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
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.