When You Should Replace Brake Pads & Rotors?


Any driver will understand the importance of brakes and if a problem is found in your brake pads it has to be fixed immediately.

So, anytime you notice that your car is not stopping immediately after applying brake and grinding noise is heard, it is necessary to check your brake pads as well as brake rotors and consider replacing pads and rotors.

Do you know how your brake rotors and brake pads work?

When you apply brake, the process will slow the car’s momentum where two main components are involved:

  • Brake pads
  • Disk brake rotors

Brake pads and brake rotors may vary for different vehicles but their purpose and function remain the same. While you apply brake, your brake pads will clamp down on the spinning rotor.

As brake pads clamp, the kinetic energy will be converted into thermal energy and that will clamp onto rotors for bringing the car to stop. Essentially, your car’s momentum will be converted into heat.

Types of rotors

Though there are many different rotor styles available for the vehicle but here we shall focus on 2 main rotors which are used by drivers.

  • Drilled rotors

These rotors are most common rotor used on the road. Drilled rotor has smaller holes drilled into side that help in regulating thermal energy that produced during braking that keeps the rotors operating at cooler temperature.

Drilled rotors may help you to reduce excess heat, but they are weaker than any other kind of rotors as there are holes drilled in the disc. After longer stress drilled rotors may crack.

  • Slotted rotors

This is another type of rotor meant for passenger cars which has small divots in disk to regulate temperature. As the divots are not full-blown holes but such rotors are durable as compared to drilled rotors.

Slotted rotors will wear down the brake pads faster as compared to drilled counterparts, so people prefer for drilled rotors.

At what frequency you must replace your brake pads and brake rotors?

You will not get any definite answers if someone asks when you must replace your brake pads and brake rotors. There are mechanics with whom you may consult who can properly estimate how long your pads or rotors will last.

Generally, brake pads must be replaced after every 10,000 to 20,000 miles, while your rotors must be replaced after every 50,000 to 70,000 miles.

Also, it is important to check brake regularly or try to hear any crunching or grinding noise while applying brake.