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Brake Pads

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In my opinion, if you have a reliable trustworthy shop, do not even think about using the dealer. There is nothing the dealer will do except charge you substantially more with no real assurance that the work quality will be good. And, for the privilege of paying so much, it will be almost impossible to have a meaningful conversation with the service adviser. I have purchased new cars since 1969 and have learned the hard way that dealers must be avoided unless there is no other alternative. This comes from many horrible experiences with BMW, Lexus, Acura, Honda, Mazda, and Nissan dealers. There are some rare exceptions but for the most part dealers should be avoided. I certainly have to use dealers for warranty work but that is where it ends. Fortunately, I have a convenient independent shop I completely trust.

I suspect a good independent shop will charge about $400 for a complete brake job including new rotors. I am guessing a dealer will charge almost twice this amount.

With respect to brakes, they are simple and easy enough that I almost always do my own. I typically purchase Brembo replacement rotors and Akebono ceramic pads from The Tire Rack. In years past I would remove the factory rotors and then take them to a local shop and wait for them to turn them for me. Brembo Replacement Rotors are relatively inexpensive and high quality so it is much easier and not much more expensive to simply put new ones on. In some cases when the rotor surface is still in good shape without excessive wear, I simply just replace the pads. I am not a believer that rotors must be turned when installing new pads unless they are scored or worn below the minimum recommended thickness.

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Except once when I changed front pads myself, I have had all the brake work done on the Lexus LS cars I've driven a total of 250,000 miles over the past 19 years at independent repair shops. The shop I've used for the past 10 years is owned by a former Lexus dealer service writer and is staffed by mechanics he stole away from the Lexus dealer. The shop I used for a number of years before that was owned by another former Lexus dealer service writer.

The repair shops I have used have never replaced the rotors and instead always turn them because it is less expensive and there is no reason to put them in a land fill. They use only OEM pads.

I've noticed that people are reporting that brake pad and rotor life is sometimes not as long on some newer Lexus modes -- particularly the ISx50 and the ES350. I don't have any idea what the pad and rotor life is on a newer RX. Find the specs for your car and measure the rotor thickness with a measuring caliper so you don't have to take the word of a repair shop about their thickness.

The front brake pads on my current LS, a 2000 LS400 were replaced for the first time at over 71,000 miles. The rear brake pads on my LS should last beyond 120,000 miles. Rear brake pads normally last far longer than the front ones -- on almost all cars.

One of the most common rip-offs is to do brake jobs before they are needed -- I guess it is a quick way to "pad" dealer profit. Your RX likely has pad wear sensors like the LS so you might as well let the car tell you when it really needs a brake job. Even though my LS has brake sensors, I still visually check the pad thickness every 5,000 miles when I rotate the tires -- it just takes a glance.

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One of the most common rip-offs is to do brake jobs before they are needed -- I guess it is a quick way to "pad" dealer profit. Your RX likely has pad wear sensors like the LS so you might as well let the car tell you when it really needs a brake job.

I certainly agree with this statement. I cannot recall all the many times over the years I have been told my brakes need to be replaced immediately and the pads were not yet down to the wear markers. About a year and half ago, when buying tires for our RX300, a tire outfit in this area called Tire Kingdom told me I needed to replace the rear brakes and should not wait even a day longer. I finally replaced the pads about a month ago (about 20K miles later) and the wear markers were still not touching the rotor (although they were very close at this point). Lexus dealers have done the same thing. In my opinion, replacing the pads before the wear markers touch the rotor is a waste of good money. There is still more than sufficient pad left when the wear markers speak up to be completely safe and have new pads installed without panicking.

This problem is not limited to brakes. Last year, with only 70,000 miles on our 2002 RX300, the service adviser at Brahman Lexus in West Palm Beach, Florida told my wife we needed to replace the timing belt for $1185.00. We had a 100,000 CPO warranty on the car and Toyota states to replace the belt at 90,000 miles. Just to note, the independent shop I use would have charged about $400.00 for this job and also replaced the water pump.

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  • 1 year later...

Dealer will cost you more , I thin he will almost take $500 for brake pads and around $300 for labour work. It would be better to go to any independent shop which is reliable one and to buy the things from there and if you know to replace the brake pad then it would be moer better than anything else and will save lot of your money.

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  • 2 months later...

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