Brake Repair Cost: Parts and Labor Explained

The brake system and its components are the unsung heroes of a motor vehicle. They do a lot of work, so it’s only natural that they wear out and need replacement periodically. How much does the brake repair cost? How much do you need to spend separately for brake pads, rotors, calipers, and other parts?

Understanding the costs for brake repair is important if you want to keep your car safe on the road or just avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous mechanics. We’re going to break down the cost of all these car brake components to help you better understand how much to replace brakes when they’re worn out!

How to Tell If the Brakes Need Repair

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that you have your brake pads, rotors, and calipers inspected when they’re due for a tune-up or service. If any of these components are nearing the end of their lifespan, it may be worth getting them replaced to avoid an emergency brake repair later on.

One tell-tale sign of brake problems is a high-pitched squeal or grinding noise when you apply the brakes. This could be caused by warped rotors, which need replacement even without being worn out yet. Another symptom is if your car pulls to one side every time you slow down — this may mean that the calipers are clogged with deposits and should also get replaced as soon as possible.

cost to replace brakes
Some brake parts can wear out before time. (Credit: artistmac / Flickr)

If any brake component other than pads needs replacing, changing the brake fluid is necessary because it will be contaminated during the repair process.

A Breakdown of the Brake Repair Cost

The average brake change cost can exceed $1,000 but it only happens in the case of a complete brake job. Normally, any braking problem needs changing or repair of one or a couple of components, not the entire braking system.

To calculate the brake repair cost, you need to know how much are car brakes components and what their repair expenses are. It’s important to note that prices vary based on what kind of system is installed in your car and where you live (the labor costs are higher in some places).

Brake Pads

The cost of replacing brake pads is relatively inexpensive and ranges from $30 to $150 for all four wheels. This does not include the labor costs, which may run between $80 and $120 for one axle. The grand total for changing the pads can be between $110 and $270 for each axle.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid change is less costly than any other type of brake job. However, it’s still vitally important that you change the fluid regularly according to manufacturer specifications so there isn’t an issue.

Changing the fluid will cost between $70 to $110 for most vehicles. A fair share of that expense will go to the labor cost. It may cost a little more if you need to flush the system.



Brake rotor replacement costs are going to vary with the type of brake rotors you need, and some places are going to charge more for labor than others. The costs could be between $30 and $75 for each rotor. High-quality rotors like Duralast Gold are on the higher spectrum of that price range. They last for a longer time and outperform other components in the braking system.

As pad and rotor changing goes hand in hand, the labor charge for replacing both of them will be around $150 to $200 per axle. Some shops may charge more if they have to remove your tires or brakes in order to get at them.


The total cost to replace brakes also depends on the brake calipers. These are pricey components, costing around $130 or more for one single unit. However, replacing an entire set of brake calipers is not always necessary depending on what it is you’re trying to fix. Make sure you ask your mechanic first before handing over any money!

how much to replace brakes
Brake calipers are costlier than other parts. (Credit: Capri23auto / PixaBay)

Wheel Cylinders

Located inside the brake drums in a rear brake system, brake wheel cylinders help with stopping a vehicle by creating friction. They do so by pressing the brake shoes against the drum. These cylinders can wear out over time, so you need to replace them.

Replacing wheel cylinders occasionally costs more than just getting new tires due to the labor involved. The average cylinder replacement expenses could be between $160 and $200, including the parts and labor expenses.

So, how much are car brakes repair or replacement expenses? You see, the total brake repair cost varies based on the parts to be replaced, labor costs, and the model of the vehicle. The parts of luxury cars have a higher price than those of commuter cars.

What Is the Cost of Rear Brake Replacement?

The figures we have calculated are for the front brakes replaced cost. The prices of rear brakes are higher because of the parts and labor involved in the whole process.

For a rear disc brake, it will take around $100 more than the repair of a front brake, given the process includes only the standard pad/rotor replacement.

A rear drum brake will cost even more for repair or replacement. It’s because the process involves more parts, such as brake shoes, brake drums, and rear brake hardware. A drum brake replacement is more labor-intensive than replacing a disk brake system. This job can cost around $200 to $300 more on average.

The expenses can hike for both brake types for unusual wear on any parts. For example, if you need to replace a part that does not normally deteriorate too quickly.


The brake repair cost can vary significantly depending on the type of vehicle and how much work is required. We’ve outlined some common symptoms that indicate your brakes need to be fixed. But if you’re not sure what’s wrong with them, take your car in for a professional inspection. The cost to replace brakes is usually the expense of replacing some parts rather than changing the whole system.