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Q: CAN BRAKE PADS BE INSPECTED WITHOUT REMOVING TIRES??? on 2005 Lexus ES330

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Our Lexus has 85k miles and my wife recently took it for an oil change and was told that the pads on the front & rear were low. It was recommended that we get them done and the estimate was a total of $300 for front & back. We normally trust the service shop we go to but when we realized that the wheels have lug locks and were never removed. Which made us wonder if the "recommendation" was truthful or just an attempt to drum up business during the slow season. We also have not detected any braking problems or squeals. But on the same token we've had no brake work done.
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Yes, all you have to do is to look through the spokes in the wheels. On most higher end import cars, you don't really need to remove the wheels to get a good look at the brake pads and rotors, your Lexus falls in that category. If the pad thickness is near the same thickness as the backing metal, then they are due. I would not let the brakes go until you hear something, that can be unsafe. Have the shop SHOW you, it is not that hard to do. That is what I do in the shop where I work.
Thanks, Dan! You helped restore my confidence in my mechanic. Do you think $300 is reasoanble?
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