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Do I Need Brake Rotor Resurfacing Or Replacement?

Signs That Mean You Need New Rotors

Depending on the brake rotor problem, you might need brake rotor resurfacing or replacement. If the brake rotor has major problems, you must get it replaced instead of resurfacing it. Some manufacturers require replacing the rotors and not resurfacing them.

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The braking system is one of the most critical systems in your vehicle because it has to do with your safety. Without a perfectly working braking system, you put your life at risk and the lives of people around you on the road.

The braking system consists of many components, and the brake rotors are one of the core ones. Over time of use, you might need to resurface or replace your vehicle's rotors depending on the damages. However, if you are an inexperienced driver, you might not fully understand when to perform rotors resurfacing versus replacement.

This article provides you with a simple answer to your question, “do I need brake rotor resurfacing or replacement?” It also highlights some manufacturers' perspectives about whether you should do resurfacing in the first place or not. If you have no clue about what's resurfacing, not a problem! This article will walk you through the basics!

What is the brake rotor, and what does it do?

The brake rotor is a core component in any braking system. So it is, and I ran a disk connected to the wheel hub and rotates with the wheels and the tires Using a group of lug nuts.

The rotor rotates every time the wheels are rotating; however, whenever you hit the brake pedal, the brake pad puts pressure on the brake rotor to bring your vehicle to stop. Depending on how hard you hit the brake pedal, your vehicle could either get to a gradual stop or a sudden stop that could harm the internal components of your braking system.

Manufacturers understand that a lot of friction and pressure is going to be put on the rotors. Therefore, they designed them from specific material that is the most durable among any component in your braking system. Typically, the brake rotors are designed either from iron or metal.

The good news is that you don't have to replace the brake rotors until a very long time during the lifetime of your vehicle. Some experts indicated that you might want to replace the brake orders once every 70,000 miles if you drive the vehicle under normal conditions. However, if you have specific driving habits that put a lot of pressure on the braking system, you might need to replace them before hitting the 70,000 miles.

What is brake rotor resurfacing?

Over time of use, the brake rotors wear out due to various reasons like issues with uneven, worn, excess heat, problems with damaged brake pads, or issues with corrosion and rust.

As the name suggests, brake rotor resurfacing refers to the process for your technician or mechanic to remove part of the metal component of your rotor surface until the surface is even and smooth again.

One might think that whenever you have a problem with the rotor, you can easily perform a quick resurfacing. However, there is a minimum threshold for health in your rotor should be and you cannot simply go beyond this minimum. Thus, not every time is resurfacing an option for your rotors, and if the rotor is in a very bad condition, your mechanic will advise you to replace it instead of resurfacing it.

Do I need brake rotor resurfacing or replacement?

Rotor resurfacing is a great idea if you have minor issues with your rotors. For example, if the rotor has small pitting problems or probably it's not very flat at all edges, you can go ahead and perform simple resurfacing.

Similarly, if the brake pad is not fully touching the rotor because of uneven surface issues, you can perform resurfacing. Finally, rotor resurfacing is ideal for situations where you have vibration and loud noises coming from the braking system due to minor issues.

However, resurfacing is not suitable for measure damages and breakdowns. This is because no matter how much resurfacing your mechanic performs, you want to achieve a smooth service unless you go beyond the minimum thresholds of rotor thickness. Thus, have your mechanic perform a thorough inspection of your braking system and provide you with some advice about whether you can perform resurfacing or replacement.

One important note is that many manufacturers require that you only perform rotor replacement and never do any resurfacing. You might ask why I would listen to the requirement? There are many manufacturers' extended warranties that could get void because of performing the wrong services to a certain vehicle component. Thus, if you don't want to put yourself in this situation, you're highly recommended to review your vehicle's warranty documentation and confirm that you're OK with resurfacing before doing the job.

How much does brake rotor resurfacing cost?

Rotor resurfacing is not a simple job and requires a certain level of mechanical skill sets to do the job properly. Therefore, it is extremely critical that you perform rotor resurfacing at an independent shop or a dealership because there is no room for mistakes in your braking system as it has to do with your safety.

Regarding rotor resurfacing costs, expect to pay somewhere between $235 and $329. Parts should not cost you more than $129; however, labor cost is a big component, and it might cost you up to $200 depending on where you get the job done.

Unfortunately, rotor servicing is not the type of mechanical repair you can do at home to eliminate labor costs; therefore, no matter how much you try to save on rotor Resurfacing, eliminating labor costs is not possible will be a big component.

Some drivers might prefer to get the rotor resurfacing at a small independent shop where labor costs as much cheaper than dealerships. However, many drivers of luxury vehicles still prefer to pay much more on rotor resurfacing, so they don't introduce mistakes in detail or lack of experience.

Some simple mistakes in car services might lead to extremely costly repairs that can easily get you with a bill of more than $1000. But, of course, when dealing with the rigging system, even if the mistake will not cost a lot of money, it is important that you ensure that the job is done correctly to maintain your safety.

How much does brake rotor replacement cost?

Unsurprisingly, replacing the brake rotors completely is much more expensive than performing rotor resurfacing. Rotor replacement cost ranges from $250 and $400 per axle. Keep in mind that the same price range might include replacing the pad because most mechanics will advise you to replace the brake pads every time you perform a rotor replacement.

What are the signs of a bad rotor?

Whether you’re planning to perform rotor resurfacing or replacement, you have to determine whether the rotor is in bad condition in the first place or not. Luckily, your vehicle will communicate with you and let you know that the water is about to go bad before it even does. The car will show you some signs of a bad rotor that you must keep an eye for to maintain your safety and resolve the issue without needing to pay thousands of dollars on repair costs.

Let's take a closer look at some of the common signs of a bad rotor :

  1. Loud noises

One of the first and most common symptoms indicating that the rotor might have a problem is hearing loud noises coming from the braking system. When that happens, it indicates that the rotor is worn out or wrapped.

Obviously, the longer you wait on these noises, the more severe it gets and the higher repair costs. However, most automotive experts indicate that detecting any mechanical problem early helps you resolve the issue without necessarily replacing major components, which means much cheaper repairs.

  1. Brake vibration

When the rotor is in terrible condition, you might notice clear vibrations every time you hit the braking system. Of course, when this happens, you might panic because you should since the braking system might have a serious issue that might not allow you to control the vehicle and stop it when necessary.

Thus, immediately consult your mechanic and have him perform for inspection to confirm whether the braking system has an issue or not.

  1. Weird marks on the rotor

If you have a certain level of mechanical skill sets, you might want to take a closer look at the rotor to inspect it and see if there are any signs of visual damages. For example, if you notice that the rotor does not look the way it was when you first purchased the vehicle, like seeing some signs of scoring or grooving, you should consider replacing or resurfacing it.

  1. Unresponsive brakes

Finally, if the rotor has severe issues, you might not be able to control the vehicle, and there might be a situation where you hit the brakes, and the vehicle hesitates to respond. When that happens, it indicates a severe internal problem that you must take care of immediately.

Sometimes when the brakes do not respond, it might be an issue with the braking fluid or probably the brake pads, but the brake rotor might be a culprit.

It is important to note that many of the mentioned symptoms might be linked to a different problem related to the breeding system. Therefore, before you attempt to replace the rotors, we advise that you consult your mechanic and have him give you the final word about the next steps and how to resolve the issue.

What happens if you put new pads on bad rotors?

Some people might find it cheaper and easier to replace the brake pads versus replacing the brake rotors hoping that the bidding system will work properly. However, that is not recommended.

Placing goods and new pads on a bad rotor will not resolve the issue because the pads might not necessarily reach and touch the rotor surface. In other words, no matter how thick and good your brake pads are, if they do not meet the rotor surface, you won't be able to stop the vehicle, and you'll still have rating system problems.

Therefore, no matter how much it will cost you, it is critical that whenever the rotor goes bad, you replace it immediately to maintain your safety and the safety of other people driving on the road around you.


Water is a critical component in any braking system, which significantly impacts their safety. Driving a vehicle with a bad rotor is never a good idea because it will impact your life and the lives of people driving on the road around you.

When the brake rotors go bad, you can either perform rotor resurfacing or rotor replacement. Depending on the severity of the rotor damages, you might only need resurfacing if the damages are minor; however, if the damages are extreme, the only option is to replace the rotors.

Despite the condition of your vehicle's rotors, if you have major mechanical problems in other components like the engine or the braking system, you recommended to evaluate whether it's worth selling your vehicle and using its value towards purchasing a better car here at this, before spending a penny and replacing the rotors, you want to check first whether repair costs are extremely high and close to the vehicle's value or not because they might not be worth it.

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