The brake assembly of your car is made up of several distinct parts all of which play very quintessential roles. One of such important components is the brake rotors. Brake rotors are just like big metals attached to the wheels of a vehicle. When the brake pedal is pushed down, the calipers apply pressure on the brake pads.
The brake rotors have the function of acting as a grip for the brake pads to hold onto. This causes the rotation of the wheel to slow down and hence brings the vehicle to a stop. Brake rotors can last for a very long time interval. Its life span is dependent on the habits and driving conditions of the car owner. Also, it depends on the lifespan of the car, and the condition and quality of the other parts of the brake assembly.
What Does It Mean To Turn Rotors?
Turning brake rotors is a phrase used to describe the process in which a brake rotor is lathed to get rid of excess brake material from the brake pads. This is usually done to prevent the rotors from getting warped or twisted due to frictional pressure from the pads, hence extending the lifespan of the rotors.
If the surface of your rotor is smooth, there will be no need to turn them. However, if your rotors have become warped, you need to replace them as quickly as possible. You can easily detect if your rotors are warped. If you press down on your brake pedals and you feel a strong, solid and non-pulsing brake action, it shows that your brake rotors are warped.
Types of Brake Rotor
It is important however, to note the type of brake rotor of your vehicle before you even consider turning it. There are several different kinds of brake rotors however, we are going to talk about just two types. These are:
a. Drilled brake rotors
These types of rotors have holes drilled into them. This ensures that there is little surface area for the brake pads to attach to when the brakes are applied. An important benefit of these types of rotors is that they can reduce the amount of heat generated in them.
When the brake pads clamp the rotor, there is friction which generates heat. If the brake rotor gets overheated, it could easily wear out. The holes in the rotors can help to punctuate the friction thereby releasing less amount of heat.
Another advantage of this has to do with the fact that water can easily escape from the drilled holes in the brake rotor. On a rainy day, the brake rotor to get wet. In this case, it becomes difficult for the brake pads to effectively clamp down on the rotor. Letting water escape through the holes makes it possible for the pads to clamp down securely on the brake rotors.
b. Slotted brake rotors
This type of rotor has few spots on its surface. Through these slots, gases, heat and water are easily removed from the surface of the brake rotors. Due to its durability and its capacity to manage more stress than the drilled rotors, it has become very popular and is generally used in high-performance cars.
The Process of Rotor Turning
Rotor turning is no longer a conventional way of getting your rotors turned. It mainly has to do with resurfacing the metal surfaces of the rotors. The process begins by dismounting the rotor from the wheel. Once that is done, a caliper is used to measure the thickness to determine whether the thickness of the rotor is up to the standard thickness designed by manufacturers.
It is advisable to adhere strictly to this rule because the measurement is used to determine how many layers should be removed from the rotor without posing a threat to the driver’s well-being.
If the rotor goes past the measurement stage successfully, the rotor is mounted into the lathe where it is secured tightly. Once in the lathe, a tip runs across the surface, eliminating every form of warping and bringing the rotor to its basic shape even though it may reduce in size. At the end of the process, the experts will help mount the rotor back onto the wheel of your car for you.
Where Are The Cheapest Places To Turn Rotors?
When it’s time to change the brake rotors, the vehicle owner has two options. It’s either he changes the rotor completely or he rejuvenates it by turning it.
As stated earlier, rotor turning is not conventional any longer, hence a lot of auto shops do not offer this service anymore. This is because over the years, the cost of replacing rotors has reduced considerably. In other words, it does not make any sense to turn your rotor when you could easily get a new and better one at almost the same rate.
The following are some cheap places where you can turn your car brake rotors:
1. O’Reilly Auto Parts:
This is the cheapest place where you can find brake rotor turning services. Although most of their branches offer rotor turning services, they require that the rotor must have a certain standard thickness. If the rotor fails to reach that standard, you’ll be advised to get a new rotor.
For a good service that usually lasts for about 30 – 60 minutes, the estimated charge is between $10 and $15 per rotor. If you are the kind of person who is usually enthusiastic about DIYs and prefer doing it yourself, you can consult O’Reilly auto parts. They will provide you with the materials and parts needed for the maintenance of your brakes.
Unfortunately, if your brakes are worn out and do bad that they can’t be turned, you will be asked to replace them and O’Reilly auto parts do not offer this service.
2. LaCava Brothers Auto Supply:
LaCava Brothers auto supply turns your rotors for free when you buy brake pads from them. First of all, they will measure the thickness of the rotors you brought for them to turn, to determine whether your rotor needs replacement or resurfacing.
The good thing about this is that you get to turn or resurface your rotor for just the price of your brake pads.
Although it is advisable to replace your rotor than to just resurface or turn it, turning your rotor could help to:
- eliminate issues concerned with warping,
- create better friction between the brake pads and the rotor thereby enhancing the efficiency of the braking system.
- silence the noise associated with applied brakes.
For a detailed advice on whether to replace your rotor or resurface it, you could consult a professional mechanic to help you out.