What are brake rotors? Average lifetime and When to replace
- on July 29, 2020
- Categories: Car Feature Articles
As soon as you hit the brakes on your car, several components must effectively work together to safely stop the vehicle. Brake pads and brake rotors are two most crucial parts of this mechanism. You might already know that healthy brake pads are essential for maintaining your braking system, but do you know how important are brake rotors?
What are brake rotors? Also known as brake discs, brake rotors are circular disc-shaped parts attached to each wheel. When you apply the brakes, your car’s brake pads stop the wheels from spinning by clamping down on the rotors. This process creates a lot of heat through friction, and the rotors help dissipate it.
Brake rotors require routine maintenance and immediate replacement once they reach the end of their life. How long do the average brake rotors last, and how will you know they need replacement? Let’s find out:
What Is the Average Lifetime of Brake Rotors?
The average lifetime of brake rotors depends largely on your driving habits and driving conditions. In regular conditions, brake rotors should last from three to seven years or 48,000 to 112,000 KM. If you have excellent driving habits and take good care of your braking system, your brake rotors should last longer.
Visit a licenced mechanic and get your brake rotors checked to evaluate their status. It will let you know if the components show any signs of wear and tear. A mechanic might opt for turning and machining methods for fixing rotors that exhibit an irregular surface. The process will give your brake rotors its round shape back, and you can get it done around two to three times before your rotors reach the end of their lifespan and require complete replacement.
Brake rotors don’t need replacement as frequently as your brake pads, however, they should be similarly replaced in pairs.
How Do I Know If I Need New Brake Rotors?
When it’s finally time to get your brake rotors changed, how will you know? Whether it is a squealing sound or ineffective braking, your vehicle has its way to signal you. You simply must be wary of the signs.
Usually, the signs point to a simple matter that can be easily solved, but it may also indicate a problem. Here’s what you should look out for:
Check the brake rotors yourself by turning your steering wheel to point the wheels all the way to the right or left. This will reveal the wheels’ insides so you can see the brakes. First, view the brake pads and ensure they’re at least one-fourth inches thick. If they are smaller, or they appear worn out, you will probably need brake pad replacement. In this case, chances are high that the brake pads had affected the brake rotors as well. Worn out brake pads put a lot of pressure against rotors, eventually creating a small groove in them. This is very harmful and you’ll have to make sure a worn-out brake pad hasn’t damaged the rotor. Observe the rotors and make sure they have a smooth face and are free of grooves, grit, and dust.
Keep an Ear Out for Noises
Listening for noises while you brake is another useful indicator for worn-out brake rotors. Squealing or squeaking sound tells that your brake rotors might need replacement.
Other Signs During Braking
Twisted or warped brake rotors can cause you to feel a wobble or vibration when you press down on the brake pedal. If you experience this, visit a mechanic right away to get your brake rotors checked.
How to Extend the Life of Your Brake Rotors?
Just like all other parts of your car, you should make sure your brake rotors endure their maximum lifespan. It is crucial not only for your own protection but also for the safety of others on the road.
Following are a few tips to improve your driving habits and help your brake rotors last longer:
- Always observe the speed limit – instantly stopping your car from a high speed will wear out your brake pads and brake rotors quickly.
- When you need to brake, watch traffic movement and allow yourself to gradually come to halt.
- If your brakes heat up after aggressive driving or persistent application downhill, keep your vehicle moving at a constant low speed for a few minutes and let them cool down before stopping your car.
- Avoid weighing down your vehicle - your brakes must work harder to stop your car, causing brake pads and rotors to wear out faster.
- When you get new brake pads, follow the manufacturer’s steps for “bedding” the brakes, which let your brake rotor and pad surface link properly together.
- Get regular inspections of your brake system to ensure your brake pads and rotors are in top condition.