Auto Anatomy: Brake Rotors

brake rotors

  • Function
  • Types
  • Symptoms
  • Tips
  • Replacement Cost

A car braking system allows deceleration or stops the car. A modern car comes equipped with disc brakes on all the wheels. That said, brake rotors are an essential component of the disc brakes. 

When you press the brakes, the pads clamp against the rotors to convert kinetic energy into thermal energy and stop the vehicle. Let’s go through the detailed working of brake rotors and what happens when it malfunctions.

Brake Rotors Function

The brake rotor is a circular disc connected to each wheel. When the driver presses the brake pedal, it sends a signal to the master cylinder containing brake fluid. After that, the callipers squeeze the pads to the larger surface area of the rotors. 

During the complete functioning of the car brakes, the kinetic energy converts into thermal energy and produces heat while decelerating the car. The friction produced by the brake callipers pushing the pads to squeeze against the rotors helps stop the vehicle safely.

Types of Brake Rotors

When you are following the guide to brake pads and rotors replacement, ensure choosing the correct brake rotor type. That said, here are the four types of rotors in the disc brakes:

different types of brake rotors
There are four types of rotors based on their design and functionality

Blank and Smooth Brake Rotors

New passenger vehicles come equipped with blank and smooth rotors, also known as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) brake rotors. These rotors function only on passenger cars. If you have a luxury or exotic car, blank and smooth rotors won’t function properly.

These rotors are made from recycled steel. If your vehicle has ceramic brake pads, such as BMW Carbon Ceramic brakes, simple rotors won’t work. That said, using these blank rotors with ceramic pads will generate excessive heat, and the braking system will malfunction.

Drilled Brake Rotors

The rotors with drilled holes dissipate the heat, water or dust from the surface. This type of brake rotor functions efficiently in wet or rainy conditions. However, they don’t work well with performance cars and can fail while you are speed driving.

Slotted Brake Rotors

Brake rotors with slotted surfaces are specially used for SUVs and heavy-duty vehicles. Since these vehicles require more power to stop, slotted rotors can draw more air between the pad and the rotor to improve cooling. However, slotted rotors have a drawback that pads don’t last long due to rotors.

Drilled and Slotted Brake Rotors

The drilled and slotted rotors are designed for high-performance vehicles. These also look like rotational brake rotors and have enhanced cooling. While off-roading or driving on a fast track, the rotors dissipate heat quickly to allow effective braking.

The drilled and slotted type of brake rotors have many benefits in performance cars, but they are not durable. Its edges wear the pads with time, and the thin car brake pads indicate that car brake repair is required.

Symptoms of Bad Brake Rotors

Several signs and symptoms indicate bad brake rotors. Moreover, a warped or worn-out brake rotor can cause car brake problems. That said, it is essential to identify the brake rotor problem to avoid braking issues.

What does bad brake rotor do?
A bad rotor can cause various noises and also affect braking performance

Here are all the symptoms of bad rotors:

Reduced Braking Performance

If you notice that your vehicle’s braking performance has significantly decreased, it could be due to worn-out brake rotors. Worn or damaged rotors have a reduced friction surface, resulting in longer stopping distances or a mushy brake pedal. You can follow the tips for brake maintenance for optimal braking performance.

Grinding Noises

A grinding noise while applying the brakes is typically an indicator of severely worn brake rotors. Moreover, noisy brakes are a sign of bad brake pads and the metal backing plate grinding against the rotor’s surface.

Squealing or Squeaking Noises

Bad brake rotors can cause squealing sounds when braking. It may result from the brake pads rubbing against uneven or damaged rotor surfaces. 

Steering Wheel Shakes

If you experience a vibrating or shaking steering wheel, especially during braking, it could be due to warped brake rotors. Warping causes the pads to make uneven contact with the rotors, leading to a shaking sensation.

Brake Fade

It refers to a situation where the brakes lose effectiveness over time, usually due to overheating. Bad rotors can contribute to brake fade by providing insufficient heat dissipation, resulting in a loss of braking power.

Tips to Avoid Brake Rotors Wear

tips to reduce wear on brake rotors
Not putting extra pressure on brakes can increase the longevity of different brake components

Excessive wear on the rotors can be avoided by following these tips:

  • Applying the brakes gradually allows an even distribution of heat and friction, reducing wear on the rotors.
  • Keep a reasonable distance from the vehicle in front of you to allow for smoother braking.
  • When descending steep hills or slopes, try to apply brakes moderately rather than continuously riding the brakes.
  • Carrying excessive weight puts additional strain on the brakes, including the rotors, and can accelerate wear. Therefore, don’t load the vehicle more than the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • If you’re driving in stop-and-go traffic or situations that require sustained braking, try to take breaks when possible.
  • Ensure using high-quality brake pads suitable for your vehicle and driving conditions. Softer brake pads can be gentler on the rotors and reduce wear, but they may have a shorter lifespan.

Brake Rotors Replacement Cost

cost for replacing brake rotors in uae
You must replace the rotor when it wears down to avoid any mishap

The brake rotor price varies depending on the type. A brake rotor has a starting cost of AED 99 and may be up to AED 900. A professional mechanic will also charge a fixing cost.

That concludes all about brake rotors. When you buy a used car in the UAE, get all the components, such as brakes, suspension and other safety systems, inspected. You can also learn tips on dealing with car brake failures. 

Stay connected with the dubizzle cars blog to learn more about various car parts and their functioning.


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