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Disc Brakes and Rotors

Keeping your braking system properly maintained will help ensure your safety and will extend the life of your brakes. At some point, however, you will need to know when and how to replace your vehicle's disc brake rotors.

When should you replace your brake rotors?

You will most likely know when your braking system needs attention based on how smooth or quietly your brakes perform. Knowing which parts to replace depends on when you encounter a difference in performance. If your car or truck is making noise whenever you stop, that's an indication your brake pads could be worn, and it's time to replace them. On the other hand, you may want to look into replacing your brake rotors if your vehicle is not braking as smoothly as it once did.

How do you replace brake rotors?

Thankfully, a brake rotor replacement is one of the simple fixes you can perform on your disc brakes as it involves simply sliding off the old rotor and replacing it with the new one. However, you want to make sure you follow the below steps to make your rotor replacement as efficient as possible.

  • Lift your vehicle and remove the wheel: Before lifting your vehicle, make sure it is on a flat surface and the tires remaining on the ground are choked. You will also want to loosen each lug nut before lifting your car or truck. Once lifted, transfer the weight to a secure jack stand.
  • Remove the caliper: Open the caliper and remove the brake pads before disconnecting it. Then, loosen the bolts securing it to the knuckle by using a breaker bar. Once you have unbolted and removed the caliper, you will need to secure it by placing it on an elevated surface to remove tension from the brake line.
  • Replace the rotor: At this point, you should be able to easily slide the old rotor off. Before installing the new one, be sure to thoroughly clean the surface with brake cleaner and a clean cloth to ensure adequate friction. Once it is cleaned, you can slide the new part on.
  • Reinstall the wheel: Once the new rotor is mounted, then reinstall the caliper and brake pads. Be sure to tighten all bolts to your car or truck's specifications. From there, you can re-mount your wheel, secure it with lug nuts, and lower your vehicle. After lowering, be sure to use a torque wrench to tighten your lug nuts according to your car or truck's manufacturer specs.
How do you make rotors last?

There are a couple of things you can do to prolong the life of your rotors. Since stop-and-go driving can be more demanding on your brakes, try to be gentle on the brakes and allow plenty of stopping distance. When changing your brake pads or rotating your tires, you can also take the opportunity to clean your rotors.