What’s a Brake Rotor?

My brakes are really noisy. I had them looked at, and the mechanic said it needs new pads and rotors. What’s a rotor, and why would it need to be replaced?

A brake rotor is a disc-like surface that the brake pad comes into contact with when you’re braking. You push on the brake pedal, the caliper squeezes the brake pad onto the rotor, and it slows your car down.

Brake System
The pads and rotors get awfully friendly over time, and develop matching grooves in the surfaces. When brand new brake pads are installed, those new, smooth pads need a new smooth surface to match up to.   That’s why every time you have the brake pads replaced, we recommend having the rotors either replaced or resurfaced (which basically means that a certain amount of material is shaved off so that the surface is smooth again).If the rotor is still thick enough, it can be resurfaced.  It does eventually wear down to a point in which they become too thin to resurface, and have to be replaced.

Have a question for Dan?  Send it to askdan@gascan.com

Dan Amundsen is a Master ASE Certified Technician, with over 40 years of automotive repair experience. He has been the owner of Juanita Firs 76 since 1978. He runs a true family business with his two children, three nieces, and many just-like-family employees that have been with the company for over 15 years.

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