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Brake Servicing: Understanding The Fundamentals Behind Warped Rotors

Most people often overlook just how amazing brakes are. Depending on how you drive your car, your brakes will need to be serviced or replaced at varying times. Generally speaking, most manufacturers and mechanics agree that brakes need to be serviced once the vehicle has accumulated anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 miles. Brake servicing usually involves making sure the brakes are properly aligned, measuring the amount of brake pad remaining and inspecting the entire braking system to look for wear and tear. The most common problems to be expected include regular wear from the driving and warped rotors. This article will mainly focus on the fundamentals behind dealing with warped rotors.

Likely Causes of Warped Rotors 

The rotors are hidden in most braking systems. They are basically the surfaces which the brake pads are pushed onto in order to stop the vehicle. While most brake rotors are quite durable, as they must withstand quite a lot of heat, the metal will warp with time if they are

  • overheated for prolonged periods of time. The brake rotors are basically the only part of the braking system that is not lubricated. The friction from the contact with the brake pads can easily cause overheating to become an issue.  
  • incorrectly tightened to the wheel. The lugs of the rotors may be too tight or may not be tightened evenly in all places. 

You'll know that the rotors are warped if you feel a pulsing sensation when you apply the brakes. You will feel like you have less control over when your vehicle brakes. Warped rotors generally cause the vehicle to take a substantially longer amount of time to brake, and, as a result, can be the cause of serious accidents.

Possible Solutions You Can Choose From

If the braking service has determined that the rotors of your brakes are warped, then you usually won't have many options left, and generally speaking, only two options are recommended. They include

  • resurfacing the rotor, which basically involves placing the rotor in a lathe and using a cutting or resurfacing tool to remove some material from the braking surface to restore it back to the right shape. Those who opt for this solution should keep in the mind that the rotor will be thinner, and as a result, will be more vulnerable and susceptible to damages in the future. Generally speaking, most mechanics do not recommend resurfacing the rotors of newer cars because they tend to be quite thin to begin with. 
  • replacing the rotor entirely. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, this can be rather costly; however, installing a new rotor is probably your safest bet, as the integrity of the shape and structure is yet to be disrupted. 

Most of the time, the mechanic will lean towards one option more than the other based on the make and model of the vehicle you drive, as well as the condition of the rotors. It's generally a good idea to go with the solution that is being recommended. 


If the mechanics have determined that the rotors are warped, it's important that you deal with the problem immediately. Do not put anyone's life at risk by not fixing the problem in a timely manner, especially since the brake rotors are an essential part of your car's braking system. Regular brake servicing can prevent the rotors from warping, as the mechanics will readjust and retighten the lugs and the rotors to the wheels of the vehicle each and every time. Also, make sure you drive your car carefully, and avoid "riding" your brakes on a regular basis. For more tips and information, contact a company like Big Mechanic.