How to Inspect Brake Rotors

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Working on your car brakes? Learn how to inspect brake rotors with expert auto maintenance tips in this free car repair video clip.

Part of the Video Series: How to Install Car Brakes
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Video Transcript

In this clip we are going to talk about the appropriate way to inspect your brake rotor. This is a one piece rotor; they have two styles. This is a one piece solid cast iron rotor. They are the heavier duty version. On some smaller lighter cars, you'll have a composite rotor which is actually made in two pieces. The cast iron portion and the stainless steel top hat. They are welded together inside. What you want to look for in your brake rotor is any kind of excessive corrosion that builds up here. If there is excessive corrosion here, when you put the tire back on and bolt it down, the corrosion will pitch your wheel out of balance. It will give you a high speed vibration. There are other things you want to look for on your brake rotor. Inspect the surface for any kind of grooves or cracks. This rotor is not that bad. It is a little glazed. I wouldn't even recommend machining this rotor. Take a look and you can see this rotor is a sandwich of two discs. In between them, are these fins; these are cooling fins and are actually designed to whip air through the brake rotor as the wheel spins like a fan. As long as one of these are correct, you want to take and look at each one of them, rotate the wheel around as you are doing it and check for any kind of cracking going on. This surface rust is not a big deal. It's a good idea to chip it off. That way it doesn't get caught up in your new pads during the assembly process. Take and spin your rotor around. We don't see any cracks. As long as the inboard surface matches the outboard like so, the inboard surface in here you want to rub your fingers on it and see if you feel any grooves. This one feels good. Take a look back in there, rotate the wheel and again then inspect for cracks. As long as everything looks good, you can go ahead and install new brake pads and not worry about machining this rotor.

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