Signs of a Bad Rotor, And What You Can Do To Prevent Them

Les Schwab Knows Brakes and Safety

The more you drive, the quicker your brake parts will wear out. Delaying needed services could put you at risk. Anytime you experience braking problems or want to have your brakes professionally checked, get to your local Les Schwab. Our pros understand how every part of your braking system works together for your safety. Schedule your appointment, or just stop by and we’ll help you get safely back on the road.


What Should Brake Rotors Look Like When New?

Now that you have seen what brake rotors look like when they need to be replaced you should know what new brake rotors look like so that you can compare yours to new ones that way it gives you an idea as to how worn your brake rotors are.

New brake rotors should look like the brake rotors in the below picture.  If your brake rotors look more worn down than the picture below it doesn’t necessarily mean that your brake rotors need to be replaced.  I just thought it would be useful to be able to visually compare new brake rotors with worn brake rotors.

Conclusion  How to Tell if Rotor Is Bad

Faulty rotors are known for their noises – they are capable of making squeal noises. Excessive vibration from the brakes, the inability of the vehicle to stop, or increased stopping distance are also signs that tell you that the rotor is bad.

If you regularly experience any of these signs or have a malfunctioning rotor, you should avoid driving your car.

Consequently, it is best to replace the warped rotors as soon as possible or get the problem handled by a skilled mechanic if it is complex.

Inevitably, the best quality rotors are also bound to decline. However, good driving habits, regular inspection, and severe adherence to organized maintenance will go a long way in seeing that pricey repairs and brake system damage that are likely to occur in the future are prevented.

4. Grinding Noises When Braking

Hearing grinding noises when you are braking is definitely a bad sign and is when you need to inspect your brakes for issues.

A grinding noise when braking can indicate that your brake pads have worn down to the metal backing plate.  When this happens the metal backing plate will grind into the surface of the brake rotor which it’s not designed to do.  As the metal on metal contact occurs this will damage the brake rotor beyond repair and will need to be replaced.

4. Increased Stopping Distances

Scoring and grooves in a rotor can impede its capacity to slow the vehicle, as well as cause vibration and pulsation that can be felt in the pedal. Plus, when the pedal no longer interacts with the brake rotor, the ensuing vibration may make it feel like the car will not stop at all. Inability to stop or even extended stopping distances can be highly dangerous, especially if the driver is forced to make an emergency stop.

The disc brake rotors are a very important part of the braking system, and as a result are critical to the overall safety and handling characteristics of the vehicle. If you suspect your rotors may be worn or damaged, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician to determine if your car needs a .

What Are the Signs of Bad Rotors in Your Car?

Ideally, you should replace your car’s brake rotors before they begin to go bad on you as part of your routine brake service. It’ll help you avoid having to even think about what to do when you have bad rotors. But in the event that you don’t do this, you’re going to find yourself with bad rotors at some point, and you’ll need to know what signs to look for to know that your brake rotors have gone bad.

Are you wondering what the signs of bad rotors are? Continue reading to see some of the common symptoms that will come along with bad rotors.

1. Your Brakes Are Unusually Noisy

There are all sorts of strange sounds that you might hear coming from the general direction of your brakes when one of the parts in your brake system goes bad. Some of these sounds are going to indicate that you’re driving around with bad bad rotors.

When you have bad rotors, they’re going to become deformed. This will lead to them producing a squealing sound that will come from your car pretty much every time you step on the brake pedal. It’s going to let you know that you need to take your car into the shop for a brake job.

You might also hear a very high-pitched sound coming from your car’s brakes. This is another strong indication of bad rotors. It could also suggest that you have bad brake pads. But either way, you’re going to need to address the problem with your brake system so that you don’t do any further damage to it.

2. Your Car Vibrates When You Hit the Brakes

Does your entire car start to shake whenever you press down on your brake pedal even slightly? That’s going to indicate to you that there is something going on with your brake system. And it’s likely going to stem from an issue with bad rotors.

When you have bad rotors, they’re not going to come into direct contact with your brake pads when you hit your brake pedal. And that can cause the vibrations that you’ll feel when you step on the brakes while driving your car. It can be a scary feeling because it might feel as though you’re going to lose control of your car at any second.

You should be able to continue to drive your car for a little while with your car in this condition. But the vibrations that you feel will only get worse! And as they do, it could make your car dangerous to drive. You should have a brake specialist check your brake system to see if bad rotors are to blame for the vibrations you’re feeling.

3. Your Brakes Aren’t Slowing Your Car Down Quickly Enough

Are you finding that it’s taking a lot longer to slow your car down than it used to? This can obviously be very dangerous because it could cause you to crash into something if you don’t begin braking sooner enough. It could also be a sign that you have bad rotors that are on the verge of giving out on you.

Bad rotors aren’t going to be able to work right with your car’s brake pads. It’s going to result in your car taking way longer than it should to stop when you press down on your brake pedal. Even if you slam on your brakes, they’re still not going to bring your car to a stop as soon as you would like them to.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, bad rotors are also going to lead to your brake pads wearing out sooner than they should in this instance. You’re going to have to press down on your brake pedal way harder than you normally do, and it’s going to damage your brake pads.

4. Your Rotors Are Blue and Cracked

You might not spend a whole lot of time inspecting your car’s brake rotors. But you should! Because you’ll often be able to tell when bad rotors are on their way out based solely on how they look.

While you’re driving your car, your brake rotors are going to be subjected to quite a bit of heat. Over time, all of that heat can cause your brake rotors to turn blue, which will mean that they’ve gone bad. It can also cause your bad rotors to crack if you’re not careful.

If you allow your bad rotors to get to this point, you’re going to be in a position where you’ll have no choice but to replace them ASAP. Continuing to drive around on them is going to put you and others out on the road at risk. You should arrange to have brake rotor replacement done sooner rather than later.

Can You Sell a Car With Bad Rotors?

There is actually one other option that you’ll have when your car has bad rotors outside of paying someone to replace them or replacing them yourself. You can also choose to sell your car to Cash Cars Buyer, bad rotors and all!

Are you interested in doing this? All you’ll need to do to sell a car to Cash Cars Buyer is:

  • Reach out to us and let us know a little bit more about your car (make and model, mileage, year, etc.)
  • Allow us some time to prepare an offer for you
  • Receive an offer from us and think about it
  • Arrange to have us pick up your car and pay you cash for it if you’re happy with our offer

Contact us today for more information on how to unload a car that has bad rotors in it.

Intermittent Screeching

If you ask us, intermittent screeching when you brake is worse than nails on a chalkboard. This screeching happens when the braking system engages with rotors that have developed grooves over time. It’s the same principle behind the sound a needle makes when placed in the grooves of a vinyl record, and it’s the closest you’ll come to an answer from your car if you ask, “Do I need new rotors?”

Should I Resurface or Replace my Brake Rotors?

20 years ago, it was very common to resurface brak

20 years ago, it was very common to resurface brake rotors instead of replacing them. This was because the brake rotors were quite expensive compared to today. Probably also because labor work was a little bit cheaper.

However, some people want to resurface their brake rotors nowadays also.

If you ask me, I do never recommend anyone to resurface their brake rotors because it will probably cause you more problems than the money you will save.

The car manufacturers have a minimum thickness of the brake rotors before they need replacement. Check if your brake rotor’s thickness is close to this minimum requirement.

If you have warped brake rotors and they have a lot of thickness left – it can maybe be worth trying to resurface them. But remember that a bent disc/hub can cause this imbalance, and in the end, you will anyways have to replace them – which will cause a double cost. Learn more here: Resurface vs Replacement of Brake Rotors.

RELATED: When should you replace your brake rotors?

Excessive Wear Over Time

Like most pieces and parts in your car, brake rotors wear out over time. If you have a hunch that you’re dealing with bad rotors, inspect your rotors for grooves or scoring (which can cause the screeching we mentioned earlier). Also, check your service records and think back to the last time you had your brake rotors inspected and replaced. Brake rotors generally need replacing every 15,000 to 70,000 miles, but the exact number depends on your driving style, brake pads, and vehicle.

Does this help explain the strange V.I.B.E you’re getting from your car? If so, it’s time for a free brake inspection at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care. During your brake check, we’ll determine if your vehicle needs any further brake service or repair and if so, talk to you about next steps.


Leave a Comment