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An Overview of Brake Rotors


Disc brakes use a hydraulic piston to squeeze pads toge […]

Disc brakes use a hydraulic piston to squeeze pads together against the brake rotor/disc. As a matter of fact, a brake rotor is more than just the "disc" or plate that the pads squeeze to stop a vehicle, it is a vital part of the braking system. Together with the caliper and pads, the rotor is one of the three major braking components.

It is generally recommended that you replace your brake rotors every time you complete a brake pad replacement. When organic or semi metallic brake pads were used primarily, this was not the case, however. A brake rotor would last the life of two sets of brake pads, though it was always "recommended" to machine, turn, or replace the rotors with every pads replacement. If you don't machine or replace the brake rotors, the new pads are forced to grip a rough, grooved or corroded surface that can prematurely wear the life of a pad. With that being said, it must be stated that not all rotors can actually be machined. The department of transportation sets guidelines for a minimum thickness of the brake rotor, and if the rotor is too thin after machining, it has to be discarded.

Considering the pricing of a brake rotor today, as well as shop rates, sometimes it can be more economical to have them replaced, rather than machined. Also, new ceramic based brake pads are lasting longer and will usually last the lifetime of the brake rotor now.

Brake rotors can become corroded, worn, warped, and grooved. A brake pulsation, especially at high speeds, is a good indicator that the rotors may have to be changed. It is not uncommon for brake rotors to suffer corrosion and require replacing before the brake pads. Most rotors are made from a gray cast iron with the grade differing depending on the metal compound.

In conclusion, brake rotors can be commonly referred to as disc brakes or plates. These are also a vital part of the braking system, and for optimum performance, it is recommended that you replace them with every brake pad replacement.

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