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Premium Brake Rotors

Do you have any experience with or opinion on using premium brake rotors and ceramic pads to solve a warpage problem? This is for a 2004 Toyota Corolla. The discs invisioned are grooved and come at a premium price. Are these cost effective where a warping problem has occurred with OEM discs?

Thank you retro spectively for your response(s).

If the vehicle didn’t orginally come with ceramic pads, the application doesn’t require them. Besides, switching to a friction material other than that specified by the vehicle manufacturer can cause more problems than it solves.

Install quality brake components that meets or exceeds the OEM’s specifications. Then follow the proper break-in procedure specified by the brake pad manufacturer. It’s this step that’s overlooked that causes 90% of brake performance complaints.


I agree with Tester. In addition, I don’t know why ‘grooved’ (also called ‘slotted’) rotors would help. Make sure that the wheel is torqued exactly to spec (since you are having a problem), that can also cause problems.

I ran ceramic pads on one of my cars a while back. I honestly did not notice any difference in braking. My dog did, he refused to go into my car during the time I had ceramic pads. Apparently they make a high pitched noise that people can’t hear but dogs can. This has been noted by other dog people that I know.

Edit: Within a week of changing back to the regular pads, he would happily ride in the car again.

Warped rotors can be caused by over-torquing the lug nuts and/or overheating of the brakes. If the lug nuts are not over-torqued, could you be driving this economy car too aggressively?

I wanted to use preminum rotors (same rotors as when my 2004 F-150 was new) but they cost $390.00+tax (8.1%) each. This is prohibitavily expensive.How much for your Toyota?

I’d just replace them with OEM grade rotors and pads. You should be fine for 30,000-40,000 miles.

BTW, why do you think that the rotors are warped? Did you measure the runout? It might be hard spots, often mistaken for runout. If it’s hard spots, you are overusing your brakes. Hard spots are caused by really hot rotors.

My experience with warped rotors and words from my brake guy is most rotors that are warped have been caused by careless people during tire rotations. In a town of 100k population he gave me names of 5 shops that would do it right.

Most “Premium” Discs are all about Show, not GO. I compete on track with rotors from my local foreign auto part store. I cracked a set of aftermarket slotted rotors (twice the cost)in one day on track. I do run a race pad.

If your rotors are warped, find out why. As other say, wheel torquing is likely. Or are you a closet hill-climb racer?

Your OEM pads are ceramic. My daughter has an 03 Corolla and I just put its fourth set of brakes. The first replacements were Wagner ThermoQuiet which use OEM friction material. The lasted a little longer than the OEM pads (50k vs 45k for the OEM) The third set was a semi metallic, quite expensive set that while did have superior grip, they were always noisy, began to loose their grip after only 10k. They also did serious damage to the OEM rotors. I just put on another set of Wagner Thermoquiet pads and Wagner rotors, about $140 from O’Rielly’s. My daughter is very happy with these.

I used those expensive pads with that brands slotted rotors on my Saturn. It was a disaster. The OEM went 138k miles. This combo caused the wheels to lock with the slightest pressure and wore out after only 35k miles. I’m trying the new Duralast Ceramic pads (OEM were ceramic pads) with Wagner rotors. So far so good but its only been a couple of months and 8k miles).

You really should shop around more. Tire Rack has Brembo rotors for that exact application for $87-$92 each. Brembos are about a high quality a brake rotor that you can get. I would wager that they exceed OEM specs.

slotted rotors are a waste on this car, or you are one really hard on brakes. I have always used Wagner parts and gotten the best service out of them.

I did find China rotors from local parts store for $76.00 and their “best” for $160.00.The big price was from the Dealer. Brembos for 90.00 I will check this.Thank You

Here are some inexpensive premium rotors that I’ve been impressed with. Can’t seem to find them locally though. I get them from or rockauto. About $40 each plus shipping for your application.

Thank you one and all for your responses. In this case, I am gathering information for a friend who is looking at grooved discs because his Corolla has a pedal pulse when he applies the brakes. He indicated that he loads the car with four adults and luggage. Although his driving is not race related, there are a lot of long down grades in this county that may require near continuous application of the brakes. I have not had the chance to drive the car or to apply a dial indicator and precision caliper to determine the runout and thickness variation of the rotors. So I am on the up side of the curve on analyzing this situation. My opinion on the matter of premium rotors and ceramic pads is to use OEM equivalent components and use engine braking on long grades. I am leery of using ceramic pads and agree that slotting or grooving is mostly show i.e. useful on race cars but unnecessary on street cars.

One answer I am searching is if the alloy of premium rotors would affect the warp resistance. I was wondering if a 1010, 1030, 4120, 4130, or other alloy might be better for rotor discs. Then there is the question of heat treatment of the hardening alloys and if the hardening alloys would be more prone to heat checking under hard use.

I will definitely use a torque wrench on all bolts and torque the wheel nuts to specification in the star pattern.

Again thank you all for the responses. I have gotten valuable information.

Although his driving is not race related, there are a lot of long down grades in this county that may require near continuous application of the brakes… My opinion on the matter of premium rotors and ceramic pads is to use OEM equivalent components and use engine braking on long grades.

I couldn’t agree more! Even if your friend upgrades the rotors and pads, it isn’t necessary to routinely overheat the brakes. Downshifting is the proper technique.