How necessary is rotor turning/re surfacing?


#1

i think its over rated.
i ll listen before i comment further

wes


#2

Agree. If brakes aren’t pulsing & steering wheel isn’t shaking while braking, I just throw new pads on. Never had a problem doing this.


#3

Shops will always either turn the rotors or replace them (most rotors today have insufficient extra material to successfully turn them) because they don’t want dissatisfied customers. The way to prevent that is to simply provide a good and true surface on the rotors as well as new pads.

For a private owner doing his own work, that knows that the car is stopping straight and true, unless the surface is scored or glazed, I don’t believe it’s necessary. If it is scored or glazed, I’d rather just change the rotors. The pads might take a few extra stops to “seat”, but that’s not a problem for me.


#4

…say the rotor is scored and not replaced. still over rated I think.

my current rotors are fine BTW.

I ll listen further…


#5

If it doesn’t shutter or pull, and there isn’t significant grooves, and there’s good material left on them, then I don’t see the urgency of doing it either.


#6

Well, on my F150, the rotors are also the hub races…so if you take the rotors off, you have to repack the hubs, too!

As a result, I run my rotors until they give unsatisfactory performance without touching 'em. I also seek out the cheaper, softer, organic pads in an attempt to maximize rotor life. Working good so far! (These pads are ‘E E’ friction-rated…so they stop darn good and resist fade…they just need replacing every 30k miles.)


#7

For whatever it’s worth, I recently put on NAPA’s top level ceramic pads on my f150 and am very happy. Quiet, tight and clean.


#8

I use ceramic pads without any problems.


#9

Well, it depends, as always. The old rotors/pads could work fine, but if the contact surface is wavy, new pads will not be contacting much of the rotor until those waves are worn into the new pads. Until then the new brakes won’t work very well. If there’s little/no waviness, the new pads will work fine with the old rotors.


#10

i agree texases. however once those grooves do wear in the brakes will work even better as there will be more contact surface, correct?


#11

I understand Texases’ comment, but I haven’t found that to be a problem.
Interesting point, wes. I doubt if the increase in surface area would be significant to make a difference, but it is an interesting point.


#12

I don’t think its really done much anymore due to the rotors being too thin to turn and still withstand warping. Rotors are fairly cheap now so I usually just replace them with the pads to avoid later on having them warp. Once you have the caliper off, its only a couple more bolts to free the rotor up. I do think you get better braking with a new surface though but in the past when I was driving a lot, I would only replace them if they were scored.


#13

If the rotors have been damaged by the pads wearing out completely and it was steel against steel, then you replace the rotors…But if it’s a normal brake job, the rotors being reasonably smooth, I have had great success using CRC De-Squeak. part # 05080. Comes in a blue spray can. During the brake job, you spray it on the rotors, looks like aluminum paint…Not too much…It helps the new pads bed into the old rotors without any squealing or fuss…Take it easy the first few stops…


#14

More contact area from surface waviness will be offset by less force per square inch.


#15

yes mountain, in fact that s the whole reason I posted the thread.

back in the late 90 s I got my first 1975 ford pickup. I had not done much car repair until then, but I was moving to Plymouth mass. and wanted it to pass their inspection up there (it did, with a small bribe because of exhaust issues). I was doing body and mech. repairs, which included a seized caliper that happened because the pad wore out I think. anyway, I drove it home, about 1/2 mile with the rotor dragging badly. it was almost red hot when I got home and I was afraid the rim would melt my tire or set it alight. the water from the garden hose steamed on the rim. I know I could have cracked stuff, but I didn t.

the rotor was deeply scored by the rivets in the pad. I changed the caliper and pads and drove for a month or two until I moved. right before I left I checked the pads again they were shaped to fit the rotor, which was now not sharply grooved but had ripples that were smooth. the pads had basically turned it themselves.

that truck stopped so much better afterwords even when fully loaded to move, even the mechanic up there who worked on my clutch and tranny remarked about how good the brakes were.

I kept that truck for 5-6 more years and the rotors smoothed out gradually more and I never had a problem with pulling or anything brake related. the other rotor was scored as well but had not locked up and was slightly better. even the hard pads eventually shaped them selves to the rotors, but after the initial smoothing I switched to softer pads just to avoid removing more metal from the rotor.

no more rotor turning in my future, I feel it un necessarily removes metal.
drums are different because I don t want to fight to remove them if they get too deeply worn. drums don t seem to get much use anyway, and rarely need servicing un less a wheel cylinder goes.

just my opinion, wes


#16

as long as you can lock the wheels up, you have force to spare insightful. the added friction is considerable more effective in my actual experience


#17

"…the added friction is considerable more effective in my actual experience "

Possibly, but unless you’re comparing identical pads, the new pad material might be responsible for the improvement.


#18

I had my old CRX for 15 years and 175k miles and I never turned the rotors. Never had a problem with warpage and the brakes always worked fine.


#19

maybe, but I did use different pads at times and the experienced mechanic noticed it and I made a couple emergency stops that were almost miraculous. the drivers up there were a bit reckless. one guy in a new grand Cherokee behind me wasn t able to stop as well and totaled his jeep against my step bumper. my old yeller drove home.


#20

The vintage vehicles being discussed had very robust rotors. Just sayin.