Brake Pads Replacement » Cost · Symptoms · Interval | UK

How much does brake pads replacement cost in the UK?
How much is brake pads replacement in the UK? How often do brake pads have to be changed and when do the brake discs also have to be changed? Which signs indicate that brake pads are worn out? Plus: The best savings tips and a free of charge car garage comparison!

How much to replace brake pads in the UK?

Average cost per axle » £90 – £165

Brake pads replacement cost for most cars are between £90 – £165 per axle. The prices can vary, depending on car model and car garage, in some cases significantly. A price list for different car models and an overview of how the costs are composed can be found below. For a quick overview, the following is an example of brake pads fitting in a VW Golf 4. There is a change of front and rear brake pads.

Cost example: Brake pads replacement – VW Golf 4
Brake pads replacement front
£90 – £110
Brake pads replacement rear
£100 – £120
Total cost
£190 – £230
Do the brake pads on both axles always have to be replaced? – It ́s mostly not necessary to change the front and rear brake pads at the same time, because the brake load and therefore the wear and tear will be different. The front brake pads usually wear out faster and need to be changed more often.

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Additionally: How much to replace brake discs?

+ £140 – £280 per axle

Brake discs need to be replaced much less frequently (on average every 100,000 – 150,000 km), than brake pads (on average every 40,000 – 80,000 km). If the brake pads are to be changed along with the brake discs, an additional cost of at least £140 per axle can be expected.

The price of the brake discs can also vary between front and rear axle, but for most car models the brake discs on the front axle are slightly more expensive. All figures listed in this article are inclusive of VAT and are intended only as guidelines, which of course may vary.

What are brake pads and what do they do?

The brake pads are a crucial element of the brake system: they ensure that your car can slow down and stop safely and at the right time. The brake pads are located between brake caliper and brake discs and are pressed against the brake discs when the brake is applied. Brake pads are made of special friction material and wear out over time and must be replaced.

Brake pads replacement cost – Sorted by car models

In most cases, the heavier and faster a car is, the more powerful the brake system and brake pads have to be. This naturally also increases the costs.
Brake pads replacement cost per axle
Car model
Price range
Alfa Romeo Giulietta • Alfa Romeo Mito • Chevrolet Spark • Chevrolet Matiz • Fiat 500 • Fiat Panda • Fiat Punto • Ford Fiesta • Ford Ka • Ford Escort • Hyundai i10 • Hyundai i20 • Kia Ceed • Kia Picanto • Kia Rio • Nissan Micra • Vauxhall Corsa • Vauxhall Meriva • Peugeot 206, 207, 208 • Renault Clio • Renault Twingo • Seat Altea • Seat Ibiza • Smart Fortwo • Toyota Corolla • Toyota Auris • Toyota Yaris • VW Fox • VW Lupo • VW Polo
£90 – £110
Audi A1, S1 • Audi A3, S3, RS3 • Citroen Berlingo • Citroen C3 • Citroen C4 • Citroen Jumper • Dacia Duster • Dacia Logan • Dacia Sandero • Ford Kuga • Ford Mondeo • Honda Civic • Honda Jazz • Hyundai Tucson • Kia Sportage • Mazda CX 5 • Mercedes A Klasse • Mazda CX 3 • Mini • Nissan Qashqai • Vauxhall Astra • Vauxhall Mokka • Vauxhall Vectra • Vauxhall Zafira • Peugeot 308, 3008 • Renault Kangoo • Renault Megane • Seat Alhambra • Seat Leon • Skoda Fabia • Skoda Octavia • Skoda Roomster • Skoda Superb • Skoda Yeti • Toyota Avensis • Toyota Prius • Volvo V60 • VW Passat • VW Tiguan • VW Golf 4, 5, 6, 7
£110 – £135
Audi A4, S4, RS4 • Audi A5, S5, RS5 • Audi A6, S6, RS6 • Audi Q2 • Audi Q5 • BMW X1 • BMW 1er • BMW 2er • BMW 3er • BMW 5er • Fiat Ducato • Ford Focus • Ford Galaxy • Mercedes B Klasse • Mercedes C Klasse • Mercedes E Klasse • Mercedes GLK, GLC • Vauxhall Insignia • Porsche 911 • Rover 75 • Seat Alhambra • VW Caddy • VW Sharan • VW Touran • VW T5
> £135

Replacing brake pads: How are the costs made up?

In our cost examples we assume that brake pads are installed in OEM quality. The material to labour cost ratio for most car models is around 40:60. There are of course exceptions, such as the Porsche Cayenne. Here you can calculate about £140 for the brake pads.
Ratio material / labour cost: ~ 40/60

£30 – £135

With increasing weight and HP, the demands on the brake pads also increase and therefore also the costs. The costs range from relatively cheap £30 for brake pads for the VW Polo, to about £45 for the Skoda Octavia, to about £140 for the Porsche Cayenne.

For even heavier and more powerful car models, the costs can be even higher. New brake pads can easily cost over £140.

Rely on brake pads in OEM quality!

For safety reasons, it is always advisable to use parts in OEM quality. Your car garage will know which brake pads are suitable for which car model. However, it doesn’t hurt to make your own enquiries to ensure that quality parts are used.

Well-known manufacturers of high-quality brake pads are among others:

ATE • Akebono • Bosch • Bendix • Ferodo • Jurid • HerthBuss • Textar • TMDFriction • Hawk • NAPA • AC Delco • Motorcraft • Brembo • Mintex • Valeo • FTE • Hella Pagid • Zimmermann • TRW • Wagner

Labour cost:

£45 – £130

The labour cost varies according to the car model. The primary concern here is how easily and quickly the brake pads are accessible. In some car models, for example, the pads are not on the brake discs but on the brake shoes of the drum brake.

For most car models the labour cost should be in the range of £45 – £70 and the replacement should be done in about one hour (per axle).

Brake pads replacement: Which extra costs can occur?

When changing the bake pads and discs in the garage, the entire brake system is checked for proper condition and functionality. The following additional costs may arise:
Change brake fluid

+ £50 – £100

It is worth checking the brake fluid, as this can also have an influence on the braking behaviour and should not be soiled. On average the brake fluid should be changed every two years. The brake fluid itself is quite cheap, you will primarily pay for the labour cost.

Drum brake and brake shoes replacement

+ £220 – £500

Drum brakes are usually more expensive to replace, but the brake shoes themselves range from £80 to £160 for most models, so it depends on whether only the brake shoes or also the drum brakes need to be replaced.

Most car models have brake discs.

However, some older models have a drum brake with brake shoes. Prices can vary greatly and depend on the car model.

Brake caliper replacement

+ £260 – £500

If the brake caliper leaks or is damaged, it must also be replaced, which is relatively expensive due to the amount of work involved. However, if the brake pads and brake discs are checked and replaced regularly, it is usually not necessary to replace the brake caliper.

How long does the car garage need to replace brake pads?

» On average 1 hour per axle

The average duration for the actual replacement is about one hour per axle or 30 minutes per tyre. The exact time varies slightly depending on the car model and the garage. However, you should expect at least 45 minutes per axle.

If the brake discs also have to be replaced, the time required increases by about 30 minutes per axle. However, it may happen that some brakes are more difficult to release than others, which can considerably increase working time.

For brake pads replacement, it is therefore advisable to discuss a fixed price with the garage in advance.

What to do after changing the brake pads:

Drive in brake pads slowly, brake lightly several times.

Drive a few meters with the brake lightly rubbing.

Do not carry out any emergency braking before retracting the brake pads!

How often do brake pads need to be replaced?

» With normal driving style about every 40,000 – 80,000 km

If you use your brakes more often and more heavily, you can wear out your brake pads in half the time. This can also be the case when cheaper no-name parts are used instead of brake pads in OEM quality.

Cheap brake pads may have a shorter interval and require replacement after only 20,000 km. The bottom line is that cheap solutions are almost always more expensive.

Wear limit of brake pads and minimum strength:

Alternatively, the strength of the brake pads can be measured and thereby the achieved wear limit can be determined. For most brake pads the wear limit is 2 – 4 mm minimum strength. For brake shoes (drum brake) the wear limit is often as low as 1 mm.

The car manufacturers usually specify a minimum strength for each car model, which should not be exceeded in order to avoid risks. Some modern disc brakes nowadays even have a wear indicator, which informs the driver electronically via the dashboard display that it is time to change the brake pads.

Signs / symptoms when it is time to change the brake pads

Signs and symptoms for brake pad replacement
Warning signs and symptoms of faulty or worn out brake pads
High quality brake pads are made of premium friction material, but sooner or later they wear out and have to be replaced due to the unavoidable, strong friction during braking.

The life of the brake pads in comparison to other car parts is therefore rather short.

So it is all the more important to keep the brake pads in good condition, also to avoid high costs due to subsequent damage.

Ideally, you should keep to the brake pads replacement interval specified by the manufacturer.

At the very latest, however, you should go to a garage as soon as the following symptoms occur:
» Reduced brake power

If the brake power is not as strong as usual, this can be a sign of worn out brake pads. However, impurities in the brake pads could also be responsible for this.

» Vehicle pulls to the side when braking

If your car noticeably pulls to one side when braking, this is a possible indication of worn or damaged brake pads and should be inspected more closely.

» Warning indicator lights up

On many newer car models a warning symbol in the dashboard display lights up when the brake pads are too worn off and need to be replaced. Check your cars manual to find out what this symbol looks like.

Noticable Symptom: A loud squeaking of the brakes

» Squeaking / squealing brakes

With heavily worn out brake pads a noticeable squeaking can be heard when braking. This can be the case when the friction material of the brake pads is completely worn off.

» Brake wear limit under 4 mm

One way to visually check this is to measure the wear limit. For each car model there is a recommended minimum strength, which should not be exceeded. Usually this is between 2 – 4 mm.

» Vibration when braking

A strong vibration during braking is in most cases a sign of overheating of brake pads and discs. If vibration or “rattling“ occurs during braking, you should visit a garage as soon as possible.

» Soft pedal feel when braking

If the pedal feels “soft” when the brake is applied, this may be a sign of rust between the support plate and friction material. Also in this case the brake pads (and brake discs) should be checked and replaced if necessary.

Important: As soon as one of the symptoms occurs, you should contact a garage to avoid any safety risks. Ignoring the signs of worn out brake pads can not only be a danger to yourself and others, but also result in very high repair costs.

Brake pads worn out: Is it still possible to continue driving?

» Depends on the condition of the brake pads but not as a general rule

Unlike some other car problems, you can still drive with worn out brake pads in most cases, but unless it is clear what the source of the problem is, it is not worth taking the risk and putting yourself and others in danger.

In addition, far greater damage can be caused, such as further failures of brake parts (including brake discs/ drum brakes).

Therefore, it is worth leaving the car and having it examined first. Generally, brake pads should be changed within the recommended intervals, but at the very latest when the first symptoms appear.

The 3 most important saving tips for brake pads replacement

1. Early changing saves money

If you change your brake pads early, i.e. within the recommended intervals, you can save yourself a lot of money and trouble, because if you change them too late, other parts of the brakes can also be affected and have to be replaced.

2. Avoid cheap no-name brake pads!

This may sound like a paradox, but if you use more expensive brake pads in OEM quality, you will most likely save money. The reason is simple: high-quality brake pads on average last twice as long, and since the labour costs in the workshop are higher than the brake pads themselves, it is simply not worthwhile relying on a cheap solution.

3. Make price comparisons

Even in the same city, prices can vary greatly from garage to garage. To save time and effort and to find the best value for money, it is worth comparing offers and checking the prices for your region before each visit to a garage.

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