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How Do I Know When My Brake Rotors Need Replacing?

When it’s time to have your brakes serviced you may be questioning why you need brake rotors and what exactly they are. Brake rotors are typically shiny metal discs on your vehicle that can be seen through the wheel towards the inside of the wheel well. The function of the brake rotors, also called brake disks, is to stop your wheels from spinning.

Brake pads work in conjunction with the rotors by clamping down onto the surface of the rotors, which allows for the vehicle to come to a smooth stop. The make, model, and year of your vehicle will help determine the composition of the rotors and the brake pads, which plays a big part in how often the rotors need to be changed.

A brake rotor is designed to create the surface opposing the brake pad, which then generates the necessary friction to stop your vehicle when the brakes are applied. It is important that the surface of the rotor remains very flat so that the brake pad is in constant contact while braking. When the surface of the rotor is inconsistent, due to warping or grooves, you will feel a pulsation in the brake pedal when braking.

Usually, a brake rotor warps due to overheating which can be caused by excessive braking. Warping may also occur from the breakdown of other brake components such as when the hydraulic component that applies the brake pad to the brake rotor, or the caliper, is sticking.

Machining the rotors grinds the surface down to return it to a flat, usable area for the new brake pad. As material is removed with each service, the rotor’s ability to dissipate heat diminishes, which can eventually cause overheating and warping, requiring replacement.

Brake rotors are given a minimum thickness by the manufacturer and cannot be machined beyond that point. With these factors in mind, a certified technician may recommend that you replace your brake rotors rather than machine them to ensure the best possible performance of your brake system.

Routine inspections performed during regular oil changes are the best way to ensure your brake system is operating safely and correctly. For your next brake service, look no further than Sun Devil Auto. We are the brake experts! Our ASE Certified technicians fully inspect your brake system and will advise you of their condition. Whether a replacement or repair is needed, we’ll get you back on the road quickly and safely. With 20 locations throughout the Valley, there’s a Sun Devil Auto near you!