Brake repair!



Is it true that mechanics are now changing rotors in conjunction ith brake pads? I took my 2006 Toyo Tundra (46,500 miles) in for brake change and they ended up replacing rotors and brake pads… I thought if you maintained healthy brake pads you wouldn’t have to have rotors replaced…


The reason they replace rotors now is because the rotors have to have the proper friction surface finishes in order to allow the brake pads to embed properly. New rotors provide those proper friction surfaces. Installing new pads on used rotors can impede the proper embeding of the pads onto the rotors, and this can result in unwanted brake noise.

A DIY’er can try installing new pads on used rotors. And if it doesn’t result in brake noise, good! And if it does, then the DIY’er is the one that has to go back and redo the brake job. But if you pay someone else to do the brake service, they’ll make sure the brake job is done correctly so they don’t have a come-back.



If the pads were not worn down to the point where they are deemed ‘worn out’, I can’t see any reason to replace them.

Due to vehicle weight reductions at the factory (in order to increase mileage) most rotors are being made thinner and as a result don’t have enough thickness to be turned, so they are replaced.

Also, being thinner make them more apt to warp.

Your post is somewhat contradictory though.

You say you took the truck in for a brake job and they replaced both the rotors and pads.

Then you say “I thought if you maintained healthy brake pads you wouldn’t have to have rotors replaced”.

What was the main reason that prompted you to take your truck in for a brake job?

Please give us the details as they happened. Was this a normal service schedule recommended by Toyota?


I took truck in to local mechanic for oil change and asked him to do a brake check too cause I had a couple squeaks and just thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have them checked… Mechanic informed me pads had 25% remaining and he would check them again at next oil change. Well, we (the husband, myself and baby) are taking a road trip to Oregon (3,000 mile round trip plus I will be doing lots of in town driving) so I thought I would have brakes done before trip so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding mechanic in Oregon…My husband didn’t protest cause he knew I would have been paranoid about the brakes the whole trip–poor husband… I am working on this personal paranoia issue : ) … So I take the truck in 2 weeks after initial brake diagnosis… Mechanic checks brakes again and changes out front pads and rotors… I pay the mechanic without question over the phone because we had to pick up vehicle after hours… I show husband the invoice and we both question why rotors needed to be changed… We both have always thought if you maintain healthy brake pads, inflicting no damage to the rotor (no squeaking not grinding), then why would there be need to change the rotor? Husband calls mechanic and mechanic says, “90% of the time rotors need to be changed with brake pads” Our mechanic is a really nice guy and I feel bad for questioning him, but we have both always taken great care of our vehicles throughout the years and have never had to have rotors replaced so this is new to us and just wanted second opinion…

I probably gave you waaaaay to much detail… Anyways, thank you very much for your information! The husband and I (Mark) are both at ease thanks to your response and will be taking our vehicles back to our mechanic for maintenance and repairs, etc…


Thank you! I needed that extra bit of explanation to feel at ease with our mechanic…


Rotors used to have excess capacity, In the days of downsizing any weight for fuel mileage rotors are not as robust as they used to be. Sure you used to be able to turn them a time or 2 but that is no longer the case.


Last summer I had the front brake pads replaced on 2 vehicles: 1) a 2003 Toyota 4runner with 60,000 miles and 2) a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander with 50,000. The work was done by the same technician at the same independent shop. On the 4Runner, the rotors were fine and did not need to be replaced. On the Uplander, the rotors did have to be replaced. My instructions were not to turn the rotors. It doesn’t cost that much more to replace the rotors and I don’t like to lose metal off the rotors. I think that there are too many variables as to the composition of the brake pads and the type of service the vehicle has seen as to whether or not the rotors should be replaced.