Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Brake Rotor/Disc

Disc brake rotors are metal discs that work together with the brake pads and calipers to slow the vehicle. Brake rotors are bolted 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. When rotors have a problem, they usually produce any of the following 4 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 steering wheel or chassis. Additionally, the brake pedal may feel like it’s pulsating when pressed due to warped brake rotors. This occurs because the pedal is no longer making contact with the surface of the rotor.

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. Repeated contact with the brake pads can develop these marks over time. Rotors are designed to have a thickness that wears down over time. However, should it degrade to a certain point, it lowers the overall safety of the vehicle.

4. Increased Stopping Distances

Scoring and grooves in a rotor can impede its capacity to slow the vehicle, as well as cause vibration and pulsation that can be felt in the pedal. Plus, when the pedal no longer interacts with the brake rotor, the ensuing vibration may make it feel like the car will not stop at all. Inability to stop or even extended stopping distances can be highly dangerous, especially if the driver is forced to make an emergency stop.

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 your rotors may be worn or damaged, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician to determine if your car needs a brake rotor/disc replacement.


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Johnny

33 years of experience
264 reviews
Johnny
33 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 L4-2.4L - Brake System Inspection - Sacramento, California
Johnny arrived early which was great, he performed the inspection in less than half an hour, and gave us a complete quote for all items needing attention, including the brakes as our main concern. Johnny is fast and efficient so I scheduled the work done by him.
Ford Escape - Brake System Inspection - Sacramento, California
The convenience is worth the cost. I was also tired of the dealership not really caring about my old car. Last couple of times I had to wait well over an hour to get my car after the dealership said "It's ready!". They also wouldn't fix the things I asked saying they didn't have time and I need to come back.

Jay

37 years of experience
947 reviews
Jay
37 years of experience
Chevrolet C10 Pickup V8-5.4L - Brake System Inspection - Moreno Valley, California
Knowledgeable, Professional, Friendly, and PATIENT! Sickeningly HONEST, as I tried to ply him with cash, alcohol, outside work, and wild dancing girls - although I wouldn't have "ratted him out" if he HAD accepted. A guy like this needs a "bigger cut" than what you are paying him ... because loyalty like his is hard to find these days! THANKS!
Volkswagen Jetta - Brake System Inspection - Moreno Valley, California
As usual, Mr. Jay provides efficient and professional quality of work. I would highly recommend him to any customer searching for a good mechanic.

Christopher

10 years of experience
114 reviews
Christopher
10 years of experience
Ford Explorer V6-3.5L - Brake System Inspection - Katy, Texas
Christopher was very knowledgeable and was able to address our concerns. We would trust him with future service needs.

Jesse

16 years of experience
61 reviews
Jesse
16 years of experience
Nissan Frontier V6-3.3L - Brake System Inspection - Flagler Beach, Florida
Jesse took the time to explain everything that was going to be done and why and then proceeded to repair my truck not only professionally but quickly. As a disabled Veteran and no longer able to perform work that was needed to be done it is nice to know a mechanic such as Jesse will take the time to explain all the various issues and what needs to be done before a blanket you need everything. After Jesse went thru everything I felt comfortable that all work was required and needed. 8 can safely say I will use yourmechanoc .com again and hope I can request Jess

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