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Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Brake Rotor/Disc


Common signs of faulty car brake rotors include noisy brakes, vibrations that can be felt through the pedal, and score marks on the rotor.

Disc brake rotors are metal discs that work together with the brake pads and calipers to slow the vehicle. Brake rotors bolt directly to the wheel hub, so they spin in direct relation to wheel speed. When the brake pedal is depressed, the calipers squeeze the brake pads against the spinning rotors to slow and stop the wheels and the vehicle. Since rotors work to slow the vehicle by using friction from direct contact with the brake pads, they do wear out over time and will eventually need to be replaced. Usually, when rotors have a problem, they produce a few symptoms that alert the driver they require attention.

1. Noisy brakes

One of the first symptoms commonly associated with bad brake rotors is noise. If the rotors are warped (meaning not perfectly flat) or severely worn, they may produce squealing or squeaking sounds. Usually, warped rotors will produce a squeak, while severely worn rotors will produce a scraping sound. However, the squealing noise could originate from worn brake pads as well.

2. Vibrations from the brakes

Another symptom of bad brake rotors is excessive vibration or pulsation coming from the brakes. Warped or excessively worn rotors may vibrate irregularly and cause vibrations that can be felt in the pedal, and sometimes through the vehicle’s chassis. Warped rotors may also produce a pulsating feel that will be felt in the pedal when the brakes are applied.

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