Power Brakes

Tiny
TAMC1075
  • MEMBER
  • 2007 HONDA ODYSSEY
My power brakes have stopped working. I got an estimate from a repair shop recommending replacement of master cylinder and brake booster. Does the master cylinder always have to be replaced with the booster? From what I've read online, it seems that maybe they could just replace the booster. I feel like this repair shop is trying to take advantage of me as they are estimating $397 for the cylinder and booster. I've looked these parts up on line and each ranges aroudn $110. I appreciate your help!
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Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 AT 7:45 AM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
First of all, what do you mean by "stopped working"? If it's just the power assist that quit and you have to push really hard on the brake pedal, only the booster needs to be replaced. Failure of those is very rare on any brand of vehicle.

Second, you're comparing the cost of hamburger in a grocery store to its cost in a restaurant. The shop had better mark the cost up and make a profit on it just like any other store. That is what covers the cost of getting it delivered or picked up, and it partially helps offset the cost of doing the job over a second time when new parts are defective. The shop has no intentions on trying to make you pay for the repair a second time if the new part is defective but the mechanic didn't do anything wrong and he deserves to be paid for his time when he could have moved on to the next car. That's why most shops frown on installing parts customers bring in, just like you don't take your food to a restaurant and ask them to cook it for you. If you supply a defective part you will be expected to pay the second bill for the second repair.

$110.00 seems a little high for a master cylinder but it's kind of low for a booster. I guess I'd want to know their reason for wanting to replace the master cylinder but I'd want to know the symptom too.
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Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 AT 9:44 AM
Tiny
TAMC1075
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By stopped working I mean that I have to push down REALLY hard on the pedal to get it to stop. I took it to another shop today and they said that they agreed that both the cylinder and the booster had to be replaced. The van (Honda Odyssey) only has 42,000 miles on it and the mechanic said he was very surprised that I was having this problem with such a low amount of miles.

I don't have a problem with the business making some money. My problem is with both shops wanting to charge more than twice what I was able to order the part for from Auto Zone in addition to their labor costs. I'm guessing they are not paying their mechanic the full $95 an hour that they are charging me for labor. You seem to think they should build in a large buffer amount in case they get a defective part and have to replace a second time. Should I get that buffer money back when they don't have to do a second repair? Fine if you want to add a 10% to 20% markup but 50% seems a bit steep to me.
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Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 AT 1:35 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You're right. 50 percent markup is fine for a two-dollar part but not for something so expensive. My comments stem from some people who get angry when they find out there is any markup at all. Usually those are people who have never run a business or have any idea of the huge number of expenses they incur. I didn't mean to imply that applied to you but I can see how my comments could be interpreted that way.

To shift gears for a minute, do you have anti-lock brakes? That is the only reason I can come up with for wanting to replace the booster and master cylinder together, but I can't find those parts in my usual sources. They show the booster and master cylinder available separately but with no reference to anti-lock brakes. They don't show the ABS hydraulic controller like they normally do for other vehicles so I can't see if the booster is integral with the master cylinder. ABS was an option available on your van. On my Dodge Dynasty for example, there is no vacuum booster. The power assist comes from pressurized brake fluid and the booster and master cylinder are all part of the hydraulic controller, and that makes it a very expensive part. Could it be you have something similar and that's why they're quoting you such high prices? If that IS the case, you would have been looking up the wrong parts. The two individual parts are for the base brake system without ABS.
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Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 AT 11:19 PM

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