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How to Tell If Your Brake Rotors are Bad: A Comprehensive Guide

The brake system is one of the most critical components of a vehicle, and the rotors play an essential role in the braking process. The brake rotors, also known as brake discs, work in tandem with the brake pads to create friction and slow down or stop the vehicle. Over time, brake rotors can become damaged, warped, or worn out, affecting the performance of the brake system and compromising the safety of the driver and passengers. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about how to tell if your brake rotors are bad, including signs of wear and tear, causes of damage, and how to prevent further damage.

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Table of Contents

Signs of Bad Brake Rotors


One of the most common signs of bad brake rotors is vibrations felt through the brake pedal or steering wheel when applying the brakes. Vibrations occur when the rotor is warped, unevenly worn, or has excessive runout. The vibrations may be mild or severe and can worsen as the vehicle's speed increases.


Another common sign of bad brake rotors is noises, such as grinding, squealing, or squeaking sounds when applying the brakes. These noises can indicate that the brake pads are worn down or that the rotors are damaged, worn, or unevenly worn.

Reduced Braking Performance

If the brake rotors are bad, you may notice that the braking performance has decreased. The vehicle may take longer to stop, or the brakes may feel spongy or less responsive. Reduced braking performance can be dangerous, especially in emergency situations, and should be addressed immediately.

Visual Inspection

A visual inspection can also help identify bad brake rotors. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, grooves, or deep scratches on the rotor's surface. Check the thickness of the rotor, and if it is below the manufacturer's recommended minimum thickness, it needs to be replaced.

Causes of Bad Brake Rotors


Brake rotors can overheat due to prolonged or excessive braking, causing them to warp or crack. Overheating can occur during high-speed driving or driving in hilly areas.

Wear and Tear

Like all components of a vehicle, brake rotors wear out over time due to constant use. The frequency and severity of braking can accelerate the wear and tear process, causing the rotors to become thin or unevenly worn.

Rust and Corrosion

Brake rotors can become corroded due to exposure to moisture and other environmental factors. Rust and corrosion can weaken the rotor's surface and cause uneven wear, warping, or cracking.

How to Prevent Further Damage

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance, such as brake pad replacement and rotor resurfacing, can help prevent further damage to the brake system. Follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule and have the brake system inspected regularly by a certified mechanic like

Driving Habits

Driving habits can also affect the lifespan of the brake system. Avoid prolonged or excessive braking and drive at a moderate speed. Avoid driving in hilly areas if possible and use engine braking when driving downhill.

Quality Parts

Using high-quality brake parts, such as brake pads and rotors, can help prevent premature wear and tear and prolong the lifespan of the brake system. Choose reputable brands and have the parts installed by a certified mechanic.


The brake system is one of the most critical components of a vehicle, and the brake rotors play a crucial role in its performance. Knowing how to tell if your brake rotors are bad can help prevent further damage to the brake system and ensure the safety of the driver and passengers.

Our on-site team at are experts are replacing brake pads and rotors. Get a free quote today and book a mechanic at your home, office or anywhere!


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