Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Brake Rotor/Disc

Brake rotor

Disc brake rotors are metal discs that work together with the brake pads and calipers to slow the vehicle. Brake rotors bolt directly to the wheel hub, so they spin in direct relation to wheel speed. When the brake pedal is depressed, the calipers squeeze the brake pads against the spinning rotors to slow and stop the wheels and the vehicle. Since rotors work to slow the vehicle by using friction from direct contact with the brake pads, they do wear out over time and will eventually need to be replaced. Usually when rotors have a problem, they produce a few symptoms that alert the driver they require attention.

1. Noisy brakes

One of the first symptoms commonly associated with bad brake rotors is noise. If the rotors are warped (meaning not perfectly flat) or severely worn, they may produce squealing or squeaking sounds. Usually warped rotors will produce a squeak, while severely worn rotors will produce a scraping sound. However, the squealing noise could originate from worn brake pads as well.

2. Vibrations from the brakes

Another symptom of bad brake rotors is excessive vibration or pulsation coming from the brakes. Warped or excessively worn rotors may vibrate irregularly and cause vibrations that can be felt in the pedal, and sometimes through the vehicle’s chassis. Warped rotors may also produce a pulsating feel that will be felt in the pedal when the brakes are applied.

3. Grooves or score marks on the rotor

Another symptom of bad or failing rotors is visual scoring or grooves on the face of the rotor. Over time, grooves or scoring marks can develop on the rotor from repeated contact with the brake pads. Scoring and grooves in a rotor can take away from its capacity to slow the vehicle, as well as cause vibration and pulsation that can be felt in the pedal. Generally, scored or grooved rotors require replacement.

The disc brake rotors are a very important part of the braking system, and as a result are critical to the overall safety and handling characteristics of the vehicle. If you suspect that your rotors may be worn or damaged, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician from YourMechanic to determine if your car needs a brake rotor/disc replacement.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: Brakes Squealing

If you only replaced the brake pads and not the rotors or drums (if equipped in the rear), then you may look at getting them replaced or resurfaced. If you are getting squealing only when you push on the brakes...

Q: Possible bushel, arm control, or rotor problem.

Does it make the noise over bumps or all the time while your are moving? Is it a single clunk or a rattle type sound? If it is a single clunk or a rattle over bumps it could be a...

Q: serious issue with my right rear brake.

Yes, I agree this is a serious issue. If the hub bearing failed, the tire and brake assembly would be loose. To check this, raise that part of car off the ground, put hands on each side of the tire...