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How to Know When It’s the Right Time to Replace Your Brake Rotors

By on June 22, 2017

If you are familiar with your car’s braking system, you’ll know that the brake pads clamp down on the brake rotors to stop the wheels from spinning. This makes the brake rotors just as important as the brake pads when it comes to stopping your vehicle. So as a responsible vehicle owner, part of your job is to keep the rotors in good working condition and replace them with new ones when it’s necessary. But how can you tell if the brake rotors are in bad shape and need changing? Here are three easy ways:

Cracks, Grooves, or Heat Spots

The easiest way to tell if your brake rotors are in bad condition is to inspect them visually. Cracks can reduce the rotors’ capacity to slow down or stop the vehicle. Same goes with grooves and heat spots. Heat spots occur when brake pad deposits accumulate on the rotor or when the brake pads aren’t bedded in properly. If you can spot this symptom early on, you can just resurface the rotors or replace your brakes with a more abrasive pad. Otherwise, it could lead to warping, which makes replacing the rotors necessary.

There are also other visual symptoms of bad brake rotors like rust and rotor edge lip. Rust occurs when you neglect your car and not drive it for an extended period of time. Rotor edge lip, on the other hand, is a telltale sign that your rotors need replacing. It only occurs when the surface of the rotors where the brake pads make contact is near its wear limit.

Squeaking or Scraping Noises

Unusual noises when braking is actually a common symptom of bad brake rotors. Warped brake rotors usually produce squealing or squeaking noises while severely worn brake rotors produce a scraping sound. If you encounter one of these symptoms, it means that it’s high time to replace your brake rotors.


If the brake rotors are warped or worn out, they could cause irregular vibrations from your brakes. These vibrations can be felt when you step on the brake pedal, which may also cause the vehicle to shake while it’s in motion.

Brake rotors, unlike brake pads, do not have indicators on them that will tell you when you need to replace them. That’s why it’s absolutely necessary to conduct regular and proper inspection. We recommend that you inspect your brake rotors every 10,000 miles to check if they’re still in good condition.

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