When To Replace Your Brake Rotors

Updated: Mar 26

Just as brake pads wear out, brake rotors do too. Worn out rotors can either be turned or replaced. At Lonestar Brake Repair, we do not turn rotors; we always recommend replacing your old brake rotors with new ones. Here are some signs which warrant rotor replacement:

-One of the most common symptoms many experience is a 'vibration' in the steering column when applying the brakes. This vibration is due to an uneven rotor surface. When braking at high speeds, the rotor becomes hot. Over time, this heat effectively 'warps' the surface of the rotor creating low spots.

-Cracks on rotors' face or hat are another sign it's time for new rotors. Rotors develop cracks due to rapid heating and cooling. This heating and cooling effect fatigues the metal of the rotor and will eventually begin to crack.

-'Ripples' or 'Grooves' on the face of the rotor are another common symptom. Brake pads have a higher heat resistance than rotors. As the brake pads press against the face of the rotor, the materials of the brake pad are essentially 'digging' into the rotor. The hotter the brakes become, the more noticeable these indentions become.

-Isolated heat spots (These spots are usually darker than the surrounding metal) are caused by not bedding in new brake pads properly. These heat spots cause low spots on the rotor which eventually will cause a vibration in the steering column when the brakes are applied.

As stated, we do not turn rotors nor do we recommend it. It is true, 'turning' or 'cutting' rotors will smooth out the surface of the rotor. What a lot of drivers don't realize is the 'turning' process essentially makes the rotors thinner and more susceptible to heat. The vibration or pulsation you were trying to get rid of, will ultimately come back and a lot sooner than expected because the rotor is thinner. Another reason we don't recommend 'turning' rotors is because of noise; unless the rotors are thoroughly cleaned with warm water and soap, the metal shavings left behind during the cutting process with get lodged within the brake pad material and cause a squealing sound very similar to that of worn brake pads.

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