How and When To Replace Brake Rotors (Step By Step Guide)

The braking system of your car is among the most critical parts you should never disregard. If you plan to replace the brakes of your car, it is essential to know that the brake pads and brake rotors require maximum attention.

You also have to know that among the things that may cause you trouble is the brakes on your car. This is because when you hit the car brakes on an emergency, they are the ones that play an essential role to slow down your car.

Though it is obvious that brake pads will need to be replaced severally during the life of your car, there are other eroding items on your car’s brake system that you need to be aware of.

Some signs tell if you need to change or replace the brake pads and rotors. Just to give an example: if you are driving and the brake pedal starts to jump on applying the brake, and the whole car begins to tremble for a moment, you will probably have to look at your brake rotors.

What Are Brake Rotors?

Brake Rotors

Brake rotors are thin metal parts that press the brake pads to slow down the vehicle; these metal sheets are generally smooth. You can have grooves from the brake pads, but if these grooves are uniform, there is usually no problem.

However, these rotors may wear unevenly over time, either due to design or due to metal wear on the rotors of worn brake pads.

In these cases, some people usually turn the rotors and extend their life. But in most cases, it is easier and safer to replace them entirely.

How Does Brake System Work?

How Does Brake System Work

Most people do not understand how the brake system works in a car. When you apply the brakes, the brake pads press against the rotating disc rotors installed in the brake system.

This, in turn, slows the car and eventually brings it to a complete standstill. The mechanical theory behind the work of these pads is that it helps to convert the kinetic energy generated by the rotating wheels of the car into thermal energy. These devices absorb the heat energy and bring the vehicle to a standstill.

There are some materials that can be used to make brake pads. From semi-metallic to ceramic brake pads, asbestos is also used to make these pads.

Whatever material is used to manufacture these devices, each plate has its own life, which is subject to a constant onslaught of friction and heat. Many people prefer brake pads made of semi-metallic materials.

Initially, asbestos was the first choice when it came to the production of brake pads. However, because of the health risks caused by asbestos, people now prefer organic materials that are a perfect alternative.

Most of these pads that are introduced to the market also consist of combination materials that also contain copper fibres.

How Often Should You Replace Brake Rotors and Pads?

Generally, experts recommend car owners to replace the brake pads after about 30,000 to 35,000 miles of driving and brake rotors after 15000 to 70 000 miles of driving.

The lifespan of your brake rotors and pads will depend on your driving style and the type you are using. However, there are other factors that determine the lifespan of your brake rotors and pads.

How Long Do Brake rotors and Pads Last?  

Depending on how you drive, weight and road you use determine the lifespan of brake rotors and pads.

People who drive in heavy traffic in the mornings and the afternoons are likely to have faulty rotors or pads because of the constant use of them. Endless stopping will affect the brake rotors and pads sooner than expected.

Another factor that could influence the lifespan of your brake rotors and pads is the weight. As you press the pedal, more force is required to stop the car when the car is loaded. The materials used to make these products also play a vital role in longevity.

Step By Step Guide On How To Change Brake Rotors

If you prefer doing it yourself, you'll be happy to know that the job is pretty easy. On the other hand, if you do not know how to do the job, you can consider hiring the service of somebody.

Step 1: Buy The Replacement Orders 

First, order some replacement rotors for your car from the nearest shop. You can consider browsing online for the best deals.

Step 2: Remove The Caliper

Remove The Caliper

Jack up your car and take off the wheel. After removing the wheel, remove the caliper. This is the housing in which the brake pads are located. When removing the caliper, be careful not to damage the brake line.

Step 3: Remove The Rotor

Remove The Rotor

Once the caliper is removed, the rotor should slip out easily. It may take a bit of work to remove them, especially if the rotors have never been removed.

Step 4: Put The New Rotors

Put The New Rotors

Once it's off, put on the new rotor and make sure the rotor is firmly against the back of the axle plate. Then replace the caliper and the wheel. Repeat on the other wheels if necessary.

Before installing the new brake rotor, you should test it with a micrometer and make sure the brake surface is free of defects.

The brake rotor should also be cleaned before installation. If you have treated it with greasy hands, this is especially important.

Step 5: Check For Proper Operation

Check For Proper Operation

After installation, perform this procedure to reconfigure the wheel assembly. You should always check your brakes for proper operation before starting again by pumping the brakes a few times.

Just as you would install new brake pads, when installing new brake rotor, a proper procedure must be followed.

Since brake pad material must be distributed evenly on the rotor to achieve the maximum friction value, ask your brake pad manufacturer how to find the best brake pads.

Let’s Answer Some Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are performance brake rotors?

These are essential components of a braking system that makes it possible to reduce the speed of a vehicle or bring it to a standstill.

2. What is the difference between slotted and cross-drilled brake rotors?

Slotted rotors are usually the one which is most preferred by high-performance drivers, such those who typically use their vehicles for racing, towing and other purposes which tend to apply heavy pressure on brakes when in use.

On the other hand, cross drilled rotors have been designed with holes drilled in them, to release heat, water, gas and other debris at a much quicker pace.

3. Why am I supposed to buy the right brake rotors and not any?

To maximize the full potential of your braking system and to maximize the efficiency of your brakes, it is advisable that you use the correct set of rotors for the specific applications and conditions that you will be exposed to.

4. What are some of the disadvantages of slotted brake rotors?

While the slotted rotors are very durable, they tend to cause the rapid wear and tear of brake linings. This is due to the severe conditions and uses that these types of rotors are exposed to and the design that is associated with them.

5. What causes brake pads to fade?

It must be noted that, because of this use of friction, the formation of heat occurs typically. However, too much heat can and will lead to some braking problems, such as brake fading and other related issues.

Concluding Thoughts

The braking system of a car is not only crucial for safe driving but also important for your safety. Downtime can be expensive and not just money.

There are signs to show that your brake pads and rotor need replacement. Knowing the signs can help you in the future, but if you need to replace them, follow the above procedure.

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