Rotor, Brake question

1999 Integra, 60k miles


15k miles before (3 yrs ago), I changed the front pads and also turned the Rotor. Not sure if they did anything on the back - I have the receipt - shows ceramic pads.

1) What is the lifetime of Rotors for a SOFT braker?

2) How many times can you turn a Rotor?

3) How often should you turn the rotors?

I have wheels rotated - the guy (said he is not qualified enough for a Brake specialist) didn’t like the appearance of the edges of the rear rotors.

He seems to think that they can only be turned once. Asked me to see another guy (who is not in today).


Not familiar with your particular car, but pads on my vehicles last from 45K to 90K. MY average is around 60K. Real question is whether you do a lot of stop & go, or not. While being a soft braker is good, the number of times you brake counts just as much. Rotors vary with how many times or even if it is advisable to turn a rotor at all. I rely on my independent mechanic to do the right thing. At least the tire guy wants you to see their brake specialist for an evaluation, that’s a good thing. If you need a second opinion, get one since none of items noted sound critical at this point. In many cases, rears last longer than fronts.

Some people get 100,000 miles out of a set of brakeshoes and pads. Most drivers use up 2 sets of brake pads before they need rotors. I drove a car 320,000 miles and installed one set of new rotors, but it likely needed new rotors by the time I sold it. Just sold a car last year with 140,000 miles on it with the original rotors; they had been turned twice. Not all rotors can be turned twice or three times.

Unlesss you drive a taxi in San Francisco, you can get good mileage out of a set of rotors.

P.S. They are high profit margin, easy to install items.

“In many cases, rears last longer than fronts.” VW Passat is an exception to that. My rear brakes went out at 40K, fronts still good at 54K. Dealer says that’s typical for rears on Passats.

Rotors are fairly cheap now plus the new ones are too thin to really turn them down with much success. You go to all the work of pulling the rotors off, then pay to have them turned down, might just as well put new ones on a save a trip to the machine shop.

The only time though I replace my rotors is when they warp or when they get grooved by not catching a worn pad in time. You will get improved braking with new rotors though or by resurfacing them (not turning them down), which is why dealers will tend to recommend it.

Usually you can go through two or three sets of brakes on the front before the rears need replacing. Brake longevity is dependent on usage though not mileage, so if they are used a lot in town maybe 15K or 20K and if on the highway a lot maybe 50K.

“They are high profit margin, easy to install items.”

I agree, and pads are, too. I change rotors every time I change pads. Not because it is needed, but because it is less expensive if I do it myself. I guess I could have the rotors turned and save them for the next change, but they are so cheap (~$60/pair) that it hardly seems worth it. But if $60 is a lot of money to you, you could have the old ones turned just before you need them and then reinstall them. I haven’t priced turning rotors, but I suspect that it must be nearly $60 for the pair.

Modern rotors are made thinner than years ago and frankly usually don’t do well with being turned. As long as it does not go below the minimum specified values I guess it is OK, but new ones are not likely to cost you much if any more.

Brakes wear by usage, not by mileage. I live in a congested city and change pads and rotors (never have then turned) regularly. My brother lives in a rural area and almost forgets to check his brakes.

I?m very surprised that some one turned them. Years ago rotors were thicker and made here in the US. Now most of them come from china made with low-grade steel. There so cheep and easy to replace now. Plus every time you turn them, you have less of a heat sink so in an emergency stop (hard braking), you?ll have more chance of brake fade. Any time the pads are replaced, the rotors should be too. Any reputable shop will not replace pad with out replacing the rotors.