Author Topic: First car brake job!  (Read 5605 times)

simonsez

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First car brake job!
« on: July 22, 2013, 11:02:46 AM »
I know very little about cars.  I do know that I personally don't think it is worth it to change my own oil as the margin is pretty small and I'd gladly pay someone (usually the Midas down the street) a $5-15 premium for that convenience and the oil disposal.  YMMV, anyway at the last oil change, Midas also tells me (for the 3rd time, but the guy was more adamant about it) they want to do the brakes and replace the rotors as well and give me a piece of paper of what the bill would look like.  $384!  I had noticed a slight decrease in stopping power of the brakes recently and I figured 100,000 miles (@178000, bought used with new pads @~80000 miles) was enough on this set of brakes.  I was able to do it myself for $27, learn a thing or two, and see that the front rotors are perfectly fine.  It was actually quite fun (makes me re-think changing my own oil.....).  An hour well spent!

Anyway, I know this is sorta small potatoes but the money saved and the know-how gleaned from this brake job feels damn good!

AlmostIndependent

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 11:49:42 AM »
Congrats on the car repair. It's always fun learning something new. 100k miles on one set of brakes is impressive...

worms

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2013, 11:18:04 PM »
Changing oil is easy and kind-of satisfying.  But unless you have a pit, a good set of ramps or it is a truck that you can get under, it is probably one of these jobs where the hassle may not justify the potential cost saving.

AugsburgMustache

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2013, 05:01:00 AM »
Good for you! I plan on doing the brakes myself aswell when they need a replacement. It's cheaper and I get to learn something about my car and cars in general. Did you have help of an experienced friend or did you look it up online?

simonsez

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2013, 06:25:10 AM »
My uncle sat on a stool with me in the driveway and gave me a few hints and made a C-clamp available even though I didn't know what it was for initially.  Once we got the front left brakes off, we took his car to Autozone to buy the pads as I was totally clueless about what was on there to begin with.  I did it at his place and I will say it helped out a bunch to use his floor jack instead of the wimpy one inside my car.

exranger06

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2013, 07:37:26 AM »
Congrats. I do all car repair work myself. I've had too many bad experiences with shops that I don't trust them anymore. Plus, I save a ton of money and it's my favorite hobby. I am basically self-taught; I learned almost everything I know from reading and researching things online. I started off with basic stuff like oil changes and gradually moved on to more and more advanced repairs. I definitely encourage everyone to do as much repairs yourself as possible. You'll learn many valuable, life-long skills.

Tony_SS

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2013, 09:24:15 AM »
Get a good set of ramps. The black drive up ones are great for around $45. They will pay for themselves if you do all your own oil changes.

I'm not in the process of putting a new engine in my Jeep. It's my winter 4x4 / emergency vehcile should one of our Honda's break down. I never thought I could replace an engine, but one step at time, lots of research and I'm doing it. I'm saving over $2000 in labor by doing it myself. And I know its done right.

One great thing is knowing that some disgruntled mechanic isn't screwing up my cars, I do it all myself.

Spork

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2013, 09:32:56 AM »
Changing oil is easy and kind-of satisfying.  But unless you have a pit, a good set of ramps or it is a truck that you can get under, it is probably one of these jobs where the hassle may not justify the potential cost saving.

I can have the oil changed much quicker than the time it would cost me to drive to the oil change place and back...  and for the same price as the oil change place, I get a higher quality filter and synthetic oil.  This alone means my oil change will last twice as long.  The savings is right about 100%.

Tony_SS

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2013, 09:57:43 AM »
Yes, and with those shops you get cheap oil and filters too.

And for those who may not know. Read your owners manual, and use that as a guide. Only change your oil when it calls for, not this 3 mons or 3k miles nonsense.

I go 5,000 mile in between my oil changes. And NEVER cheap out on an oil filter! This is important. Always get a WIX brand or Napa GOLD. The rest is pure junk. If you want your engine to last, the filter is crucial. Pay the $2-3 extra for a quality filter. FRAMS have been known to fail, destroying the engine. So do you want to pay $2 more or $2000?

Happy oil changing!

Spork

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2013, 10:29:33 AM »
I go 5,000 mile in between my oil changes. And NEVER cheap out on an oil filter! This is important. Always get a WIX brand or Napa GOLD. The rest is pure junk. If you want your engine to last, the filter is crucial. Pay the $2-3 extra for a quality filter. FRAMS have been known to fail, destroying the engine. So do you want to pay $2 more or $2000?

I do 7,500, always with Wix + synthetic oil.  Purolater and Bosch make decent filters, too.  And there are a few others with decent filtering.  It varies by actual model, but you can generally google around and find comparisons.  Here's one that shows general construction but it doesn't give lab type results (size and % of particles filtered.)

prodarwin

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2013, 10:51:21 AM »
Changing oil is easy and kind-of satisfying.  But unless you have a pit, a good set of ramps or it is a truck that you can get under, it is probably one of these jobs where the hassle may not justify the potential cost saving.

I can have the oil changed much quicker than the time it would cost me to drive to the oil change place and back...  and for the same price as the oil change place, I get a higher quality filter and synthetic oil.  This alone means my oil change will last twice as long.  The savings is right about 100%.

This is pretty much the way I look at almost all car repairs/maintenance.


mpg350

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2013, 09:15:49 PM »
Changing oil is easy and kind-of satisfying.  But unless you have a pit, a good set of ramps or it is a truck that you can get under, it is probably one of these jobs where the hassle may not justify the potential cost saving.

I can have the oil changed much quicker than the time it would cost me to drive to the oil change place and back...  and for the same price as the oil change place, I get a higher quality filter and synthetic oil.  This alone means my oil change will last twice as long.  The savings is right about 100%.

This is pretty much the way I look at almost all car repairs/maintenance.

Yeah I use to do my oil changes but I get my oil changed for pretty much the same price it would cost me for oil and filter so I just get it changed at the local mechanic.

I do need to do my wifes brakes on her Camary.  She has near 100k miles and they quoted me $600 for the brakes for all four but I priced the parts online for a total of $250 or so. 

HawkeyeNFO

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2013, 12:27:22 PM »
$384????  Fuck that shit! 

I just did my '03 Trailblazer, using AC Delco parts bought on Amazon.  New ceramic brake pads for all 4 wheels cost $60.  Could have bought cheaper, but I like my cars to work like they are supposed to.  Once you do the first wheel, the rest are easy, and even the first one isn't too difficult.

Ashcons

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2013, 02:58:18 PM »
Congratulations! The first time I changed my rear brake pads and a rotor, I was quoted a similar figure as you. I bought Rhino ramps, jack stands, a rolling jack, brake pads, the rotor, and a breaker bar for much less than the dealership quoted me and had a ton of fun learning something new. I love changing my own oil too; while the margin isn't huge, depending on your car, I find myself buying higher quality filters, full synthetic oil, and the knowledge that I did everything right to be very satisfying.

Oil change places tend to tighten to filters way too much and at Jiffy Lube, long ago, my wife had an oil change done where they didn't put the plug back in the oil pan. She turned around and drove back after she left and noticed her car didn't feel right. Their response, "Oops." Oil's too important of a part for me to pay someone who's more interested in volume work than quality work, especially since in that work environment, people's brains are set on automatic and it's easy to not notice you forgot one important detail.

Rangifer

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2013, 11:29:31 PM »
I did it at his place and I will say it helped out a bunch to use his floor jack instead of the wimpy one inside my car.

If you plan on doing more work, it's probably a good idea to get your own floor jack. You are not supposed to use the little scissor jack for anything other than changing tires, and you NEVER get under a car supported by one. They are notorious for failing (even if they look perfectly fine).

simonsez

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2013, 05:21:44 AM »
Maybe I mis-spoke? It was a jack like the guys in NASCAR use, definitely not a scissor jack.

Spork

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2013, 07:54:19 AM »
I did it at his place and I will say it helped out a bunch to use his floor jack instead of the wimpy one inside my car.

If you plan on doing more work, it's probably a good idea to get your own floor jack. You are not supposed to use the little scissor jack for anything other than changing tires, and you NEVER get under a car supported by one. They are notorious for failing (even if they look perfectly fine).

Never get under a car held up by a floor jack either!  If there are not jack stands under the car: stay out.  Floor jacks not only can tip or leak out oil slowly ... they have wheels and can be bumped.  As a kid, my parents had 2 different family friends that had floor jacks fall on their kids.  The lucky one was paralyzed.

Rangifer

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2013, 09:54:00 PM »
^^^ True that on the stands. I figured if he got the jack he'd have enough sense to pick up stands as well.

simonsez

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2013, 04:59:38 AM »
Nope.  Just enough sense to not needlessly get under a car.  I have no reason/intention of doing maintenance in the near future that requires me to do so.  Floor jack isn't mine, I was back in the Midwest when I changed the brakes.  I don't care to store something (ramps/stands, floor jack, etc.) in my DC-area apartment I would potentially use on such a low frequency.

Ashcons

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Re: First car brake job!
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2013, 07:55:15 AM »
Congratulations, Simonsez! I'm like exranger06, but farther back on the skillset. Like you, I took a shot at changing brake pads out on our car. I ended up spending about the same amount of money I would have if I had had the dealer perform the work, but the difference is that I ended up with jacks, ramps, a 3T floor jack, and several other tools that I use for vehicle repair and maintenance! Even though it's more stuff sitting in my garage, it's all paying for itself in time and I'm finding that having all those tools and talking about doing my own work to friends makes them interested in coming to hang out and dabble in doing little things for their own cars as well (even if it's just an oil change with higher quality materials than the shop would use). That's been a rewarding, non-financial benefit as well.