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Signs of Warped Rotors – Everything You Need To Know!

Signs of Warped Rotors – Everything You Need To Know!

Brake Rotor & Brake Pad Function

You might think that the only mechanism in your car that stops your car while driving is the pedal that is right beneath your foot while driving. However, there’s a lot more to the braking system than the brake pedal right in front of you – there is an intricate system of parts that end up translating into physical force to stop the car so you can brake safely. One of these important parts is brake rotors – and over time, signs of warped rotors can occur in your vehicle that can harm your car’s performance. 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

Brake Rotor Function

The brake rotors are an important part of the system because the vehicle’s clamp pads clamp down on to stop the wheels from spinning. Brake rotors are just as important as brake pads in the braking function. The average cost of rotor pad replacement ranges from $406-$559. Brake rotors may need to be replaced as soon as you notice the signs of warped rotors. 


Since the brake pad and brake rotor are the two main components of the front braking system, they need to be taken care of to prevent signs of warped rotors. The rotor can, unfortunately, become warped over time due to heavy use. Certain pads can also lose their thickness as time progresses, which causes the vehicle to begin shaking. 


When you notice these signs happening in your car, it is time to replace your brakes. Typically, brakes are replaced every 50,000 miles, although it varies depending on your car’s make and model. Be sure to check your user manual and contact your technician in order to schedule a replacement. 

Different Brake Rotors


  • Drilled Brake Rotors


When looking at the different kinds of brake rotors, you need to know the key differences in the mechanism and function to notice warped rotors’ signs before it gets too late. There are benefits to drilled brake rotors over other types when it comes to your car’s performance level. 


Heat –  When the brake pads clamp on the rotors, it generates friction – and in turn, heat. If the heat can’t get out of the brake rotor somehow, it can cause the brake to fade or wear down over time. A worn down or damaged brake can reduce the brake’s stopping power and ability to apply force to bring the car to a stop, increasing the signs of warped rotors. 


Gas Build-Up – Some older types of brake pads cause gas to form between the rotors and the pads. This gas limits the stopping power. By turning rotors, you can ensure that the drilled brake rotors work at the most efficient level and prevent gas build-up.


Water – If you drive through a puddle or a high body of water during a rainstorm, the brake rotors can get wet. After a brake rotor gets wet, it is difficult for the brake pads to press down on the rotor firmly. If the pads can’t grab the rotor, then you can’t stop. Having holes drilled into the brake toro side ensures that water can quickly get away from the surface, letting the pads clamp down securely and preventing signs of warped rotors. 


  • Slotted Brake Rotors


The second type of brake rotors that you can use in your vehicle is slotted brake rotors. You need to know the benefits of this type of brake rotor so that you can easily and efficiently notice the signs of warped rotors before the damage gets any worse over time. 


Durability – This type of brake rotors is popular due to the durability, and the ability to handle more stress placed on the rotors. Turning rotors is crucial to this type of brake rotor since they are generally used in high-performance cars.

Signs of Warped Rotors


  • Grinding While Braking


There might be an audible grinding while braking. If you hear a deep and low noise, this is typically a sign that the brake rotors are worn away and that your brake discs and calipers are currently rubbing against each other. This rubbing can be due to the uneven brake pad wear over time and cause the signs of warped rotors. 


The loud noise is a metal-on-metal grinding happening, which can highly damage your braking system. This problem needs to be addressed as quickly as possible in order to prevent further damage to your braking system and your braking rotors.


  • Increased Stopping Time


In addition, it might take longer for your car to come to a complete stop, since the warped rotors are wearing down. If you have increased braking time, you will need to start your braking a lot sooner before coming to a full stop. This can mean an unsafe driving condition due to the signs of warped rotors and faulty braking mechanisms in your vehicle. 


  • Indicator Light


Furthermore, your vehicle might have an indicator light that will come on to signal the signs of warped rotors. Be sure to check your vehicle’s manual to see when and how often this usually is, and what the proper indicator looks like. If your light comes on, you’ll have to bring your car to a mechanic to shut off the light and diagnose the signs of warped rotors. Noticing these signs gives you an indication as to when your brake pads should be replaced for optimal performance. 


  • Loud Noises


A screeching sound when applying your brakes might happen. This sound is caused by a small indicator that’s placed in your brake pad to alert you to the signs of warped rotors. If you hear this while braking, it’s time to take your car in for inspection. In addition, if your brakes are constantly exposed to wet or damp conditions, then a layer of dust can form on the brake pads, causing a screeching sound while you brake. 


The loud noises coming from the brake pads and the brake rotors are usually one of the first symptoms that are easily noticeable. If the signs of warped rotors are severe or very worn, this can lead to the squealing or squeaking sounds. 


  • Brake Vibration


Another noticeable sign of warped rotors is excessive vibration coming from the brakes and felt through the brake pedal from the driver. Excessively broken down or warped rotors can cause vibrations in the pedal and sometimes through the car’s chassis. The signs of the warped rotors can also include a pulsating feeling that will be felt by the driver’s foot when they press down on the brake pads. 


The main problem with vibrations is that you may not notice it in the beginning – it can start off pretty soft and subtle, but grow over time. By the time you realize what is happening, your car is roughly vibrating down the road. An issue with your car shaking is that although it has an easy explanation and fixes, it could end up costing you a lot more money if you wait for too long. Head to a local technician to have them diagnose the sign of warped rotors in your car.  


  • Grooves on the Brake Rotor


Another sign of warped rotors is visual grooves or marks on the face of the brake rotor. After prolonged use and extreme wear and tear, grooves and score marks can develop on the brake rotor from repeated contact with the brake pads. 


The grooves on the warped rotor can reduce the brake pads’ potential to slow the car down and stop on time. In addition, the signs of the warped rotor can cause the vibrations and pulsations felt in the pedal. 

Turning Brake Rotors


To prevent warped rotors’ signs, you need to take proper care of your break and your braking system. For this to happen, turning brake rotors is a key step in this process that all drivers or mechanics should do regularly. 


Knowing when it is time for turning rotors is crucial in saving you money and ensuring your car remains safe. Turning brake rotors refers to machining brake rotors to remove the additional brake material from the brake pads. Turning rotors prevents any warping and grinding from happening to the parts. Turning rotors extends the lifespan of your brake pads, lets you brake smoother, and creates less friction and heat generated in order to prevent the signs of warped rotors.


  • When To Turn Brake Rotors


Usually, you will want to undergo the process of turning rotors every other brake change. This allows you to be confident that your brake rotors are free of debris, and there are no signs of warped rotors. Although some regular wear on your brakes and some higher-friction spots can cause your rotors to become warped, turning rotors ensure that this doesn’t happen as often.


If your rotor surface is smooth, then you might not require the turning rotors to take place. However, if you have warping or tough spots on your brakes, it is time to start turning rotors. If you have the financial ability, you may choose to have your rotors turned each time you have your brake pads serviced. 


Frequent brake rotor turning ensures that your brake pads and rotors are constantly in good condition, and shows how turning rotors can be a crucial part of preventing the appearance of signs of warped rotors. 


  • Cost of Turning Brake Rotors


The cost of turning a brake rotor generally runs anywhere from $15-$25 per rotor. Although this is not expensive, turning rotors is a routine maintenance procedure that must be carried out to enhance the brake pads and brake rotors’ lifespan. Purchasing new rotors generally runs at about $20-$30 per rotor. Of course, you will have fewer problems buying a new rotor. However, turning rotors offers a quick and easy solution to prevent signs of warped rotors. 


A brake pad replacement job can usually take between 1-2 hours for a seasoned mechanic, and the labor costs will be around $80-$100 per hour. Replacing the brake pads and keeping the rotors in good condition ensures that you do not have to undergo the signs of warped rotors. 


  • Where to Turn Brake Rotors


After you have determined that your rotors need to be turned instead of replaced, some places specialize in performing this service. Repair centers or tire centers are usually qualified to perform this service for any driver and car type. Turning brake rotors ensures that the signs of warped rotors are remedied before they get any worse. 


Turning rotors is pretty simple when compared to a complete replacement. The service costs should be at the lower end of the spectrum, so be wary if the price of turning rotors is higher than anticipated when trying to fix the signs of warped rotors. 



  • Replacing Brake Rotors


Sometimes, turning rotors isn’t enough to fix the issue. Brakes are vital to vehicles, and you need working brakes to drive safely. Sometimes, you might hear your brakes squealing or making noise when you put pressure on them. Uh – oh. That’s a sign that turning rotors won't be enough to fix the braking issues.


  • Diagnosing Brake Rotors


To see if the brake rotors need replacing, listen for the noises made while braking. If the squealing or squeaking is happening while you press down on your brake pads, then this is a sign you will need to replace them. If you hear grind, then you need to head to the mechanic since they are completely worn down. Turning rotors won’t fix this problem, since replacing the brake rotors is the only solution to remedy the signs of warped rotors. 



Knowing the main causes of warped rotors, the signs of warped rotors, the fixes of warped rotors, and the maintenance you can perform to ensure your rotors last as long as possible is crucial to keeping your car running healthy and at a high-performing level for a long period of time.