Brake repair cost will vary depending on what needs to be done to get you back on the road and driving safely. Many service stations such as Midas will perform a basic brake check to determine the extent of any problems. If you hear any brake noise such as screeching, squeaking or grinding, you should immediately have your brakes checked.
There are several things that can go wrong with brakes. Worn out brake pads, calipers and drums might be the issue, but it could also be a problem with your master cylinder, individual wheel cylinders or simply a lack of fluid. The cost of repairing brake problems fluctuates depending on what is wrong.
The easiest of brake problems simply involves a low amount of brake fluid in the master cylinder. Removing the cap and topping off the fluid is the way to fix it, but keep in mind, if the master cylinder is empty, pouring more fluid in will push air into the system. To fix this you will have to bleed the brakes. If you can't do this yourself, it will cost some labor hours with a mechanic.
Worn Pads or Drums
A standard brake problem is worn pads and drums. Because brakes use friction to stop the car, as time wears on, so do the brake pads. It's just a simple fact of physics. Friction causes wear. After a while, brake pads must be replaced. You will detect a need to replace pads by hearing gradually increasing squeaking whenever you hit the brakes. If it goes on too long without being replaced,
eventually you may have to replace the drums and/or rotors as well. At this point, what could have been a relatively inexpensive fix is now more expensive. A standard replacement of pads may cost $75 to $100, whereas a drum, rotor, and/or caliper replacement can get up into the several hundreds depending on the extent of the problem.
Master Cylinder and Wheel Cylinders
The master cylinder is where the brake fluid is stored and through pressure, sent to each wheel cylinder. This fluid is what applies force to the pads and drums when you press down on the brake pedal. If the master cylinder goes bad, when you press down on the brake pedal, it might go to the floor and take longer to stop the car. At best, your braking power is greatly reduced; at worst, it could endanger your life by not stopping the car. The average cost of master cylinder repair is usually between $200 and $300, but it can be more, again, depending on the scope of the fix. If individual wheel cylinders need to be replaced, the cost will go up.
The repair price for an entire brake job—rotors, calipers, drums, pads, cylinders—can run you $750 or more. Therefore, it's best to stay on top of brake repair and get the pads replaced when you hear squeaking. Components like master cylinders wear down after time, so eventually it will have to be replaced. As long as you keep brake fluid in it and keep an eye on it, though, you'll be safe to drive and can take the steps to have it fixed when it comes time.