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Technician Chris
Technician Chris, Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 345
Experience:  I am a certified ASE Master Technician with L1 Advanced Diagnostic Specialist and over 15 years experience.
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Lexus ES300: Hello lexpert, I am living in Boston and recently

Customer Question

Hello lexpert, I am living in Boston and recently had my 2002 Lexus ES300 checked by local Lexus dealer. I was told that I need to do a complete brake job with both pads and rotors replaced (I took my car to an independent mechanic and got the same answer). The quote is $1,120 from the Lexus dealer and about $900 from the independent mechanic, both of which seem very high. I wonder what's your opinion of the price? Do you have any recommendation of reliable mechanics in the Boston area to do the brake job for a reasonable price? I would appreciate very much your kind input! Shuo
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Technician Chris replied 9 months ago.

Is the shop recommending to do both the front and rear? Price sounds like it. If they notated the rotor measurements, let me know what they are. I can verify if the rotors actually do need to be replaced or not. Typically you can have the rotors machined, not replaced, but if they are too thin, then replacement is needed.

 

The minimum thicknesses are:

Front: 26.0 mm (1.024 in.)

Rear: 10.5 mm (0.413 in.)

 

List price from the dealer on the pads is $65 front and $55 rear, but most of the cost will be in the labor. List price for the rotors is Front $109 each and Rear $110 each.

 

- let me know exactly what they to replace, and I will assist further.

 

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Hello, thank you for your message. They (both the dealer and independent mechanic) said both the pads and rotors need to be replaced on all 4 wheels. Still, even if the labor is high, based on your quote the labor would be $438 for all 4 wheels, plus pads ($120) and rotors, which is still far less than $1,120 given by the dealer. Do you think it a good idea to have the car serviced at a non-dealer place? For some reason people believe that dealer might provide more professional service to the car (in this case Lexus dealer); but how about brake service (which I think is similar for all car makes & models)? Do you have any recommendations for non-dealer places to try? Thank you very much.

Expert:  Technician Chris replied 9 months ago.
When it comes to brakes, vehicles are very similar across the board. Trucks can be more labor intensive vs. cars, but the vast majority of vehicles are similar. I was a Lexus dealer tech for over 3 years, and your vehicle is still one of my favorites to work on being everything is straightforward. I would recommend using a Firestone or Goodyear shop to get the brakes done. This will give you a nation-wide warranty just in case you are out of town and something happens (not likely but good peace of mind). Avoid Sears or Pep Boys, they consistency do poor work. Price including labor will be around $400 - $500 per axle, so the quotes you listed are really not overpriced. What I would like to double check is the rotor thicknesses. If either shop gave to you the numbers in writing, please notate it and I can let you know if the rotors actually do need to be replaced, or if they are still ok to be machined.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Thank you very much. I checked but they did not give me any numbers. However, at the third mechanic shop yesterday, the mechanic showed me that the rotors on my car have worn (almost) down to the metal part. The upper layer that is supposed to contact the pads is very thin, maybe less than 1mm? So I guess they are supposed to be replaced? The quote from the third mechanic is around $800-900, and I agree with you that my first two mechanics did not overprice on that. Thank you very much. How long do you think the Lexus OEM pads and rotors will last? I drive about 70% locally and 30% on highway and I am a very gentle driver, never being harsh on brakes.

Expert:  Technician Chris replied 8 months ago.

Personally, I like aftermarket brakes rather than the dealer parts because Lexus uses a very soft pad compound to minimize noise, and to make for a smooth brake feel, but the down side is that their pads do not last very long - typically about 25K - 35K miles. Aftermarket pads will usually last about 40K - 50K miles or longer depending on how hard you are on the brakes. The money difference is not worth getting the work done at the dealer (in this case.)

 

If you find my assistance helpful, please go ahead and give me a rating of good or better. You may continue to ask follow up questions, without having to pay again. A positive rating will be very appreciated as it lets other customers know that I give good service.

Technician Chris, Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 345
Experience: I am a certified ASE Master Technician with L1 Advanced Diagnostic Specialist and over 15 years experience.
Technician Chris and 4 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Technician Chris replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for the positive rating. It is very much appreciated. Please let me know if I can assist further.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Hi ASE Master, thank you very much for your help, and I just have a final follow-up question. My Lexus dealer listed the following things that need to be repaired besides the 4-wheel brake service I mentioned earlier. They are:


 


Timing Belt Replacement: waterpump and drive belts: $1242


AC recharge add dye: $275


Power Steering Flush: $193


 


My car is 2002 ES300 and has 80500 miles on it. Since you were once a Lexus tech, in your opinion which of these services can be done at a non-Lexus independent mechanic shop and which is better done at Lexus dealership (the price at Lexus is always expensive)? Do you think they need to be taken care of immediately? I would appreciate very much your kind assistance.


Shuo

Expert:  Technician Chris replied 8 months ago.

The timing belt is due every 90K miles or 10 years on your vehicle. The price sounds like they want to replace the water pump, and oil seals at the same. If that is correct, then the price is spot on, and I would not recommend to move the vehicle to another shop. Replacing the water pump and seals is absolutely recommended even if they are not leaking at this very moment. You have to remove the timing belt to access these parts, and the they will fail soon (if not already) so I agree with that price. The power steering flush is NOT needed. This fluid does not wear out like oil or trans fluid. Flushing is not needed at any mileage, unless it is contaminated (very unlikely) or you need to have the power steering pump replaced. That would be the only time you need to flush the power steering fluid, but not just for regular maintenance. the A/C recharge is higher than it should be. I assume the A/C is not blowing cold, is that right? If so, I would have a Firestone or Goodyear shop do that for around $150. Please feel free to request me again in the future for any vehicle questions.

 

Thanks

Chris

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Hi Chris, thank you very much. The A/C is still blowing cold and I think the dealer said the coolant level is low (or something like that), and as you have expected, the power steering fluid is contaminated (according to the dealer). I appreciate your help very much, and I will be certainly ask you for your opinions in the future with questions on my car. Thank you again.


Best,


Shuo

Expert:  Technician Chris replied 8 months ago.
Sounds good, I'm glad I could be of assistance. Have a great day.

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