Rotor Questions


So, I’ve been told I need new front brakes and rotors on my 2002 Jeep Liberty (Just had new ones in 3/06 which was 20,000 miles ago). Also the alignment is off. Fixed the alignment today. The place that fixed the alignment also wanted to do the brakes and rotors. They quoted me $239 and gave me a whole story about making sure I go somewhere who uses “higher quality” rotors so they last longer–not getting the cheapest metal. They added that not even the Jeep/Chrysler dealership sells you anything different than they sell. Then I came to my “normal” car shop (who doesn’t do alignment) who proceeded to quote me $310 and tell me anything less than that amount must be giving me “street rotors” whereas they get them straight from the dealership and thus they are better quality metal. Can anyone fill me in on the rotor situation and really where I should go?? Are there really that many different grades of rotors out there???


Yes, there are different grades of rotors but what are the current symptoms of the vehicle and why is it claimed you need new rotors?

Shudder, pulsation, or what?


When I was looking for new rotors for my Saturn, I found them priced from $40 to $130 a pair. The ones I bought were $110. Thats the purchase price, installation not included, did that myself.


At speeds over 60 mph and when braking, my car “shimmies” or the steering wheel shakes. Most noticable driving through mountains…then noticable on normal highway driving.


How do you find out what grade of rotor you are buying and what is a good kind??


Virtually all after-market rotors are made from cast iron and most of them are made in China. Distinguishing between them is almost impossible for the shade-tree mechanic. If your rotors are fairly new, they should be able to machine them instead of replacing them to stop the judder in your steering wheel.

If needed, QUALITY replacement rotors can be purchased at a NAPA auto-parts store. If you saw the sweat shops where these parts are made, you would understand the quality problems that result when slave labor is used to “save you money”…


20k miles can be a lot depending on driving habits and conditions. Hard braking, a lot of stop and go, hills, etc. can certainly do rotors in within 20k miles.

There are other things not related to the brakes that can cause a brake shudder.
If the vehicle is getting up there in mileage then a loose or worn wheel bearing, ball joint, control arm bushing, tie rod, or tie rod end could also cause it.

About all I could recommend is checking the entire front suspension for any worn/loose components and checking the rotors for excessive run-out.
Hopefully some of the people you deal with know what a dial indicator is.


Your best bet is to get the rotors from a Chrysler/Jeep dealer. They have what needs to be on your Jeep, nobody else. Places like Advanced Auto, VIP, CarQuest have lower quality metals in their products and will warp much easier. Dealers tend to be a little more expensive on their products because they have the spec rotors that need to be on your Jeep. Another thing, if you have any kind of mechanic skills in the least, you can do this job yourself, or if you know someone with some knowledge, they can do it for you. It is a simple job, and doesnt require much for tools. This will save you a lot of money.


Another thing i forgot to mention that others havent, over torquing the lug nuts can also warp rotors VERY fast! Most dealers are very good at doing this, but some guys are idiots and know they are suppose to do it, but they dont anyway.


I really don’t think it makes a lot of difference for standard driving. I just put pads and rotors on my Buick last week. I got the $15 rotors same as I got last time. Those lasted 75,000 miles and still would have been good if I would have checked the pads sooner.
So rotors and pads from NAPA cost about $80.

I agree though there is no reason to replace rotors unless they are warped and pulsate, or are gouged. Unusual to only go 20K



I own 2 Crown Vics and a Caddy. These cars all have over 100K miles on them. They ALL have their original, factory, rotors… My PADS usually last 40K miles or more…


My Lincoln Mark 8 also has the original rotors, both front and back and the car has approx. 215k on it now. One set of rear pads and one set of front pads is it, although the front ones are getting thin again and it has picked up a warped rotor shudder lately.

Guess it’s about time.