Had our '02 300M checked out yesterday when they did a regular service.
They reported that the front brake rotors don't have a lot of life left
in them, but they couldn't fit me in to do the job yesterday while they
had it there.
They said there is a lifetime warranty on the pads, but new rotors would
cost me $220.
Do I have to have the job done by a dealer to maintain the warranty on
the pads? And how much would replacement pads cost if the warranty is
voided? What is a reasonable price for non-dealer replacement of both
rotor? (They wanted to charge me $13 to replace the license-plate bulb.
I bought a 2-pack for $2 and replaced it in 5 minutes.)
If those are the first time they've ever been replaced, I'd say that
I've replaced mine once, and had the replacements resurfaced once, and
they could use replacing again. And I don't put much milage on my '00
That's a little steep. At any parts store you'll pay at most maybe $60
each. More likely $40 each.
Pads should cost you maybe $45 for a set. Pay no attention to the
warrany on the pads.
The pads and rotors should cost you $100 to $140 max for the parts.
It's one of the easiest jobs you can do in your own driveway with only a
few tools and a decent hydraulic jack.
"Percival P. Cassidy" wrote: "They said there is a lifetime warranty on the
pads, but new rotors would cost me $220."
The price for the rotors to me sounds kind of high since I just purchased
rotors for a 1 ton pickup truck that cost less then that. Was the $220 for
the entire job (both sides and parts) or per side with parts or one side or
just parts? If both sides and all the parts that sounds about right.
I understood it to be for the whole job: supply and installation of two
But, as you have no doubt seen, another poster has suggested that rotors
may be purchased for $40 to $60 each and that installation is very
simple. Indeed, rotors with a 2-year limited warranty are $40 each at a
couple of the local parts stores, or almost double for ones with a
lifetime limited warranty.
Without so far having looked at the service manual, I am guessing that
the only extra step compared to changing a wheel is removing or
loosening the caliper assembly to allow the rotor to be removed.
...and pushing the pistons back into the calipers (with a c-clamp or
other method. Pay attention to how the pads come out - they fit into
the caliper kind of like a puzzle - IOW - pay attention to the little
ears on the pads and where they fit. One end of the pad stays in place
while you rotate the other one out - revers putting them back in, but
the ears have to be correctly placed.
Make sure the rotors you buy are the same outside diameter as the old
ones. The aftermarket world was confused on that - some of the
suppliers may still be confused. If you gave them the P/N for the
larger (correct) rotor, you would end up with the smaller one, which
will go on fine, but the full surface of the pad will not be swept by
Also the aftermarket world was confused on the front pads. Some of them
have fixed that, but if you see that the retainers on the front outer
pads don't match up with the recesses in the caliper, then, if you still
want that same brand and type of pad, go back and exchange them for ones
for the '94 Concorde. I know this all may sound crazy, but it's true.
(To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
I wouldn't pay more than $220 for a complete front brake job (new pads,
new rotors, labor and taxes). And that's being generous.
I pay no attention and don't factor in the warranty fine print when
selecting pads and rotors. If a pad cracks or falls apart or if a rotor
is warped within a week of driving on it, then you bring the part back
and get another one (neigher has ever happened to me).
These parts are designed to wear and their lifespan depends on your
climate, your milage and driving habbits. After you've been driving on
them for a year or two, you're going to completely forget that you paid
extra for special warranty, and after 3 or 4 years when it's time for
new pads or time to resurface the rotors, the extra $$$ you paid for the
warranty will mean absolutely nothing.
You need to have a decent hydraulic floor jack. I've got one that
weights at least 100 lbs but a much smaller one will do. Probably cost
$50 and you'll make that up the next time you rotate your own tires or
change your summer tires for snow tires.
Invest in a cross-style tire iron. Chrome plated, at least a foot wide
(maybe 1.5 feet). There are folding ones that fit in the spare tire
compartment of the 300m (you should have one there anyways).
Position the jack (put a piece of wood between the jack plate and the
car underframe jack point). Front jack point is just behind where the
wheel well ends, about 6 inches from the outside edge of the rocker
panel. Raise the car about an inch or two, then crack the lug nuts at
least 1/2 turn. Then raise the car so that the wheel is about an inch
off the ground. Remove the lug nuts and take the wheel off.
Now some people might want to put a jack stand under the front
suspension somewhere in case the hydraulic jack fails. I don't unless
the front wheel is going to be off for more than an hour or two.
Now I think you'll need a 10mm socket (6-sided, not 12) to remove the
two caliper slide bolts. Might give you a problem just to put the
socket on the bolt head because of rust. Might take some elbow grease
to break the bolts free, but once free they should unscrew real easy.
Next the caliper rotates up and out. The pads will give you a hard time
getting past the rust-ridge on the rotors. DON'T force the calipers out
without freeing up the pads. You don't want to break the caliper piston
(I think it's made of ceramic).
You won't have much room to manipulate the caliper once it's off because
it's still attached to the car via the brake hose. Be gentle - don't
dammage the hose. Always support the caliper so that there's no stress
on the brake hose. Pry the pads off the caliper.
Now at this point you'll need a large C clamp and either a thin piece of
hardwood or a short, wide metal plate. You want to use the clamp and
the plate to compress the piston back into the cylinder. The plate will
span the open end of the piston. Position the clamp directly over the
center of the piston and press it down into the cylinder. Should go
easy. Don't break the piston. Press down all the way until the plate
hits the caliper housing.
Take the new pads and the small packet of blue goo that came with them.
Spread the goo on the back of the pad on the area where it will contact
the caliper or the piston.
If you bought new rotors, now is the time to put them on. Old ones
should come right off. Might have to remove (destroy) 2 stamped metal
retaining clips that keep the rotor on the lug bolts. Don't worry, you
don't need to replace them.
Slide (or press) the new pads into place. Rock the caliper back into
position on the wheel.
Put some grease (preferrably high-temperature grease) on the caliper
bolts and hand-screw them into place. Rock or press down hard on the
caliper to line up the bolts with the holes. Tighten the bolts real
good (don't break them). Spin the wheel hub to make sure nothing's
binding. Don't get grease (and ideally, no fingerprints either) on the
rotor surface during this whole process. Wipe it clean and dry with
some solvent if you do (gasoline, acetone, etc).
That's about it. Put the tire back on (put some wheel bearing grease on
the lug bolts first). Tighten the lug nuts as much as you can (the
wheel will want to spin while you're doing this. Lower the jack half
way and tighten the lugs some more, then remove the jack completely and
finish tightening the lug nuts.
That's it. You're done one side.
I'd never trust my life, or foot, or arm to a single jack.
If you don't have a set of jack stands at the very least take the tire
and wheel you just took off the car and slide it under the car in a
place you think it could hold the car up and save your butt if the jack
slips as a "just in case" back up plan.
Learned that simple option from an old timer body shop owner when I was
a teen in the 70's working on cars in my parents driveway.
I'd recommend reconsidering that statement. Here are some reasons why,
just from the past week:
The names and places change, but these stories are repeated over and
over again. Each flattened person had thought that his jack was "good
enough" and would never fail or fall. Until they were dead.
Just to be clear here...
Changing the brake pads and rotors doesn't require that you place your
body *under* the car (at least not when I do it).
The jack I use can barely fit under the car as is, so if it were to fail
(lose pressure) then that corner of the car would settle down on the
jack plate, and the front rotor wouldn't even touch the ground.
Basically, I don't jack up the car high enough to be able to get my body
under it when doing a brake job, and I'd probably have to jack it a few
inches *higher* than I normally would to be able to put the jack stands
I do have under it anyways.
I've done lots of work on my older mopars in the past (geeze, 20 years
ago) and they were raised about 2 feet off the ground and believe me,
they were fully supported with stands at all 4 corners. And then some.
I bought new rotors at AutoZone for $40 each and had just got one old
one off yesterday when a neighbor who is an auto mechanic came over to
see what I was up to. He said that without actually measuring the
thickness of the rotor it looked fine to him, judging by the very small
ridge around the edge. What I really needed, he said, was new pads: the
friction material was very thin and was starting to separate from the
steel plate. But replacing the rotors along with the pads was not such a
bad idea, he said. The new pads I bought ($60) have friction material at
least four times as thick as that on the old ones.
The more I think about what they told me at the dealership, the less
sense it makes. The conversation went something like this:
Service Adviser: "Your front brake rotors are down to about 15%. The
pads have a lifetime warranty, but you need new rotors."
I: "How much are they going to cost me?"
I: "You can't just skim the present rotors?" [I now see that this was a
stupid question: if the rotors are already getting near the end of their
life, skimming them is just going to make them thinner.]
SA: "We could skim them, but that's still going to cost you $60 dollars
and would void the warranty on the pads." [How come he didn't tell me
that skimming already-too-thin rotors doesn't make any sense? And how
would skimming rotors help unless they were scored or out of true? -- of
which there was no evidence.]
ISTM that what he should have told me was that the pads were getting
near the end of their life and that although the replacement pads were
free I'd still be up for the labor charge -- and that it would be
advisable to replace the rotors while I was about it.
Rotors are almost always good for a 2 sets of pads. Unless you feel a
pulsing in the brake pedal or a shimmy in the steering wheel when you
apply the brakes, you don't need to change the rotors.
I think you mean that the old pads were 75% worn compared to the new
Meaning that there was maybe 1/8" of pad material left.
$60 is a bit steep for a set of pads.
He wants to sell you new rotors regardless the condition of your current
ones. And he wants to charge you almost 3 times the retail price for
Because the rotors weren't worn enough to begin with. There is a
minimum thickness number stamped on all rotors. The service guy knows
that turning them (the technical term for skimming or resurfacing them)
won't bring them down to that level. So he's not going to lie to you
that he can't turn them.
It should only cost $10 each to turn rotors. This guy is hosing you big
He's trying to scare you about the warranty being voided because of
turning the rotors. He'd rather you pay $220 for an $80 pair of rotors.
Because he wants to sell you new rotors. Your existing ones are fine.
If these pads were under lifetime waranty, then clearly they are not
going to make much money on you if all you do is get them replaced (for
free) and just pay the labor. They want to extract more money from you,
and selling you new rotors for 3x the street price is how they do it.
And like I said, changing the pads (and rotor if necessary) is one of
the easiest things a driveway mechanic can do and save a ton of dough
while doing it. On a scale where you look at the $$$ you save and the
effort, time, and hassle, doing your own oil change ranks on the low end
of the scale, and a brake job is at the high end.
Let me guess. He made you second guess yourself and you let him replace
the rotors for $220. What did the whole thing cost? Just under $400
Someone wrote: "He made you second guess yourself and you let him replace
the rotors for $220.'
If you buy parts from a dealership they cost more then from places like
Autozone. I just purchased two new rotors and pads from my wife's Dodge
through the dealership and the cost was 128 dollars for both rotors and
pads. This is with a discount since she works there.
If he was quoted 220 dollars for the front brake job I would believe that is
probably right since the parts are probably about the same as my wife's car
and the rest would be labor charge. Not sure what the shop manual calls for
in regards to labor but my old 3/4 ton truck calls for 1.8 hours to change
the rotor and pads.
Bottom-line it is cheaper to do it your self then to pay someone else.
As far as the dealer wanting to replace the rotors and not turn them without
measuring them your neighbor can say they look ok but can he be sure.
Rotors have a minimum machine to specification. Sometimes it is cast on the
rotor if not you have to look up the factory specification to determine.
I have done many of brake jobs in my driveway as a kid and young adult. I
no longer even attempt any repairs unless I absolutely have to. I purchase
the parts and I call one of the mechanics that work at my wife's dealership
over for some good food and a suitcase of beer. I watch him fix the vehicle
while I start on the suitcase. When he finishes then he helps me finish it.
Cheapest labor I ever paid for and I don't even get dirty any more.
I assumed that the $60 was to remove, turn and replace the rotors.
My understanding was that $220 (excluding tax) was for the whole job.
Moreover, as I wrote already, I bought the rotors ($40 ea.) and pads
($60 for the set of four -- ceramic with lifetime warranty) at AutoZone.
I did the job myself in my driveway -- with a little advice from my
auto-mechanic neighbor and the unsolicited loan of his torque wrench.
Percival P. Cassidy wrote: "My understanding was that $220 (excluding tax)
was for the whole job. Moreover, as I wrote already, I bought the rotors
($40 ea.) and pads ($60 for the set of four -- ceramic with lifetime
warranty) at AutoZone. I did the job myself in my driveway -- with a little
advice from my auto-mechanic neighbor and the unsolicited loan of his torque
So parts cost you around 100 dollars plus tax. How much time did it take
you for do the job? Your time should include, getting parts, tools, jacking
up the car, actually doing the job, and putting everything back up, clean
up. now Multiply that by your hourly salary and see how much your labor cost
to do the job. Let say from start to finish took you 3 hours. You make 25
dollars and hour then the total job would have cost 175 dollars for you to
do it yourself. So you saved a about 45 dollars.
Like I said also it is usually cheaper to do it yourself but sometimes its
not worth the hassle. What the dealer was charging was about right for a
front axel brake job. If you take in consideration the parts or higher then
AutoZone and them labor charge is probably around 70 to 100 dollars and
What you gained by doing it yourself is experience on doing this type of job
in the future and self satisfaction of a good job. Congratulations on a
That still does not answer your question in why the dealer wanted to change
your rotors. Did he measure them? Did you measure them when your removed
them to see if they could have been reused. What about hard spots
(discoloration onthe surface). Did you see any on the old rotors?
There have been plenty of debate on whether rotors should be replaced or
turned during brake service. Different manufactures make different
recommendations. GM states the rotors should not be turned or changed at
every pad replacement unless there is issues with severe scoring with depth
in excess of 1.5 mm or 0.060 inch, pulsation from excessive lateral runout
of more than .080 mm or .003 inch, thickness variation in excess of 0.025 mm
or 0.001 inch, or excessive corrosion on rotor braking surfaces. Technical
bulletin #00-05-22-002 by GM.
So the bottomline is why did he want to change the rotors? Was it to make
money or because his mechanic actually seen something wrong with the rotors?
Many shops want to replace the rotors to help prevent return customers
because of things like brake puslation and other issues that may occur after
a brake job. chane everything the first time and do not have to worry about
a return job.
Yes. In my case, I bought a set of rear pads and rotors a few months
ago for my 300m. Bought it at Canada Tire. Total (with tax) came to
just about $100. The parts were "on sale".
Haven't done it yet. That's the beauty of doing it yourself. You
choose the time, right in your own driveway. No need to deal with the
schedule of a shop, of leaving it with them for an undetermined period
of time, and arranging transportation while they have the car.
Takes less time to get the parts than it does to arrange for the job to
be done at a shop (you go in, wait to be served, talk to the guy, have
him draw up a quote, sign it, come back later, wait to be served, talk
about the job, be shown the final paper work, sign the paperwork and pay
for the job).
The tools required for a brake job are among the most simple and sparse
set of tools for any significant servicing you can do to a car. Anyone
that drives a car should at least have the tools required to raise a
corner of the car to take off a wheel and a lug wrench to actually take
said wheel off. Beyond that, an ordinary wrench or socket to remove
caliper bolts, a C clamp or small vise, and that's pretty much all the
tools you need.
A small $35 hydaulic shop jack (the kind with 4 wheels and a tubular
handle) is all you need to do the job quickly and safely. Anyone who
changes or rotates their own tires should already have one.
Two hours after dinner.
You are presuming that someone is already paying me while I would
otherwise be sitting on my couch, watching TV with a beer in my hand?
I believe I just shot that point all to hell.
Changing you timing belt is probably not worth the hassle, especially if
it's the first time (and the last time) you're ever going to do it on
the car in question. Doing a brake job is a much different story.
What the dealer did wrong was practically force the guy to buy new
rotors for almost 3 times the going retail price. How do you square
MoPar Man wrote: "What the dealer did wrong was practically force the guy
to buy new rotors for almost 3 times the going retail price. How do you
As I said parts a the dealership always cost more then places like AutoZone.
For reference the list price for 2001 Chrysler 300M is around 80 dollars at
the dealership. As far as the dealership wanting to change the rotors I can
not speak for said dealership since I was not there. Maybe the dealership
measure the thickness of the rotors and found them to be near the minimum
thickness. Maybe the dealership found hard spots (discoloration) on the
rotor and turn them would only remove them for a short period and would
return after a few hundred miles. If he changed the rotors he would likely
have less problems with the owner returning due to brakes pulsating, pulling
or other braking issues.
When I was younger, before I tackled any job, I considered how much time it
took me to complete the task. I know what I make per hour and I figure if I
can pay someone cheaper to do them what my time is worth. So instead of
getting hot and sweat in my driveway, I could be fishing or drinking beer
while enjoying the finer things in life.
I never waited around any shop why my vehicle is being worked on as I make
arrangement with the shop to work on my vehicle while I am at work.
That is why warranties and dealer services have been absolutely
worthless to me over the years and I became a DIY'er. They warranty the
pads, but what good is that if the conditions they put on what YOU have
to do and pay for for the warranty to be honored costs more than doing
your own maintenance or even paying a competent independent shop to do
And it's a moot point of whether to have them turn rotors that are below
the limit - it is illegal for a shop to turn rotors below the limit
stated by the manufacturer - it is considered a legal limit - not just a
(To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
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