Grooves In Brake Rotor: What Should I Do?

So you opened up your car’s brakes only to find grooves in brake rotor. What can you do now? Is it safe to drive with these grooves? How much will it cost to repair? Let’s find out.

Brake rotors are essential components of the disc braking system. They help in stopping your vehicle at the desired point. But using brakes continuously can develop deep grooves on the rotor surface. 

Grooves in the brake rotor are not good as they cause vibrations that you can feel on the steering wheel or brake pedal.

Grooves In Brake Rotor

How Do Grooves Happen On Brake Rotors, And Why Are They Bad? 

Most of the vehicles are now equipped with a disc brakes system. The disc brake components are the caliper, piston, brake pads, and rotor, which play an essential part in stopping your vehicle.

Whenever you push your brake pedal, then the pressurized brake fluid leaves the master cylinder and starts entering the caliper and putting pressure on the piston, and that is also from four sides. 

You will find two brake pads, one side attached to the pistons and the other facing the rotor.

When the pressurized brake fluid exerts pressure on the piston, the brake pad lining comes in contact with the rotor, and your vehicle finally stops at your desired point. 

So every time you apply brakes, the brake pads squeeze the disc or rotor surface to stop the car.

But the brake pads can get thinner with time and lose their friction material. Consequently, when you apply brakes, the metal parts of the brake pad come in contact with the disc or rotor and finally causing warping or grooves on it.

The repeated contact between the brake pads and the rotor is also the reason which deep grooves form on the rotor.

These deep grooves are difficult to diagnose but significantly reduce the vehicle’s braking efficiency. It increases the stopping distance of the car, which is quite dangerous. 

Additionally, you will feel vibrations while applying brakes. Your brakes also start to become noisy. So, whenever you inspect such a problem, take your vehicle to the nearest mechanic. He will diagnose the rotor and brake pad and, if required, replace them.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace Brake Rotors?

Brake Rotor or disc is usually present behind the wheel and plays a vital role in stopping your car. But when the brake pad wears, then it seriously affects the rotor. 

You can compare it with shoelaces on a new shoe. When the shoelaces are new, it helps to keep your shoe in the proper place. But with time, the shoe laces start getting damaged. Now, if you buy a new shoelace, then it may not be able to keep your shoes in the correct position. So, investing in another shoe is perfect for getting rid of the solution.

Similarly, if you change brake pads and not rotors, then the efficiency of the brake reduces within a short time. So, investing in the brake pad and rotor is a wise solution. We cannot tell you the exact cost to replace brake rotors and pads because that depends on various factors like the type of vehicle, manufacturer, and labor charge.

The approximate cost to replace brake pads and rotors is $300 and can go beyond $700.It will cost you more if you purchase high-quality rotors like Duralast Gold. The labor cost for replacing brake pads and rotors in one axle is usually between $160 to $210.

Other Problems With Brake Rotors 

We use brakes numerous times while driving in urban and semi-urban areas. It results in large temperature fluctuations in brake rotors and consequently causes damage.

Below are a few other problems you may find in brake rotors.

#1. Noise

Whenever you press the brake pedal and hear a grinding or squealing noise from the brakes, it indicates a problem with the rotor. Whenever the rotor is severely worn out and no longer remains flat, it produces noise, which is quite irritating. 

A curved rotor will generate a squeaking sound, while a damaged rotor will produce a scraping or squealing sound. However, the same noise can also be generated by brake pads. So, inspect both rotors and brake pads whenever you hear any such sound.

#2. Vibrations

Whenever the rotor gets damaged, the contact with the brake pads is hampered, which finally causes the rotor to vibrate unevenly. You can feel the shaking through the brake pedal, steering wheel, or car.

#3. Rust

Rust is another issue you can observe when the rotor is worn out. Some car owners keep their vehicles outside throughout the night. When exposed to excess moisture or rainwater, the rotors can develop rust on their surface.

If the rotors are severely corroded, then they cannot be able to do their work properly. Hence the brakes on your vehicle may feel sticky or squeal while applying. 

Additionally, when you use brakes, the corroded rotor will create loud noise and pitting on the brake pads. In worst cases, the rotors will get stuck, and that becomes difficult for a professional mechanic to remove and replace a new one. So, replace it immediately if you observe slight rust on the rotor surface.

#4. Cracks In Rotor

Cracks can develop on the rotor because of being subjected to high temperatures. If slight dents develop on the rotor surface, it will not hinder its function. But deep cracks can be dangerous as they increase the car’s stopping distance.

#5. Blue Marks

If you observe blue marks on the rotor, it can be because of damaged rotors and brake pads or malfunctioning calipers. Try to inspect the brakes immediately to find the right reason for seeing blue marks and correct it accordingly.

How To Keep Your Rotors Fresh As New?

The friction material in brake pads will lessen with time, and when this happens, it dramatically affects the brake pad and rotor. 

Rotors are usually disc-shaped and have smooth surfaces. But when you apply brakes various times, then its thickness reduces. Deep grooves can form on it, creating vibrations and noise and decreasing braking efficiency.

Additionally, brake calipers will get affected if you consistently drive with bad brakes. The piston in calipers will go out of its place, and that can cause brake fluid leakage. So, the calipers must be inspected while inspecting brake pads and rotors.

Most car owners change car tires within a gap of six months. We recommend you thoroughly check the brake hardware, including the caliper, brake rotor, and brake pad. If any of them is worn out, then better replace them for safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Can I drive with grooved rotors?

Grooved rotors are not good for your vehicle as they can cause vibrations, shaking, noise, and increased stopping distance. You need to replace the groove’s rotors as soon as possible.

You can drive with grooved rotors until your vehicle pulls to one side.

#2. Should brake rotors be smooth or grooved?

A good brake rotor will be smooth, round, and free from dust, dirt, debris, and grooves. But when you continuously use the brake rotor, it starts developing grooves that are not good. The grooves can cause vibrations and grinding noise. It will not even allow the vehicle to stop at the desired point.

#3. At what point should a grooved brake rotor be replaced?

Using brakes repeatedly can develop grooves on the rotor and reduce thickness. You need to change the grooved rotor by checking its thickness. 

Every manufacturer recommends a minimum thickness value for the rotor. For instance, Shimano recommends that the 1.8 mm thickness of brake rotors become 1.5 mm, then you need to replace them.

#4. How do you tell if rotors need replacing?

  • Blue marks on the rotor
  • Grooves on the rotor
  • The brake starts to produce a loud noise
  • The rotor thickness gets reduced below the minimum value

Wrap Up

Disc braking system is quite commonly seen in every car. But heavy braking can cause grooves on the rotor, which is dangerous. It can cause vibrations and loud noise and increase braking distance which no car owners will like.

So, check your brakes within a gap of at least six months. You can also use black rotors to slow down the wear and tear and keep the rotor working longer.

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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