How To Remove And Replace Front And Rear Brake Rotors

replace rotors

As a car owner, it pays to know how to replace front and rear brake rotors. In this post, we’ll guide you through the process.

Disclaimer: the purpose of this post is to show you how to remove and replace the front and rear rotors on a vehicle with four-wheel disc brakes. It doesn’t cover other types of brakes (such as rear drum brakes), nor does it address replacing the brake pads.

Are Front And Rear Brake Rotors Interchangeable?

We get this question a lot. It’s very rare these days that the front and rear rotors are the same, it happens, but it’s the rare exception. Most modern cars, trucks and SUVs use a larger and thicker rotor diameter on the front of the vehicle to allow for quicker and safer braking and to absorb the heat from the brake pads. Typically, with the engine located in the front of 95% of production vehicles along with the weight shift that happens during a stop, larger braking forces are required at the front of the moving vehicle necessitating larger braking components. The rear of the vehicle typically gets lighter during hard stops as the center of gravity shifts forward. If the brake components such as the rotors and calipers are too big on the rear, they will just lock the rear wheels up and the vehicle will skid and loose traction. So, brake balance is very important and can be maintained by using the correct size replacement rotors and related brake components.

You can look up your vehicle in our catalog of quality brake rotors to get results that are specific to your vehicle. If you need help finding the right rotors for your vehicle, please contact us. We’re always happy to help!

How To Remove Brake Rotors From Your Vehicle

Lift car

As a car owner, it’s important to know when to replace your brake rotors. Brake rotors have a life span of approximately 30,000 to 70,000 miles when maintained and used normally. This article will help you recognize the signs of brake rotor failure.

When you’ve determined that your rotors need replacing, you have two choices:

  1. Bring your car to a shop and have them replace the rotors for you
  2. Replace the rotors yourself

The second option is much cheaper than the first one. You’ll save a lot of money on labor. Replacing a set of brake rotors is much easier than it sounds. The first thing you need to do is remove the old rotors from your vehicle. Here’s a general overview of the process:

  1. Loosen the lug nuts on all the wheels you’re going to be working on. Be sure not to remove them yet.
  2. Use a jack and jack stands to lift your car safely so you can gain access to your brakes.
  3. Remove the lug nuts on one of the wheels, and then take the wheel off.
  4. Remove the brake caliper from the rotor.
  5. Remove the brake pads from the caliper.
  6. Set the caliper aside. Don’t let it hang from the brake hose. Use a wire to hang it from the spring or upper control arm.
  7. Remove the old rotor from the hub. It may be stuck on due to rust. You can hit it with a rubber mallet to break it free.
  8. Repeat with the rest of the rotors on your vehicle.

How To Install New Brake Rotors

With the old rotors off the vehicle, it’s time to install the new ones. Here’s how:

  1. Clean the rotor mounting surface on the hub with a wire brush. Make sure all the rust, dirt, and grease are gone.
  2. Place the new brake rotor onto the vehicle hub.
  3. Reinstall the brake pads and the caliper.
  4. Put the wheel back on the vehicle and then fasten it in place with the lug nuts. Be sure to follow the torque specifications for the lug nuts.
  5. Repeat with the rest of the rotors on your vehicle.
  6. Lower the vehicle and then remove the jack and jack stands.
  7. Test drive your car.

Do you have any questions about replacing your rotors or finding the right rotors for your vehicle? Please contact us!