Outback Expen$ive Brake Job - Opinions Wanted Please!

We bought a 2000 Outback a week ago. Clean, maintained, etc. with a moderate 42,000 miles. Trustworthy seller (as well as a test drive)
informed us the brakes were in need of repair -- rotors were scored and seller implied he had been estimated $300. We took that off the price and bought the vehicle. We live in the Boston area.
During an oil change and state inspection yesterday, we were informed that the brakes were "very bad -- almost metal on metal" and if we drove it much more the calipers would be eaten. I asked for a ballpark figure and was told $110 each for four rotors, $100 for a set of 4 ceramic pads, about 180 for labor. Ouch.
So I took it to the mechanic I have used for the last few years. I basically trust him but he's pulled a few things (keeping the core charge even though he also keeps the parts) to make me a bit wary. He's given me a good price on some other things, though, and seems to be thorough. He put it on the lift right away and confirmed that the brakes were extremely bad and the rear rotors could even possibly shatter during sudden, emergency braking. He offered to do the brakes right there and then, and with the holiday weekend and an out-of-state trip coming up, I agreed. As far as "saving money," I said that my wife would be driving the car and it had to be safe. But I was confident that the total would be less than the first off-the-cuff quote I was given.
Less than two hours later all was complete and I went in. He said the rear pistons had been "frozen" so we were basically only using the front brakes. I asked whether the new rotors were genuine Subaru and he said yes. Said he used semi-metallic pads. Also said he had checked all fluids and found low oil in the rear differential. The bill was as follows:
Basic front disc brake job includes installation of new front disc brake pads, shims, two new front disc brake rotors and press, clean and lubricate existing calipers $89.95
One new set of front disc brake pads and shims $66.23
Two new front disc brake heavy duty rotors $246.42
Basic rear disc brake job includes installation of new rear disc brake pads, shims, two new rear disc brake rotors and oress, clean and lubircate existing calipers $89.95
One new set of rear brake pads and shims $67.62
Two new rear brake heavy duty rotors $240.92
Check and refill all fluids (no charge)
----------------------------------------- Total (with tax) $832.15
I felt a bit like a sucker but what's done was done and I paid and left. The brakes felt good on the way home.
At home I did some searching online and see aftermarket rotors for 40-80 bucks. So I feel like maybe I didn't do my homework on this one.
Questions to the group:
Should I have shied away from a car with four bad rotors at 42K miles? Should I continue to use this mechanic? Did I really need heavy duty rotors? Are pads really that expensive? Am I a dope?
Thank you for any and all educated opinions provided.
J
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Seems a bit, but not much, high. Your mechanic had to buy parts from a
Subaru dealer. There are no worthwhile aftermarket brake parts for Subarus.
Next time, when time isnot of the essence, buy your parts from
Naticksubaru.com or send your mechanic to them. They'll sell to you for
wholesale. Ilive in NY and I buy from them on-line regularly.
Mark

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Yes or least got some worst case prices before buying.

If you trust him overall yes.

there may only be one type available at this time

Depends on car. Some are $10 /set others $200

Just another used car buyer who got duped. I'd never pay more than $5k for a used car and it would be a project car that I know needs $$$ into it. I cannot understand who would pay more than $10k for a used car when new ones are only a bit more.
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Do you live on the same planet I do?

a
cannot
only a

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First of all, the car was not well maintained if the brakes were completely shot at 42,000. Either that or the mileage wasn't right. Sounds to me like the car was "rode hard and put away wet", and if I were you, I'd be waiting for the next problem to show up? Did the previous owner have the first level III service done at 30,000? If so, why were'nt the brakes done then, before the damage got any worse.
Sorry, my friend, but I think you got took.
George Adams
"All good fishermen stay young until they die, for fishing is the only dream of youth that doth not grow stale with age." ---- J.W Muller
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George Adams wrote:

My reaction as well. As I've stated a couple times before, I did my fronts at 40k and found the rotors perfect and 1/3 the pad gone, 2/3 remaining. Now I live in a flat area and I drive reasonably. I have a stick and I use compression braking a lot. So maybe I'm not an average owner.
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Interesting. Sounds a lot like me -- standard transmission, flat area, vanilla driving. It is my third Subaru. But the 2000 Legacy wagon, with 49K miles on it, had very bad front brakes and the rear brakes had to be "resurfaced". Cost: ~$600 (US).
I take the car in every 7,500 miles and get the "usual" done as well as the "specials" at 15K and 30K. Can't see how much more maintenance one can give. And, it is the first time in 20 years of Subaru driving that I have had to deal with the brakes, at all.
--

Surendar Jeyadev snipped-for-privacy@wrc.xerox.bounceback.com

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On 30 May 2004 16:56:41 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnojunk (George Adams) wrote:

I agree. However, badly worn brakes at an unexpectedly young age isn't unusual with used Subarus, not (as far as I know) because of any design flaws in the car, but because people drive them harder than they do some Toyota or Honda. AWD, low center of gravity, and somewhat more powerful engines can tempt a driver to see what the car will do, again and again. <G> (Yes, I am speaking from experience.)
I bought mine four years ago -- a 1998 Outback Sport with just over 30k miles on it. The brakes were squeaking so much that I asked the dealer that had sold it to me to take a look. It turned out that they were badly worn, although not nearly to the level that this user reported. The dealer, fortunately, was embarrassed that they hadn't spotted and fixed the breaks before selling it to me. So I got the brake job for free, and it was a good one -- the new brakes lasted about 40,000 miles before I had to get them redone.

I agree. I've bought used cars all my life, but nowadays insist on taking any car I am seriously considering to an independent diagnostic/test center for a full test before I will sign the papers. The $100 or so that the center charges me is money well spent -- I know *everything* about that car before I sign on the dotted line.
--
Catherine Hampton < snipped-for-privacy@spambouncer.org>
Home Page * <http://www.devsite.org/
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Some folk think the best place to rest their left foot while driving is the brake pedal! Subaru actually MAKES a fine place just to the left of the brake pedal to rest your left foot! You'll then find your brakes lasting a LOT longer! I replaced my half worn brake pads on my 85 Turbo XT a 100,000 miles just cause I wanted them to be new then! I did not need rotors at the time. I replaced them again at 200,000 but again they didn't need it and the rotors still looked and acted brand new. At 300,000 I took the brake pads out but just put them back in again. At 400,000, I put back in the pads I took out at 200,000. I have about 3,000 miles left to go to 500,000 but the rotors still look very good.
--
73 de N7PSV aka JW <n><
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Here is my brake bill for 97 OBW @ 91K miles done by "trusted" Suby Specialties in Monrovia, CA, using genuine Subaru parts:
Per axle: Pads $95.95 R&R and machine rotors: $84.00 Replace pads: $56.00
For a total of $472 (before tax).

Looks like it. For comparison, non-subaru pads range from $28 to $70 on the web. The rotors for $33 to $66 ...
Cheers,
--
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Check NAPA, rotors for under $50 each and ceramic pads well priced. TG

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Seems to me the a 2000 OB would have still been under factory warrantee with only 42K miles. ??? I bought a '97 OB in 1999 and the "ole slap" started 2 years later at 49K miles. Idaho dealer put in a short block at no cost to me.
FWIW: After a '84 BMW brake experience in 1986 I feel I've learned that only OEM should be used. At 40K the disks were warped from heavy thoughtless use (owner a lawyer) so bought cheap. Those new disks warped almost immediately. OEM brakes were still good 4 years later when I sold the car at 110K miles; and the car would still pulldown quickly from 110mph with no fade.
One motto is: Replace fluid every 2 years, NEVER use brake fluid from old can! Brake fluid is hydroscopic and absorbs water, that water in the fluid will boil under heavy use and brakes will fade badly! Plus, it can rust pistons inside the calipers and elsewhere. Been there, done that on '68 Porsche that was poorly maintained!
Don
TG wrote:

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Don@NoSpam writes:

Powertrain and emissions onlky at that point.

Likely cus the engine is part of the the powertrain. :-)
-- Todd H. 2001 Legacy Outback Wagon, 2.5L H-4 Chicago, Illinois USA
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It doesn't matter what the consumer's over-the-counter price is. You'renot buying the parts, the mechanic is. It seems your mechanic charged the full retail MSRP for the replacement parts. Very common in the auto repair industry. Unless you can do the work yourself, you are at the mercy of the mechanic and the prices he charges. One question to ask the mechanic before replacing the rotors is: can they be machined? Were they at or below the minimum thickness? At 42k miles, they would probebly be near the wear-limit, but since the rear brakes weren't working properly, the rotors might still have been serviceable. Ahh hindsight.
Alex
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i changed all four discs and both sets of pads for $200 canadian. i think you should learn how to do it yourself; it's easy. shaun
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It is an indicator that the previous owner wasn't terriby ginger with the vehicle. However, late model subaru's are damned hard to find, so your pickings are typically pretty slim and it's a tradeoff.
As a result of this slim pickings phenomenon, I ended up purchasing new.

I paid about $30 for a pair of front pads for my vehicle recently at an AutoZone. They seem to be working fine.
Sorry to hear of your story. Looks like you did pay a pretty penny, but given that you'd gotten a car with brakes in that bad a shape, you weren't exactly in a great position to drive around and get a lot of prices.
Don't beat yourself up. Enjoy the car, and remember that brake job is just 2 car payments, and hopefully you saved more than $800 buying late model used than getting a new one. Wrap yourself up in the "used late model Subes are a bitch to find," and go on with life. :-)
Best Regards, -- Todd H. 2001 Legacy Outback Wagon, 2.5L H-4 Chicago, Illinois USA
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It is not that bad, I bought a pair of rotor + pads from Pepsboy for $169 (front), a comparable job done by the same place costed me $350 (rear). You had front and rear done and used OEM parts. A couple of years ago, subaru dealer did a rear brake job for me for $600 (pad, rotors, fluid, front valve cover gasket, etc).
Repair shop does not shop around, I had a starter replacement quoted by dealer for $300+ dollar (new), but a rebuilt one can be found at $80. I ended up did it myself.
Maybe you should get a quote first before authorizing the job, if the parts costs are too high, see if they allow you bringing in your own parts.

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I have no idea how the car was driven to comment whether you should have shied away from it. As far as what you paid, I'd say you were foolish not to have the work done at a dealer for that price. I had the rotors and pads replaced on my 99 OBW at a dealer last year (with Subaru parts) and it cost me only about $50 more than you paid.
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For all the parts and labor you required that does not seem out of line. I had a similar experience with a 1999 Impreza RS 2.5. If it had been caught earlier and the rotors had not been scored you would have been able to resurface them, rather than replace them, and saved a bunch. Subaru parts are also expensive. Don't expect to pay Chevy prices for them, more like Porsche prices. Subaru also seems to do little to encourage the after market manufactures to produce alternatives to the dealer supplied parts, no competition means you pay more. In my case I had the work done at a brand name brake specialist. Even they were surprised to find that they had to get the parts from a Subaru dealer rather than being able to get them from their suppliers. They were also a little dismayed at the price of the parts because it was their policy to lifetime warranty the pads as well. What they also found on my car was that the brake pads had stuck or jammed in the calipers rather that the pistons seizing which is usually the case when you experience premature brake wear. Even when they tried to instal the new pads they found that they did not float as freely as they should so they ground them down a little to ensure they did not stick again. I live in a cold climate where road salt is used and they felt that the design of the Subaru calipers made them susceptible to sticking. They encouraged me to take advantage of their policy of providing free annual break inspections to prevent this in the future. Maybe there is a brand name outlet in your area that does the same.
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