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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the analysis. I was told that on these BMWs you don't replace the pads only, the other reason had to do with sensors (somehow makes it necessary to replace both pads and the router). I should have done some more research. Also I am sure that only pads could have been replaced as I didn't drive much after the warning light(message) and there was no other indications like squealing sound or effectiveness of brakes.
 

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If you did not drive much after the instrument light came on regarding pads wearing thin and had little/no fade in performance or grinding sounds/uneven shimmy when braking, I would say you onoly need pads, not a new set of rotors. And heed the good advice of Darkhorse - a regular set of Brembos - top of the line brakes company in the world, is in the range he quoted, although labor in a high end shop is slightly more money out here on the east coast (and dealers here change $110+ per hour). Based on all this, it sounds as though the quote you're getting from the dealer is unreasonably high and you should check elsewhere. Too bad on the mileage as under the 50K youu'd be under warranty and not care what they wanted to do or charge. :( Anyway - be sure and go get a quote or two at other shops - it will be worth your time! Good luck. Ciao.
 
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