What Happens When a Rotor Breaks and How to Fix It
While modern disc brakes are very effective and reliable, a brake rotor can still break from time to time. A broken or fractured rotor creates an immediate threat to your safety on the road and must be replaced as soon as possible. Here are the signs and symptoms to watch for, and what causes them:
Signs and Symptoms
Most rotor damage takes the form of cracks, usually around the base of the disk where it joins the hub section. Radial cracking outward can also occur but is rarer. Other occasional rotor problems include warping, heat-checking, and rotor bluing, which happens when a rotor has been subjected to high heat.
Even the slightest defect on the rotor will cause low-frequency vibrations, known as “judder,” during braking. If you notice this, you should see your mechanic right away. Serious rotor failures can cause a complete wheel lock-up and the driver will lose control of the vehicle.
Rotor cracks are usually the result of poor manufacturing choices. Low-quality rotors are usually poorly cast from non-homogeneous cast iron, creating weak spots that cannot withstand the forces generated during braking in the long term. When possible, you should always research these kinds of manufacturing defects before you buy a car.
Rotor damage can also be caused by improper brake care. Continuing to drive once brakes go metal to metal can cause excessive stress and wear, eventually causing them to break, crack, warp, heat-check, or “rotor blue” as your braking system is subject to extremely high temperatures. If you wait until the pad has been worn to the anti-squeal shim and is damaging the rotors, you’re going to be looking at a very expensive fix- anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand of dollars, depending on what you drive and if any peripheral parts were damaged.
A rotor that is still in service long after it has worn out, a typical case with older vehicles, will also be susceptible to cracking.
Our expert mechanics use latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to get your brakes back in shape. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.