How much should brake service for a '91 Ford Explorer cost?
October 22, 2006 4:18 PM   Subscribe

How much should brake service for a '91 Ford Explorer cost?

The brakes are going real soft and the parking brake light is always lit (I'm assuming thats the cars way of telling me that it needs new brakes. The rear ABS light is always on also.

How much should brake service cost? I took it to Midas and they just told me $800 for calipers, rotors, etc. The pads they are warrantee-ing

This is my mom's car and she just went out of town so I have no idea how much it should cost. $800 seems steep though.
posted by mphuie to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
I have a '93 Explorer and just got it inspected. I needed the front brake pads replaced and the back pads and rotors replaced. It cost me $450 for everything including the inspection ($75 I think). This was a Mom & Pop garage in a small town in Pennsylvania. I don't think it came with any fancy warranty or anything, but with a car that old I probably won't have it too much longer anyway.
posted by bda1972 at 4:28 PM on October 22, 2006

When I had those symptoms it meant there was a leak in the container holding brake fluid. That was replaced for under $200. I would take it to another place or two and get their estimates.
posted by raf at 4:54 PM on October 22, 2006

$800 sounds outrageous, unless they're going to give you a new engine while they're in there.
posted by mattholomew at 6:28 PM on October 22, 2006

Yikes - $800?! I just had my front breaks done (rotars and the works) at Midas for $200 for a 97 vw. Front and back shouldn't be more than $400 I would think!
posted by delladlux at 6:59 PM on October 22, 2006

I currently work for an automotive service center in Tucson. Calipers can get *very* expensive. Rotors, pads and such are not necessarily that pricey. However, if your calipers are wearing the pads unevenly and need to be replaced, then $800 is not unreasonably higher than I have charged for similar work. I do not recall whether the '91 calls for more expensive parts or not.

Check with other shops in town without telling them what you think is wrong, and see if you get a similar ballpark figure.
posted by jeffrygardner at 8:30 PM on October 22, 2006

By the way, a typical brake job simply involves new pads and resurfacing rotors (if within manufacturer specifications), so the caliper problem might explain the increased cost.
posted by jeffrygardner at 8:32 PM on October 22, 2006

I had the calipers on a 96 Chevy Cavalier go to pot and it cost me nearly $900 for replacement calipers, rotors, and brake pads.

Chances are, quite a bit of that cost is going to be labor charges, not just parts.

You might consider looking around Explorer Forum for further information. The site is generally geared to 3rd party mods to Explorers, but they do cover a lot of general maintenance stuff.
posted by drstein at 9:13 PM on October 22, 2006

it doesn't sound like you need 'just' a brake job. the brake light being always on indicates a major problem, and some additional repair. i'd take it to another place or two, and see what they say the costs should be.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 9:29 AM on October 23, 2006

The light may or may not be indicative of a major issue. From (which is free to me as a Loudoun county library card holder) about the 91 Explorer's rear anti-lock system:

The RABS module performs system tests and self-tests during startup and normal operation. The valve, sensor and fluid level circuits are monitored for proper operation. If a fault is found, the RABS will be deactivated and the REAR ANTI LOCK light will be lit until the ignition is turned OFF. When the light is lit, the diagnostic flashout code may be obtained. Under normal operation, the light will stay on for about 2 seconds while the ignition switch is in the ON position and will go out shortly after. A flash code may be obtained only when the yellow light is ON. Before reading the code, drive the vehicle to a level area and place the shift lever in the PARK or NEUTRAL position. Keep the vehicle ignition ON.

So a light could be as little as low fluid. There's further directions for getting the code, feel free to email me and I'll copy&paste the applicable sections for you.

It would really help to know what the etc in "calipers, rotors, etc" is, since if you're getting master cyl or reservoir service with that then $800 is probably not outside the realm of reasonable. If you need a location for a second opinion, the mechanics finder at isn't awful.
posted by phearlez at 12:14 PM on October 23, 2006

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