Brake rotors don’t last forever. They wear down a little bit every time the brake pedal is applied. However, the rate at which your brake rotors wear out depends on a variety of factors like quality of materials, driving styles, and exposure to moisture and road salt. Once your brake rotors are worn down, you have the option of either replacing or resurfacing them. Learn what it means to resurface your brake rotors by reading below.
What is a Brake Rotor?
A brake rotor is a component of the disc brake system that uses calipers to squeeze pairs of pads against a disc, also called a “rotor” to create friction. The friction slows the rotation of a shaft, such as a vehicle axle, to either reduce how fast it rotates or bring and hold it to a complete stop.
Over time, this action will wear down the brake pads and leave your brake rotors exposed. Your brake rotors will also become thinner and lead to a variety of other, more serious problems.
What is Rotor Resurfacing?
In the past, brake rotors were machined, or resurfaced, each time new brake pads were installed. That means that if your brake rotors met the minimum thickness recommended by the manufacturer and had enough material, a technician would remove them, put them on a machine called a brake lathe, and remove just enough material to make the brake rotors smooth again and spin true.
Replacing vs. Resurfacing
Brake rotors of the past were thick and heavy, therefore making it easy to resurface them. Brake rotors these days, however, are lighter. That means they oftentimes don’t have enough margin for resurfacing. However, there are some instances when a technician will find it appropriate to resurface your brake rotors. If your brake rotors have an acceptable amount of thickness to do the procedure, they may recommend doing it.
Most of the time it will be recommended that you have your brake rotors replaced instead. It’s usually the most economical and convenient choice. Some vehicle manufacturers may even require you to replace your rotors rather than resurface them.
What Causes Your Brake Rotors to Wear Down?
Brake rotors, like most things, wear out over time. Brake rotors usually last anywhere from between 30,000–70,000 miles before needing to be replaced. However, some things can make them wear out sooner and even warp. Some of the most common causes of worn or warped brake rotors are:
- Sudden stops
- Constantly hitting your brakes
- Driving too long on worn brake pads
Replace Your Brake Rotors Today
If it’s time to have your brake rotors replaced, bring your vehicle into Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions. We only recommend what you need, and our transparent pricing is what has made us the number one go-to auto repair shop in Frederick, MD. Click here to schedule an appointment.