How to Tell If Your Rotors Are Bad

New Brake Disc

Your brake rotors play a key role in helping you make sure that your vehicle stays in top condition – something that is important to most vehicle owners, since purchasing a vehicle is a major investment!

Everyday use of your vehicle eventually causes your braking system to wear down over time. Perhaps ironically, your vehicle’s brake system is the most important system in your car, and it is also one of the most overlooked! Many vehicle owners are reactive and only spot issues when it is too late. Fortunately, there are ways to tell if your rotors are bad so that you can seek professional help before putting yourself and others in danger.

Below we outline some common ways to spot problems with your brake rotors.

What You See

Look at your brake pads.

With your vehicle parked, turn your wheels all the way to the left or right. This will allow you a clearer view into the wheel well. From there, you can usually see your brake pads. If your brake pads are worn down, consider replacing them.


If left alone, your brake pads can actually leave grooves or indentations in your rotors, which is extremely harmful to the rotor. Keep in mind that the surface of a healthy brake rotor should be smooth.

Old Brake Disc

What You Hear

Listen for brake noise.

If you hear squealing or squeaking while braking, it may be a sign that your brake pads are worn down to the metal. This is dangerous as it can permanently ruin your brake rotors.

What You Feel

Pay attention to what you feel while driving.

One of the most common indicators of worn out brake rotors is rattling, wobbling, or shaking while braking.

These vibrations are normally felt through your foot as you apply the brakes, and it is usually indicative of brake rotors that have become warped.

Brake Rotor Replacement – Why It Matters

How do brake rotors become warped?

Every time you brake, friction and/or heat that is generated as the brake pads apply pressure to your rotors to slow your wheels down. Depending on the type of brake pads you have, the type of vehicle you drive, and your style/frequency of driving, your brake pads may wear down quickly, putting you at an increased risk of wearing down your brake rotors to the point of needing to have them replaced.

Failing to replace your brake pads when they are worn down creates a sort of domino effect, leading to your brake rotors becoming worn and warped. Your brake pad relies on friction as it is pressed against the brake rotor to help stop the car. Therefore, failing to replace your brake rotors can result in total brake failure.

Benefits of Replacing Your Rotors

Prevention is better than cure. To avoid having to replace your brake rotors be sure to bring your vehicle in for regularly scheduled auto maintenance at an automotive repair shop that you trust. A certified mechanic will be able to properly advise you as to whether your brake pads or rotors are warped or in danger of needing to be replaced.

By maintaining your vehicle and replacing your brake pads when they begin to wear down, you may be able to avoid brake rotor replacement. Because your braking system relies on the even distribution of heat generated by the braking process, any neglect can result in malfunctioning parts, which will ultimately lead to the need to have your brake rotors replaced.

At Reliable Import Service, we offer high quality brake repair and service in Raleigh, NC and surrounding areas. Give us a call today at (919) 813-6809, or schedule your next appointment online.


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