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Resurface or replace rotors: What are the options?

Resurface or Replace Rotors: What are the options?

You go in for brake service, and the technician says you need your rotors resurfaced or replaced. And you think: What the heck is a rotor? What is resurfacing? Why is this needed? How much will this brake service cost?

Here's a quick overview.

The rotor is attached to the wheel. It's what the brake pads squeeze to stop your car, so it's a pretty important item.

When the brake pads squeeze on the rotor, it causes friction, which slowly wears away at the rotor.

Over time, your rotor can become too thin. It can also warp from heat, or become pitted from prolonged exposure to moisture and/or salt during the winter months. Also, not moving your vehicle for prolonged periods can cause rust formation on the rotor surface. All of these things will cause problems with braking.


One way to fix a lot of rotor problems is to grind down the surface of the rotor to make it perfectly flat again. This is a good option in some instances but cannot be done in all cases. If the rotor has already worn too far, there will not be enough material left to keep the brakes functioning safely. Rotors need to be of a certain thickness to do this procedure, and should be in overall good shape—not warped or cracked.

The other choice in brake rotor service is to replace the rotors. Sometimes you need a new rotor because the old rotor is just too thin, too warped or too corroded for safe use. In these cases, replacement is required.

Not sure? No problem. Click the button below to schedule a brake check at your nearest Big O Tires store.

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