5th Gear Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Francisco, CA
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a good shop and a good mechanic will take the pain to check the run-out of the rotors and tell you whether you do need new rotors or not.
Under normal conditions, if you did not let your brake pads run down to the metal plates; or you do not experience any shimmy when braking; the general assumption is that your rotors are still ok. Rotors OK meaning, only pads need be replaced.
And NO!, there is no rule that says you should change the rotors when you change pads. Unfortunately, many shops take advantage of BMW bulletins that state that BMW rotors are not machinable (like other cars are).
Other considerations for rotors needing changes would be an uneven rotor surface where dirt has embedded onto the pads. Over time, tiny rocks, sand particles or even metal bits picked up on the road get stuck in between the pad and rotor to cause rotor wear. This will cause excessive wear on the pads.
On the average a good set of brakes, rotors, pads, and necessary hardware(i shall use "Brembo") will go for about $330.- and say 2 hours labor at about $110.- (the $110.- price per hour representing a near top-of-the-line repair shop in California. Firestone's labor i believe is just under $80.- if you wish to compare labor rates). Dealers charge not less than $125.-/hour.
If you were careful to take care and took the pain to care for ur rotors - take heed to the instrument cluster light that tells u when ur pads are nearly out, then chances are, it is only pads that you need to change. Average price of a good set of pads will be under $100.- and perhaps 2hours labor to install.
Compare the prices charged to you and you do the math...
It does pay to give a look over and see what your car might need to keep it running, and it will save you lots of $ and headache.