Do you ever feel like your vehicle is not performing as well as it should? For example, have you felt a strange vibration or experienced difficulty braking, accelerating, or turning corners?
If so, it may be time for new rotors. Rotors allow the brake pads to come into contact with the spinning rotor surface and create the friction needed to stop the wheels from rotating.
While they are designed to last quite a while (typically around 30-40 thousand miles), they have an average lifespan of about 1-2 years, depending on driving habits and other factors such as weather conditions.
Here's a list of 10 signs that indicate when it might be time for new rotors!
What are rotors, and what do they do?
The rotor is a metal disc (typically made of cast iron) attached to the wheel hub. They are connected to the brake system and allow the brake pads to contact the spinning rotor surface and create the friction needed to stop wheels from rotating.
Two rotors are used per wheel on your average passenger car—one on the front axle and one on the rear axle. Rotor size can vary depending on the type of vehicle. However, they typically range between 10-20 inches in diameter – although some performance cars now feature larger rotors especially designed for high-speed braking situations.
There may also be an anti-lock braking sensor located at this location that monitors the rotor surface.
Why is it important to replace the rotors when they go bad?
One of the most important benefits of replacing a bad rotor is that you can drive safely. When your car's brakes fail, it can have serious consequences, including accidents and injuries, not to mention death.
In addition, when rotors deteriorate, they affect your car's overall performance. When you hit the brake pedal, your car will be much harder to stop and control, especially at higher speeds. This could result in an accident if driving conditions are poor.
Replacing rotors will also improve braking response time, making it easier to respond to traffic situations.
In general, here are the 5 top benefits of replacing your rotors regularity:
#1 Friction is created between the rotor surface and brake pads
By replacing the rotors frequently, you ensure that good friction is being created every time you need to brake. Doing this helps ensure safety by providing shorter stopping distances when needed.
#2 Rotors help maintain your vehicle's performance
Keeping rotors in working order will allow your car to run at its best, allowing the engine to perform properly with quick acceleration and no problems with the transmission.
#3 Professional technicians know how to replace rotors correctly.
There is a right and wrong way to change your car's brakes, so be sure you let a professional handle this for you. If done incorrectly, it could cause serious damage to the vehicle causing even more repairs.
#4 It extends the life of your brake pads
You will need to eventually replace your brake pads if they contact your worn rotor surface. However, replacing them before they can help you save money! How? By replacing just one part at a time, instead of two (in most cases), you avoid paying labor costs twice.
#5 It prolongs the life of other braking system components
For example, bad rotors can wear out your calipers. If these brakes or brake system parts are not working properly, the entire braking system will need to be repaired, requiring replacing other components like brake hoses and brake lines. This could cost you thousands of dollars over time!
10 Signs You Need New Rotors: How do you know when it's time for new rotors?
Considering the mentioned benefits of new rotors, it's not surprising that you want to know when it is time for a replacement. While the average lifespan is around 30-40 thousand miles depending on driving habits and such, some vehicles can last much longer than others.
It's important to notice early signs of trouble, so that braking performance is not compromised.
Here are ten common signs that indicate your car might require new rotors:
1 – Your brakes are making noise
Any abnormal sounds when you apply the brake pedal are a clear indication of rotor wear. This may include squeaking, squealing, or screeching. If this happens to you, have your rotors replaced immediately.
2 – Your brake pedal is vibrating
If you notice a vibration in the brake pedal when you step on it, this could be a sign of bad or warped rotors. Again, have your vehicle inspected by a reputable mechanic as soon as possible to avoid further damage and increased safety risk. In addition, you may also want to consider an anti-vibration brake rotor pad.
3 – There is pulsating in the steering wheel
Pulsating or shaking the steering wheel when braking is another sign that it's time for new rotors. This could be caused by warped or damaged rotors, which can cause incorrect wear on your brake pads, leading to uneven braking performance and further damage.
4 – The rubber boot around your rotor has worn away completely
The rubber boots or dust covers designed to protect rotors from dirt, grime, and other road hazards typically last much longer than the actual rotor surface itself. When they become too thin (and even disappear altogether), this means there was extensive wear on the rotors, and it's time for a replacement.
5 – Your vehicle has a brake pulsation or vibration when braking at higher speeds
As mentioned earlier, warped rotors can result in uneven braking performance, which will be noticeable when you apply the brakes while driving on highways or other roads where high speed is involved.
In addition, if your car's brake pedal vibrates while you are cruising on city streets or even idling at stoplights, this could also indicate rotor wear.
6 – Your car pulls to one side when braking
When you hit the brakes, a pulling motion of your car towards one side (or another) might seem like your tires are low on air, but that's not always the case. If you notice this, you should have the rotors inspected immediately to rule out possible rotor damage.
7 – There are signs of rust around your brake discs
Rust is an indication that your rotors (or drums) are in bad shape and need replacement. This can be confirmed by a mechanic who will notice excessive scoring on the surface, which will result in uneven braking performance and cause your car to lose control more easily.
In addition, rust might make it difficult for mechanics to remove old parts for recycling purposes, further stressing the environment. The bottom line? Rotors must be replaced if they show signs of rust – don't wait until the damage happens!
8 – Your vehicle shakes when applying brakes at very low speeds
When you step on the brake pedal to stop your car at very low speeds, does your vehicle shake or vibrate as if it is out of control? This shaking could indicate uneven braking performance caused by a warped rotor which can be quite dangerous, especially in emergencies (when you need to stop quickly).
9 – You notice dark residue around your rotors when removing wheels
If you notice black residue around your brake rotors, this indicates overheating. It means that the brake pads are overworking, which leads to increased wear and tear. It can also indicate that there was insufficient lubrication, which causes excessive brake pad wear.
This will result in uneven braking performance and could cause accidents. If you see any evidence of this, have your vehicle inspected immediately. Repairing the issue could be adding more brake fluid but replacing the rotors is another possibility.
10 – Your car pulls to one side while braking at higher speeds
Another case when your vehicle might pull towards one direction or another when you brake while driving on highways or other high-speed roads is flat spots on your brake pads.
Notice that this happens quite often. For example, there might be a problem with your rotors that need to be checked by experienced mechanics immediately to avoid further damage and accidents.
How much does it cost to replace your rotors, and where can you go to get them done cheaply/free of charge?
To figure out how much it will cost to replace your rotors, please take a look at how much they usually cost when you buy them from an auto parts store. Then add the costs of labor and other extra services that often come along with rotor replacement.
For example, some mechanics might offer their part warranties which could be a rip-off for people who have enough knowledge about cars and the required skills to fix them on their own.
In general, rotor replacement costs range from $30 to-50 for most domestic cars. To get rid of the hassle, you can go to your nearest auto parts store and buy the rotors you need, and then get them installed by a mechanic of your choice. However, this could also cost up to $100, which might be more than you expected.
You might also find mechanics who will install the new rotors for free as long as you buy the necessary parts from them. This might be a better option for you if the auto parts store is far away from your home or workplace. What's more, you might not know what type of part you need for your car.
How easy is it to replace your rotors, and what tools do you need to do so effectively?
To replace your rotors, you must have access to a hydraulic press, which is a very useful tool to remove and replace rusty and damaged rotors easily.
The best thing about this type of press is that it can be used in almost any auto shop, so you might be able to get your new rotors for free or for a very small fee compared to the amount you would pay at an auto parts store.
However, if there isn't an auto shop around that uses a hydraulic press, you might need to find a mechanic who will do the job for you.
To replace your rotors yourself, you must have access to a hydraulic press. This type of tool can be found in nearly every auto shop, so it's worth asking locally if they use this kind of equipment.
If the answer is negative, you might need to pay a mechanic to replace your rotors for you.
What are some common mistakes people make when replacing their rotors, and how can you avoid them yourself?
If you choose to replace your rotors at home, there might be some things that you could overlook, like using the wrong size for your new rotors or not having an exact match.
To make sure this doesn't happen to you, take a look at the list below before you get started:
- Make sure that the size of your new rotors matches the specifications for your car.
- Make sure that the new rotors are made of an alloy exactly like the one used by your car's manufacturer.
- Make sure you use a hydraulic press to get rid of the old and rusty ones if possible.
If you decide to replace your rotors because you can't find a mechanic around, some things might go wrong if you don't get it done right. To avoid these potential problems, make sure to use the same alloy as the car's manufacturer and the exact match of rotors when you replace them by yourself.
Any other advice or tips on keeping your car in good condition?
Here are a few things you should keep in mind if your car starts to develop a loud noise when driving:
- Check for leaks.
- Check the tire pressure levels.
- Use a hydraulic press to get rid of the old and rusty rotors yourself.
- Parts stores are your best option when looking for rotors.
- The average rotor replacement cost ranges from $30 to-100.
- You should have access to a hydraulic press to replace the rotors yourself.
- You can get free installation of new rotors if you buy the parts from an auto shop.
- It might be necessary to get a mechanic involved if your local auto parts store doesn't have the tools needed.
- Avoid using an alloy that isn't exactly like the one used by the car manufacturer, and use a hydraulic press when replacing your rotors.
If you notice any of the ten signs listed in this article, it's time for new rotors. Installing new rotors is a job that can easily be done by a mechanic or by yourself with the right tools.
However, if there isn't an auto shop nearby with the necessary equipment, you might need to pay a professional to do the job for you.
To avoid making common mistakes when replacing your rotors, make sure to use the same alloy as used by your car's manufacturer and get an exact match of rotors before getting started.