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A brake rotor is a smooth metal disc attached to the wheel hub. Most new cars (1999 and above) come with rotors at each wheel. Older cars may have drums instead of rotors at the rear wheels . Brake rotors play an important part in the braking system. It is the friction between brake pads and rotors that cause your car to slow down and stop. As the rotors wear out (become thin or warped), they are unable to dissipate the heat caused by the braking system. This will cause the brake fluid to boil and reduce the effectiveness of brake system significantly.