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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 09-28-2008, 07:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Need to replace rotors WITH brake pads together?

I was in for an alignment jobbie at Firestone and i also needed new brake pads... however the guy there told me that my car and some or most BMW's u gotta change the rotors with the pads, that u dont just change pads only... it cost me $360 for both front wheels, and that was with a "$50 discount"..... so to me $180 per wheel for brake pads and rotors donr sound too bad.. but I'm no expert. They said the pads were just about totally done.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You only have to replaced your rotors if the thickness of the rotors are to thin to cut.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yep, you don't have to replace them at the same time. Depending on your driving habits you can get 2-3 sets of pads per rotor. Hard stops though will cut down on the life of the rotors quickly unless you have some aftermarket ones, ie cross drilled, slotted. However, with some slotted rotors some claim you will drastically decrease your pads life... A little more info than you were asking for, but I am a bit bored atm.
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The guy did say part of the rotor was worn bec the pads were pretty much down to the bone... I just wanted to make sure I didnt get totally ripped off, and judging from the price, how much do pads alone usually cost per wheel?

thekid: more info is always welcome! and I dont think I have ever had my rotors replaced before since i had bought it with 36k on it so....
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The guy did say part of the rotor was worn bec the pads were pretty much down to the bone... I just wanted to make sure I didnt get totally ripped off, and judging from the price, how much do pads alone usually cost per wheel?

thekid: more info is always welcome! and I dont think I have ever had my rotors replaced before since i had bought it with 36k on it so....
If they charge you "book rate" they "can" charge you one hour per side ie two hours to replace the front. If you get a nice guy he will only charge you an hour to replace the front or the back. So depending on your area and how highly the owner thinks of his shop you could be looking at 65-120 an hour in labor. Typically places around me will be in the $75-$95 an hour range.

Do be careful with that price the firestone guy gave you. He will most likely be giving you a generic brand which will typically have less braking power and will be more likely to make noise. For an idea of the prices you can expect to pay check out bavauto.com and put in your model info and look at their OEM rotors and the cheaper pads that are on there.

Last edited by thekid; 09-30-2008 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If I ask do they have to give me the exact model they used in my car so I can check it out?
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If I ask do they have to give me the exact model they used in my car so I can check it out?
If they are honest they will. Most likely what he will say is "Our brand X rotor meets the OEM specifications, is cheaper and is covered by our warranty XXXXX". If you are worried about it you can ask him "If you don't have to replace the pads and rotors together on other cars as you've claimed, and these other cars use the same brand rotors/pads made with the same 'quality' material, then why should I trust them to a car that you say is going to be harder and more demanding on them". That would be just for fun.

I'm by no means saying that you should never ever buy these. I just want to make sure you are making an informed decision about the parts that you buy. It is possible that they will have less performance (which most people don't really need) and may make more noise (which lots of people live with). I've used similar parts before, it's not a terrible thing to do.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Its just funny, all the different opinions.... one guy told me to bring along umbrella to the firestone guy and bend over and touch my toes and he'll know what to do with it. Geez!
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Its just funny, all the different opinions.... one guy told me to bring along umbrella to the firestone guy and bend over and touch my toes and he'll know what to do with it. Geez!
That's not entirely incorrect. If you do the work yourself, yeah you will save a ton of money or go to Midas or somewhere like that and roll the dice.

Here's what I would do. Call some shops, find out which ones work on BMWs, hopefully you've driven by a place that you see a lot of BMW in the lot. Ask them what their labor would be to replace your pads and pads/rotors. Make sure to clear with them that you want to bring your own parts. Then go out and buy online either Pagid or Mintex brake pads or something more exotic if you are looking for an upgrade, PBR, Axxis or whatever. Then buy the OEM rotors, they've been good to me with my two BMWs. Or ask them if they have a hook up on OEM rotors, they usually can get them 20% off depending on their relationship with their parts guy/supplier, which could save you some money.

Last edited by thekid; 10-01-2008 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 11-26-2008, 04:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I replace my rotors every other pad change. My pads last about a year and then I have to replace them. I use a BMW mechanic that's not working for a dealer because it's less expensive. The dealer can tell you that you're in tolerance when you replace your pads, however your rotors will be out of tolerance before the new set of pads are worn out and that's why they tell you to change the rotors everytime. Just my .02
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