Auto Systems and Repair: Brake Rotor

Symptoms of Wear or Failure

  • Pulsation in the brake pedal
  • Steering wheel vibration
  • Clanking, thumping, or grinding noise when braking
  • Brake pad failure
  • Abnormal wheel hub assembly wear
  • The brakes may "grab" when applied, causing one or more wheels to stop suddenly and skid

Related Repair Advice

  • Brake pads must be replaced before the friction material is worn away completely. If they are not, metal-to-metal contact will occur between the brake rotor and the worn brake pad. This will damage the rotor, which will then need to be resurfaced or replaced.
  • Many brake rotors are not designed to be resurfaced; they should be replaced along with the pads
  • Brake rotors should feel smooth to the touch. If you feel grooves or see ridges on your rotor, it probably needs to be resurfaced. (Note: some high performance rotors may include special groves or holes for cooling.)
  • Brake rotors should be measured at every brake pad replacement. If found to be at or below the manufacturer's minimum thickness specification, they should be replaced or re-machined. These measurements should always be noted on your repair order.
  • While it's a safe practice to use rotors worn or machined to the manufacture's minimum specification, brake pedal pulsation is more likely to occur with thinner rotors. If your vehicle is prone to brake pedal pulsation issues, you may be better off replacing worn rotors than re-machining them.
  • Brake repairs are commonly offered at promotional prices that may be lower than the RepairPrice Estimate. Make sure you understand exactly which services are included/excluded in the advertised price.