Rear brake rotors and brake pads: replacement and costNovember 01, 2022
Your car has front brake rotors and brake pads, and also a rear set. Let’s see how much rear rotors and pads replacement usually costs and why these two sets of brakes can be so different.
Do rear brakes last longer than the front?
Front-wheel drive (FWD) vs rear-wheel drive (RWD)
Most new vehicles on the market today feature front-wheel drive (FWD) where the power from the engine is delivered to the front wheels and thus moves your car forward. This is different than rear-wheel drive (RWD) which used to be more popular in the last century. With RWD and a manual transmission car, you could often encounter fishtailing - when a car would swing the back end on a slippery wet or snowy road because the driving power was delivered to the back of the vehicle.
Most cars now are FWD, and the front brakes do most of the braking and thus usually feature larger brake pads than a smaller thin set on the rear rotors. However, the fact your front brakes do most of the work isn’t necessarily because of FWD, it’s because of physics and the centre of gravity shifting forward.
Your rear brakes will generally last longer than the front and you will need to replace them less often.
Rear brake pads and rotors replacement cost
When replacing brake pads and rotors, you have to consider the cost of the actual materials and then the cost of labour at the mechanic, unless, of course, you are replacing the brakes yourself. Labour to install new rear brake pads and rotors typically cost $150 to $200 per axle. With the cost of parts, you are usually looking at anywhere from $250 to $500 per axle.
The cost of materials can change dramatically if you drive a sports car with drilled and slotted rotors and performance brake pads versus a casual sedan with regular rotors and pads. For example, brake pads on a new sportscar could cost a few hundred dollars.
Typically, front brakes will be more expensive to replace since they are bigger, whereas the rear brakes are simpler in design. However, if you are noticing a high price for your rear brake pad and rotor replacement, this is likely due to the labour cost, not the cost of the parts. Rear brakes can sometimes be more difficult to replace for mechanics where the higher labour price may originate.
Shop new brake pads and rotors to replace either your front brakes, rear brakes, or both on our site.