When To Replace Brake Discs And Rotors

Disc brake systems are the most common type of brake system used in modern vehicles, and they consist of two key components: the brake rotor and the brake caliper. Over time, these parts will wear down from use and eventually need to be replaced. However, knowing when to replace brake discs and rotors can be challenging for many drivers.

Replacing your brake discs and rotors is an important part of vehicle maintenance that should not be ignored. Not only does it ensure your safety on the road, but it also prolongs the life of your braking system and can save you money in the long run.

The rule of thumb is that your brake pads should be replaced between 10,000 and 20,000 miles, and your rotors should be replaced between 50,000 and 70,000 miles. In this article, we’ll cover the signs that indicate it’s time to replace your brake discs and rotors and what you can expect from the replacement process.

When to Replace Brake Discs and Rotors?

Your brakes are crucial to you and your vehicle’s safety, so it is important to know when to replace your brake pads. Generally, you should be looking to replace your brake pads every 10,000 to 20,000 miles. This will keep the wear on them to a minimum and ensure that you have plenty of life left in each pair of brake pads you use for your vehicle. 

Furthermore, after each set of brakes has been replaced, it’s time to rotate the rotors on the car. Rotors should typically be replaced between 50,000 and 70, 000 miles in order for them to maintain peak health and prevent any excess wear from occurring in between replacements.

If at any time you are concerned about the condition of your brakes, then feel free to make a visit to our service center so an expert can inspect them for any kind of wear or damage.

How Do I Know Its Time to Replace Brake Discs?

Bent Disc Rotors

Bent disc rotors are one of the most common issues cyclists encounter. This is usually caused by either getting the rotor too hot, damage incurred in a crash, or putting too much pressure on it. For example, if you travel with your bike in the back of your car and rest something on the rotor, this can easily cause it to bend.

Depending on how badly bent the rotor is, you can spot it more quickly than others – sometimes, a rub between brake pads and rotor might occur as the wheel turns.

In general, replacing bent disc rotors is advisable, especially if the cause of bending was due to a crash or incident. However, in other circumstances where milder deformities can be spotted or generally altered without any stress put upon them, you could try and straighten out these minor imperfections before committing to an entirely new part.

Grinding Sound

It’s important to recognize the signs when your vehicle needs brake repair. Not doing so can lead to serious harm and additional expense down the line. When you press the brake pedal and hear a loud “CHRRRKKKK.” sound, it’s a telltale sign that your brake pads are worn away and now metal on metal with your rotors. Simply replacing your pads at this point won’t do anything for you in the long run, as they will soon just get chewed up by the old rotor again.


The pulsing sensation that one often feels while braking is a sign that something is wrong with the brakes. This sensation occurs when the rotors are warped, which can be caused by frequent, heavy brakings or regular usage in high-heat conditions.

In this situation, the brake pad has difficulty adhering to the rotor, causing pulses of resistance when applying pressure. The pulses are usually felt throughout the pedal and steering wheel, making it difficult to control the car when braking.

Rotor Cracks

Cracking on a brake rotor indicates an issue that should not be taken lightly. When talking about irregularities on a brake rotor, there are two distinct types of cracks – heat checking and those to the edge. Heat checking is the term used for small hairline cracks that appear on the surface of the rotor due to constant exposure to heat.

This is normal behavior and doesn’t necessarily warrant a new rotor; however, if a crack appears at the edge, it means something entirely different. A crack to the edge can indicate that your brake rotor has reached its life expectancy and should promptly be replaced with a new one.

If you don’t address this issue quickly enough, further damage can build up from having these faulty rotors in place, which could cause major problems down the road. Regardless of type, taking care of these cracks as soon as possible will ensure you have safe brakes when driving your vehicle.

Damage Brake Rotor

When it comes to your car brakes, quality rotors are an important piece of the puzzle. If you notice any damage or grooves on your brake rotors, it may be time to replace them. Damage could occur due to heavy wear of the brake pads and metal backing plates that can scrape up the rotor surface over time. In addition, exposure to road debris, rust, and corrosion can also damage the rotors.

This means when you change out your pads and rotors, you should always switch out all of the front and rear sets for a uniform braking experience.

It’s also beneficial to distinguish between a warped rotor and a grooved one – as they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. A warped rotor is uncommon, whereas a grooved one is more likely due to negligence or continuous use without checking its condition.

Ultimately, if there’s visually any damage on the rotors, be sure to change them out immediately so that your car has optimal stopping power.

Things to Mind While Changing Brakes Dics and Roots

Perfect Size

It is important to note that changing rotor size can affect the performance of your bike’s disc brakes. Generally, if you intend to use your brakes heavily or are a heavier rider, it is best to choose a larger rotor size to handle the increased brake force and heat buildup.

Shimano and SRAM both recommend larger rotors on the road, with 140mm as an ideal choice for cyclocross. Furthermore, Focus has reported that they found 160mm rotors preferable to 140mm due to their better-dissipating heat.

Overall, whether you decide to go with the more common 140mm or upgrade to 160mm for more braking power and improved heat dissipation is up to personal preference. But remember that not all bikes have been designed for these sometimes larger sizes, so you may need specific adaptors or components for larger rotors to be compatible with your bike.

Types of Brake Pads

There are many types of brakes out there. You need to be certain which one is perfect for your cars. The first type of brake rotor used in most modern cars is the standard blank and smooth brake rotor. This type of rotor has been designed to provide an even contact surface when the calipers clasp onto them during braking.

The blank face ensures that the pads strike even points across the entire surface, allowing you to achieve consistent braking performance across all four wheels. This type of rotor typically needs minimal maintenance and provides reliable, everyday braking with little wear or tear.

The second type of brakes rotors is the drilled brake rotor. This type of rotor features holes drilled into its surface for several purposes. Firstly, it helps remove any particulates stuck on the rotor’s face that interfere with efficient braking.

Secondly, it helps reduce fade by dissipating heat caused by friction between the pad and the disc surface more quickly than a smooth-faced rotor can do. Drilled rotors work best on lightly loaded vehicles that don’t sustain periods of arduous use, such as freeway driving.

Drivers who demand excellent stopping power for more demanding applications should look for slotted or drilled and slotted blades as a better option.

Maintenance Tips

The right parts and components aren’t enough to ensure safe and efficient braking performance. You also need to ensure proper maintenance for them. First, you should clean your rotors regularly with soap and water. This helps prevent rust from forming on them.

Also, be sure to check the condition of your brake pads often. It is time to replace them with new ones if they are worn down or significantly deformed. Lastly, if you’re feeling your brakes judder or vibrate as you press down on the pedal, be sure to take your car in for professional maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. How Do I Know If I Really Need New Rotors?

When the brake pads conform to the uneven surface of warped rotors, the steering wheel may vibrate or pulse. In this case, it may be necessary to replace the rotors to resolve the issue.

2. How Often Should I Replace My Brake Discs And Rotors?

The frequency of replacement depends on the wear and tear of your brakes and the type of driving you to do. For instance, if you do a lot of city driving or drive in stop-and-go traffic, your rotors will wear out faster than normal. On the other hand, if you mostly drive on highways, your rotors will last longer. Generally, it is recommended to replace brake discs and rotors every 50,000 miles or so.

3. Can I See If My Rotors Are Bad?

Yes, you can see if your rotors are bad. While visually inspecting the brakes, look for signs of wear or damage. Any deep grooves, cracks, or metal shavings on the rotor surface indicate that they need to be replaced. Additionally, check for any pulsing or unusual vibrations when braking — this could indicate warped rotors and uneven brake pad contact. Finally, listen for any squealing or grinding noises — these could be signs of worn-out brake pads.

4. What Is The Lifespan Of A Rotor?

The average lifespan of a rotor is around 50,000 to 70,000 miles. However, this varies depending on the driving habits and conditions of the vehicle. For example, if the vehicle is driven in areas with heavy traffic or frequent braking, the rotors may wear out sooner than expected. Additionally, if the brake pads are not replaced frequently enough or are of low quality, this

5. How Many Mm Is A Bad Rotor?

The thickness of a rotor or brake disc is one of the primary indicators of its health. Rotors should typically be replaced at or below the manufacturer’s minimum specification, which is usually between 8-11mm. If the rotor has experienced extensive wear and tear over time, it may be necessary to replace them sooner than this.


Brake rotors and pads are essential components of any vehicle’s braking system. Ensuring they are in good condition is key to achieving optimal stopping power. To do that, you will need to replace them every so often and make sure to maintain them properly. Doing this will help ensure your safety and the longevity of your car’s brakes.

John D. Archer