Brake rotors last much longer than brake pads. Yet, they don’t last forever. As a car owner, you want to understand how long brake rotors last, what can make them fail early, and how to check them. Staying on top of your rotors will ensure that you don’t run into any safety issues when they fail.
How Often Do Brake Rotors Need To Be Replaced?
A few things factor into the lifespan of brake rotors:
- Usage: Your rotors will wear down faster if you drive in stop-and-go conditions frequently. That’s because the constant starting and stopping places a strain on your brakes. You may also see more wear and tear on your brake pads and other components since they have to work harder when you brake often.
- Driving style: Aggressive driving can also shorten the lifespan of your brake rotors. For example, hard braking and riding your brakes cause extra stress on your rotors. This type of heavy strain shortens their life overall.
- Maintenance: It’s best to check your brake pads routinely. Make sure they never wear too far down. Brake pads that have worn down too much can damage your rotors.
Under normal usage and regular maintenance, brake rotors last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles.
The Most Common Reasons Brake Rotors Fail Early
The most common reason brake rotors fail early is warping. Warped rotors make it difficult to stop since there’s uneven contact with the brake pads.
It’s most common for brake rotors to warp when they are overheated. For example, overheating is most common in the following situations:
- Aggressive braking
- Riding your brakes while driving downhill
Another common reason brake rotors fail is worn brake pads. When the friction material on your brake pads wears down beyond the minimum thickness, the metal backing plate can get exposed. It can damage the rotors.
Another issue that causes brake rotor failure is rust. As long as the rust isn’t too advanced, it doesn’t affect how well your brakes work. But if your car sits for a long time, rust can eat away at the metal. The uneven surface will result in poor and perhaps noisy braking.
What Happens When Your Rotors Fail
When your rotors fail, your vehicle’s braking power is severely reduced. The brake pads can’t grip the rotors that well anymore. This leads to longer stopping distances. The worst thing that can happen as a result of rotor failure is the inability to stop your vehicle. This can put you in quite a dangerous situation.
There are warning signs to look out for when your brake rotors fail:
- Longer stopping distances
- Difficulty stopping your vehicle
- Vibration in the steering wheel or pedal as you brake
- Brake pedal pulsating or vibrating as you’re driving
Checking Your Rotors
One of the best ways to keep yourself safe is to ensure that your brakes are in tip-top shape at all times. Check your manual for any guidelines on how often you should have your rotors checked or replaced. Most vehicles require them to be inspected every 25,000 miles or so.
The best way to check your brake rotors is with a visual inspection. Look for:
- Any visible cracks
- Any warping
- Any grooves
- Excessive rust
Be Sure To Check Other Parts Too
If your rotors failed early, it’s important to understand why so you can take steps to prevent this issue from happening again. If your rotors warped, make sure they stay cool by avoiding heavy braking and riding on them. If it was because of worn pads, check your pads regularly and replace them at the recommended intervals.
When you check your brake rotors, check these other parts, too:
- Brake pads
Only Use Quality Brake Rotors
If you find that you need to replace your rotors, be sure to get quality replacement rotors. It’s the best way to ensure that your new rotors last as long as possible.
At BuyBrakes.com, you’ll find what you need. We only carry the highest quality brake rotors on the market. All the brands we carry are brands you can trust.
Please contact us if you need help finding the right replacement rotors for your vehicle.