November 12, 2006
First DIY Brake Job
I finally managed to assemble all of the parts, tools, and shop equipment I'd been amassing the last six months and tackle the brakes. Rather than detail the process here, I wrote up a separate DIY article you may find helpful. Bottom line, brake jobs on BMWs are very straightforward if you have a modicum of patience and mechanical ability.
Let's review the costs. As much as I've bitched about book labor, my dealer has never given me any discount on labor. Since book labor on a brake job is 2 hours per axle, at $102/hr we're looking at $408 in labor alone. I have traditionally received a discount on parts only when I walk up to the parts counter and buy them myself (very strange, but true), so when I consider a retail parts cost of $477, I arrive at a dealer cost of $910. Because I was able to do the job myself, I paid no labor charges per se, and I also managed to get a $135 discount on parts courtesy of Tischer BMW and my BMWCCA membership. $910 - $340 results in a net savings of roughly $570.
Now, I won't kid you -- I had to buy some tools to do this job, and my time isn't exactly worthless these days, so the real world savings is lower than that, but when I consider what a great learning experience and confidence builder this has been, the effective worth is much higher than the raw numbers suggest.
Mileage: 135225, Parts: $340, Parts Discount $135, Labor Saved: $433, Total DIY savings: $570.