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Maybe this is too mundane a question, yet I feel compelled to ask: what's a reasonable charge at a reputable repair shop to have the brake pads changed on my Lotus Elise 2006?
 

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I would say about 3 hours labor plus parts. A reputable shop would insist on cleaning all the calipers, check the brake rotors for wear and cracks, and replace the brake fluid, i.e. bleed the brakes and clutch slave.
 
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Thank you...very helpful. The pads are at 3 mm, rotors fine. I baby her, so would never let the rotors get scratched...
My question began when receiving wildly disparate quotes for the work.
 

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Check your estimates for what is actually being done in the estimate. Big difference between just replacing pads and replacing pads, rotor check, MC flush and bleed and test drive. Too many shops just list a price and don't write out what they are actually doing. Good CYA for dealing with new or unknown shops.
 

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No way in hell I'd pay $400 (3hrs labor). I have done pads and rotors with a single jack faster in half that time. Cleaning the outside of the calipers can be done when you wash the car, don't pay a mechanic's rate for a detailer's job.
 

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Check your estimates for what is actually being done in the estimate. Big difference between just replacing pads and replacing pads, rotor check, MC flush and bleed and test drive. Too many shops just list a price and don't write out what they are actually doing. Good CYA for dealing with new or unknown shops.
Ok, will do! In no rush, just want to get it done properly.
 

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No way in hell I'd pay $400 (3hrs labor). I have done pads and rotors with a single jack faster in half that time. Cleaning the outside of the calipers can be done when you wash the car, don't pay a mechanic's rate for a detailer's job.
I feel exactly the same way, but my impression was the OP did not want to do her (tall Suzy) own work.
Changing brake pads is easy as hell for some of us, others not so much. :))
 

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Thank you...very helpful. The pads are at 3 mm, rotors fine. I baby her, so would never let the rotors get scratched...
My question began when receiving wildly disparate quotes for the work.
Regarding the rotors it’s a matter of remaining thickness (not “getting scratched”), rotors wear just like pads wear. With relatively soft street pads, the pads wear quicker than the rotors, even so the rotor thickness should be checked when replacing pads. Also, how long has it been since your brake fluid was changed?


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If it’s just a pad change, it’s as easy in these cars as any car ever made.

It would be a very worthwile aspect of being a Lotus owner to find a jack and do this yourself. I learned most of what I know about hands on car maintainence from our Elise.

I promise your whole relationship with the car, and cars in general, will be an enhanced aspect of your overall life experience if you do this yourself.
 
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Maybe this is too mundane a question, yet I feel compelled to ask: what's a reasonable charge at a reputable repair shop to have the brake pads changed on my Lotus Elise 2006?
There are no mundane questions around here. We have all asked things along the way that mystified us and been taught by others. I sure have.

Ask any question on any topic, quite likely someone here will help.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Regarding the rotors it’s a matter of remaining thickness (not “getting scratched”), rotors wear just like pads wear. With relatively soft street pads, the pads wear quicker than the rotors, even so the rotor thickness should be checked when replacing pads. Also, how long has it been since your brake fluid was changed?


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Got it! I did have it inspected and the technician said the rotors were good. So they wear down, too? I didn't realize that - thought the main thing to watch for was not allowing the pads to go and then start with that screeching sound, which does at least sound like it could scratch them. I will ask the tech if he sees any wear on the rotors...learning so much! In the past, I would just leave it with my favorite tech and trust it was good. The place seems to have changed so feeling a little less confident about that now.
 

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When the rotors get really worn, you can see a little ridge on the outside edge of the rotor. Really easy to see/feel through the wheel spokes.

It's labeled as "wear ridge" in this photo. On a new rotor, the friction surface should be flat all the way across.

ridge.jpg
 

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To answer the actual question, at Trackspec (California) the cost to change the pads for me was $1186, but that included all 4 tires replaced and it was back in 2015. I just checked that in 2014, I had all 4 tires replaced for $900. So if inflation wasnt taken into account and the labor charges didnt change too much in a year, the brakes themselves cost around $286.
I’m surprised I havent changed my pads since then. Although I have changed my rotors and tires since then. And by the way I am stupid when it comes to cars and will always pay a professional to take care of them for me.
Something that might take 30min or 2 hours to fix will take me forever. I just dont have the aptitude nor patience nor care to fix anything myself. Thats what money is good for sometimes. I’m happy most lotus owners, if not all, can change a tire or do their own oil changes..I just dont know how. And I have had plenty of people say they would teach me, but this old guy just doesnt want to learn. My answer was quite long, sorry.
 

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Got it! I did have it inspected and the technician said the rotors were good. So they wear down, too? I didn't realize that - thought the main thing to watch for was not allowing the pads to go and then start with that screeching sound, which does at least sound like it could scratch them. I will ask the tech if he sees any wear on the rotors...learning so much! In the past, I would just leave it with my favorite tech and trust it was good. The place seems to have changed so feeling a little less confident about that now.
I would change any pads out for you at no charge and would teach you how to do it on your own if you want. We would bleed the brake and clutch for you as well. Good entertainment for the family where I can engage my kids in real work;}
 

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Getting the car in the air is half the battle - taking off the panels to expose the rear lift points.

After taking off the wheels we're talking about them removing one or two bolts/pins, swapping the pads, and replacing the bolts/pins. Very little work, they'll do it in an hour maybe charge you for 2 just in case something is frozen. I'd swallow maybe $250 labor. At $300 I'd feel ripped off.

Also... bleed brakes for a pad change? Why? Maybe just a topoff if some fluid was lost from pushing the new pads in.
 

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The normal flat rate time for brakes is 1.5 hrs, but 2 isn't extremely rare. This should include lubrication of slides and pins, rotor measurement, removal, replacement, and usually turning (but can be +.2-.5 hr for turning). Fluid flush is usually extra .5 hr. This is from 15 years dealer and 15 years private shop experience. Even the Porsche book time is around here, except for rolls royce those numbers should be close.
I often suck out the brake fluid in the mc reservoir each or every other oil change. But if you're doing brakes anyways, you have to push the caliper piston in all the way, forcing the fluid into the mc reservoir. Do the same to the other two calipers even if not doing those pads. Suck out the old fluid in the mc res, then a really quick flush is all that's needed. There will hardly be any old fluid left at that point. I use a vaculla or hand operated vacuum pump, but a turkey baster will work, I think you can even pull the lower hose from the reservoir. Wipe out the res, if posible, with a lint free cloth, or flush with brake clean if you pulled it off / disconnected all the supply hoses. Reconnect everything, refill, and flush rear to front (rr, lr, rf, lf) checking reservoir level often (an auto filler is nice here). The 2 person pump, down and hold, repeat method works, but I again use my vaculla or vac pump meathod.
 
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