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Brake Pad Replacement Cost: Complete Guide

Andrew Cilio

Andrew Cilio

 / Feb 6 2023
Brake Pad Replacement Cost: Complete Guide

The average cost to replace a pair of brake pads ranges between $115 and $300. 

It's important to keep up with every component of your truck, but when it comes to your brakes, you really don't want to skimp on maintenance. Brake pads wear down just every time you slow or stop your vehicle. Replacing your brake pads before they get too thin is vital for avoiding a potential accident and financial consequences. But when should you replace them and what will it cost you?

Here's how much brake pad replacement costs and how often you should replace them—along with other braking components—to maximize performance and minimize maintenance costs.

How Much Should It Cost To Replace Brake Pads?

Graphic showing 6 brake pad replacement cost factors

There isn’t a standard cost for a brake pad replacement. The overall cost will depend on several factors, including where you get your brakes replaced and the type of vehicle you have.

The following factors will affect the total cost of your brake replacement:

  • Replacing one pair or both pairs of brake pads: It’s rare to replace just one set of brake pads. You’ll either replace the front pair, the rear pair, or both.
  • Location of the repair facility: The geographical location of where you get your brake replacement can factor into the cost.
  • Dealership vs. independent mechanic: Choosing your vehicle’s manufacturer dealership versus an independent mechanic can impact the appointment cost.
  • Maker of the vehicle: Parts for European cars, like Audi and BMW, cost more than Japanese or American-made vehicles. European and domestic vehicle systems differ from each other and don’t use the same parts. Therefore, it may take the mechanic more time to receive the parts and replace them in the vehicle, which increases labor costs.
  • Type of brake pads: There are different types of brake pads to choose from—from ceramic to semi-metallic. Each type of brake pad has varying costs and life spans.
  • You replace them yourself: If you have mechanical knowledge and want to save on labor costs, you can replace the brake pads and rotors yourself. However, if you don’t have time or experience, it’s better to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic.

The base estimate for the average cost of mechanic labor is around $100 an hour. The standard replacement job takes around 30-60 minutes. You’ll also need to account for the cost for the new parts. 

Average Cost To Replace Front Brake Pads

Front brake pads do most of the work when braking your car, so you’ll typically need to replace them more often compared to the rear brake pads. The average cost to replace front brake pads ranges between $115 and $300. Factors like the type of brake pads you choose and where you get them done impact the total installation cost. 

Average Cost To Replace Rear Brake Pads

The rear brake pads don’t take as much of an impact when braking, so you’ll likely need to replace them less frequently. The average cost to replace rear brake pads is also between $115 and $300. 

Average Cost To Replace Both

Replacing pairs of brake pads can be a little less expensive than replacing separate sets, but it’ll again depend on the factors listed above. The cost of replacing all four brake pads, including the labor and parts, can range from $230 to $600

Rotor Replacement Costs

Upon inspection, the mechanic may decide that a rotor or two needs to be replaced instead of the brake pads. The cost ranges between $30 and $75 per rotor, plus labor, which averages $100 per hour. 

Brake Pad and Rotor Replacement Costs

There are cases in which you may need a rotor replacement in addition to your brake pads. Replacing both the pads and rotors runs between $250 and $400 per axle

A full brake repair, including rotor, pads, and caliper replacements, runs between $300 and $800. This estimated cost could increase depending on the make and model of your vehicle. 

Brake Pad Replacement Costs in Summary

Here is a roundup of average brake pad replacement costs:

  • Cost to replace a pair of brake pads: Between $115 and $300
  • Cost to replace both pairs of brake pads: Between $230 and $600
  • Cost to replace rotors: Between $30 and $75 per rotor
  • Cost to replace pads and rotors: Between $250 and $400 per axle.
  • Cost to replace pads, rotors, and calipers: Between $300 and $800

Keep in mind that hourly costs and truck brake parts vary and can greatly impact the overall installation price. 

Brake Pads vs. Rotors vs. Calipers

Brake pads, rotors, and calipers are all components in a typical vehicle disk brake system. Each component has varying life spans, so it’ll depend on your vehicle and driving style if they need to be replaced separately or at once. 

When getting your brake pads replaced, your mechanic can evaluate the rotors, calipers, and pistons to see if they need to be replaced as well. 

What Are Brake Pads?

Brake pads are a component of a disk brake system. The pads clamp down on each side of the brake rotor to reduce speed and stop the vehicle. When you use your brake pedal, the pads, which sit in the brake calipers, create enough friction to slow down the vehicle. 

What Are Rotors?

Rotors are another crucial part of the vehicle brake system. Rotors are large metal discs connected to the wheels. When the calipers squeeze the brake pads, they press against each side of the rotor. The friction created slows and stops the vehicle. 

What Are Calipers?

Brake calipers are found on each wheel and house the brake pads and pistons. 

There are two types of brake calipers:

  • Floating calipers: A floating caliper contains a piston on one side but has pads that contact the brake disk. This caliper type can move back and forth using pins or bushings.
  • Fixed calipers: A fixed caliper is fixed on a bracket and contains two to eight pistons.

When you push down on the brake pedal, brake fluid flows from the master cylinder through the brake pipes and into the brake calipers. The brake calipers push the pistons out against the brake pads and force them against the brake rotor. 

Graphic of a brake disc next to labels for truck disc brake system components

Knowing When To Replace Your Brake Pads

If you can’t remember when you last got your brakes checked or how many miles it’s been since you last had them replaced, don’t worry. Your vehicle will start showing signs that it’s time to take your vehicle in for a checkup. 

Below are a few indicators that you should have your brakes looked at. 

  • Brake pads appear thin: Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to check the pad’s thickness. If it’s less than ¼ inch thick, it needs to be replaced.
  • Brake pad indicator light is on: Some vehicles have a low brake pad indicator on the dashboard. If the light turns on, that’s a definite sign it’s time for a replacement.
  • Brakes make grinding or squealing noises: Unusual noises when breaking can indicate that something is wrong with your brakes. If you hear excessive grinding while braking, the metal backing of your pad may be grinding against the rotor. When your brake pads have a low thickness, you may hear squealing or squeaking caused by the metal materials from both the pads and rotors rubbing together. 
  • Decrease in brake response: If you notice that your brakes don’t brake as hard or quickly as they did when they were first replaced, that’s a good indicator that they’re worn down and require a replacement.

Other warning signs include your brake pedal vibrating, your vehicle slightly leaning to one side when braking, or when you've reached between 10,000 and 20,000 since they were last replaced. 

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

Generally speaking, brake pads last between 10,000 and 20,000 miles. This isn’t the ultimate truth for all brake pads, as other factors can affect durability. For example, your driving habits and type of brake pads can influence the mileage your brake pads can endure before a replacement is due. 

Things That Can Affect Brake Pad Longevity

How long your brake pads last will depend on a few factors, including the type of vehicle, how and where you drive the vehicle, and the brake pad materials. 

  • Environment: Driving on rocky terrain or in the city where you tend to stop and go more frequently can affect the life span of your brake pads. 
  • Driving style: Constantly riding the brakes while driving can impact your brake pads’ life span.
  • Materials: The type of brake pads your vehicle uses can affect longevity. Organic brake pads are the cheapest class but have a much shorter life span compared to ceramic or semi-metallic ones. These types tend to be pricier, but are worth the investment when it comes to durability.

We recommended evaluating the factors above when deciding on the best brake pads to replace your old ones.

How Long Do Brake Rotors Last?

Brake rotors are more durable and have a longer life span than brake pads. Brake rotors generally last between 50,000 and 70,000 miles.

Factors that cause brake pads to wear down also play into how long your brake rotors will last before needing a replacement. Quality of materials, driving habits, and environment can impact your brake rotors’ life span.

The weight of your vehicle can also play a role—the heavier your vehicle, the more pressure is needed to slow and stop it. Heavy weight can contribute to the wear and tear of your brake rotors.


How Much Should a Full Brake Job Cost?

The cost of a full brake repair, including brake pads, rotors, and calipers, averages between $200 and $800. This price will vary depending on where you get your brakes replaced, the type of vehicle you have, and the extent of the repairs. 

Should You Replace All Four Brake Pads at Once?

It’s not necessary to replace all four brake pads unless you notice severe damage. It’s important to note, however, that some manufacturers require all four brake pads to be replaced at the same time. Replacing all four sets can improve your vehicle’s braking capacity. Brake pads and rotors come in pairs. You should replace both the front or rear brake pads at the same time. Each brake pad in a pair will wear at the same rate, so it’s rare you’ll need to replace just one brake pad. Front brake pads wear out quicker than rear brake pads, as they do most of the work for your vehicle. So you’ll likely need to replace your front brake pads more often than your rear brake pads.

Is It OK To Replace Only the Brake Pads?

When you’re getting your brake pads replaced, your mechanic will examine your pads and rotors to determine the extent of repair. Brake rotors have a manufacturer-set minimum discard thickness. If your rotors look severely worn or warped, your mechanic may recommend replacing the rotor in addition to your brake pads. In some cases, your mechanic may suggest resurfacing your rotor rather than replacing it. Resurfacing, also known as turning, requires a lathe machine to shave down your rotor. This allows your brake pads to rub smoothly against the rotor. Routine brake pad maintenance not only ensures safe braking, but can also prevent damage to your truck. Remember to also have the rest of your braking components and truck wheels regularly inspected.