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      06-19-2013, 01:54 PM   #1
slingxshot
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Why Dealer wants to change rotors/brakes if they still feel good?

So I went to the dealer and they told me that your front brakes are very low and back brakes are low. They also said, they have to change the rotors with the brakes too. I didn't even bother asking how much.

My question is. Why do the brakes still feel good? I just changed to new brakes on a civic and the brakes that are "low" on my car still feel better/braking power than the civic? I don't have to struggle or anything or just brakes.

Thanks!
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      06-19-2013, 02:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by slingxshot View Post
So I went to the dealer and they told me that your front brakes are very low and back brakes are low. They also said, they have to change the rotors with the brakes too. I didn't even bother asking how much.

My question is. Why do the brakes still feel good? I just changed to new brakes on a civic and the brakes that are "low" on my car still feel better/braking power than the civic? I don't have to struggle or anything or just brakes.

Thanks!
Because they are designed to feel good right up until they don't feel good. Once they don't feel good, you might not feel good when they don't work as well they used to. Your dealer will want to change them if they are at or below a minimum thickness. If that is the case, you change them. Don't mess with the brakes.
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      06-19-2013, 02:32 PM   #3
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You are looking at a $1500 brake job at the stealership, $500 - $600 on a DIY, it's not hard.
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      06-19-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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I got my rear done for $150.00 in parts...DIY it of course...
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      06-19-2013, 04:01 PM   #5
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You can't tell how worn the brakes are by "feel"...
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      06-19-2013, 04:30 PM   #6
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Here's an idea: if you actually think that brakes worn beyond minimum standards of rotor thickness and/or pad life have a certain "feel" then suffice it to say that whoever told you that knows waaaaaay more about cars than you do. Listen to people that know more than you do.
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      06-19-2013, 04:41 PM   #7
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As mentioned above your brakes will feel "good" up until you have damaged them by running out pad material or have hit wear indicators (when applicable).

BMW and many mechanics tell you when they are low well in advance out of safety. (Knowing that most people wait for a problem to arise and it could be too late).

As per the service manual there are levels of thickness on the pad materiel before they need replacement. You are welcome to check your personal vehicle and the listing in the service manual and judge for yourself if it is time. (It's not hard at all). Or get a second opinion from a reputable shop.

You should not wait for a problem to find you when it comes to brakes. They are arguably the most important thing next to tires on your car.
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      06-19-2013, 11:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyo75 View Post
You are looking at a $1500 brake job at the stealership, $500 - $600 on a DIY, it's not hard.
for 328i I was given a quote of $1200 for all four sides brake pads/rotors and sensors, by the dealership, including labor.
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      06-19-2013, 11:30 PM   #9
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Why do i always get coupons in the mail from all the various bmw dealership service depts quoting my about $430 for pads/rotors for the fronts as a set and about $430 for the rear set also. Thats parts and labor from the various dealerships that use the same campaign template circulars in my area.
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      06-19-2013, 11:51 PM   #10
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dont pay the stealership.
find a diy
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      06-19-2013, 11:54 PM   #11
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Why do i always get coupons in the mail from all the various bmw dealership service depts quoting my about $430 for pads/rotors for the fronts as a set and about $430 for the rear set also. Thats parts and labor from the various dealerships that use the same campaign template circulars in my area.
Dealerships are owned like Franchises. Likely that network needs more service cars in, so they extend deals out. Its not like a national discount or anything lol. I work at an exotic dealership so I have some background in that.
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      06-20-2013, 12:08 AM   #12
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when you are paying out of pocket the dealer always suggests to replace the rotor with the break pads, however when under maintenance warranty through BMW they measure the rotor and only replace when 18.4mm or less

have the dealer give your the rotor thickness so you can evaluate when you want to replace.
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      06-20-2013, 12:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gds52 View Post
for 328i I was given a quote of $1200 for all four sides brake pads/rotors and sensors, by the dealership, including labor.
Just upgraded my 128i to BMW performance brake kit at dealer for $2250, car need to reprogram with larger caliber & rotors.
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      06-20-2013, 12:49 AM   #14
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You should get a second quote from an Indy shop to find out what the price could be. I live in Canada and they still don't charge $1200 for front and rear brakes so that sounds kinda sketchy to begin with. And as for "listening" to people who know more about cars then you, they don't always have your best interest at heart, and there are probably some people here on this forum that have been taken for a ride by a dealership.
It's always a good idea to get a second opinion, especially since the price seems quite disproportionate to other dealerships.
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      06-20-2013, 05:34 AM   #15
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Crikey! Okay, so first off, until the light that comes on in the gauge cluster, which indicates the brake pads are at minimum thickness, your car does not need new brakes. Second, the CBS does a pretty good job at estimating how much pad life (in miles) is left until the brakes will need replacement. This all is assuming that you have not done anything to the brakes up to this point, like changed out to a new set of pads mid-cycle, or short-wired the pad-wear sensors.

I've never understood why dealers will try and pull off an early brake job when, if the car owner is a half bit educated (i.e. has ), would know that the car will indicate when the pads are due for replacement.

Third, it has been my experience with BMWs over the last 25 years or so, and doing all my brake jobs DIY, that it is best to replace brake rotors when the pads need replacing. BMW rotors rarely make it through a second set of pads before they get to, or below minimum thickness. So when you do need a brake job, it's a good idea IMO to replace the rotors. It's really only extra cost ($150 for OEM rotors at retail price) for the parts since a proper brake job includes removal and reconditioning of the brake rotor surface when a new set of pads are installed.

My recommendation is wait until the car tells you the pads need replacement and get the brakes relined at that time. Once the indicator lights, you have plenty of time to get the work done because the pads have several thousands of miles left until the brake would become unsafe. And, yes brake replacements are not rocket science and are easy to do DIY, if you have the proper tools and experience. But if you have no wrench turning experience and have no desire to work on your own car, then leave a brake replacement job to a professional mechanic. Any BMW independent repair shop can give you a reasonable price that is much lower than the dealer (in most cases).

And as pointed out, brakes will generally not "feel" any different up until the time the pads need replacement unless a rotor has become too thin and possibly warp, or the pads have disintegrated to the point where there is no friction material left on the pad's backing plate and the brake is known as being in a metal-on-metal condition, which in the case of an E9X would be months after the CBS has notified the owner that pads are due and the CBS annoyingly has pinged the notification sound at every startup and shutdown of the engine. However I have noticed with my '06 325i, that when the brakes are near needing refurbishment, heavy braking activity can lead to a bit of brake fade because the pads and rotors are a getting thin and have a difficult time dealing with heat bleed-off, which causes the brake fluid (that also may be near it's 2-year replacement cycle) to boil and reduce braking effectiveness, but this is only after really aggressive street driving.

Last edited by Efthreeoh; 06-20-2013 at 05:43 AM.
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      06-20-2013, 07:41 AM   #16
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Wear indicator doesnt' tell you when rotors are worn under minimal spec. They will feel good until they crack suddenly and let you crash. And the fading is true as well. It might come as a -very bad- surprise to a driver that is not agressive but is downhill a big mountain as part of a trip to some unusual place.
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      06-20-2013, 08:30 AM   #17
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If you don't want to or can't DIY the job, just go to an indy shop.

I had to get mine replaced on my old 530i a while back and didn't have the time to do it myself. I paid $380 total with labor for OEM rotors and pads + labor.

Luckily the dealer replaced the rotors and brakes just before I bought my e90 so I won't have to do that again for a good while.
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      06-20-2013, 08:34 AM   #18
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A couple of comments based on more than a decade DIYing on various BMWs....

1/ In every case I've replaced rotors at the same time as pads. Even if the bulk of the rotor is greater than minimum thickness there's usually a nasty wear lip on the edge, and life in the salt belt has started to corrode the edges, vents and internal areas (include the hub/wheel mating surfaces on the rotor hat if it isn't painted) to the point that it just makes sense. Using OES parts suppliers and DIY the parts cost is pretty reasonable.

2/ the wear limit is to be evaluated at the time of pad replacement, not continuously throughout the life. The min thickness is intended to last through a set of pads - technically. If min thickness is reached 50% of the way through the second set of pads you're still "good" and they won't explode. Again, most of my BMWs have had rotor prices around $80 each even in Canada, so I simply don't see a point in skimping.

3/ CBS doesn't "estimate your brake life" in any way. A mileage-based counter starts when it's reset and it carries a default value that BMW thinks is reasonable. The check control system is based on a sensor, but it doesn't "measure" anything. If your pads get below ~3-4mm the action of braking destroys the sensor and the CC light is tripped. I believe that the CBS system is programmed to re-evaluate it's estimate of remaining life if the sensor is actually tripped (i.e. if it thought you had 10k left and the sensor is tripped it will immediately lower to 3k or something). I haven't witnessed it, but read about it.

4/ After service and fresh parts your brakes will most likely feel a lot better, but they are also unlikely to feel "bad" now unless you never bleed your brake fluid. Degradation happens gradually and you simply don't notice. After a brake job what I generally notice most is that the rears do more braking and the car seems to stop faster with less nose dive.

5/ Especially if you live in the rust belts you can't always rely on check control or measuring the pad thickness without disassembly. On my E39 the rears still looked good but after 5 years or something on my second set I decided to change them. What I found is that the center area of the backing plate that is not visible when assembled had started to break down and flex significantly when applied instead of actually squeeze the rotors. The improvement afterwards was dramatic, obviously, since the rear brakes were doing something again.

6/ Always use OES parts. Try to get coated (like Zimmerman Coat-Z) or at least ensure that you've used a high temp primer on the hats prior to assembly.
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      06-20-2013, 08:52 AM   #19
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To the "feel" comments - I can actually feel the difference between new and worn pads. The worn pads feel better to me. I think it takes time for the new pads to bed in so they're really feel right even if you have done proper bed in procedure, and I also suspect that I'm actually feeling the pads compress however slightly they may making the pedal slightly softer than with thin, worn pads. However as others have said they will only continue to feel and work good for a short time, so start saving for some new parts... brakes aren't something to mess around with.

The good news is that brakes are actually rather easy to do yourself, as long as you are meticulous and do it right. Other than the expected basic hand tools, jack, and jackstands you will need:

1) a set of Metric allen wrenches or sockets, including 7mm which is a size rarely included with inexpensive sets, but seems to be universally used on slider pins (the ones on a SAAB that I just did a brake job on yesterday looked the exact same as the ones on my BMW) the only two that you actually need are 7mm and whatever the rotor screw is, I forget - I mention the 7mm because I had to go buy one.

2) some anti-seize for the rotor screw and also to put around the hub flange when reinstalling the wheel

3) a torque wrench, if you don't have educated hands

4) some brake grease for the grooves in the pad carriers that the pads slide in (I've used anti-seize in the past, but brake grease is the right stuff)

5) a wire brush to clean the hub faces if you are replacing the rotors. I actually use one in an old drill to make the job go faster

6) 3-4 cans of Brakleen - don't skimp, cleanliness makes for a more professional, smoother-working brake system.

7) 2 quarts of brake fluid, if you're flushing the brakes at the same time. I (heart) my Motive Products pressure bleeder so much, and for the price, it's not hardly worth making your own unless your time is worth nothing.

8) some means to push the pistons back. An appropriately sized C-clamp will work on a BMW. I just two days ago finally bought the proper tool however as I needed it to do the "rotate and press" thing on some Brand-X rear brakes for the first time (it was the first time I'd done a brake job on a car with parking brakes integral to the rear calipers.) $40 at Harbor Freight (really!) and surprisingly, I was impressed with the little tool. It appeared sturdy and worked well and the little magnetic interchangeable ends are really nice. Even if I don't need the "rotate and press" functionality I will probably grab that toolset next time I do brakes as it works great for pressing the pistons back in even on conventional calipers.

If you haven't done brakes before, read the DIYs, ask questions, etc.

am I forgetting anything?
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      06-20-2013, 09:02 AM   #20
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Second, the CBS does a pretty good job at estimating how much pad life (in miles) is left until the brakes will need replacement.
I don't know that I agree with this one. I've been 800 miles from my next rear brake job for the last 10,000 miles.
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      06-20-2013, 09:15 AM   #21
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If you're doing daily driving it will be hard to notice until the brakes completely go off. If you know your brakes are wearing out but it still feels fine, go find yourself an empty place to accelerate and do hard braking. After a few times you should notice that the brakes have less and less stopping power each time until you get the scare put into you that if you really needed braking power you wouldn't have it. Like others have said, one of the most important pieces on the car, I wouldn't wait for them to go off before replacing.
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      06-20-2013, 10:09 PM   #22
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I don't know that I agree with this one. I've been 800 miles from my next rear brake job for the last 10,000 miles.
The E9X brake wear system uses a brake pad wear sensor that has two loops of wire imbedded in the plastic. When the first wire breaks, the CBS then has a reference point as to the wear rate the car sees for the brakes. The CBS also uses predetermined wear rates prior to the first wire breaking. In my car, which sees very constant driving habits (I use my car for a 160-mile round trip 5 days a week and rarely drive it on the weekends) the CBS is highly predictable as to when the pads will come up for replacement.

At 218,000 miles, with 5 years of driving the same route 5 days a week, and being through two sets of all four brakes, I can tell you the CBS is highly accurate at predicting wear rates.
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