2001 300Ci: Rotors shot after 53k miles?

Howdy,
Recently, my 2001 330Ci's brake lining indicator came on after about 53k miles of happy driving.
I thought to myself, "no problem: the car needs new brake pads."
When I took the car to the dealer, they told me the front rotors were "below spec" and had to be replaced. They said it was "normal" for the rotors and pads to wear out at the same time. $550 later, I had new front rotors and pads along with a very uneasy feeling about the whole situation. Either BMW brake hardware just sucks rocks, or this dealer had taken me for a ride
I've never heard of rotors wearing down so quickly, and needless to say I was shocked that my "Ultimate Driving Machine" was tearing through rotors in just 50k miles of driving. I've driven other cars much more agressively (autocrossing regularly) for over 120k miles before the brake rotors were in need of any care.
Is my experience typical? Do BMW brake rotors wear out twice as fast as other auto brands? Or did my BMW dealer pull a fast one?
Chris
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Very typical wear - I replaced the pads/rotors on my '01 at about 50K or so, too. BMW specifies thin rotors to reduce unsprung weight - that's just the way it is. Also the price is typical of what BMW dealers charge. You should be aware that it's an easy do-it-yourself job that the parts cost about $200 for.
Floyd
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You've been had mate.

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Dealer labour rates are horrendous, hence the big bill. Your dealer may have been extracting the michael a bit with the labour charges though. My 2001 330dSE needed front discs (rotors) and pads at 50,000ish miles on the clock. The parts cost UK£150, around US$275, and I fitted them myself in under an hour. They were almost in need of replacement, I might (if lucky and only gentle use!) have got another 5 or 10 thousand miles from them but I was about to go away on business for 3 weeks and do at least 2000 miles in that time so I just replaced them. Badger.
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Badger wrote:

I hope this doesn't disturb this thread too much, but I had to ask about the phrase "extracting the michael". I live in the US and am not familiar with this phrase. Can you elaborate where it is commonly used and what it means (although I think I've guessed the second part.)
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Tom Wright wrote:

Tom, all you neede to do was type "extracting the michael" into google.
http://www.antimoon.com/forum/2004/5522.htm
-Fred W
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Badger wrote:

I hope this doesn't disturb this thread too much, but I had to ask about the phrase "extracting the michael". I live in the US and am not familiar with this phrase. Can you elaborate where it is commonly used and what it means (although I think I've guessed the second part.)
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"Extracting the michael" = Taking the mickey, or:- taking the piss, having a laugh at your expense, an attempt (usually successful) to appear serious whilst spinning a line of bull. Commonly used in the Uk, and most English speaking parts of the globe. Badger.
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snipped-for-privacy@2nerds.com wrote:

I would say the disks were replaced prematurely, but who knows? It is highly dependant on what type of driving the mileage was (lots of stop and go or more highway).
Typically, disks last at least 2 sets of pads. You should have asked for the used parts back, then you could have readily measured the thickness yourself to either verify the thoroughness of your dealership in catching the early worn disks, or catch them screwing you by selling you parts and labor you do not need. That way you could make up your mind about whether to do business there anymore. As it is now, you will never know until/if they attempt to screw you again...
-Fred W
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IMHO, 50,000 miles is a good life for BMW discs. You like (presumably) the good response so pay for it one way or another.
--
*Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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I am not sure about the mileage, my brake rotors lasted much longer, but the price is WAY out of line.
I installed rotors for $50 each, and the pads were $50 for the axle set. The entire job set me back under $200, and the labor was something in the neighborhood of 1.5 hours - I work slow, the dealer technicians should be able to get this job done in about 0.5 hours. I don't know what the Time Rate is for the job, but the job is very easy to do at home, doing it at the shop with the proper lift and tools can only make it easier.
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snipped-for-privacy@2nerds.com wrote:

I'm a bit surprised they lasted that *long*.

Ummm, autocross doesn't really wear out your brakes, in spite of the 'hard driving' image we like to project. Think about it: they're all sharp, short, usually low-speed applications. You barely get them warmed up.

Well, the theory of *all* brakes is sacrificial wear. In order to raise the performance of brakes, you have to sacrifice a little *more* wear. OEM BMW pads and rotors tend to do this. Still, it appears to me that you got great wear out of them. I'm used to changing out Metalmaster pads at around 30K (including normal 'brisk' street wear, autocross, and high speed track sessions) and OEM rotors about every other pad change (~60K).

Well, that bill seems a *tad* high, but not outrageously so for 'authorized BMW service'. The hot tip here is, get yourself a Bentley and learn how to change your own brakes. It's surprisingly quick and easy. Once you've done it, a pad change will take you about 10 minutes a wheel. Add another 5 min/wheel if you're also changing rotors. -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; done that)
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