What are brake rotors?
Your brake rotors take a whole lot of abuse on the roads. Each time your apply your brakes, your calipers squeeze your brake pads extremely tight onto the rotors causing friction which slows your car down. In science terms, it converts kinetic energy (movement) into heat.
Common signs of bad brake rotors
Pulsations and Vibrations when braking
If you're feeling your car rattle and shake when you brake, this means your brake rotors are warping. This is caused by the uneven wearing of brake pads. As your apply the brake, your brake pads are trying to grab on to the rotors as much as possible. The pulsing or vibrations are the pads not being able to fully wrap themselves around the rotors.
Nothing is more alarming then when you hear metal grinding against itself. This is an 'uh-oh' moment that typically means you have worn your brake pads down to the metal backing and it's now metal to metal against the rotors. You would need to replace both the brake pads and rotors to fix this.
How to check for bad rotors
Test your brakes out
When you come to a stop, are you feeling your car shake or vibrate? You could feel it as light as in your foot on the pedal or a profound jerk of the car. This is a good sign your rotors are warped and need replacing.
Look for visible scars in the rotor
If you feel any scoring (large scratches) in the rotor, your brake pads are probably feeling the same. This is caused by debris getting stuck between the pad and rotor and should be remedied as quick as possible.