When to Replace Brake Rotors

Changing your Brake Rotor Discs has historically been an expensive job because of the high cost of parts, and the labour involved in the job. For this reason, most auto repair garages began machining (turning) rotors when they were damaged in order to save their customers money. This involves spinning the rotors on a lathe which grinds their surfaces. This removes imperfections on the surface, ensuring they are clean and level. The major issue with machining a rotor is its thickness. Each time a rotor is turned, it makes the part thinner which reduces the overall effectiveness and safety of the rotor discs. With the drastic drop in the prices of brake rotors over the last ten years, it has now become a viable option to replace rotors instead of turning them, and to replace your rotors more often (especially if you perform your own repairs, or purchase your own replacement auto parts). Doing so improves the life of your entire braking system and improves the overall safety of your vehicle. There is no exact science on when to replace brake rotors because each situation is different, but generally the average is about 50,000 miles to 70,000 miles.

The most common problem with brake rotors is run out, or warping. Rotors are subjected to difficult working conditions and high heat temperatures, and over time can potentially warp. Warping is a greater concern for rotors that have been turned, because they are structurally weaker as a result of their lost thickness. If you change your brake pads and do not measure for run out on your rotors, you may potentially be putting new pads on warped rotors. This will cause your brake pads to experience higher and potentially uneven wear and tear.

Another problem that is common for brake rotors is grooves, scores and cracks in the metal. Quite often, if you do not replace your brake pads soon enough, the brake lining on the pads will be so thin in some places that you will experience your metal brake pads grinding into your metal rotors. This can leave deep grooves in the surface of the rotor. Often these grooves are so deep your mechanic will be unable to machine them out and they will have to replaced. 

There are a number of sure-tell symptoms of bad brake rotor discs. First, vibrating or pulsating when you brake is the most common symptom for you to notice. Generally, if you feel vibrating in the steering wheel your front rotors need attention, and if you feel vibrating in your seat or the pedal, the rear rotors need attention. This is most often caused by run out. Another sign to look for (or listen for) is squealing and grinding noises that may be coming from your brakes. Warped or grooved rotors can produce noises when braking, and the noise can be reason enough for concern. You may also need your brake rotors replaced if they have been worn down to the point that they are not thick enough to safely drive on. All brake rotors have their minimum thickness stamped into them, and once they reach this threshold you can no longer drive on them. Mechanics also have a tool that they use to measure if brake rotors are warped. If you are concerned about these parts, you can bring your vehicle in and have them perform an inspection.

When changing your brake rotors, it is highly recommended that they are replaced in pairs. Failing to do so will lead to uneven pad wear, steering pull, and could lead to costly damage of your braking system. You do have options when having your brake rotor discs changed, that will help you save a lot of money on the repairs. If you purchase your own parts and bring them to your mechanic to install you will save a bundle on repair costs. At Prime Choice Auto Parts, we are sure to have the lowest prices on high quality rotors because we are an Auto Parts Factory Outlet Store. Another option is to purchase your parts and then install them yourself. We have a quick video on our website that gives you detailed instructions on how to change brakes so check it out. Use this knowledge to determine when to replace brake rotors on your car or truck, and you should be able to save money on your repairs.



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