Reader Question: Pads and Rotors?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Kyle asks: My car is going to need new brakes – pads – soon (I know because I pulled a wheel to check how much material was left on the pads that are on now) and I have been told I must/should also change the rotors when I put on new pads. Is this true?

My reply: Not necessarily – especially if you don’t run your current pads down to bare metal and gouge ruts in the rotors. And assuming the rotors haven’t been warped from heat or over-tightening of the lug nuts (a common problem caused by the over-use of air guns).

The only way to know is to check – via dial indicator or other measure of trueness. If the rotors check out there should be no need to replace them. If they do need to be replaced, it is possible they can be turned – that is, machined to restore the trueness of the surface. However, many modern cars have rotors that can’t be turned because there’s not enough extra material (steel). This is done to save weight – which of course costs you more. Expect an article on this topic shortly.

The upside is most new rotors (excluding performance cars) aren’t hugely expensive; they’re typically about $70 per and if you take care of them, they ought to last for at least half the life of your car, or 7-8 years.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in! Or email me at [email protected] if the @!** “ask Eric” button doesn’t work!

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