Emergency Brake Repair Cost [DIY Vs. Mechanic]
The emergency brake serves a vital function in any vehicle. In the case of an emergency or when parking on steep inclines, it’s essential to have a properly working emergency brake to secure the vehicle’s stationary position.
It can be extremely dangerous to drive a car that has a damaged or broken emergency brake. What some people don’t realize is that repairing or replacing a faulty emergency brake actually involves taking care of what is called the emergency brake cable.
Replacing this part can get your vehicle back in tip-top shape so that it is safe to drive again. On average the cost of emergency brake cable replacement is around $275 in the United States, where parts make up about $120 of that cost, and labor makes up about $155 of that cost.
Further, in terms of average costs in the US, the high end of overall costs can be as much as $300, while the low end of overall costs might be as low as $250 for others.
The cost of this auto repair consists mostly of the cost of labor, where the cost of the actual parts is low in most places. It’s also important to note that these average estimates are representative of costs across the entire nation, taking into account all sorts of vehicle makes and models.
Prices do fall high above this estimate and some fall below, depending on your geographical location, cost of taxes, and type of vehicle you have.
Read on to learn about the average cost of an emergency brake cable replacement (emergency brake repair) for various different types of vehicles in different locations around the United States.
Signs That You May Need to Repair or Replace Your Emergency Brake
Before we get into the cost breakdown for emergency brake repairs/replacements, you should first consider the reasons you might need this repair job. There are several ways that emergency brakes and emergency brake cables get damaged or become faulty.
One obvious sign that you should at least have your emergency brake inspected by an auto shop is if the parking brake is not functioning when you put the car in park. Some vehicles even have a parking brake light on their dashboard that illuminates when the parking brake is not functioning properly.
Further, you might notice that when you’re operating your emergency brake, noise occurs, indicating an issue. Or, you might notice that the emergency brake only works on level surfaces, and not on inclines as it is supposed to.
Cost Breakdown for an Emergency Brake Cable Replacement
When repairing a damaged or broken emergency brake in a vehicle, what you are really targeting is the emergency brake cable. This part is essential to the functioning of your emergency brake, and so replacing it is often the most obvious option for a complete repair.
In the following table, we’ll compare and contrast the differences in average cost for an emergency brake cable replacement for different makes and models in different places across the US.
We’ve chosen California, Ohio, and Idaho to compare, as these states represent CarMD’s most expensive, least expensive, and median cost states (respectively) for auto labor costs.
|Vehicle Make and Model||Average Cost to Replace Emergency Brake Cable (California)||Average Cost to Replace Emergency Brake Cable (Ohio)||Average Cost to Replace Emergency Brake Cable (Idaho)|
|2015 Toyota Corolla||$968||$796||$845|
|2008 Toyota RAV4||$349||$304||$316|
|2018 BMW 330i||$585||$479||$509|
|2009 BMW M3||$497||$409||$434|
|2016 Ford F-150||$296||$254||$266|
|2007 Ford F-150||$332||$281||$295|
|2015 Nissan Altima||$330||$279||$293|
|2007 Nissan Sentra||$342||$296||$309|
|2018 Volkswagen Passat||$295||$253||$265|
|2008 Volkswagen Jetta||$345||$297||$310|
Factors Affecting the Cost of Emergency Brake Repairs
Although the above table represents the average costs of an emergency brake cable replacement, you’ll still face fluctuations in prices for a number of reasons. One aspect of this repair job that is unique to other auto repairs is that emergency brake repairs can be divided into different parts of the car – front and rear.
Another aspect affecting the cost is the make and model of the vehicle you own (with the year of the model’s release also influencing costs). You’ll additionally find that the cost of auto repair work where you live is different than it is for someone, say, across the country from you.
Let’s dive into these three major factors – the number of emergency brake repairs, the location of repairs, and the make and model of your vehicle.
Number of Emergency Brake Repairs
One thing that can affect the cost of your emergency brake repair job is the number of parts you need to have replaced. You need to know if you’re getting the cable repaired/replaced for the front of the vehicle or the rear of the vehicle (and whether you’re doing both sides of the rear of just one).
For example, the cost of an emergency brake cable replacement job for a 2015 Honda CR-V will be slightly different depending on whether you’re replacing the front, a rear side, or both sides of the rear:
- Cost of replacing the front – $299
- Cost of replacing the rear (one side) – $421
- Cost of replacing the rear (both sides) – $640
As you can see, it costs considerably more to replace the emergency brake cable if you need to take care of the rear, as opposed to the front of the vehicle. Further, it costs more (as expected) to replace both sides of the rear, as opposed to one side of the rear.
Location of Repairs
The second factor affecting the cost of repairs is the location where you are paying for repairs to be done. Although every auto body shop is different, most states have an average cost for auto labor that is unique to them.
Unless you are paying for repairs in a big city as opposed to a rural area in your state, prices will be pretty similar across the state. Further, taxes will be similar across the state.
It’s also important to note that some states have considerably higher auto repair prices than others. For example, California is a state that consistently tops off the list of the national averages for auto repair prices.
Further, Vermont and Ohio have been at the bottom of the list recently, making those states the least expensive for auto repair work overall.
Vehicle Make, Model, and Year
Something we must consider is whether or not there are trends in repair costs when it comes to the type of vehicle you own. And the answer to this question is almost always a resounding yes.
Although this isn’t always the case across all makes and models of vehicles, it’s pretty common for an older release of a certain make and/or model to require a less expensive repair than the newer release.
That is, of course, unless the older version of the model is so out of date that the supply for its parts is now low, and thus, more expensive to acquire.
This is true in the case of many popular Toyota models, where older models don’t require repairs that are quite as expensive as the repairs for newer models.
Another trend in repair costs for different makes and models is the fact that, more often than not, luxury brand vehicles require expensive repairs. The repairs and parts often have prices that match the car’s price – much higher than that of other vehicles.
You can see this trend play out in our above table, where emergency brake cable replacements for BMW vehicles are considerably more expensive than replacements for Toyotas, Volkswagens, Fords, and Nissans.
And this is true regardless of the geographical region where the repair is taking place.
Lifetime Costs of Emergency Brake Repairs
One important thing to note about emergency brake repair jobs is that not every car owner will have to pay for this repair in the time span of owning their vehicle. However, if you clicked on this article, it’s likely because you are in fact faced with the task of getting your vehicle’s emergency brakes repaired.
In general, a vehicle will not have a need for this repair unless it is at least 10 years old or has upwards of about 140,000 miles clocked on it. And when we take that timeframe into consideration, we can assume that, even if you keep a car for 20 years and up to almost 300,000 miles (which is the maximum for most cars), you’d only have to repair the emergency brake twice, at most.
Therefore, on average, the lifetime costs of repairing the emergency brake on your vehicle will only be $275 (the average) or $550 (the average x 2) at most.
Special Tips for Emergency Brake Repairs
Although you can’t avoid paying for this essential part of your vehicle (and will probably have to pay hundreds of dollars to replace it), there are some tips to help you. Saving money is not impossible, and we think the following strategies can help you to do so.
Avoid the Dealership
The first tip is to avoid taking your vehicle to the dealership for repairs if you can help it. It’s no myth that auto dealerships tend to rip off or charge exorbitant prices for their customers, at least when compared to private auto body shops.
The main reason that dealerships typically cost more is that they are offering a more specific service (example: BMW repairs only), which narrows the market.
This means that if you want someone who is specifically knowledgeable about the ins and outs of your car’s make (BMW in this case), you need to go to a BMW dealership. The chances are slim that there are going to be as many dealerships for that make in your town as there are auto body shops in general.
Because of this, dealerships can afford to charge more. When you go to an auto body shop, on the other hand, they provide parts and services for all different makes and models.
There are lots of auto shops in a given town, so there is less demand, and thus, prices are inevitably lower.
Get This Repair Sooner Rather Than Later
The next tip is to keep an eye on your vehicle’s regular maintenance and ensure that your parking brake is working on a regular basis. Knowing that this is a problem as soon as it happens may ensure that you get the repair done on time to save a little money.
It won’t always be the case, but some issues, when resolved early, will cost you less money in the long run.
Don’t DIY This Repair
While it may seem tempting to replace or try and repair your emergency brake cable yourself, it’s probably not the wisest idea. Sure enough, you may be a trained mechanic yourself, but if you aren’t, this isn’t the safest job to be trying on your own at home.
When you’re dealing with such an all-or-nothing component of your vehicle like the emergency brake, you want to ensure the job is done correctly. The best way to ensure that is to go to a skilled and professional mechanic.
Given that you will likely only need to replace this part once or twice in the time span of owning your car, it’s not that big of a loss to pay full price.
An emergency brake repair involves the important task of replacing a damaged or faulty emergency brake cable. Depending on your particular vehicle and the scope of damage, you may be paying for one or more parts of your vehicle (front, rear, or both).
On average, emergency brake cable replacements cost about $275 in the United States, although this price can vary greatly depending on the location where you live, the make and model of your vehicle, and the year your car was released.
If you need to replace or repair your vehicle’s emergency brake system, make sure to do so as soon as you know it is an issue. Doing so can safeguard you, your passengers, and your vehicle. You don’t want to be driving around with a malfunctioning emergency brake system.