What do brake pads have in common with engine oil and air filters? Well, they, along with tire rotations and a number of other service items, are all candidates for routine maintenance on your car, truck, or SUV. Each of them is essential to keeping your vehicle running safely and smoothly on the road. So, your vehicle manufacturer recommends servicing each item regularly according to a maintenance schedule.

Your brake pads need to be replaced every so often – usually somewhere around fifty thousand miles (give or take according to your driving habits). That is because the friction material applied to them wears away with use. When your brake pads wear too thin to be used safely (somewhere between 3-6mm), it is time for a brake inspection or change.

As a driver, you already know that your brakes are the most important safety feature of your vehicle. And you probably understand that the brake pads need to be replaced periodically. But what about your brake rotors? Do they need to be serviced as well? And if so, can they be resurfaced, or do they need to be replaced?

What is a brake rotor?

brake rotor is a component of the disc brake system featured on most vehicles on the road today. The rotor is a heavy metal disc that connects your wheel to the wheel hub. When the wheel and tire rotate, the rotor spins along with them. Your brake pads are sandwiched around the rotor. When you press on your brake pedal, a hydraulic clamping mechanism (called a brake caliper) squeezes the brake pads against the sides of the rotor, creating friction to slow and stop your car.

Over time and with use, the friction material on your brake pads, which can be composed of organic, semi-metallic, or ceramic materials, will wear away. That is why you need to replace your brake pads regularly.

While your rotors are not necessarily designed to be sacrificial like the brake pads, they too will wear down. They become thinner. And excessive heat from aggressive braking or hauling heavy loads can lead to glazing and hot spots on your rotors. The lifespan of a rotor is affected by the type of brake pads you use (semi-metallic pads wear at a rotor more than organic or ceramic pads), the amount of exposure they receive to salt and moisture, and your driving style. If you tend to ride your brakes or drive aggressively, your rotors will wear faster. The quality of the rotors can also affect how long they last. So your rotors need to be serviced as well.

If you have questions, give us a call at Murrieta Tire & Auto today.