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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > Replaced Brake pads, what a rip off.



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      11-24-2013, 08:21 AM   #1
Pete Schweaty
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Replaced Brake pads, what a rip off.

About a month ago I got a brake pad wear sensor light. I called the dealership and they quoted me $900 for pads, rotors and sensors! I thought I had misheard him. I found an indy shop that would do it for about $500. Still there was no way I as going to pay $500 for new brakes.

I have change pads about a dozen times on my other cars so I felt pretty comfortable doing it after reading the DIY's on how to change the sensor. It was the rear one that tripped. After I pulled the old pads off, I was astounded. There was about 75% of the old pad left when the sensor tripped. BMW apparently does 2 things well, make cars, and get you to spend money on $h!t you dont need. I bet for every one person that DIY's, there are 10 that do what the dealership says. Cha Ching!
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      11-24-2013, 09:13 AM   #2
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Your reasoning for the early brake pad sensor trip doesn't really make much sense considering BMW is covering the cost of performing work under standard maintenance plans - even up 100,000 miles if you buy the extended version. Are you suggesting they are running a conspiracy to install the good pads only on cars under maintenance warranty?
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      11-24-2013, 09:21 AM   #3
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Nope. Just that the sensor trips way too early, with way too much pad left.
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      11-24-2013, 10:34 AM   #4
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Was it the sensor or just programmed maint interval check light? Light will go off for preset miles, what mileage were you at when it went off?
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      11-24-2013, 10:45 AM   #5
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If 75% was left, something is wrong with the sensor. My pads almost make it down to the metal backing before hitting the sensor.

I can only assume this was the first time you've requested work at a dealer. Of course it's going to be expensive, doesn't matter what brand it is.
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      11-24-2013, 12:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doogee View Post
If 75% was left, something is wrong with the sensor. My pads almost make it down to the metal backing before hitting the sensor.

I can only assume this was the first time you've requested work at a dealer. Of course it's going to be expensive, doesn't matter what brand it is.
Hmm. I looked at the sensor in the rear, it was in contact with the rotor and the plastic sheath was worn away. Of course I threw the old pads out. I will see what happens with the new pads.

And no, I have had work done at the dealer before, but $900 for pads and rotors is ridiculous. Even if you say the rotors are $250, and the pads are $150 (which is steep) that is still $500 in labor for what should take someone less than an hour.
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      11-24-2013, 12:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsalida View Post
Was it the sensor or just programmed maint interval check light? Light will go off for preset miles, what mileage were you at when it went off?
50K, and the sensor was tripped.
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      11-24-2013, 12:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Schweaty View Post
50K, and the sensor was tripped.
I would say the BMW conspiracy here is for over engineering safety "features" and trouble codes/reminders. Good bet to never buy parts or pay for something done that this car says is needed until looking at it carefully first.

That goes the other way too. 15k between oil changes? Lifetime tranny fluid? Nah, I don't think so.
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      11-24-2013, 04:41 PM   #9
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Well my vehicle info said I had like 70k miles left and two days later it tripped saying replace pads. I took it in (not to a dealership) they simply reset it and its back to normal. Apparently they do malfunction. And brake service has always been the biggest rip off. Virtually no labor is involved so it should cost about $50 on top of parts per axle. I always do brakes DIY if nothing else.
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      11-25-2013, 09:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsalida View Post
I would say the BMW conspiracy here is for over engineering safety "features" and trouble codes/reminders.
What's that about erring on the side of caution?

Can you image the outcomes and outrage were it the other way around?
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      11-25-2013, 10:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Schweaty View Post
50K, and the sensor was tripped.
That's really good for rear brake pad life. Remember they are actually the "clutches" for our crappy electronic LSD. The faster you drive around corners (or drive in low traction conditions) the faster they wear out. On my car the rears were replaced at 25k and again at 60k.

Also, if you had plenty of brake pad left, you definitely had a sensor malfunction of some sort. Good that you were smart enough to not just blindly fork over cash.
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      11-25-2013, 10:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acewiza View Post
What's that about erring on the side of caution?

Can you image the outcomes and outrage were it the other way around?
Not sure what your point is. Mine was they have erred on the side of caution with all the reminders, idiot lights, and spurious fault codes. Which is fine just don't ASSUME they are correct buy parts etc. until you check it yourself or have a trusted mechanic do it.

For example a trusted indy shop could have looked at OP's car and said, nah, pads are fine sensor is fugged.

On the other hand, as I also said, some maintenance intervals are seriously out of whack. Oil at 15k and tranny fluid lifetime? These are things BMW has to pay for under new car service, so they stretch the intervals way past what anyone sane would. Because they have no responsibility beyond 50k miles.
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      11-25-2013, 10:53 AM   #13
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Those sensors can go bad without wearing through to the electrode. Typically it's a stick or something that breaks a wire internally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Schweaty View Post

And no, I have had work done at the dealer before, but $900 for pads and rotors is ridiculous. Even if you say the rotors are $250, and the pads are $150 (which is steep) that is still $500 in labor for what should take someone less than an hour.
Yep, that's steep. We charge $112.50 labor for the rears.
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      11-25-2013, 10:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajsalida View Post
Not sure what your point is.
My "point" is the safety features are not "over engineered." Sensors and warnings, maintenance issues and associated possible malfunctions are all different yet potentially related topics. The 15k OCI on our 335D is just fine. You can buy the extended warranty if you want the trans fluid and pan changed at ~100k. They run and last just fine under that service schedule. Oil changing paradigms have shifted alot in the last 10-20 years, just as the oil formulations have evolved into nothing like they were back in the day.

What's your point? You like wasting motor oil?
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      11-25-2013, 10:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acewiza View Post
My "point" is the safety features are not "over engineered." Sensors and warnings, maintenance issues and associated possible malfunctions are all different yet potentially related topics. The 15k OCI on our 335D is just fine. You can buy the extended warranty if you want the trans fluid and pan changed at ~100k. They run and last just fine under that service schedule. Oil changing paradigms have shifted alot in the last 10-20 years, just as the oil formulations have evolved into nothing like they were back in the day.

What's your point? You like wasting motor oil?
Sigh. Carry on.
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      11-25-2013, 11:43 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Schweaty View Post
About a month ago I got a brake pad wear sensor light. I called the dealership and they quoted me $900 for pads, rotors and sensors! I thought I had misheard him. I found an indy shop that would do it for about $500. Still there was no way I as going to pay $500 for new brakes.

I have change pads about a dozen times on my other cars so I felt pretty comfortable doing it after reading the DIY's on how to change the sensor. It was the rear one that tripped. After I pulled the old pads off, I was astounded. There was about 75% of the old pad left when the sensor tripped. BMW apparently does 2 things well, make cars, and get you to spend money on $h!t you dont need. I bet for every one person that DIY's, there are 10 that do what the dealership says. Cha Ching!

DUDE! That angst.....for a paltry $900, you've been spared....
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      11-25-2013, 12:59 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoTempoLimitN54 View Post
That's really good for rear brake pad life. Remember they are actually the "clutches" for our crappy electronic LSD. The faster you drive around corners (or drive in low traction conditions) the faster they wear out. On my car the rears were replaced at 25k and again at 60k.

Also, if you had plenty of brake pad left, you definitely had a sensor malfunction of some sort. Good that you were smart enough to not just blindly fork over cash.
That may have been what happened. I wish I had saved the parts for pics but oh well live and learn. $200 for DIY on all 4 corners, and the piece of mind knowing that 1) I have brakes, and 2) I can do it again when I need to. Not too bad.
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      11-01-2014, 10:21 PM   #18
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Rear Brake Pad Replacement on a 335i

My 2011 335i has 53k on it and the brake pads had never been replaced. I tried my best to wear them out before my warranty ran out on miles. At 50K, my rear brake pads were predicted to last until 59,000 miles and the fronts were predicted to last until 88,000 miles. With the warranty gone, I ordered a set of OEM rear Ate "TEXSTAR" pads, figuring to run on the factory pad combination until the front fads expire at 88,000 miles. There appeared to be no point to wait until the rear pads expire, because this would mean I have to replace the $20 rear brake pad sensor as well.

So I replaced the rear brake pads today and was stunned to see that my rear pads had tons of life left. Furthermore I did see that the physical set up of the pads and the rear wear sensor result in lots of wear thickness between the tip of the sensor and the metal backing plate. So I am here to tell you that what Pete reported is correct and the opinion given by NoTempoLimitN54 is not correct. It is not a sensor malfunction. It is a deliberate design.

You might ask why BMW would do such a thing as to design the brakes such that the usable brake pad thickness is such a small part of the overall thickness. I can only lean on the opinion of a friend who told me a long time ago that he never runs his brake pads thin because this leads to a situation where a lot of the brake caliper piston is out of the caliper bore. On hard braking this can lead to cocking of the brake caliper piston in the bore (under hard braking) which can damage the caliper. I have no real data to substantiate whether he is correct or not, but it is an interesting opinion.



Quote:
Originally Posted by NoTempoLimitN54 View Post
That's really good for rear brake pad life. Remember they are actually the "clutches" for our crappy electronic LSD. The faster you drive around corners (or drive in low traction conditions) the faster they wear out. On my car the rears were replaced at 25k and again at 60k.

Also, if you had plenty of brake pad left, you definitely had a sensor malfunction of some sort. Good that you were smart enough to not just blindly fork over cash.
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