How to Diagnose Scoring on Brake Rotors


Maintaining proper brake performance can save time, money and possibly your life. Regularly inspect your brakes for worn-out or loose parts that can cause them to malfunction. Look for pedal pulsation, grabbing, dragging and brake noise when checking brakes. In addition, inspect them for scoring or extreme scratches on rotors that can lead to brake-problems.

  • Work safely. Pair up with an experienced friend or mechanic when dealing with brake problems. Use proper vehicle supporting devices such as car stands as opposed to stacked boxes or blocks of bricks. In addition, wear suitable eye gear, industry-specific dust masks and other devices to help insure safety.

  • Learn about brake scoring. Rocks, dirt and excessive heat can cause scoring on brake rotors. Scoring refers to excessive grooves and scratches. Auto experts say driving gets dangerous when rotors score. Badly scored rotors can lead to brake binding which means wheels do not slow down properly. This could result in brake failure or inability to stop in a straight line.

  • Inspect the rotors for extreme scratches. Deep grooves mean its time to resurface the rotors. Simply stated resurfacing or turning refers to smoothing out deep scratches on the rotors. Regarding rotor inspection, check them for spots of discoloration and cracks caused by heat. Signs such as these or a warped rotor suggest the need for replacement or resurfacing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Vehicle sources say stay away from resurfacing when dealing with brake noise, squeal, brake pad replacement or discoloration and hard spots. Some auto shops resurface rotors with every brake pad replacement. Others say routine resurfacing shortens rotor lifespan. Consult with an experienced mechanic to determine when to resurface rotors.

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