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November 13, 2007


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I get most of my work done at the dealership. If you have several dealerships for your car type in the area, call around to each service department and ask them how much they charge for specific services at the time you need it done. I guarantee you that at least one of them will have it on special. Plus, some will take competing dealerships' service coupons. I also have the Citibank Drivers Edge MasterCard to help me with rebates on service. You have purchase rebates and drive rebates (get paid for driving).

I would've stopped at point number one. Doesn't matter what you bring your car in for at the dealership, you're walking out with a bill for almost a grand. I've never walked away with a bill under $750. I outright don't trust dealership mechanics and refuse to let them service my vehicle.

Hmm, I am going to run into the same issue as I am coming up on 60k miles. However, I just changed the brakes myself (1st time) and it took about 2 hours at most and it cost less than $120 with dealorship parts.

I am shocked how easy it is to change brakes and how much places charge for them!

I respect your desire to have the dealership change your brakes but I have a hard time paying that kind of money for that. I am certainly not a mechanic - rather, I am a keyboard pounding technology worker - but I can change the brakes on most cars in about an hour. The cost for parts is about $25 and axle so about $50 for all 4 wheels. That is a significant savings.

I realize this isn't for everyone and there are also arguments about the value of your time. But even if I spend 2 hours doing this I can still spend some or all of that time with my family by teaching my kids how to do the task as well and get the bonus of teaching them to be more self reliant.

Good post, thanks for sharing.

If I were you, I'd have gone back to point #2 and used it to negotiate: "I could easily get this for $100 less by taking it somewhere else, but I'm already here now, so if you knock $90 off, I'm willing to let you guys do it." In fact, I think they started at the breathtaking figure of $425 so that they would have room to negotiate down.

Then again, as Dan D said, I don't think I'd have gotten past point #1, since I strongly distrust dealership service departments. Besides, brakes are perfectly capable of announcing they're worn down by themselves. Almost all brake pads have "squeakers", which are little bits of embedded metal. They warn you with a squeaking sound long before your rotors get damaged.

Wow, I've always wanted to learn how to change my own oil (especially after a couple bad Jiffy Lube experiences), now I may add brakes to that list. I think AutoZone will even give you instructions on how to do it if you buy the parts there.

I tend to take my car to the dealer for anything other than oil changes or new tires. I know I'm going to be charged more, but I'm willing to do that since I don't really "have a mechanic" that I trust. And they sometimes have a courtesy car so I don't have to sit around and wait.

Yep, learning basic auto maintenance saves a ton. You can often also save a lot by 1) buying aftermarket parts at Autozone and a lot more by 2) buying junked parts off ebay (albeit with some risk that the part doesn't work I'm sure - but I've never run into that).

When my alternator went out a couple years ago I replaced it with a junkyard alternator from ebay and the whole job cost me about $30 and a couple hours of my time.

With dealer labor rates running upwards of $100/hr and part markups in the 200% range, I estimate that over my lifetime I have saved nearly sixty gajillion dollars.

I can't tell you how much I regret having my brakes done by someone other than the dealership. They didn't squeal before they were done but they've squealed like stuck pigs ever since and they've been redone two more times. The repair place is highly-rated and I've had friends recommend them. I've gotten tires there for the past 12 years and never had a problem until now. They claim to be using factory-rated parts but when I asked about this at the dealership, they said that unless they were using Audi parts, this would happen and they see it all the time. Unfortunately, I can't afford to spend another $800 to have them redone at the dealership. The repair place claims it's because I've been braking too hard during the break-in period. My friends all laugh at this because I drive like a little old lady.


In all likelihood, this is just a nuisance issue, not a safety issue. Non-OEM brake pads tend to be made of harder material so that they'll last longer. The downside is that they squeak more and are a little harder on the rotors.

The best thing to do is just live with it, and get the shop you used to take a quick peek at the brakes every 6 months or so since you'll otherwise have a hard time telling when the brakes are wearing out for real. If you drive like a little old lady, expect it could be a good couple years before you need to spend any more money on them.

When it is finally time to replace them, ask the independent shop to quote you a price for installing genuine Audi parts. I'm guessing it will still be significantly less than the dealership wants. Then, you can either take their offer or use it to negotiate a lower price with the dealership's service dept.

Holy, cramola! Did they replace/turn the rotors too!?!

If you just need the pads replaced then you can do that yourself or have a neighbor/friend help plus you can install decent brakepads like Wagners instead of OEM crap that actually causes the rotors to need service. Actually, even if you take it to the shop you should have them install Wagners even if it means you to BYOB them.

I'm a mechanic's wife, and if you can find a mechanic you can trust, don't go to the dealership. My husband has been a mechanic at both independant shops and dealerships. He said there's no difference in the quality of work or the parts, but the dealership charges more for labor and parts.

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