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Understanding The Average Life Of Brake Rotors

May 19, 2020

Understanding The Average Life Of Brake Rotors

Brake rotors, sometimes called discs, are the part of the braking system that gets clamped down on by the brake pads, stopping the wheel from spinning. While brake pads last anywhere from 15,000 to 35,000 miles or more, brake rotors are generally expected to last through three or four brake pads changes.

The Average Life Of Brake Rotors Depends On Several Things

  • Type of brake pads on the vehicle
  • Hardness and quality of the castings
  • How efficiently the rotors cool themselves
  • How the vehicle is driven
  • Braking style of the driver (aggressive or easy) 
  • Exposure to moisture and/or road salt

3 Signs You Need New Brake Rotors

1. You Hear Squealing – Usually when you hear a high pitched noise, you need to replace the brake pads. While this does not signal needing new rotors, it does mean you are protecting the rotors from damage. In most instances, your rotors will need to be replaced after three or four brake pad changes

2. You Feel Or Hear Grinding – Grinding could mean your brake pads are worn down and are at the metal plate. If you drive like this for too long, you will damage the entire braking system.

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3. You Feel A Vibration – If you feel your steering wheel or brakes vibrate, that can mean that you have warped rotors or rotors that are worn down.

How To Increase The Average Life Of Brake Rotors

While there is no way to avoid your brake rotors from wearing down over time, there are ways to extend their life.

Driving Style – This plays a big impact on how fast your rotors wear out. If you speed, ride your brakes and make a lot of hard stops, it wears out your rotors much faster than if you drive less aggressively

Coast To A Stop – Let your engine and transmission slow down your vehicle naturally

Don’t tailgate –  Keeping a safe distance between the vehicle in front of you means there is less chance you will have to slam on your brakes to stop

an image showing backside of a car

Driving Routes – You brakes will wear out more quickly if you are always in stop and go traffic. Open highway driving is much easier for your rotors. Roads that are hilly such as mountains or valleys are harder than flat roads. 

Tire Wear – Brakes and tires significantly affect each other. When one is failing the other is not far behind. If tires have low tread, then you have issues with stopping and lack of grip which makes your brakes work harder.

Brake Pads – Pads are a major part of the brake system. They push against the rotor to slow the vehicle down and wear out. If your brake pads get too worn down, the rotors get damaged. The metal plate behind the brake pad wears against the rotors, damaging them as well as the caliper causing very expensive and unnecessary repairs.

In conclusion, there are a lot of factors to consider when trying to understand the average life of brake rotors. The span ranges anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 miles, depending on the factors discussed. 

If you have any questions, we welcome you to call (703) 352-7770 to talk with one of our trusted, knowledgeable technicians.