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Turning Rotors – What Are They and How Does The Process Work?

Signs You Need New Rotors

Car brake rotors are a crucial part of the car’s inner system. In order to keep the brake rotors working at an optimal level, maintenance must be performed in order to keep your car in good and working condition. This may involve doing routine tasks like changing the oil and keeping your tires inflated to the correct level. Some portions of your vehicle might require some more maintenance – such as the braking system.

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The brake rotors are an important mechanism – they are the component inside of your car that allows it to stop quickly and when you want to. Brake rotors, or brake discs, are what the brake pads press on to prevent the wheels from spinning any further. The brake rotors are just as important as the brake pads – they work in tandem to stop your vehicle suddenly. Brake rotors are crucial to stopping your vehicle, are available in several different types, and have important impacts on the inner mechanism of your car. Turning rotors ensures that your brake rotors are working at an optimal level. 


What Are Brake Rotors?


There are two main types of brake rotors – drilled and slotted. It is important to know the difference before you start the process of turning rotors.


Drilled Brake Rotors and Turning Rotors


Drilled brake rotors have holes drilled in them. A rotor with holes ensures that there is less surface area for the pads to grab and stop the car – this may seem exactly what you do not want. However, there are a few key benefits to this type of brake rotors, and why turning rotors is important to maintaining drilled brake rotors.


The first benefit of drilled brake rotors refers to 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, then this can cause the brake to fade or wear-down over time. A worn down or damaged brake can reduce the stopping power and ability of the brake to apply force to bring the car to a stop. 


The second benefit of the drilled brake rotor refers to the 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 are working at the most efficient level and preventing gas build up.


The third benefit deals with 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 firmly press down on the rotor. If the pads can’t grab the rotor, then you can’t stop. Having holes drilled into the side of the brake toro ensures that water can quickly get away from the surface, letting the pads clamp down securely. Turning rotors ensures that the drilled brake rotors are working well, and prevent water from harming the stopping power.


Slotted Brake Rotors and Turning Rotors


The second type of brake rotors is slotted brake rotors – this kind of rotor uses little clots in the side of the flat surface to move gas, heat, and water away from the surface. These slots move the debris that is unwanted out of the way. 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.


Although slotted brake rotors are more durable, they have their downsides. They wear down quicker due to the high friction and stress placed on them. Even though they can wear down quicker due to the high amounts of pressure placed by the brake pads, turning rotors can lengthen the lifespan of slotted brake rotors.


When To Turn Brake Rotors?


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. This prevents any warping and grinding from happening to the parts. Turning rotors extends the lifespan of your brake pads, lets your  brake smother, and creates less friction and heat generated than those that are warped or in bad condition.


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 will not warp. 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, then 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. This ensures that your brake pads and rotors are constantly in good condition, and shows how turning rotors can be a crucial part to maintaining the efficiency of the braking system.


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 lifespan of the brake pads and brake rotors. Purchasing new rotors generally runs at about $20-$30 per rotor. Of course, you will have less problems buying a new rotor. However, turning rotors offers a quick and easy solution.


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.


When To Replace Brake Rotors?


Sometimes, turning rotors isn’t enough to fix the issue. Brakes are vital to vehicles, and you need working brakes to safely drive. 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.


There are a few key steps you can take to see if the problem requires turning rotors or something more serious, like replacing them. 


See The Brake Pads


Normally, you can see the brake pads through the space in your wheels. Begin by turning the wheel all the way to one side or the other so that you can see the inside of the wheels. You should be able to view how much thickness is left on the individual brake pads. For the brakes to work properly, at least ¼ inch of pad needs to be present. If there is less, then turning rotors cannot fix the issue, and the brakes need to be replaced. 


In addition, if your brake pads are subjected to high wear and tear while driving, the pads will put extreme pressure against the rotor. Over time, the roots will wear down and deteriorate due to the amount of force pressed on them by the brake pads. This will create a slight groove in the brake rotors. This can be very harmful and cause braking issues while using. Turning rotors won’t be able to fix the groove that has formed, and you will need to replace the brake rotors to fix this issue.


Listen To The Rotors


The next step you can do to see if the brake rotors need replacing to 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 be able to fix this problem, since replacing the brake rotors are the only solution.


ABS – Anti-lock braking system


If your car has the anti-lock braking system, then letting your brake pads or rotors wear down to the point of grinding it is very dangerous. The ABS system contains sensors that alert you to when your brakes are too low. If you ignore that alarm, then this can cause harm to the sensor, which is a more expensive repair. Turning rotors can’t fix the brake rotor issue, so the brake rotor replacement is the only option.


Braking – How Does It Feel?


If you notice that when your brake pedal is pressed that there is a vibration or wobbling in your pedal, it could be possible that the rotors are warped or damaged. The most likely scenario is that this is accompanied by a grinding sound, showing that the brake rotor has been warped and failing. Unfortunately, turning rotors won’t be able to fix the issue of twisted and warped rotors, meaning that a replacement is necessary.


If you have determined that none of these issues are the problems happening with your brake rotors, then turning rotors might be able to solve your problem. We’re going to go over where you can have a trusted professional carry out the task of turning rotors to maintaining your brake rotor lifespan.


Where Can I Have Someone Do The Process of Turning Rotors?


After you have determined that your rotors need to be turned instead of replaced, there are some places that specialize in performing this service. Repair centers or tire centers are usually qualified to perform this service for any driver.


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


There are certain brake rotor manufacturers that are specialized in catering to your specific needs for your individual needs. Turning rotors has never been so easy and efficient!


When Is A Brake Rotor Puller Required?


If you have an older car and this is the first time you are deciding to change the brake rotors or undergo turning rotors, then the mechanic may need to use a brake rotor puller. Since your brake toro might be stuck from being there for so long, this machine is necessary to complete the process. The brake toro puller comes in various sizes depending on the size of your rotors, and how difficult the turning rotors process is determined to be. The puller is able to pull the rotor by applying force to the whole rotor, while pushing on some fixed object.


What If I Don’t Feel Comfortable Undergoing The Process Of Turning Rotors To Save My Brake Rotors?


If you don’t feel comfortable asking a mechanic to do the process of turning rotors with your car, then you might not be able to salvage your vehicle. Sometimes the problems within your brake rotors require a replacement. If the problems are severe enough then turning rotors won’t be able to solve the issue. In this case, you either have two options – replace the brake rotors, or sell your junk car for some money.


If you don’t have the financial means to replace the brake rotors or carry out the turning rotors process, then selling your car to a reputable location for some quick cash can be your best bet. First, remove all non-metal components from your vehicle. This ensures that you can get the most bang for your buck – sell the audio system and the electrical parts for some extra money. 


Next, scope out a reputable location to sell your junk car to. Head to CashCarsBuyer to obtain a free quote, experience great customer service, and sell your vehicle for some money to put towards a new and safe vehicle. Selling your junk car can be the best way to make the best out of a bad situation. Instead of replacing brake rotors or turning rotors and paying a fee, you will be able to save money and start saving towards your new car!


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