What are Brake Rotors? Should I Service Mine?

Brake rotors are an important component in the braking system that stops your vehicle. Brake rotors (they’re also called brake discs) are what your vehicle’s brake pads clamp down on to stop the wheels from spinning. While it may not be common knowledge, brake rotors are just as important to stopping your vehicle as the brake pads are.

What Do My Brake Rotors Look Like?

The brake rotors in your car are the large flat circle discs that are easily visible when replacing your tires or changing a flat. This rotating part connects to your axle and uses the brake pads and calipers to control your braking system. The brake rotors are normally made from steel/ iron and typically last a long time before needing replacing.

Squealing brakes are usually a warning sign that something isn’t right with your system. Sometimes it can be a simple matter and easy to resolve. However, largely it can also be a sign of impending danger. Keeping your brake rotors in optimum condition is of the utmost importance.

Brake Rotors & Maintenance

As we all know, brakes are a vital component to any vehicle. All cars, trucks, and SUVs have brake rotors, one for each wheel, and they can quite expensive to replace. Rotors are disposable items and will need replacing anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 miles depending upon your driving style, regular maintenance, and the type of brake pads used. Rotor design fluctuates in the types of iron alloys used to cast the rotor, noise, wear, and overall performance.

Rotor Quality & Safe Driving

Good brakes are essential for safe driving. If your rotors are worn and torn, they will be unable to absorb and dissipate heat efficiently, increasing the distance it takes to stop your vehicle. Poor rotor cooling also increases the risk of brake fade due to overheated brake pads, also shortening the life of the pads and potentially damaging the rotors. The hotter the pads get, the faster they wear down.

The quality of the metal from which a rotor is made also has a major impact on rotor life and performance.

The higher the quality of the metal in the rotor, the better it will perform on the vehicle. Economy rotors are typically made from the cheap, scrap iron. Their quality is often inconsistent from one rotor to the next. This can create hard spots on the rotor itself, leading to warping and pedal pulsation problems later as the rotors age. Rotors that are too soft may wear quickly, while rotors that are too hard may increase pad wear or be noisy. Cheap rotors that lack proper hardness and strength are much more likely to wrap or crack and high temperatures.


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