Everything To Know About Rotor Thickness!

Many people said measuring rotor thickness is an important aspect of doing a brake repair. But why is this? And which is the best time to check rotor thickness and how to do so? Let’s find out the answer in this blog with CarFromJapan’s auto experts now.

Important Things To Know About Rotor Thickness

In the past, most rotors were designed with enough thickness to go 02 or more pad replacements. Nowadays, in order to reduce weight and save some costs, many automakers often produce rotors with thinner thickness. Therefore, the rotors are easy to wear down to the minimum thickness (which usually is noted in the factory service manual or on the casting of the rotor) by the time the first set of brake pads need to be replaced – or maybe sooner in some situations.

rotor thickness
Knowing about the minimum rotor thickness of your car is very important to avoid any car accidents. Source: Youtube

Knowing the minimum rotor thickness specification of your vehicle is very important as if the rotor thickness of your car is thinner than the minimum level, your safety will be put in danger. A worn-out or thinner rotor has less mass than a normal one, leading to the decrease in its ability to absorb and dissipate heat. Moreover, the strength of the rotor is also decreased, leading to more risks of cracking or even braking.

For that reason, it is very essential to check the rotor thickness whenever the brake pads are serviced. If the thickness of a rotor is below the minimum specification or can not be resurfaced, we have to replace the rotor right away. In some regions this is law.

All rotors on the vehicle usually undergo the same amount of wear. Hence, when it comes to replacing one worn-out rotor, it means you should replace both rotors on the vehicle. Auto experts advise changing both rotors (even if one still works well) simultaneously to maintain even braking side-to-side. A notable difference in rotor thickness can result in the brakes pulling towards one side.

When To Check Rotor Thickness?

Checking the rotor thickness should be done whenever you replace brake pads or before you resurface the rotors. Doing this will make sure that the rotors have enough metal left for safe braking. It is a good practice to do everytime you change the brake pads, regardless of the interval between changes. The checking process takes you less than 5 minutes and is a good safety measure to be in the habit of.

How To Measure Rotor Thickness?

measuring rotor thickness
Measuring rotor thickness should be done whenever the brake pads need to be replaced.

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When it comes to measuring rotor thickness, you just need to follow the detailed testing procedure in any factory service manuals. Most procedures often say you can simply use a micrometer to measure rotor thickness, in 8-10 different places. While measuring, keep a distance of about 45’ apart and 10mm from the rotor edge. Importantly, all the readings should be above the minimum requirement for thickness. Moreover, by no mean it should exceed the minimum brake parallelism values on the list in the manual. This is mandatory to ensure a consistent and smooth braking performance.

After that, here is the properly guide in order to measure rotor thickness:

First of all, depending on the rotors which drivers want to measure, you might need to lift the rear or the front of the automobile. After that, car owner can use the jack stand, a tool that must be used to secure the car.

Secondly, it is time to remove the lug nuts in order to take off the wheels. And then remove the brake pads. Remember to give the braking surface a good look: You want this place to be cleaned and smooth, no cracks, no visual damage at all. 

Thirdly, drivers need to measure the thickness of the brake rotor. It is inside the outer circumference of the rotor every one eighth of a rotation.

Lastly, car owners check the rotor to see if it is fit with the minimum thickness. Or else, you need to replace it. 

Check out the video below to learn more useful knowledge:

Related Questions And The Answer

1. How Long Do Rotors Last On Average?

There are many factors that affect the average lifespan of your brake components. They are the type of pads, rotors, your personal driving style and your maintenance. According to most companies producing brake pad and skilled mechanics, brake pads can last from 30,000 miles to 70,000 miles. The lifespan of brake rotors is quite longer (as 3 times longer than pads). But again, all of them depend on many other factors such as the way you maintain your brake system and your driving conditions.

2. How Much Do New Rotors Cost?

The average cost for new rotors varies from $30 to $75 each. Some better performance rotors can cost you from $100+ per each. Besides, prices depend heavily on many other factors like type, brand and quality.

When it comes to replacing brake rotors, some people often consider if they should buy aftermarket parts or manufactures ones (OEM). Both aftermarket and OEM parts have their own benefits. For example, aftermarket parts are usually cheaper and available in a wide range of options, whereas OEM parts are easier to choose and offer a higher assurance of quality as well as come with a warranty.

3. Can I Drive With Bad Rotors?

The rotors play an important role in allowing your car to stop once the car is in motion. If the rotors don’t work well, you may not be able to stop your car properly in an emergency case. This can lead to many dangers if you need to stop to avoid pedestrians, a bike, a car crash or other driving situations. So when you find out your brakes aren’t operating like the way they should, you need to bring your car to a mechanic for an inspection as soon as possible.