2005 C230 break & rotor problem - need advice

Hi there, how are you doing?
My wife and I have a 2005 MB C230 and recently the plastic handle on the door (on the driver side) was broken (almost fell off), so we sent
the car into the dealership for repair as it's still under warranty. Well, as it was close to the regular service time, so the dealer advised that we kept the car for maintenance. One day later, we just got a phone call from the dealership saying that they found some problem with the "brake" and "rotor", and to replace both it would be US$1,198. As the mileage on this car is kind of low (about 20000 miles), I don't know if we should get a second opinion about getting it repaired at this dealership, as it is kind of expensive! Here are my questions:
1. I did some research online and found that people are talking about some known issues about Mercedes Benz Brake Rotor problems (see http://pressreleasespider.com/feed36102.aspx ). Does anyone know anything about this? If you take a look at the web site that I mentioned above, it has a symptom that the wheel will vibrate, which I don't think we have this. Any idea whether we should really follow the dealership's suggestion to get them replaced?
2. Is this (the break rotor) something that I could replace by myself? Where I might be able to get authentic MB parts from online?
3. How could I visually inspect the brake rotor and see if they are really damaged, how do you determine whether they should really be replaced or not (could anyone supply a photo or something)??
4. Is this service charge (US$1198) seems reasonable to you?
Thanks!
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Every situation is not the same. Rotor can't go wrong unless if you have stuck(lockup) brakes in the past. You should hear loud noise when you brake(like your finger nail cratching on the chalk-board), if your rotor or brakes are in bad shape.

Yes you could if you have some basic experience on how to replace your brake. Rotor usually slide offs, but do not replace it now, Do not listen to MB service people, they are hungry, they lied to you. I can tell by the mileage of your car.

In my opinion, rotor should last at least 100K miles, a little longer than the brake. My C280 has 80K miles right now, and my front brakes are good for another 30-40K miles, to give you an idea, 80K+30K = 110K, that's how long my C280 brakes should last. It depends on how much brake you used. I say you should not have to worry about your brakes unless it makes loud noises, or it doesn't brake well for you.

No, not to me, brakes cost so cheap, front brakes are easy to install. Assumming brake costs $150 a pair, labor should be 3-4 hours at the most.

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I have no experience on the latest C class but I do own and maintain its predecessors: 84 190D and 96 C280. I think 20k miles is a too-short distance and $1.2k is a too-expensive brake job.
The disc brake is easy to replace, much easier than drum brake. I can do both wheels in 2 hours so dealer must be able to do that too. Suppose dealer's hourly rate is $150 (very high end). Does that mean they charge the parts for $900? That is enough to buy parts for complete rebuild for all 4 wheels.
Note that I assume your situation is the normal case (due to the low mileage). I can't provide precise recommendation without seeing the car. Since the current estimation is too much way off, second opinion can help us (the group) help you better.
Disc brake is pretty easy but I would not suggest you to start from it, unless you have done other jobs like oil change, spark plugs. You do need decent tools: floor jack, stand, a set of metric sockets, 8" C-clamp, etc. The bolts are probably 15 or 17mm, pretty tight. If you think you are capable of doing that, contact me via email.
Many online places offer good deals on MB parts. If you are at west coast of US, autohausaz.com usually has the best price. If you are at east coast, buymbparts.com is pretty good: competitive price with fast shipping. They both carry OE or high quality parts. There are other sites but these two are the ones I use most.
Wen wrote:

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I'd say that spending 1,200 dollars on brakes when you can't detect any problem is not a good idea. The symptoms if the rotor is warped are pulsing in the brake pedal or steering wheel while braking. Alternatively If the rotor is worn down below spec, it might give no indication, yet should be replaced. However this is only something that would happen if you were to drive with brake pads that have worn past the point that there is any friction surface left, and you were using the metal backing as brake pads. This should not be the case on a car with that many miles unless it had a manufacturing defect. The only other case I can think of would be a rotor that was cracked, in which case they should be able to show you where it is bad. However, since MB rotors are so meaty, I really doubt that they would crack. In short, the odds of this mechanic being legitimate is quite slim. If he is, that estimate seems quite high. I'd look for another place to take your car.
Whenever I buy a make of car that is new to me, or move to a new location, I ask around about good auto shops in the area. Try asking people in parking lots with similar cars. In your case perhaps asking the guy with the 5-15 year old mercedes in the parking lot if he has a favorite mechanic that he trusts is the way to go. People with cars as new as yours might not have required enough maintenance to get a feeling of which shop is credible. I have found three wonderful shops using that tactic. Neighbors are fair game too.
Changing rotors is not a hard job if you have spun wrenches before. I'd be urprised if you couldn't find a good tutorial on it online.
Good luck, Bill
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Bill, thanks so much for your reply.
By the way I just found out that our C230 is a 2004 model, not 2005. My friend told me that all the 2004 C230 were actually assembled (or manufactured) here in USA by Chrysler, is this true? Is this the reason why 2004 C230 models got 5 years warranty? Thanks!
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He is blowing smoke. Only the ML and R class is made here. All cars are assembled in Germany.

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Everyone here offered excellent advice... and the story is turn down that offer from the dealer until you personally inspect the brakes yourself. There is no need to change the rotor at such a low mileage unless there is a problem. Pads are the wear and tear item however... you must inspect them first.
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