Tesla Model S brake pad and rotor replacement high Cost

Tesla Model S brake pad and rotor replacement high Cost

Just had my wife's 2014 Tesla Model S front and Rear brake pads and rotors replaced at 39,005 miles for a high cost of $1597.00 These are Brembo pads and rotors product from what we have been informed.
Who said that Tesla gets better brake wear as a result of regenerative braking didn't know what they were talking about Elon. Hence the cost noted above don't believe the hype. Warped rotors right my Wife does the Daytona 500 every day on the Atlanta, GA raceway daily yeah right Tesla. Well so much for normal maintenance on these things. At least replacing rotors and pads on my gas car didn't cost me an arm and leg and my firstborn. What a disappointment. Well, guess we need to look at a new brand or find aftermarket products that don't go bust in 39000 miles.

murphyS90D | April 26, 2019

Does your wife have regen set to low instead of normal?

jordanrichard | April 26, 2019

I am at 151,000 miles on my 2014 MS and I still have my original pads and rotors. IF your wife went through a set of pads and warped rotors in 39,000 miles, she needs to wear shoes that are not made of lead............

jerrykham | April 26, 2019

Warped rotors mean the brakes were used a lot. My wife used to go through rotors like crazy on both her old Ford Explorer and her Honda CRV. She had a habit of zooming right up to a red light and slamming on the brakes when she got there instead of noticing it and gradually slowing down. Drove me nuts. Boy did we have to replace a lot of rotors. But she doesn't do it anymore in the Model 3 - she likes one pedal driving. Sounds like your wife is still hard on the brakes. They don't warp on their own - they need to have been repeatedly heated. Like Murphy I wonder if regen is on low and she drives like my wife used to.

garyjtate | April 26, 2019

Teach her how to use brakes

mstubbs007 | April 26, 2019

Regen is set to a normal not low setting and she babies the car autopilot brakes harder than she does. I think that the materials are the issue here. soft rotor metal and cheap brake pads.

mstubbs007 | April 26, 2019

The model 3 is a much lighter car than a Model S less weight means less wear on brake pads and rotors, I would think in stopping force required. | April 26, 2019

Really rare to hear of anyone replacing brake pads/rotors on the Model S, even with very high mileage. There are grossly over built due to the weight and must stop the car, even if regen off . They have been made by Brembo in the past (and still today?), a well regarded manufacture.

Brakes are used more when no regen due to battery is at 100% SOC or drive a lot of short distances in cold weather with no regen before the battery heats up. Still would not expect replacement at $39K unless abused. Tesla even considers it a warranty item (4 years), I think Tesla is the only manufacturer that includes brakes in the warranty.

kevincwong | April 26, 2019

Hard to believe the brakes are toast with less than 150K miles, but there could be several plausible possibilities:

1) The regen system might not be working properly.

2) The driver is a very heavy and late braker.

3) The brake system is not working properly (stuck piston, dragging pad, guide pins, seized caliper, etc).

4) Bogus claim.

How many sets of tires have you been through and how many miles do you average on them? As for the price, yes that is a steep price to pay and there are more affordable options. Folks have sourced rotors from other vehicles for less than $200 a disc and Brembo pads can be had for less than $80 a set. We have 68K miles on our MS85 with well over 50% material on the original pads. I suspect something is wrong with your car.

kerryglittle | April 26, 2019

My S has 50,000 miles on the car and the brakes are still like new. You must have the regen off. If you think thats expensive you have never owned a 911 Porsche. I can tell you its twice what you paid and they only lasted maybe 25 to 30,000 miles.

sweetmanpe | April 26, 2019

81000 on my S. Live on a hill. Brakes are fine.

Bighorn | April 26, 2019

Pads should not wear out but warped rotors have been an issue for some people. My front calipers corroded and the price for caliper, pads and rotors was $900 a corner, so your pad/rotor price seems high.

NKYTA | April 26, 2019

Late braker.

Near 100k, initial rotors.

dlake | April 26, 2019

Teach her "one pedal" driving. It takes a couple weeks to how to time your stop, but she'll grow to love it. I have a Feb 2014 P85 with 45,000 miles and hardly any brake wear (rotors or pads). I let regen do its job down to about 9 mph and barely touch the brakes to stop.

BarryQ | April 26, 2019

Maybe James Bond's rotors are fine but his brain is warped.

MilesMD88 | April 26, 2019

@mstubbs007...Have to agree with others and I drive 100 mile round trip thru the downtown ATL to from work. 2015 P85D, just had it in for going out of warranty checkout at Decatur. My brake Pads still measured comparable to new. Thinking operator error...sorry.

Bighorn | April 27, 2019

I’ll repeat—rotors have been a problem, through no fault of the driver:

mcmack15 | April 27, 2019

Bighorn----just a question----if we bring our cars in for the annual check, do you know if the rotors are one of the things they check? I am going in next week (a little over 18 months and coming on 12,500 miles) for a tire rotation---I am guessing they should inspect the rotors as well at that time, but I was curious if I didn't get the tires rotated if they would pick up on this at the annual.

redacted | April 27, 2019

What kind of Wh/Mile was she using? If it's not 800, then on a scale of 1-10 I'd rate this "implausible." Tesla brakes just don't wear out.

Bighorn | April 27, 2019

Since they are eliminating the concept of annual service, I don’t know if they’ll continue with the same checklist. They might visually inspect rotors for unusual wear patterns, but probably don’t look for warpage without a complaint.

Bighorn | April 27, 2019

Should probably mention that pads and rotors get replaced together. Speaks nothing of the state of the pads which were most likely unworn.

Daisy the Road ... | April 27, 2019

Why replace pads that aren't significantly worn down?

AERODYNE | April 27, 2019

Daisy...Std practice to replace rotors and pads.

Wife's cars get about 100k on the rotors. She likes to use parking brake, and sometimes leaves it on.

I avoid late braking, always creep fwd after a stop. Do a lot of highway, original rotors, never turned, 3 pad slaps...454k miles.

jordanrichard | April 27, 2019

The “standard practice” is just a revenue generator. For literal decades, if one’s rotors were warped, they would machine them straight, as long as there was enough material to do so. Seemingly all of the sudden people were being lead to believe the rotors have to be thrown away. Short of extreme warpage there is no legimate reason to replace the rotors, especially just because your pads wore out.

Bighorn | April 27, 2019

I was told that you want to start with two new flat, neutral surfaces. Even lightly worn pads can take on a non-uniform shape from a worn/warped rotor which won’t contact a new flat rotor evenly.

kerryglittle | April 27, 2019

@mcmack just ask the service tech to put a dial indicator on the rotors. Just for peace of mind. They will tell you whats within specs. Should take all of 5 minutes to do it since the tires are off anyways. They are usually quite accommodating to customers. :-)

Yodrak. | April 27, 2019

"I was told that you want to start with two new flat, neutral surfaces. Even lightly worn pads can take on a non-uniform shape from a worn/warped rotor which won’t contact a new flat rotor evenly."

Correct. Leave old pads that aren't flat to the new rotors and you're off to a good start warping those new rotors.

radio | April 27, 2019

Brembo is or was the Formula 1 supplier for Ferrari, BMW Sauber, Honda, Force India, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, as well as Yamaha and Ducati. I don't expect them to use "soft rotor metal and cheap brake pads".

mcmack15 | April 27, 2019

Thanks kerryglittle---I will do just that.

bernhard | April 27, 2019

In Denmark, brake pads and rotors do not always last very long. The reason is that the pads get stuck due to dust, causing poor braking result and short life of rotor and pads. Tesla even recommends cleaning the brakes at least once a year or they won't last. I have cleaned mine twice in the 3.5 years I've had the car and have driven 75000 km. My disks have a slightly blue tint due to the brake pads not being retracted from the disks, despite having them cleaned. Denmark does have probably the most hostile environment for cars. We use a lot of salt and temperatures during winter is constantly around 0 and with quite a bit of downpour (hence the large amounts of salt). This contributes to the short lifetime of the brakes.

But the brakes themselves are quite bad. If they get wet, it results in a total brake failure for up to 100 to 200 meters (depending on speed). I have drive at 130 km in the rain, took the offramp and tried to brake but nothing happened. I ended up using the whole offramp and half of the road it lead up to. Fortunately there were no reason at that time. I really got scared and to this day do not trust the brakes of this car (in the rain, or after a car wash). Sorry, went off topic.

bernhard | April 27, 2019

Regarding the high cost to replace pads and rotors, you can buy the parts yourself and replace them or have a non-Tesla shop do it for a fraction of the cost. Tesla parts are very expensive when bought via Tesla. They have like a 300% markup where other shops only have like 10-15%. And any shop should be able to replace pads and rotors.c You can even do it yourself. Doesn't take much knowledge, not many tools.

ChrisH314 | April 27, 2019

In Australia, S85D, 48,000 km (30,000 mi), service just completed said 1mm of brake pad used. On the other hand, if you drive one on a race circuit like a race driver it is known you can burn them out in 3 laps (as you will with the brakes in most cars). It depends on driving style.

ST70 | April 27, 2019

what kind of dust is there in Denmark?

AERODYNE | April 27, 2019

Jordanrichard...I perhaps was unclear. What I meant to say, if you have to replace your rotors because they are out of spec, and can't be turned, then of course you should replace the pads too.

Daisy the Road ... | April 27, 2019

I repeat, if the pads aren't worn, replacing them is a waste of money.
If they are worn in such a way that they aren't flat against the new rotor, you have bigger problems that new rotors and new pads alone won't fix. Again, ypu would be wasting your money.

rxlawdude | April 28, 2019

I had rotors replaced three times in our S70D, within 25,000 miles during the early part of AP1. AP1 was ridiculously aggressive on brakes in its early versions.

Have not had a lick of a problem with rotors after more than 50K additional miles. But there were multiple reports of warped rotors back in the 2015-2017 time frame here and on the other Teslageek sites.

jeffdom1978 | April 29, 2019

Sucks, I am in this boat. I have 9,000 miles on my 2018 S and my rotors are warped like crazy. I cant think of one time I had to brake hard that could have done this. The only thing I did was swap out my summer and winter wheels/tires at Discount Tire, but my winter wheels are also Tesla wheels and same lug nuts. I dont know what to do, I guess I'll contact my service center and see what they say, but its an hour away and huge inconvenience.

jeffdom1978 | April 29, 2019

I'm thinking the Polar Vortex we had in Chicago in January was to blame, with the temps in the -30's as a high.

jordanrichard | April 29, 2019

Jeffdom1978, improperly, ie unevenly torqued wheels can screw up a rotor.

kerryglittle | April 29, 2019

I was just going to say that too jordanrichard. Some mechanics don't use a proper hand torque wrench and get carried away with the quick impact gun. Tesla SC should be able to see what they were torqued to before they take them off. I think they could just up the setting to see what your last garage put them on at. As soon as they hear the click sound it will measure the torque that was used.

AERODYNE | April 29, 2019

I always check torque after I have tires replaced or other work done on my cars. About 4 times in 30 years, they were done correctly.

My rotors on an old ICE are 24 YO, 454k, never turned.

kerryglittle | April 30, 2019

Good advice AERODYNE. People make the mistake of assuming mechanics or other professions like accountants or lawyers are doing their job right. ( don't get me started on that LOL) Been screwed by them all at one time or another.

reed_lewis | April 30, 2019

Another issue is if you wash your car right after heating the brakes up. That can severely warp rotors and cause many issues like this.

As an example, in NH there is the Mount Washington Auto Road which is a pretty high change in elevation. Most people ride the brake when travelling down hill. There are numerous signs warning people not to apply water to the rotors because it will warp the rotors.

Also there is a show called 'Car Talk' that used to be on. One of the Puzzlers was a guy who drove long trips and whenever he drove a long trip he needed new rotors because they were warped. Turns out he was going to the car wash after each long trip with hot brakes.

Silver2K | July 26, 2019

I need new rotors and pads due to rumbling when I hit the brakes at high speeds.

I'm thinking 1600 is cheap considering the quality of parts and little maintenance required.

Silver2K | July 26, 2019

mstubbs007 | April 26, 2019
The model 3 is a much lighter car than a Model S less weight means less wear on brake pads and rotors, I would think in stopping force required.

I doubt they are using the same rotors and pads on the model 3.

Bighorn | July 26, 2019

My new pads are throwing off tons of brake dust compared to the originals which I never noticed at all.

Silver2K | July 26, 2019


Bighorn | July 26, 2019

Yes. Had those front frozen calipers replaced along with pads/rotors.

Silver2K | July 26, 2019

I get tons of dust on front driver's side. This seems to be normal as I have seen it on my S models.

my mobile tech told me the red calipers don't freeze, because of the coating on them as per his experience.

Silver2K | July 26, 2019


Bighorn | July 26, 2019

If it’s asymmetric from side to side, that suggests either binding or different pad material. Don’t have red calipers, so can’t comment. Northern brakes are now scheduled for routine lubrication to prevent the corrosion I had.