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Car Repair Blog

Brake Rotors - To turn or not to turn...that is the question!

Often, when performing brake repair service, other auto repair shops will tell a customer they recommend the rotors be turned for proper brake and rotor wear. As a result, these shops have trained the customer to expect a rotor turning service every time they have their brake pads replaced, or a brake service performed on their car.
While resurfacing or “turning” the rotors helps to ensure proper brake wear, rotor turning service is not required as often as it is recommended, and will help to lessen the life of the rotor.
How, you ask? Well, let us explain.
A rotor is manufactured with a specified metal thickness to help dissipate the heat acquired from the brake pads during braking. When the rotor is resurfaced or machined, a portion of that metal has been removed to help make the rotor smooth again. The problem with this is there is now less metal on the rotor so it can’t handle the amount of heat it was originally designed to handle. As a result, when the brakes are applied, the brake pads rub on the rotors, the rotors will overheat quicker causing rotor warping, which in turn will require quicker rotor replacement and more out of pocket expense to the customer. For this reason, Nevada Mobile Automotive Service does not perform brake turning services.
However, there are ways to expend the life of your brake rotors without having them turned. Below are a few tips to help you do just that:
1.Check the brake pads with every oil service and change them as needed:
Brake pads should typically be replaced when approximately 1/8” to 3/16” of friction material remains on the steel backing plate. If you hear your brakes squeal, replace them as soon as possible. Squealing brakes are an indication that the brake pads need to be replaced
2.Spend a little more on brake pads and save a higher expense on brake rotors later:
Low-metallic and ceramic pads will usually cost the customer an additional $5-$15 dollars in parts over the cheap metallic pads, but will save on the continuous cost of rotor turning and rotor replacement in the long run as these pads are made of softer material, which provide a cleaner, quieter ride, and excellent braking performance without wearing down the rotor
3.Good braking habits will save both your pads and rotors:
Downshifting to a lower gear when going downhill will help by having your engine doing the work instead of your brakes
Judging your stopping distance and braking earlier will help your rotors dissipate the heat better as the brake pads will be touching lightly causing less friction and heat on the rotors
Keeping a safe distance between you and the car in front of you will help prevent extensive hard braking
Coasting to a stop or slower speed when on an off-ramp is a surpirsingly easy way to save your brakes. Coasting from 70 down to 50 or 40 before braking will help save costly brake wear
4.Drive with only one foot:
Two footed driving is a costly habit. If you are constantly driving with one foot on the brake and one on the gas, you will wear your pads out in half the time and put constant unnecessary friction and extensive heat on your rotors causing them to warp or wear sooner
Following the above tips will help extend the life of your brake pads and rotors; and as a result your calipers as well. While it takes time to adapt to new driving habits, your efforts will be worthwhile and save you money in the long-run.
However, should you ever find yourself in need of brake repair service, call Nevada Mobile Automotive Service at (775) 200-4669 or visit our website at