they know what it really takes. I wanted to make clear it was a little bigger than you let on.
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:05 PM
Satsblk328 Satsblk328 is offline
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Thanks for all the great advise guys, I'm going to check out prices on the parts and see what the savings might be. Sounds like I'm getting quoted some reasonable prices, if I decide to take it into the shop. Thanks again.
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:39 PM
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3ismagic# 3ismagic# is offline
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Originally Posted by Satsblk328 View Post
Thanks for all the great advise guys, I'm going to check out prices on the parts and see what the savings might be. Sounds like I'm getting quoted some reasonable prices, if I decide to take it into the shop. Thanks again.
I'm going to piggy back on this thread to ask a brake question that should be relevant to the OP as it speaks to what a typical brake job should involve.
Why does BMW recommend replacing the rotors when the pads are replaced? I've always been under the impression that the rotors should be inspected to make sure they are not warped, are smooth and fall within thickness tolerances. Otherwise the rotors can be turned if needed and reused. Is there something special about BMW rotors?

Maybe DSX can comment.
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  #11  
Old 01-27-2012, 09:35 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by 3ismagic# View Post
I'm going to piggy back on this thread to ask a brake question that should be relevant to the OP as it speaks to what a typical brake job should involve.
Why does BMW recommend replacing the rotors when the pads are replaced? I've always been under the impression that the rotors should be inspected to make sure they are not warped, are smooth and fall within thickness tolerances. Otherwise the rotors can be turned if needed and reused. Is there something special about BMW rotors?

Maybe DSX can comment.
You are correct, it is certainly not mandatory that rotors be tossed when the pads are replaced. In fact some oem's suggest we do not even machine the rotors if the surface meets specs. They want them used as they are.

The thing is though that it is unlikely that your rotors will last two pad lifetimes and then you need rotors out of synchronization. So while it may be completely reliable and safe to reuse the rotors it could be false economy. Especially for anyone in the rust belt where salt will destroy rotors even if mileage doesn't.

Edit: To the best of my knowledge BMW does NOT require rotors be changed every time but many dealerships push it.

Last edited by DSXMachina; 01-27-2012 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:08 PM
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Thanks a lot. That makes a lot of sense. You make me wish I lived in NH-except for the snow of course.
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  #13  
Old 01-28-2012, 07:50 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Thanks a lot. That makes a lot of sense. You make me wish I lived in NH-except for the snow of course.
I see you are located in the 5th circle of hell. At least it's warm there. Winters can be tough in NH.

Note about my charge vs. the cost in the OP's location. My charge for the job is lower because my overhead is lower. When a business does a job you have to factor into the customer's cost not only the parts and direct labor but the cost of doing business.

Someone has to pay for the mortgage amortization, the real estate taxes, state and local corporate earnings taxes, insurance (garagekeeper's insurance, health insurance, unemployment insurance, social security) etc. All these things cost less in rural areas than they do in urban areas. The increased cost of doing business is paid by the customer.

So while my customer may pay less it is quite possible that he is making less than the same guy in the big city. Very often the guy who has to pay more is actually financially better off because he has a higher net income.
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:45 AM
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535 is pretty inexpensive...that is what we paid for our "container" Ford Focus couple of years ago...and I'm sure we got Chinese parts.

The local stealership is asking $1700 for all 4 wheels, or 850 for front brakes....yes i'm sure their expenses and overhead are higher which drives up the total cost
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:58 AM
fb88 fb88 is offline
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I never had the rotors replaced at 120k miles. Ask for estimate with just brake pad / sensor change.
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:29 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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I never had the rotors replaced at 120k miles. Ask for estimate with just brake pad / sensor change.
So the OP is a brake expert and he is going to tell a mechanic what is safest for his car? You obviously do mostly highway driving, don't assume everyone's driving habits are the same as yours.
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:15 PM
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75% highway, it was my 2nd set. If there is no vibration when braking most likely rotor replacement not needed. Once an AMACCO mechanic said my old Camry needed transmission work when the shifter cable broke - and he knew that.

General guideline:
Rotors: The only time you should have to replace your rotors is if you damage them because of driving for an extended period with completely worn-down brake pads. The "grinding noise" is the sound of the screws in the base of brake pads (which are completely worn down) grinding a groove in your rotors.
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:22 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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75% highway, it was my 2nd set. If there is no vibration when braking most likely rotor replacement not needed. Once an AMACCO mechanic said my old Camry needed transmission work when the shifter cable broke - and he knew that.

General guideline:
Rotors: The only time you should have to replace your rotors is if you damage them because of driving for an extended period with completely worn-down brake pads. The "grinding noise" is the sound of the screws in the base of brake pads (which are completely worn down) grinding a groove in your rotors.
Thanks, I didn't know that. Screws you say? And I also didn't know that rotors didn't wear down due to the abrasive nature of ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads. Live and learn.

Last edited by DSXMachina; 01-28-2012 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:57 PM
Wihelm G Wihelm G is offline
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Thanks, I didn't know that. Screws you say? And I also didn't know that rotors didn't wear down due to the abrasive nature of ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads. Live and learn.
LMAO. But someone is going to believe this and maybe not change their warped and worn rotors because the brake pad screws are still nice and rusty.
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:33 PM
aermetimmerfest aermetimmerfest is offline
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Edit: To the best of my knowledge BMW does NOT require rotors be changed every time but many dealerships push it.
Not only does BMW not require rotor changes, they do require ALL rotors be returned for inspection, for many dealers, since many techs have replaced rotors too frequently and before they were near min thickness. (for brake jobs performed under the maintenance plan) Once inspected, and if not close enough to min thickness or warped, chargeback to dealer.

I don't think you were too harsh. I would have chimed in on the half hour comment had you not. 30 min if one were to ONLY take old pads out and replace with new ones and do nothing else that a proper brake job requires. And that's if one has just the right air tools and jack.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:26 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by aermetimmerfest View Post
Not only does BMW not require rotor changes, they do require ALL rotors be returned for inspection, for many dealers, since many techs have replaced rotors too frequently and before they were near min thickness. (for brake jobs performed under the maintenance plan) Once inspected, and if not close enough to min thickness or warped, chargeback to dealer.

I don't think you were too harsh. I would have chimed in on the half hour comment had you not. 30 min if one were to ONLY take old pads out and replace with new ones and do nothing else that a proper brake job requires. And that's if one has just the right air tools and jack.
I could have been more polite about it. Wilhelm G was just making a point that the job probably didn't require a lot of time, or at least not enough time to justify some of the higher end charges.
Sounds like you're also in the biz, so you know what it's like when civilians think a good job can be done faster than it can be. At my shop we can do a job two of three ways. We can do it fast, we can do it good, and we can do it cheap. You get to pick the two you want. You won't get the third.
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:03 PM
aermetimmerfest aermetimmerfest is offline
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
I could have been more polite about it. Wilhelm G was just making a point that the job probably didn't require a lot of time, or at least not enough time to justify some of the higher end charges.
angel:
Credit is also due to Wilhelm for being open, as well as quite receptive to your more detailed explanation as to what a thorough brake job entails and the time required.

It's too easy and too often that the public, when not really experienced in a specific trade or the proper way to do something, can devalue what a good tradesman/tech/professional is capable of.
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:18 PM
Wihelm G Wihelm G is offline
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
I could have been more polite about it. Wilhelm G was just making a point that the job probably didn't require a lot of time, or at least not enough time to justify some of the higher end charges.
Sounds like you're also in the biz, so you know what it's like when civilians think a good job can be done faster than it can be. At my shop we can do a job two of three ways. We can do it fast, we can do it good, and we can do it cheap. You get to pick the two you want. You won't get the third.
I don't think you could have been any nicer about correcting my guestimate. A professional-- pretty much any professional-- often makes his/her job look easy to someone watching. An inexperienced observer is not aware of all the evaluations and decisions that may be being made as the job proceeds. Or the prep that went into it before the first lug bolt is loosened. I once watched a surgeon friend of mine cut open my finger, remove a metal shard, clean out the hole and pack it with antiseptic gauze and then close it up. Took less than five minutes. I remember afterward thinking, "I could probably do that."

You set me straight quickly and effectively. Without discouraging others from trying to do their own brakes, you made it clear it may not be as easy as it looks.

As you surmised, my point was it doesn't take someone who knows what they're doing a lot of time. What wasn't as clear was my opinion that whether it takes half an hour or two hours, $590 is reasonable for a competent mechanic to do a routine front brake job on a late model BMW.

Last edited by Wihelm G; 01-28-2012 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:28 PM
Wihelm G Wihelm G is offline
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Originally Posted by aermetimmerfest View Post
It's too easy and too often that the public, when not really experienced in a specific trade or the proper way to do something, can devalue what a good tradesman/tech/professional is capable of.
I am truly sorry it came across this way. My guestimate was poorly arrived at and not meant to disrespect. I have known mechanics who know at least as much about their craft as graduate school professors in top tier universities know of theirs.
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:53 PM
aermetimmerfest aermetimmerfest is offline
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Originally Posted by Wihelm G View Post
I am truly sorry it came across this way. My guestimate was poorly arrived at and not meant to disrespect. I have known mechanics who know at least as much about their craft as graduate school professors in top tier universities know of theirs.
I did not intend to imply that you came across that way. I recall you simply stating the time needed to do a brake job. Apologies for that.

My comment was unrelated to you.
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