Replacing brake pads and discs

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Hi,
I an in the UK and I have a 1999 316i (E46) with 42,000 miles on the clock. I have been told that I need to replace brake pads and discs front and rear. Is this usal for an 8 year old car given the low
millage?. The cheapest quote I've had is about £390 (dealer price about £500). Is this reasonable?.
Thanks for any info.
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Hi,
I an in the UK and I have a 1999 316i (E46) with 42,000 miles on the clock. I have been told that I need to replace brake pads and discs front and rear. Is this usal for an 8 year old car given the low millage?. The cheapest quote I've had is about £390 (dealer price about £500). Is this reasonable?.
Thanks for any info.
Low mileage cars usually wear the brakes out at a lower mileage because their owners spend more time (percentage wise) on the brakes. [Motorway cars often do not brake for hundreds of miles at a time].
You could buy these parts yourself for about £150 and they are easy to fit for an average DIY mechanic but that is your choice. I'd say do it yourself if you are able and spend the rest of the cash on tools and a good manual.
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Hi,
I an in the UK and I have a 1999 316i (E46) with 42,000 miles on the clock. I have been told that I need to replace brake pads and discs front and rear. Is this usal for an 8 year old car given the low millage?. The cheapest quote I've had is about £390 (dealer price about £500). Is this reasonable?.
A few months ago I replaced the rear discs, pads and h/brake shoes on a 528i E39. Total cost of parts just over £100 from :- http://www.brakeparts.co.uk / Front discs and pads would have been well under £100. A quick check shows that prices would be similar for your car. You could either fit them yourself. Not a difficult job. Or having bought them, have them fitted by an independant garage or mechanic. Either way should cost you considerably less than £390. Mike.
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RustY / Mike,
Thanks for the info. I am not confirtable with doing the work myself. I'll try my local paper for a mechanic and then buy the parts.
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It seems odd that you would need both front and rear brakes after only 42000 miles (which works out to about 70 km, does it not?) In any case, the proper ratio is typically two sets of front brake pads to a set of rear brake pads. Rotors typicallly last me for two sets of pads. So, at 42k miles, you should need front pads only. Then at 85k-ish miles you will need front pads and rotors and rear pads. then at 130k-ish miles you will need front pads again, then at 170k-ish you should be prepared for front and rear pads and rotors.
Of course, all of this has lots of room for variables, but since you have managed to only go 45k miles in 9 years, slightly under 9k miles per year, my guess is that the variables are not going to come into play.
Discs and rotors are the same thing, by the way. I'm, frankly, a bit shocked that you need front brakes at this point, and I'd be very surprised to find that you need rear brakes. The front pads being worn out is probably okay, but I think I get more miles on mine than that. Having said that, brake wear is a function of stopping, and I drive many miles on the freeway withoug touching the brake pedal, so my mileage is going to be better than yours. My guess is that you drive around town almost exclusively, so you would use your brakes more than I use mine. Your speeds would be lower, but your brake application would be more frequent. In any case, you should not be needing rear pads at this point, and certainly not rear rotors. You could need front brakes, but I'd expect the front rotors to still have another 40k+ miles of service left in them.
Having said all of that, you can estimate the price of rotors to be $50 each, and pads at $50 per axle set. Those prices are USD, and the actual prices will vary a bit from there, but not too much. (I bought a complete set of pads and rotors for my car on eBay for under $200, but then had to pay another $40 for machine work to make them true and straight.)
Hi,
I an in the UK and I have a 1999 316i (E46) with 42,000 miles on the clock. I have been told that I need to replace brake pads and discs front and rear. Is this usal for an 8 year old car given the low millage?. The cheapest quote I've had is about £390 (dealer price about £500). Is this reasonable?.
Thanks for any info.
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Jeff,
Thanks very much for that. I got the feeling that it was too early to change the discs (rotors). I was told by a local garage that front discs are completely worn out and the rear discs can be left for a few more months. Since I was getting the pads replaced, they said I should get the rear discs changed as well. I think I'll take the car to another garage for a second opinion.
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Garages need to make money and will often suggest brake replacement before it's really needed, but then again it might save you taking the car back in again in a few months - it depends how you drive and what your attitude is to repairs.
I had a set last over 100k miles on my 325i but the ones on my M3 need replacing after about 12k.
If the fronts were "excessively worn" then they should have failed the MoT. Brakes aren't made by the manufacturer of the car, and as others have said it'll be about £200 for the parts. Anyone with brake experience (and some without) can fit them and for a pro it should take maybe an hour to do the whole lot, maybe a bit more if the the handbrake needs adjusting etc.
In my experience BMW take the p!ss on a) their labour charge, b) the time they say it takes to do the job which effectively increases the labour charge even more and c) pretty much any other way they can. Their parts charges often actually aren't too bad and I used to buy my discs from them because they were much better quality to anything else I had seen.
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I agree with the point about BMW dealer prices. One of them quoted over £600 to repalce the pads and the discs.
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If you have a caliper (the measuring type) and a lug wrench, you can easily check the remaining life of the rotors. Simply remove the tire, as if you had a flat tire, and measure the thickness of the rotor at several places from the edge toward the center at a few locations around the rotor.
Somebody suggested you get a sixer and invite a friend over, that sounds like a good idea to me. Surely a sixer would cost less than a mechanic, and you still get the second opinion.
Your brake rotors could be completely worn out, but this is not typical. If they are completely worn out, you need to rethink the way you use the pedals, especially the Stop Pedal.

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Most measuring calipers have parallel jaws so you'll just be measuring the unworn ridge at the edge of the disc where the pads don't touch. And it will be rusty too so thicker than new. ;-)
You need either a pukka micrometer or some ingenuity and maths if all you have is a measuring caliper.
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wrote:

Simple. Just stick a ball bearing on each blade of the caliper with plasticine. Never tried it, but if you haven't any plasticine, I imagine chewing gum would work just as well. :-) Mike.
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Easier to use a drill bit either side - they're marked with their size. Something like 2mm or so will be fine.
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That would normally be the second set of front pads, first set of rears and just front discs only at that mileage. But it depends very much on how the car is driven.
A complete set of ATE discs, pads and wear sensors would cost approx 200 quid from Eurocarparts, and it's an easy morning's work to fit them. So 390 from an independant seems a bit high to me. Dealers can charge over 100 quid an hour labour.
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Dave, Thanks for that. I got a price from Europarts and it came to about £230. So it looks like the garage is charging about £150 to fit them,
BTW, my warning lights haven't come on yet. Should I wait for the warning light before replacing pads/discs?. I was told at my last MoT (about 2 weeks ago) that the brakes were running low.
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Dave, Thanks for that. I got a price from Europarts and it came to about £230.
Less than that from :- http://www.brakeparts.co.uk / Over time I have used them for front and rear discs and pads, and found the quality on par with those supplied as OE. Mike.
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Newsposter wrote:

Not really. Shops don't have to pay as much as we do for parts because they are volume customers of the parts sellers. Remember, they are making money on selling you the parts as well as on the labor to install them.

I wouldn't personally wait until the sensor fails for 2 reasons.
1) I don't like to go that far with my brakes for safety reasons.
2) If you wait until the warning light goes off, you will have to replace the sensors. OTOH, if you don't wait that long, the old sensors can be refitted to the new pads saving a few bucks.
Pull off your wheels and eye-ball / measure your pad thicknesses yourself. Why trust the MOT guy? Don't you suppose he might want to do your brake job?
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Fred, Thanks for that. I was told you had to replace the sensors every time you replace the pads or discs (may be they are trying to make few more Pounds out of me!). I am going to take the car to another garage on Saturday. If they say I need pads and/or discs, I'll get it done. I only do about 5 miles/ day during the weekdays so I guess waiting until Saturday won't be too bad.
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You could probably go another year! As others have said, take a LOOK at them youerself.
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You might be lucky but I've had old but good sensors break on removal. So I wouldn't count on being able to re-use them.
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Go to Euro Car Parts and get the discs at 50% of manufactures price and the pads at 60+% of dealers price.
Go buy an impact screwdriver and a 7mm hex or Allen wrench to fit your 3/8 drive socket set. and ask a mate round for a beer and DIY.
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