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Rotor resurfacing w/break pad change?

I’m needing new brake pads on a 2004 Toyota Sienna. I’m also being told it is routine to refinish (resurface?) the rotors or replace when this is done. Is this generally true? Do rotors not last as long as they once did? Thanks for any help

Replace your rotors with the highest quality part you can find (do not take Dealer parts off your list yet) don’t even consider resurfacing JMHO.

Do as you wish with resurfacing,the job is highly dependant upon the skill of the man doing the rotor set-up and cutting and the quality of the machine used. Will your cutter tell you if your rotors ended up undersized after he spent the time to cut them? do you want rotors that are at their safe minimun? I don’t.

I tried to get my '96 ES300 rotors resurfaced, they botched them up, got new rotors instead. So I think it is routine to either resurface or replace, and I always do one or the other. I don’t think new rotors from a decent parts shop would be too much $$ for a Sienna. If not, the new pads will only be contacting the high points of the worn rotors until they bed in.

It seems that changing the brake rotors every other time the brakes pads wear out is the best compromise (as long as the rotor is not damaged, nor grooved excessively)
Some shops have developed the policy of changing the brake rotors EVERY time the brake pads are changed. The reason may be because the shop manager has gotten tired of some customers coming back, (after brake pad changes) with complaints, and the shop ends up changing the brake rotors. So, changing ALL brake rotors, whether really necessary, or not, has been made shop policy to avoid that type of come-back.
Some shops will change ALL rotors for the profit on parts. (Yes, I’m shocked, too).

Here are some technical papers on brakes, and brake pads. It’s not as simple as you may have thought.

You wanna Cobra? The Ford Cobra, with the 289, was probably the best for a streetable car which could, also, turn corners.

i never turn the rotors unless they are warped or too thin then even if they are,its almost as cheap to just replace them.i just put the pads on and im back on the road again with no problems.

When replacing pads it is wise to resurface or replace the rotors. They have worn along with the pads and are no longer even. You will get getter mileage out of the new pads with new or resurfaced rotors.

On modern cars the brake rotors are lighter than they were in the old days. That makes resurfacing far less desirable. They may be resurfaced if they are not too worn, but generally it is smarter and safer to just replace them. The cost of resurfacing is not much less than new.

The Beck Arnley rotors are $100 dollars EACH. How much do you think Toyota branded brake rotors are, EACH?
I think that Toyota instructs to replace the brake rotors every time that brake pads are replaced. I think that Toyota says that “the rotors cannot be re-surfaced”. Toyota doesn’t state, to my knowledge, WHY their (Toyota) rotors can’t be re-surfaced. This off-hand statement would cost hundreds of dollars for replacement for every brake job. It’s too easy, and irresponsible, for a car maker, a car dealer, or other repairer, to casually state a (questionable) requirement to change such expensive parts.

Car Guy, Me Too!

I think the DIYers can get away with this. I think it would be tougher for shops to do this because I sometimes have diminished braking or slight “pulls” until the new pads get acquainted with the old rotors in a relatively short time. This time it’s a “Try this at home.” I get my rotors turned beautifully, locally if necessary for $10.

Hellokit, I Agree.
I guess some people have extra money they don’t need. Quality rotors can be turned. As I pointed out earlier, I get a super machining job done at $10/rotor (when necessary) and have never had any problems. The turned rotors perform just like the new ones from the first stop to the last. Changing them every other time would be a good compromise. Shops are in business to sell parts and labor. I’m interested in saving my parts and doing the labor.

Having owned and repaired my own Toyota’s for years, including brakes, I can tell you why Toyota does that. It is a complete waste of time to resurface their rotors. They are, like most modern rotors, as thin and light as possible when new to save rotating weight. When you resurface them you get rotors that are good for 7 to 10 thousand miles before they warp like hell. Just my personal experience. I stopped turning them after my third experience with severe warping and now I just buy new Bendix or Brembo rotors.

Just Curious, The Aftermarket Replacements Are Thicker Than The Factory Spec Ones?

No. Same spec. But what does Bendix care if a Toyota owner gets rotor warpage after turning? Toyota avoids a customer satisfaction issue by requiring the rotors to be changed.

Machining or replacing rotors is part of a proper brake repair.
Any rotor can be machined; the only question is how much. Most thinner rotors may have about .030 of an inch wiggle room maximum and usually after one pass on a brake lathe one can make a guess as to whether the rotors will clean up or not.

The reason why it’s more cost effetive to replace them rather than machine them is that flat rate time on machining a rotor is usually .8 to a full hour per rotor and that does not include the R and R (remove/reinstall) time.
If a shop labor rate is 80 dollars per flat rate hour and using the lower .8 figure then you’re looking at 64 dollars to machine a rotor. After machining you’re still left with a thinner rotor and many rotors can be purchased new for less than that or not much more.

This is one of those “policy” things that makes a repair shop profitable. Replacing rotors is quick, easy and very profitable. Resurfacing costs more, because of real labor costs, equipment costs and time lost while the job is being done and another car is not on the lift, getting something else done.

Brakes that are replaced before they completely wear out do not do a great deal of damage to rotors, and new pads can go in with nothing at all done to the rotors. I’ve done it myself while getting new tires mounted and balanced.

That said, if you have driven the car to the point where the brakes are grinding, you have scarred the rotors and it’s probably not more expensive in the long run to replace the rotors, note how long it took to wear out the brakes, and replace them sooner the next time.

If you desire to replace the rotors, for whatever reason, save a major hit on your treasury by getting the decent brands----not, the hyper-expensive car maker brand–like Toyota PARTS.

You have a opinion on the stated $10.00 per rotor for turning? Myself I haven’t seen $10.00 per rotor since the 60’s. How do you pay for your costs if you only charge $10.00?

The Closest Shop To Me Is In A Jerk-Water Town 10 Miles From Here.

Twenty miles from here, the closest town that had hardware stores (recently went out of business) stocked buggy whip brackets and had wooden floors. We have no Japanese car (or any foreign car) dealers within 100 miles. I’m just letting you know that some of the high labor costs haven’t made it here, yet.

When I take rotors in, the mechanic starts the lathe up with the rotor on it and goes back to work. It really doesn’t take him away from his job for that long and that machine was paid for 25 years ago.

I don’t know of anyone even remotely close to here who will turn a rotor for 10 bucks.

There used to be a local gas station (now defunct) that would turn rotors for 10 bucks a pop but that was about 20 years ago.

I sure don’t see an independent shop, or especially a dealer, turning rotors that cheap.
Since cutting a rotor can take repeated passes and with the last pass being a very slow one I don’t see how a shop could justify that much time against a 10 dollar charge.


are you still reading?

you dont need to take the car to a toyota dealer. a good, recommended, reputable auto repair shop is more than capable of doing this repair.

ask them where they get their parts.

i use NAPA parts, and specifically get their best grade rotors.

i USED to get autozone rotors. they $^@*. they warp, wear terribly and are of inferior steel. they also say “made in china” it DOES make a difference.

the NAPA rotors say made in usa.

you Dont need ‘toyota’ brand.

on your van, the front brakes get used heavily. they need all the thickness to help the brakes stay in good shape (for your safety) refinishing (or turning on a lathe) removes some metal. this is exactly what you DONT want. new, thick, good quality rotors are needed.