Nope. Some European imports can take all day. On some cars, especially those with rear disc brakes, the two rear cables take a few minutes for each one because the rear brakes don't have to be disassembled. That might sound nice now, but you pay for it later when those brake calipers have to be replaced. They're REAL expensive.
Any shop should be able to give you an estimate without seeing the car, but you have to understand there may be other related things they'll run into that they had no way of knowing about, so be prepared for surprises.
One of those surprises is when they take the rear brakes apart, if necessary, and they find the linings are worn to the point they need to be replaced. You may end up with a standard rear brake job. A conscientious mechanic who has your best interest at heart will also inspect the front brakes. Those are supposed to wear out about twice as fast as rear brakes. Some mechanics think they're looking out for your wallet by only doing what is needed right now, and they don't look any further. In reality that usually does you a disservice by not finding things that are going to cause a problem soon.
Given the age of the car, rust is going to be a factor, and for that many shops throw out the flat rate guide and charge strictly according to the actual time it takes the mechanic to get rusty parts apart and replace broken fasteners. Flat rate times don't take rust or age into consideration.
Most front cables are considerably more difficult to replace than the two rear ones. They go through the firewall or floor and have to be attached where it is hard to get to.
If I had to replace all three cables on my '88 Grand Caravan, I know I could do it in a few hours and wading through tons of rust, while sitting in my driveway. Your front cable will attach to the handle between the front seats, and that requires disassembling a lot more stuff. To be safe, I would plan on an afternoon to complete the job. If you're told to leave the car for an entire day, I guess I wouldn't be real surprised.
Friday, March 25th, 2016 AT 9:28 PM