Before we can find out how long brake rotors last, first let us understand what is a brake rotor.
A brake rotor is easily described as the round metallic disc to which the brake calipers are attached. The brake calipers are the ones that would contain the brake pad. We know that most people know brake pads and not brake rotors.
How Long Do Brake Rotors Last?
Brake rotors perform an important function in stopping your car. So, its durability is quite important too.
The average lifespan of the brake rotors depends mostly on the driving condition and style.
If you give the brake rotors a hard life, expect them to last around 30,000 miles. However, most rotors can go up to 70,000 miles.
The worst can be when you do not change your brake pads on time. This is because worn brake pads start scratching the rotor disc thus damaging it.
So, with good maintenance, you should find the different types of brake rotors working great.
Types of Brake Rotors
One of the factors that would affect the lifetime of a brake rotor is the type. That is why we are looking at the common types of brake rotors in the market.
Drilled rotors have holes drilled at precise locations to help avoid heat build-up as you brake. The same holes also help potential gas buildup around the rotors as you brake.
Another reason someone may consider such rotors is because they work so well in wet conditions. Water would no longer pool onto the surfaces of the rotors but rather just go through it.
As much as the holes might help the rotors work better, it is also its main weak point. The drilled holes make the rotor less sturdy than the solid rotor with no holes. So, drilled rotors might crack, but it does not always happen.
Slotted brake rotors
The slotted brake rotors still have the same benefits as the drilled rotors only that they have been implemented differently with the use of slots.
These slots mean that the brake pads have less surface to get into contact with while braking. Also, there is less heat build-up and the brake dust can escape leaving you with a cleaner rotor.
The biggest benefit of slotted rotors over drilled rotors is that it is still a solid metal piece. The result is that you have a stronger rotor that is less likely to crack.
Slotted and drilled brake rotors
Sometimes you just want the best of both worlds. Well, this is what you should get then.
Being slotted and drilled means that it combines the benefits of both rotors. So, now you have a stronger brake rotor that also disperses heat better.
They would be costlier considering the amount of technology going into making them. However, the cost pays off when you can enjoy using the rotor for a lot longer.
Smooth brake rotors
This is the most common rotor that would be on different cars around.
Just as the name suggests, it is a single piece of the smooth round metal disc. They are mostly good for non-aggressive driving conditions. If you do aggressive driving, then you are likely to wear them fast.
That should not deter you from owning a car with smooth rotors. They do last quite a long time for normal driving.
Here is a video comparing the different rotor types
How To Know When To Replace Brake Rotors
You do not have to guess when to replace brake rotors. Expect that you will hear a few signs to tell you when to change the brake rotors. Here are some of them;
- Squealing can be a common thing when you have to replace brake pads. However, if you have been driving for a while with squealing brakes, just have the rotors checked to see if they need replacing.
- Grinding noises when you brake also means the brake pads are worn. So, if you drive long enough with such brake pads, then you have to replace the rotors.
- Feeling vibrations in your steering wheel as you brake might mean the rotors are warped or worn.
How To Extend The Life Of Brake Rotors
Brake rotors can last for a long time only if you take good care of them too. Here is how you do it;
Improve your driving style
Rotors wear down faster in case you are always braking hard. The other scenario would be when you constantly ride the brakes. This is unnecessary and makes the brake pads and rotors wear faster.
You may want to be gentle on your brakes.
As much as it can be hard sometimes, consider driving the speed limit or even slower.
Let the car coast whenever possible rather than riding the brakes.
Always maintain safe driving distances to ensure you do not brake so hard all the time.
Work with your driving conditions
The stop-and-go traffic can take a toll on your braking system. So, try and get routes with less traffic if possible.
Also, do not accelerate hard and stop immediately. This affects the braking system too.
In case you live in a mountainous place, consider using engine braking to avoid riding your brakes as you go downhill.
Replace worn brake pads
Each time you service the vehicle, make sure that your brakes are also checked. This is important to ensure the pads can be replaced in good time to avoid damaging your rotors.
Here are more tips to follow
How many rotors will a car have?
For most cars, it should be four. That means having a rotor for each wheel.
Do brake pads last longer than rotors?
No. Brake pads get worn out faster because of the material used to make them. Just make sure to replace them in time to avoid damaging the rotor.
How long will brake calipers last?
Depending on how well you care for them, they can last a lifetime of the car. Well, most people find that their calipers can easily laster over 100,000 miles.