What is the average lifetime of brake rotors?

A brake rotor or brake disc is the part of the braking system that brings together the brake pad to cause friction in the system. 

The purpose of the braking system is to a moving vehicle to stop. This is done by generating friction within the braking system, and brake rotors perform that function. 

Before it brings the vehicle to a stop, the brake rotor converts kinetic energy to 'waste' energy before it disperses it. The brake rotor is the moving part of a braking system.

They are made from grey iron. The power and weight of the vehicle determine the type of brake rotor that would be used. Many brake rotors are ventilated to help in the proper dissipation of heat during operation.

Slotted rotors are unique kinds of a disc that have swallowed channels machined into them. The channel helps to remove gas and dust. The slotted disc is best used racing motor because they wear out the brake pad of normal motors quickly.

The onus lies on the vehicle owners to know the average life of their brake rotor. You won't want to be driving at top speed, only to press your brake and discover that your rotors and pad are no longer working.

It won't be a palatable experience, you know. Depending on the quality, the average life expectancy of the brake rotor is between 30,000 – 70, 000 miles. At times, some last longer than that. It is not a fixed thing as it were.

Depending on the quality of the rotor you bought. A rotor should be used up to 70,000 miles before they are replaced. However, they may not last up to that if they are not properly maintained.

Regular checking will help you to determine when you should change your rotor. For your rotor to have a long life span, keep your brake fluid fill at all times and replace it when needed.

What is the average lifetime of brake rotors

Three ways to know if your rotor needs to be changed

Here are few tips for recognizing if your brake rotors need to be replaced. It is almost impossible for your brake rotors to stop working suddenly. It would have been giving warnings that you probably didn't pay attention to.

1. Squealing 

When your brake system starts giving out a high pitched sound, it is possibly a problem with the brake pad. But, if you have changed your brake pad 3-4 times within short intervals, then you should replace the brake rotor.

2. Grinding

Grinding sounds could mean that your brake has worn out. This needs to be attended to immediately, eels you will damage the whole braking system.

3. Vibration

If your steering wheel is vibrating when you are driving, or if your vehicle vibrates when you brake. It means your rotor is worn out. Change them as soon as possible.

Factors that improve the lifetime of brain rotors


The way you drive to determine if your brake rotor will last. Drive with care, not aggressively. Poor driving wears out the braking system rotor quickly.

Speed Limit

Driving within the speed limit has a good effect on your brake. It is not an easy thing to do. But your brakes will appreciate it.

Brake Fluid Type

Use the correct brake fluids for your car. Using brake fluids not suitable for your vehicle will reduce the life span if the braking system, rotor inclusive.

Tire Maintenance

Always let your tire to be in the best possible condition. Don't use a tire with low threads; it puts a lot of pressure on your brake.

Your driving route and styles. The types of roads you travel on matters. Driving on the rocky and hilly surface have a damaging effect on the brake.

How to replace your brake rotor

To change your brake rotors without any hitch. Follow the steps outlined below. 

1. Wear protective gloves

Gloves protect your hands in case an accident happens. Car maintenance can be messy, having a glove on you protect your hands from grease and other things.

2. Lift the vehicle with jack on stable level ground

Ensure that you loosen the bolt from the tire before you lift the vehicle. Block the either of the rear tires to prevent the car from moving when you are working on it.

Take note of these things when you want to jack your vehicle. Place the jack under the thick and sturdy metal part of the car only. If you placed the jack in a part of the vehicle made of plastic, it would damage your vehicle.

To be on the safe side, support your vehicle with a heavy-duty jack stand even after you have jacked it. If the jack slipped, the jack stand would prevent an accident.  

3. Remove the wheel

The component of the braking system is placed behind the wheels. You would have to remove the wheels before you start any work on the calipers. Keep the nuts in a safe place, to save you from unnecessary stress when you are done working.

4. Working on the calipers

Loosen the two bolts that the calipers together in place. Having done that, remove the spring clip that holds the caliper in place. Wedge with a screwdriver and remove the caliper from the rotor. 

5. Remove the rotor

It depended on the length of time that you have been using it. You may simply remove the rotor or need a hammer to remove it if it has been stuck by dirt and rust. In this case, you may need a hammer to get the job done. To make the process much more comfortable, add oil to the rotor.

Replacing the rotor

Use a solvent like special brake oil to clean the new rotor. Any grease other than that may impair the performance of the brake pads. If the brake pads are dirty or oily.

Don't clean them. It is safer to replace the brakes pads. Using the wheel stud properly position the new rotor in the wheel hub. Assemble the caliper mounting brackets you disassembled when you wanted to change the rotor. Re-align the brackets. Make sure they are properly screwed.

A caliper compressor should be used to keep the caliper in place if you got it right. The caliper would fit over the rotor. Use the correct grease to clean the caliper when this is completed. Fix the wheel and carefully lower the jack. Bleed the brake and taste the rotor before driving.

How long does it take to change brakes and rotors?

What is the average lifetime of brake rotors FAQs

1. Why do rotors break? 

In this piece, we talked about three sounds that the rotor gives when it needs to be replaced. If these sounds are neglected, excessive wear and tear sets in, this causes that rotor to break.

Rotors also break when they are subjected to high temperatures.

2. Should I change my brake pads when I am changing the rotor? 

It depends on the type of manufacturers. Some recommend that you change the rotor along with the brake pad. It would be wise to check the manufacturer’s recommendation before you but the rotor. 

3. Can a rotor fall off while the vehicle is moving? 

If it is properly installed, it won't. Your car stops when friction is generated between the rotors and brake pad. The two are held in position by a caliper. If your rotor falls off, something must have gone wrong.

4. How do I know if I need to change my rotor? 

Watch out for the following things when you are driving. The vibration of the vehicle and the steering when you press the brake. Wobbling and rattling of the car. Also, a gibbering sound is an indication of troubles with your rotor.

5. My rotors are warping very fast, what is happening? 

Warping at breakneck speed is caused by excessive heat. This should be attended to immediately because it causes the rotor to wear.

6. Any side effect of using new brake pads with bad rotors? 

Your vehicle will not correctly stop if you tried it, i.e., the braking ability will be reduced. It is not advisable to change one and leave the other. Change both if need be.


The importance of the rotor in the braking system of the vehicle cannot be downplayed. It has a significant role to play. After you have used then for over 70,000 miles, change them. How would you know when you should change them?

Three things are critical in determining if you should change your rotor. The vibration of the steering; a grinding sound when, and a squealing sound when the brake is applied.  All these things mean the rotor needs to be changed. 


John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at brakeshub.com, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.

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