Pitted brake rotor source Napaonline

Brake rotors which are also known as brake discs are part of the car’s brake system. When it comes to the issue of brake rotor maintenance, there are two things that you are likely to do. These are brake rotor replacement or brake rotor resurfacing.

What do the two terms imply and which one should you embrace?

A brake rotor provides the surface on which the brake pads press against to stop the vehicle.

As the brake pad rubs against the rotor, the frictional force is generated. This force is responsible for slowing down or stopping the vehicle.

However, the same friction is causes wearing and warping or the brake rotor surface. This is where the terms replacement and resurfacing comes into play.

Factors that determine the Wearing of brake rotors

We all know that the brake rotors wear down over time.

However, the rate at which these grinding rotors wear down is not constant. Some factors can accelerate this rate.

Here are some of the key factors that determine how fast your brake rotors will wear down:

-The brake pads that you use: Some brake pads tend to exert more force on the rotor making it tow wear down faster. Other brake pads are relatively gentle on the brake rotors.

-The hardness of the brake rotor material.

-The capability of the brake rotor to cool itself.

-Your brake and driving habit

-The regular driving terrain

-The car’s exposure to water, salt, and even chemicals. Some of these elements have a negative impact on the material of the brake rotor.

What is brake rotor resurfacing?

Video of brake rotor resurfacing

Resurfacing the brake rotor is a process which entails removing a small amount of the brake disc material to remove the parts that have corroded or worn down.

Deposits of the brake pads are also removed during the process of brake rotor resurfacing.

A special lathe is used for the brake rotor resurfacing. The procedure is usually done by specialists who use rotor resurfacing machine.

In most cases, brake rotor resurfacing is done when you are doing the brake pad replacement. This is the most ideal time to remove deposits of the brake pads that had stuck on the rotor.

After the resurfacing process, the brake rotor will be smooth again. However, it will be thinner than its original size since a layer of its original surface has been wiped away.

Main goals of brake rotor resurfacing

There are some key goals that you may want to achieve when doing brake rotor resurfacing. These goals are:

-To restore the smooth and flat surface on the brake rotor

-Eliminate the pitting problem on the brake rotor

-Provide room for maximum contact with the brake pad

-Reduce noise and vibrations when braking

Why Resurface brake rotor during brake pad replacement?

When you take your car for brake pad replacement, your mechanic will naturally request for the resurfacing of the brake rotor.

Have you ever wondered why they do so?

Probably you have experienced the issue of noisy brakes just after replacing the brake pads.

The most likely source of this noise is the brake rotors.

When a warped brake rotor is in contact with the new brake pads, the result will be a noisy affair.

The new brake pads will rest on the grooves of the warped brake rotor. The grooves are as a result of the uneven surface of the brake rotor.

Since the mechanics would want to get approval for the good job that they have done, they will just smoothen the surface by resurfacing the rotor.

These grooves will cause the brake pads to wear down faster than usual. Your brake pads will have a shorter lifespan.

So, we can confidently say that resurfacing maximizes the life of the brake pads.

Surface finish and minimum thickness of the brake rotor

Brake rotor resurface

While doing the brake rotor resurfacing, one of the things that you should consider is the surface finish.

New brake rotors come with a defined surface finish which in most cases ranges between 30 and 60 inches RA (Roughness Average).

This means that while doing the resurfacing, the RA should fall within the required RA. It should not be too high or too low.

Another thing that you should consider is the minimum thickness of the brake rotor.

Brake rotor manufacturers usually state the minimum thickness that the rotor should have regardless of the circumstance.

As we have seen, one of the effects of the brake rotor resurfacing is it reduces the thickness of the rotor.

So, before you ahead to resurface the brake rotor, you should check to ascertain whether it has already attained its minimum thickness.

The cost of brake rotor resurfacing

How much does it cost to resurface my brake rotors?

Usually, the cost will range between $20 and $30 per rotor. This value may vary depending on where you are doing the service.

Brake Rotor Replacement

New brake rotors source tire review

The second option that you may consider implementing is simply to replace the brake rotor.

This entails buying new brake rotors which will take the place of the pitted rotors.

If your brake rotors are too thin that they cannot be resurfaced, doing a replacement will be inevitable.

Aftermarket brake rotors are not very expensive. They are also easily available in the market.

All that you need to do is find a reliable aftermarket brake rotor manufacturer or supplier.

Find out the price of the brake rotor then go ahead and place an order.

The only precaution is you should ensure that you buy the right brake rotor for your vehicle.


Now that we have seen the difference between resurfacing and replacement of brake rotor, I hope that you can now decide on what to do.

There are situations when brake rotor resurfacing will be the best solution while at the same time there situations when buying new brake rotors will be unavoidable.

Of the two, which one would you like to do?