Common Symptoms of a Failing Brake Rotor or Disc

Similar to gas mileage, the wear and tear on your brakes will vary depending on where and how you drive.

Disc brakes tend to wear out faster because they slow the vehicle by creating friction with the brake pads, and will eventually need to be replaced. Maintaining your disc brake rotors is critical to the overall safety and handling characteristics of your vehicle. If you suspect that your rotors may be worn or damaged, watch out for these signs and symptoms:

Squealing When Stopping

One of the first symptoms you’ll notice if your brake rotors start to go bad is the noise. When the rotors are bent or excessively worn, like the ones shown above, they produce a distinct squealing sound when the the brake pedal is pressed—usually warped rotors or worn brake pads will create a high pitched squeak, while severely worn rotors will produce a scraping sound.

Unusual Vibrations

Another common symptom of bad brake rotors is vibration or pulsation when coming to a stop. As rotors become old and warped, the deformities can cause vibrations when pressed by the brake pads creating a noticeable shaking in the brake pedal and steering wheel. If left unaddressed, these pulsations can eventually be felt through the car’s chassis as the problem worsens over time.

Grooves On The Rotor

This one is harder for most car owners to detect but, often times, you can see a visual scoring or grooves on the face of the rotor when it starts to fail. Over time, grooves or scoring marks can naturally develop on the rotor from repeated contact with the brake pads. But these marks take away from the part’s capacity to slow the vehicle, as well as cause vibration and pulsation that can be felt in the brake pedal. Generally, scored or grooved rotors, like the ones pictured above, require replacement.

At V&F

Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut formula or schedule to follow when it comes to replacement, so getting the advice of your regular technician is the most reliable way to figure out the lifespan of your brakes. Most vehicles should have their tires rotated at least every six months, which is a great time to have the brakes checked out since your mechanic can easily check the thickness of the pads and the condition of the brake hardware.

At V&F, our certified mechanics use the latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. 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.

Written by Nicole Palange

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