Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Resurfacing rotors on 2008 Scion xb - is it necessary?

My Toyoto/Scion dealer has suggested that I have my front brakes replaced including resurfacing the rotors – I only have 50,000 miles on car and have had no indication from driving it that it needs any work done on brakes - no shimmy, no squeaking. However, I have no issue with replacing pads, but why resurface the rotors? I’ve never had this suggested to me before with such low mileage on a car. I’m an old lady who does not slam on the brakes unless it’s absolutely imperative.

50,000 miles is perfectly reasonable life to expect from front brake pads. I’ve no doubt that you’re due.

Regarding the rotors, there are conflicting opinions on this. While many of us that do our own work simply check check for glazing ir scoring on the rotors and, if they look good and are stopping smooth, just change the pads, shops will generally either resurface the rotors or replace them. They don’t want to risk having to do the job over because it shimmies even though the customer said it was stopping smoothly. Many will just replace them. Many feel that resurfaced rotors end up less capable of dealing with the eat generated by brakes and will be more prone to warping.

What I’d suggest is going to a reputable independently owned and operated shop and have them check the brakes. If they confirm that you need them, have them do them. If they recommend new rotors, let them change them. An independent shop will usually be lots cheaper for this kind of work because they use aftermarket parts and their shop rates are lower. Aftermarket parts are generally just as good but not as expensive.

They also want to replace or surface the rotors to cover them from insurance costs if you subsequently wreck the car.

I agree with Mountainbike. However I lean towards replacing the rotors. For many cars (including mine) replacing the rotors is no more expensive than resurfacing.

Back in the dark ages when I first started driving, there were no rotors. After rotors had a few years to mature in design cars had evolved to the point that the designers wanted lighter wheel assemblies and that ended up with lighter weight rotors that don’t stand the heat well For a few dollars more, I have mine replaced.

If your vehicle stop smoothly with no pulsating or shimmy and if the rotor thickness is more than the minimum advisable (this number may be embossed, cast on the rotor or found in a service manual), then you don’t need new rotors and don’t need for them to be resurfaced.

The reply about lawyerproofing the repair job may have merit.

PS, I have used nothing but aftermarket parts for many years unless the dealer is the only source. Dealer parts are too expensive and aftermarket parts work for me.

Resurface the rotors when you have the pads changed. This is the best course of action for someone who pays to have the work done. Note that the next time these pads are replaced, you will probably need to replace the rotors. They will likely be to thin to resurface a second time. I replace the rotors when I change brake pads, but I do it myself. I don’t have to run the rotors out to get them resurfaced in another car if I replace them every time.

Can you provide a reason to spend money to resurface a rotor that works as intended, a rotor that does not have swept area lost to rust and has a thickness dimension over the minimum? New pads will soon accomodate their wear surfaces to match minor grooving that may be present on used rotors.