What is Rotor Failure? How to Inspect Car Brake Rotors

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Learn about rotor failure and how to inspect car brake rotors - free video clip.

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Video Transcript

Hi! My name is Nate McCullough on behalf of expertvillage.com. In this clip we are going to talk about one of the braking components that need inspected any time brake service is performed. The component we are going to talk about in this clip is your brake and rotor. That's this large steel disc you see here. There are several things that can go wrong with this rotor. This vehicle in particular has been parked for an extended amount of time. As you can see there is a large amount of surface rust all the way around the rotor. You can actually see where the pads were. That's where the rotor happened to be stopped when I parked the car. This amount of surface rust is going to ruin the rotor. You will never be able to machine this out. You might be able to cut it out but it is going to put it under specification. There is another problem you may run across with a brake rotor. If you do a lot of in town driving. A lot in town driving requires a lot of stopping. That can build up excessive heat in this rotor and cause it to warp. If your rotor is warped more than .005 you will be able to feel it when you apply the brakes. The brake pedal will pulsate. When you apply it, it will push back at you as the wheel rotates into the pads and you have them applied that warped or fat spot will cause a hydraulic pressure surge. It will force the pads apart cause that surge to go backwards through the system, through the master cylinder and into your brake pedal. At higher speeds you will also notice the warpage when you apply the brakes in the steering wheel. It may cause the whole vehicle to shake and shutter and you definitely will fill it up front. If it happens to be a front rotor, you will feel the vibration transferred through the steering linkage into the steering wheel. Some of them can shake quite violently. If the warpage happens to occur only in the rear of the vehicle, you will notice it more so in the coming from the back of the vehicle. There is another type of failure you are going to want to look for which are any kind of cracks. That again are going to indicate excessive heat or excessive wear. If the rotor has been worn too thin for machine work, it is not able to dissipate properly. When you machine a rotor you are actually removing metal, making it a small thinner part. In my opinion, it under minds the structural integrity of the rotor. It will cause small flake style cracks to appear all over the surface of the rotor. That is one thing you are going to want to look for. It will indicate a bad rotor and mean it needs replaced.


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