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How long do brake rotors last?

How long do brake rotors last?

Brakes are no joke. Your car's braking system is the primary guarantor of your safety on the road. One of the parts of the braking system to keep an eye on is the disc.  A malfunctioning brake is certainly a threat to a vehicle and its passengers. Ignoring these failures may save you time, but not in the long run. If it lasts longer than the pads, it may need to be replaced after several years of use. Diagnosing a brake system failure is critical, especially if you drive regularly. Find out when to replace your rotors.

How many kilometers before a brake disc changes?

Brake rotors don't last forever. They need to be replaced during the life of a vehicle. Brake rotors are found on many vehicle models and are essential for reducing vehicle speed. The operation of the brake rotor is relatively simple as it is connected to the brake calipers and pads.

When the driver depresses the brake pedal, the piston in the master cylinder pressurizes the brake fluid. This activates the caliper, causing the pads to clamp onto the rotors. Slowing the rotation of the brake rotors slows the vehicle.

Overall, a rotor will last between 80,000 and 120,000 miles. This is an average. Your use, your driving style and the model of your car have a very strong influence on this figure. In some cases, a check at 60,000 km is recommended. Considering that brake pads need to be replaced every 30,000 to 40,000 kilometers, we recommend replacing the rotors every other pad change.

What factors affect the life of your brakes?

All the parts needed to stop a vehicle, including the calipers, rotors and pads, make up a vehicle's braking system. Similarly, the life of your brakes depends on a number of factors. In other words, the life of a car's brakes is determined by your driving habits, the brake materials, the frequency of maintenance, and the condition of the operating environment.

Disc wear can occur more quickly if you use your vehicle in unusual situations. For example, when towing, in the mountains, or on a racetrack. In such cases, careful inspection is essential to avoid unnecessary risk. In addition, the high weight of a vehicle (e.g. a large 4X4) is a factor in the faster deterioration of the discs.

For the most demanding applications, such as track driving, manufacturers now often equip their vehicles with carbon or ceramic discs. These materials are more resistant to the extreme temperatures (sometimes over 500°C) generated by repeated heavy braking than the cast iron or steel rotors used on everyday cars.

How do you choose your rotors?

Are you looking for more powerful brake rotors for your car, but need to know how to choose between drilled and grooved rotors? Choosing between the two is relatively easy.

Drilled Discs: Advantages and Disadvantages


If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, drilled rotors are a very good choice. They perform well in rainy climates by offering a good "wet bite", holding up well over the life of the rotors, and offering more friction and bite than their slotted counterparts. The bite is better with these rotors because the drilled holes allow water to escape, drying out the components of the braking system in the presence of water. Less water means better bite and better rotor performance.


Although drilled rotors have much to recommend them, they can wear unevenly and develop cracks when used in race cars due to the heat and temperature extremes of a race. Drilled rotors also tend to wear in concentric grooves, which can look funny as the rotors age if the hole patterns aren't staggered. While this doesn't affect the performance of the rotors, it can affect the aesthetics of the vehicle, and sensitive drivers may prefer to choose a different style of rotor or change their rotors more often.

Drilled rotors are also a poor choice for race cars. They can't withstand repeated heating/cooling cycles very well and will fail sooner rather than later. Drilled rotors are perfect for general road use.

Grooved rotors: advantages and disadvantages


Grooved rotors work very well for heavy trucks, SUVs, off-road vehicles, tow trucks, and race cars. It's especially important to select high-quality rotors when choosing a grooved style. If rotors are not properly machined from the inside to the outside edge, they can crack sooner than they would or should.

This style of rotor provides better consistency at every stop by reducing friction in the pads. In the long run, grooved rotors also work well: as the grooves scrape the glaze off overheated pads, they expose fresh material every time you brake. As a result, you can count on these pads for effective braking, even in heavy vehicles.


Grooved rotors are not without their drawbacks: they tend to have a shorter life than other types of rotors and can also shorten the life of the pads. When you stop at high speed, you may feel a rumble from the rotors. They are always safe to use; you may just find the noise uncomfortable.

Tips to extend the life of your brakes

  • Avoid harsh braking
  • The lighter the car, the easier it is to brake.  
  • Never overload your car
  • Reduce speed downhill
  • Brake gently downhill

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