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Hi, sorry to bring up this topic up again but I'm wondering about a new scenario.
In case you're wondering why I'm asking this again is because I plan on getting a new car in around 5,000 miles, and I'd rather not spend $1k for new rotors and pads, if possible.
Currently the brake wear light comes on occasionally.
Does this sound right for the progression of brake pad wear to failure:

1) brake wear light occasionally comes on.
2) brake wear light stays on constantly.
3) brake wear light goes off for good (presumably because sensor wires have shorted)
4) brake pads start squealing (metal on metal)
5) brakes fail.

Is the above correct?
In my other car I wait until #4 before replacing pads.
Based on my experience (not with the Boxster but a BMW and VW), once the brake light comes on, it stays on because the sensor wire(s) has/have shorted. Once that happens, depending on the type of driving you're doing, you might get another couple of thousand miles out of the brakes. OK if you're not planning any trips.

Driving metal on metal could cost you a lot more than just new brakes and pads. You're really compromising on stopping distance and control since it won't likely be equal at all four corners. I think it's just plain dangerous to let it get to that level.

If you're planning to sell the car privately (at least here in Ontario) you'd have to get the brakes safetied before you're able to sell the car. If you're going to trade it, the dealer will just knock off another $2000 or so (If you're talking about the Boxster) from your trade in price. You'd be better off either doing the brake job yourself or getting a trusted indy to do it.
There are possibly 2 reasons for the brake light to come on:
  1. pad wear - sensor wires short out
  2. low brake fluid
I have never seen #1 be intermittent, so I would check for any leaks in your brake system.

But if it is the pad wear sensors, you might need only the front pads and rotors, depending on when your brakes were last done.
If you cut the sensor wire, the brake wear indicator will illuminate.

If an electron sent from one end of the circuit (which includes all 4 wheels' sensors) makes it to the other end of the circuit then the wear sensor will be off. Otherwise it will be on.
Brake sensor circuit becomes open, not shorted on vag products, rotor wears through the circuit.
It can short
Boxsterra - 5 years ago
and if it does, the brake wear light will illuminate. But if the pad wears far enough it will indeed break the circuit through discontinuity.
it senses current flow, and:

flow = good (light out)
no flow = bad (light on)

The flow can be stopped two ways:

1 the circuit opens as the wire is cut
2 the flow is diverted in a voltage divider when it shorts to ground (bare wire touches the rotor)

for proof simply short the wires together, as I do - and the light is out.

Grant

Grant

gee-lenahan-at-gee-mail-dot-com
... you will se the "exposed" wire that runs the length of the sensor.
This visible wire comes from the factory with a varnish coat, making it insulated.
With time and heat cycles, that varnish can disappear and any moisture or conductive brake dust will ground the circuit.
So, it can short without touching the rotor.
This is VERY common on sensors that are reused and not replaced when the pads are replaced.

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Happy Boxstering,
Pedro

Pedro Bonilla
1998 Boxster 986 - 299,000+ miles: [www.PedrosGarage.com]

PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)



Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar

"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"

"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti

"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna

Quote
boxsterd
Hi, sorry to bring up this topic up again but I'm wondering about a new scenario.
In case you're wondering why I'm asking this again is because I plan on getting a new car in around 5,000 miles, and I'd rather not spend $1k for new rotors and pads, if possible.
Currently the brake wear light comes on occasionally.
Does this sound right for the progression of brake pad wear to failure:

1) brake wear light occasionally comes on.
2) brake wear light stays on constantly.
3) brake wear light goes off for good (presumably because sensor wires have shorted)
4) brake pads start squealing (metal on metal)
5) brakes fail.

Is the above correct?
In my other car I wait until #4 before replacing pads.

Assuming the wear light is actually only used for reporting wear and the braking action is ok. No pulling, odd noises, etc. Yes.

My experience with my Porsches is the wear light comes on when braking. Nothing dramatic just driving along and I apply the brakes as I have a bazzillion times before and the light is on. Have to kind of study it to recall what the light actually indicates cause I don't really pay attention to the lights when I first turn the key on other to make sure all come on then go off when the engine starts.

Ok, so the light is on and it stays on. I get to where I'm going and park the car and leave it parked 1 minute or hours. Get back in the car and the light is off. And the process repeats itself. At some point during use the brake warning light comes on again.

In one case with my Boxster I became aware of what kind of braking and driving would most likely trigger the light and avoided that behavior whenever possible. But as the miles added up the light came on sooner no matter how careful I was. Then it was on when ever I started the engine.

I thought I'd just drive the car some as both the pads and rotors were worn out but after a few thousand miles -- if that many -- I got tired of the light always being on and did the brakes. The wear sensors -- front pads -- were about half worn away.

I would not recommend you drive until the brakes get noisy. There may be a special casting post on the pad backing plate that will make contact with the rotor before the actually pad material is worn to the pad backing plate metal but I've never confirmed this. That is I recall seeing a post but what it is intended for I don't know.

If you are going to sell your car, trade it in, which is a form of selling it, you should address the brakes. The negative vibes from a prospective buyer getting into the car all excited and half ready to write you a check is gone in an instant when the light comes on and you of course have to admit the brakes are worn out and should be replaced. The buyer is then going to wonder what else is worn out or nearly worn out. A used car appraiser will likely beat you up with a vengenance on the price by quoting some full price to address the brakes, blah blah blah, and you make an already tough negotiation harder by showing up with the brake light on.

You might still sell the car but probably for less than you would have sold it for if had you had the brakes done first. You might not make money on the brakes or possibly break even from the sale but the sale will almost certainly happen quicker with no warning lights to throw a wet blanket on what should a new owner's first and memorable experiences in his Porsche as he drives it for the first time.

You can use the brake job receipt -- along with any other receipts -- to show how you kept the car up to help with the sale.
I would get it fixed if I were selling to a private party.
As it is there other problems with the car, squeaks, rattles, electrical, etc...
So I will probably trade it in and get whatever I can for it.
I've had it for 15 years so anything is a bonus. I feel I've gotten more than my money's worth.
I may even donate it for the tax write off.
Forum ate my first attempt at a post - hope it doesn't post this twice.

Sorry that I'm reviving an old thread, but it is directly on point.

My 2000 Boxster's brake wear light came on as I was prepping to go to the airport. I called my mechanic to see about bringing it in on my return. He quoted $597 for pads and the sensor(s) or $957 if I replace the rotors too.

He was firm that he would replace the rotors - they get warped, replacing the pads only might be noisy, etc. - I was in a hurry and I'm sure I'm misquoting his reasons (he doesn't try to upsell me on the equivalent of rust undercoating or VIN engraving). I'm not sure what pads he's using.

So, if the rotors aren't warped, any reason to replace them? The car now has 107K on it, so this isn't the first brake job.

Anything I can offer that might reduce the price - ie a different brake pad that you guys love that might be much cheaper than what he plans to use?

The car's worth, what, $6K - maybe? So while I want to keep it for another 20 years, the brakes are 1/6 of the value.

Thanks for your thoughts and insight.


Andrew
The rotors don't need to be replaced anywhere near as often as the pads. If the rotors aren't warped (spoiler: they're not) and they're not worn down (which can be determined by inspection) then don't replace them.

$600 to replace 2 brake pads and sensors is too high. Parts should be under $100 and replacement should be an hour or less. Similarly, his rotor replacement price is way too high.

The appropriate pads depends on your driving style but (for example) you can get OE quality ATE front pads for $60 - [www.autohausaz.com]

Also, when the brake wear indicator comes on you still have plenty of pad left.

Lastly, this is a relatively easy DIY job in case you are so inclined. If you're looking to save $, doing jobs like this is one of the best ways. And it's fun smiling smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/26/2021 12:42PM by Boxsterra. (view changes)
You will not need any significant tools - a basic garage kit might be fine with a couple extra sockets.

If you can change a tire, you can do this job. There are phenomenal instructions out there.

Either way, the numbers you are being quoted are stupid high.

As Stefan suggested, the rotors are often fine. Further, the rear pads/rotors are often good for double the life of the fronts.
I agree with Boxterra that this is an easy job and satisfying, if not fun (but probably fun is a fine description). The online videos and instructions are fine and getting the parts is easy. The biggest requirement is an acceptable jack and jack stands to ensure your safety (oh, and a suitable garage so you can take your time - I would not want to do this on a city street!). The other issue is to get new wear sensors, not just the pads.

Go for it!
Quote
TheFarmer
I agree with Boxterra that this is an easy job and satisfying, if not fun (but probably fun is a fine description). The online videos and instructions are fine and getting the parts is easy. The biggest requirement is an acceptable jack and jack stands to ensure your safety (oh, and a suitable garage so you can take your time - I would not want to do this on a city street!). The other issue is to get new wear sensors, not just the pads.

Go for it!

I believe he was quoting front *and* back, not just front. So it is 4 of everything. Still too high?
Quote
AndyInNYC
Quote
TheFarmer
I agree with Boxterra that this is an easy job and satisfying, if not fun (but probably fun is a fine description). The online videos and instructions are fine and getting the parts is easy. The biggest requirement is an acceptable jack and jack stands to ensure your safety (oh, and a suitable garage so you can take your time - I would not want to do this on a city street!). The other issue is to get new wear sensors, not just the pads.

Go for it!

I believe he was quoting front *and* back, not just front. So it is 4 of everything. Still too high?

That’s not too high. I know several folks here do their own work, and of course that will be the most economical, but if you are having someone else do it (either the dealer or an indy), they will need to make some money from it and not just charge you a little over their cost of the parts. That’s the reality of it. When I had my Boxster, I took it to a dealer once for a new water pump, engine mount, brake pads and rotor change, and I think it came out to over $4k. Even pad changes on my Audi A4 are not cheap. It has nothing to do with how old your car is or that it’s now devalued to $6k. The car is still a Porsche and the parts prices do not go down if your car devalues. If you’re that concerned about if you’re getting taken, get a quote from other indys around your area to compare. There are several you can check out if you look at your local PCA chapters on their website. They always have sponsor Indy and dealer contacts listed in their site that you can call around to get quotes on brake changes and other things.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/2021 07:02PM by CarreraLicious. (view changes)
If you are talking about DEALER quotes in the NY Metro, that might be in the range. But for a decent independent, I submit it is high.
I get that they quote from the book or whatever and I get that the mark up stuff through the roof, but the parts are NOT the expensive.
Check FCP Euro and other sites.

The work is much easier than on many of my other cars. Remember, in theory, they are supposed to be able to fix these at a racetrack or whatever.

I had my oil changed very early on at the dealer because there were other things being done under warranty. I think they charged me like $284.00 for the oil change.
My wife had a bulb changed on her car - $35.00. For a 5 minute job and a $5.00 part.

The point of all this is you can spend as much as you want, but the job is not difficult at all. As noted, if you can change a tire - and you have a safe space to do it etc. This is very doable.
Option 2 - If you have a local independent, they can do this easily as well.
Quote
JMstamford,ct
If you are talking about DEALER quotes in the NY Metro, that might be in the range. But for a decent independent, I submit it is high.
I get that they quote from the book or whatever and I get that the mark up stuff through the roof, but the parts are NOT the expensive.
Check FCP Euro and other sites.

The work is much easier than on many of my other cars. Remember, in theory, they are supposed to be able to fix these at a racetrack or whatever.

I had my oil changed very early on at the dealer because there were other things being done under warranty. I think they charged me like $284.00 for the oil change.
My wife had a bulb changed on her car - $35.00. For a 5 minute job and a $5.00 part.

The point of all this is you can spend as much as you want, but the job is not difficult at all. As noted, if you can change a tire - and you have a safe space to do it etc. This is very doable.
Option 2 - If you have a local independent, they can do this easily as well.

He is in the NY Metro area and he just said that quote was actually for front and back. I think that price quote is not out of line but what do I know.
For their labor, at a published rate, for parts, with a modest markup, and for shop supplies.

Prices are often too high because the mechanic replaces parts that don't need to be replaced, use expensive parts, or markup the parts too much.

I always recommend people who get estimates get a breakdown of what is being done, including parts & labor for everything.

That said, everyone has a different preference between saving money and frequency of visits and that's a conversation you can have with the mechanic or service department. Almost every shop will give you the opportunity to choose a more expensive path but you don't have to take it.

To your question, is $600 too much for replacing 4 pads, 4 sensors, bleeding the brakes and the clutch, all in? No, I think that's reasonable. If it's just pads & sensors, I think it's still high.

If they're using pads sourced from Porsche then you can probably at least half the parts cost by going with aftermarket, which will be just as good.
... types of pads used, you could get an intermittent brake wear light, especially with high-metal content pads.
Their brake dust can conduct electricity, especially when wet after washing.
But it's very easy to see a D check the condition of the brakes yourself.
Using a flashlight you can see the thickness of the pad ( against the rotor).
If it's 1/4 inch or less it should be replaced.
To check the rotors, run your finger along the outside edge of each rotor.
You should feel a lip on the edge.
If that lip is more than 1 mm then the rotor should be replaced as well.
Happy Boxstering
Pedro

Pedro Bonilla
1998 Boxster 986 - 299,000+ miles: [www.PedrosGarage.com]

PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)



Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar

"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"

"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti

"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna

My 2000 Boxster S would have a rare intermittent light, then more often, then constant. Pads required replacement. I always used Porsche labeled pads. This process could go on for a month or two.

Peace
Bruce in Philly



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2016 09:02AM by Bruce In Philly (2000 S Boxster, now '09 C2S). (view changes)
First, look through the wheels and see how worn your pads are. Its not that hard. Better yet, pull the wheels and look. But I think boxterd's comments are important: it will bite you to sell a car with truly worn brakes and a warning light.

Second, let's say they are worn. Its not $1000 for pads and rotors. Its $200 on pads (all 4 wheels) plus labor (maybe 1.5 hours being generous) plus a couple sensors $10 each or so, i have not used them in ages. Heck, i can get front pads, good ones, for $80 and put them in in a hour. Textar or posi-quiet (centric brand) are good, inexpensive OEM like compound pads,

replace the pads. The rotors are 95% likely to be just fine.

Grant

Grant

gee-lenahan-at-gee-mail-dot-com
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