Also known as brake discs, rotors are the component of your braking system that get squeezed between the calipers/pads in order to stop the wheels from turning. Think of a big metal donut being squished between your thumb and index finger. Rotors take a lot of abuse, therefore you need to make sure to replace them when they exhibit signs of wear.
How do you tell when brake discs need replacing? There will typically be vibration when performing moderate to high speed braking – vibration at lower speeds means the damage is more advanced, while vibration only when high-speed braking indicates less severe warping.
There are three main types of brake rotors:
Conventional: These are typically solid iron, and are suitable for most normal, everyday consumer applications.
Drilled: These rotors have holes drilled clean through them in order to diffuse heat. These are best for towing, as well as performance-related applications. Drilled discs aren’t ideal for off-roading, however, due to the tendency of mud to clog the holes.
Slotted: These brake discs have grooves – or channels – that allow for some heat dissipation as well as serve to keep the brake pads cleaner. The grooves do not go all the way through the metal. Slotted rotors are typically good for most of the same purposes as drilled.
When you are ready to invest in some new brake rotors keep a few things in mind make sure you’re getting the best quality for your money:
Go with a trusted name: Brakes are one area of your car where you shouldn’t seek a big bargain on parts.
Buy carbon ceramic composite (if you can afford them): The higher the carbon content, the more enduring the part and the better the performance.
Pay close attention to the warranty: Brake rotor warranties tend to be very limited and extremely specific. They only allow replacement under certain conditions, normally defects. A few high-end performance brake companies do provide a lifetime warranty so you must decide on a balance between price and guarantee.
YourMechanic supplies top-quality brake rotors to our certified mobile technicians. We can also install a brake rotor that you've purchased. Click here to get a quote and more information on brake rotor replacement.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy Good Quality Brake Rotors and was authored by Valerie Johnston.