Brake Rotors: Reuse Or Replace
Brakes are not only designed to stop the vehicle, it’s main significant purpose is to stop or slow down in a split of second to prevent bad incidents or accidents, some of them may be fatal, others may cause damage to vehicles or other people’s properties, leaving you to face unfortunate legal, financial and insurance consequences.
Many drivers take their brake system for granted, and never pay any attention to the brakes system routine. When it comes to other vehicle maintenance such as changing filters, oil, checking water or changing tires; there are definite kilometer usage for every part of the vehicle. However, the brake system could be tricky since there is no particular routine or exact mile usage. Some manufacturers advise checking the brake system somewhere between 35,000 and 100,000 KM.
So how can the driver tell it’s the time to give an auto repair shop a visit?
You may start hearing Squawk noises when you drive, or when you hit the brake pedal, and the vibrating steering wheel are the two main symptoms of a brake problem.
After getting a brake inspection and knowing what the exact problem is, it now comes down to the Rotors. Usually there are two options: Reuse or Replace. So what exactly are the brake rotors? And why are they so important to the brakes’ efficiency?
Brake rotors are the circular discs that are connected to each wheel, rotors and brake pads work together to slow down the motion of the wheel or to stop it. Over time, due to the over use of brakes, wet weather or vehicle overload; the rotors develop a hardened surface, this surface has a unique pattern. So you may find it much cheaper to change only the old pads. But now, the new pads will not fit the old rotors’ wear pattern or hardened surface. This will lead you again to hear brake noises, vibrating steering wheel and a very fast brake pads tearing.
Some mechanics tend to do rotors machining, or rotors surfacing. This brake job procedure is to take a very thin layer off of both the front and rear sides of the rotor, making it very smooth and nice, so the brake pads would press efficiently against the brake rotor.
This is definitely the cheapest option compared to full and complete brake system replacement, which includes the replacement of both the pads and the rotors. But is it the most efficient option?
Like any piece in the car, brake rotors require specific standards, one of them is the thickness of the disk. Although machining makes the rotors move against the brake pads evenly and smoothly, it decreases the standard thickness of the rotors. Brake rotors should meet a definite thickness. When the rotors reach the discard thickness, they are more likely to heat up. This could lead both the rotors and brake pads to wear faster. Of course this may lead the car to vibrate and lose the ability to stop during high speeds.
However, it may happen that you or on a limited budget and wouldn’t like to pay for a full brake replacement, That’s not a problem at all, let us at Reliance Auto Mechanic check your rotors and see if they are below the discard thickness and have the standard acceptable thickness, so the rotors surfacing might be an acceptable solution. But remember that rotors can be surfaced only one time.
But keep in mind that changing the brake pads and the rotors together is the most safe solution, and today’s vehicle manufacturers recommend that. And that is precisely what we advise you at Reliance Auto Mechanic, for questions and discussions for the best brake solution never hesitate to call us for a full brake inspection, repair or replacement.