Mazda2: A question of cost

  • Do dealers overcharge for some service tasks?
  • Cost of replacement brake pads causes concern
  • Worth doing your research before agreeing to work

Looking back at the invoice for the Mazda's brake pad changed I was struck by a sudden realisation.

Mazda had originally indicated that the cost of the replacement pads alone was £97.58.

Because the replacement of the pads hadn't been authorised, the dealer had applied some bistromathematics and come up with a discounted price of £83.03 as a kind of compensation.

In either instance, on reflection, that seemed an awful lot for a set of replacement pads for a small hatchback.

Casting my mind back to when I'd previously serviced my own cars, I recalled that the average price I tended to pay for replacement pads was about £40.

Even a set of front pads for my old BMW E34 M5, a high-performance saloon, cost only £70.

Out of curiosity I fed the Mazda's details into a variety of online parts websites and, lo and behold, decent front pads were priced at £40.

Now obviously the dealer has numerous overheads to consider but pricing its pads at over twice that of similar items available elsewhere seemed a tad excessive.

At the time, when I'd taken my Mazda in to have the warranty work carried out, Mazda had offered me the chance to turn the replacement of the brake pads down.

They would have also had to keep the car for another day in order to remove the new pads and refit the old ones but the offer was at least there.

Looking back, it would have been considerably cheaper to accept that offer and simply source and fit the new brake pads myself.

Obviously if you've neither the tools, time nor ability then that won't be an option for you.

If you do have the opportunity to do it yourself, however, then you could potentially save some money.

You could even get a mechanically-minded friend to do the job for a beer or two if you couldn't do it and you wanted to save every penny.

After all, Mazda wouldn't know otherwise so it wouldn't affect your warranty. You'd also get the satisfaction of a job well done.

Not that I'm advising you to go and service your car outside of the dealer network, however, but it's something that's worth thinking about.

Current mileage: 11,286 miles

Average mpg: 47.7mpg