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Car is about to turn 70,000 miles and the pedal feels mushy, I can feel a grinding when I go down my driveway first thing every morning, and the is a shimmy in the steering wheel at highway speeds. Dropped it at my local tire shop today for an oil change and asked them to have a look, and the guy says I need both new pads and new rotors and quoted me $525 for the job. I asked can't you just turn the rotors and he responded that "they're already below the legal limit". This seems like a lot to pay for new front brakes using OEM stuff, am I wrong? Granted it is Marin county so everything is expensive and I plan to get a 2nd quote, but are there any aftermarket brakes worth considering while I'm at it?

He also said I have a ball joint that needs replacing ($255) and a left control arm (which could maybe explain a clunk I feel making an uphill left turn in my driveway?).
 

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Do them yourself. These cars are really easy to do brakes on. If the rotors look smooth I would just put a set of pads on it and drive another 50k.
 

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The rotor that got chewed up, maybe needs replacement. Depends on how much metal ground away.

Pads shouldn't be more than $100 w/hardware, rotors are about $60 each and labor is usually 2 hours per axle for replacement. That's retail.

The rotors have the minimum thickness stamped in them. Get a second opinion and ask what the thickness is.

If you are mechanically inclined, don't mind getting dirty and have the tools necessary, it can be done in your garage. Some parts stores, Oreilly's comes to mind, can reface the rotors if they are measured above the minimum stamped on the rotor. If your steering is shaking now, it will get worse with new pads on the current rotor surface.
 

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+1 Brake jobs are easy if you have some "basic" mechanic know-how.

$525 is insane - wish you were in NYC as I'd help you out myself or recommend a budget friendly shop...

Brakes can get expensive depending on brand & performance, but decent quality "store-brand" rotors & premium pads work OK for most drivers - many chain shop quotes include "basic" level pads -mid & premium pads come with an additional charge.

New Autozone FRONT rotors & "gold" pads should run about $120'ish, a brake fluid flush with DOT4 fluid is also a great idea.
 

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I don't think that is an outlandish price esp. if they are replacing with oem. You can do it cheaper yourself assuming you don't mind the hassle but be prepared to have to spend some extra $ if you don't have some of the basic tools already (i.e., jack stand, etc.). After my last local shop brake job I decided I was going to do my own from then on out and invested in the tools and such. Your payback is when you do it the 2nd, 3rd, and so on. Also, don't cut corners if you are going to do it like replace pads and leave old rotors on unless you have measured the run out and they are safe to use. I personally think its worth the peace of mind replacing the rotors too when doing the pads, but my wife drives the subie and it helps me sleep at night :)
 

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Replacing rotors just because your replacing pads is sort of like throwing your Suit away because it has a crease in the pant leg and needs a visit to the cleaners.

Rotors on the Subaru's rarely need actual replacement - turning off some high spots ie build up yes and if they get turned by a shop with no one paying attention they might just turn a little more off so your next brake job is much sooner at which point they get to charge you for marked up rotors too given "they turned em down to just shy of spec" the last time they saw you. ;-)

Since I started doing all our brakes on all three of our cars we have had zero brake issues and surprisingly they have been trouble free for FAR FAR FAR longer than when the shops did them. HMMMMMMMM?

I even suspect my wife's VW didn't have anything done to it the last time she paid $600 for a brake job other than some greased pins and a little wire brushing on the rotors. Given the pads were to metal not 8 months later.
 
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