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5 Signs That You Need to Replace Your Brake Rotors

5 Signs That You Need to Replace Your Brake Rotors

Your car’s brake system requires the action of three major components: the calipers, the brake pads, and the brake rotors or discs. When you step on the brake pedal, the system moves the calipers to push the brake pads against the rotor. With sufficient grip from the brake pads, the rotors will be able to slow down and stop your car.

This entire process results in friction and heat, which then causes wear and tear on both the pads and rotors. It’s dangerous to drive with these braking components in poor condition, so it’s best to replace them ASAP to ensure everyone’s safety. Fortunately, there are easy-to-identify signs that can help you determine if your brake components are due for a replacement. Here are some things you need to look out for when it comes to the rotors:

Squeaking or Squealing Sounds

In general, noisy brakes mean something’s wrong. Specifically, warped or worn-down rotors can squeak or squeal when you brake. If they’re in extremely bad shape, rotors can cause grinding or scraping noises.

Do note that these sounds can also be due to equally bad brake pads. Either way, have your brake system checked when you hear noises coming from your brakes so you can replace parts on time and prevent further damage to other parts of your car.

Vibrations When You Brake

As previously mentioned, your car’s brake system works by having the brake pads grip or “bite” the rotors. If the pads come into contact with an uneven surface, you may feel your steering wheel or even your entire car vibrate.

Bring your car in for brake servicing if this happens. If you catch the problem early, the rotors may still be evened out to restore the smooth surface. If you let the problem persist, you can damage the rotors completely and other brake parts further. When this happens, repairs are no longer viable and you’ll have to replace the entire rotor; in worst cases, you’ll have to buy a set of four.

The Rotors Are Blue

There are some visual clues that can help you tell when your car’s rotors are due for a replacement. One of these is their colour—did you know that rotors can turn blue due to excessive heat and friction? This is usually caused by slight but constant pressure on the rotors even when you’re not braking. Often, this is due to incorrectly installed calipers or brake pads. The habit of “riding the brakes” or resting your foot on the brake pedal can cause this problem.

If your car’s rotors have taken on a blue tinge, there are three things you need to do. First, have them repaired or replaced. Second, check the calipers and brake pads if they’re properly mounted. Third, evaluate your driving habits. Maybe you’ve been riding the brakes unconsciously and causing undue stress on the rotors. Make an effort to avoid this so you can keep your brake rotors in good shape for longer.

Visible Grooves on Rotors

Another visual clue that your car’s rotors are due for a replacement will be visible grooves on their surfaces. Some amount of scoring is normal, of course, because of the contact needed between the brake pads and rotors to stop your vehicle. However, once the rotors are worn down, you need to replace them as soon as possible. Regularly conduct visual inspections on your rotors as well, so you can immediately get new ones when needed.

It Takes Longer for Your Car to Stop

Finally, a telling sign that your rotors are due for a much-needed replacement is that your car takes longer than usual to slow down and stop. If the brake system is in good condition, the response after you step on the brake pedal should be instantaneous. If not, it’s possible that the rotors have worn out so the brake pads need to travel farther to make the needed contact.

This is a fairly accurate assumption to make, but it’s nevertheless an assumption. Have your car checked to determine the problem exactly. If it ends up that it’s indeed the rotors, then you should get replacements ASAP.

Having rotors in good condition is also crucial not just in maintaining overall driving safety, but in also prolonging the lifespan of the brake pedals. With worn-down rotors, you need to press on the brake pedal longer and much harder to get that “bite” and generate ample stopping power. This is damaging to the brake pads and can even cause them to crack or break.


Your car is truly an impressive machine. While driving it might seem straightforward, there’s plenty happening behind the scenes—or in this case, under the hood and in the chassis—that makes it work.

To make sure that your vehicle runs smoothly for years to come, be conscientious about regular check-ups and tune-ups. The brake rotors need particular care, since it’s a part of one of the most important safety systems that your car has. Pay attention to the above-mentioned signs to keep your drives safe.

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