Brakes at the centerpiece of vehicle safety, it is recommended that they are inspected regularly, not just if you suspect something may be wrong. At JDM P/L, we routinely check the brakes and rotors at each service.
Machining the rotors can extend the life-span of rotors. Machining rotors assists in gaining friction that has previously been lost, and also rectify brake symptoms (described below).
It is common to replace brake pads and rotors machined simultaneously, this ensures perfect contact between the new pads to the rotors. If the services are not done simultaneously, the pads & rotors will wear out at unpredictable rates.
What are brake rotors?
Brake rotors/discs are a circular piece of metal that spins in conjunction with the wheels. The brake caliper applies pressure to the rotors via contact from the brake pads.
Brake rotors lose thickness each time the brakes are applied.
For those who predominantly drive short distances, the brakes will wear out quicker than those who regularly drive long distances.
How much does rotor machining cost?
On average, $50+ AUD per rotor.
Of course, usually the client is undergoing a brake service (new brake pads, machining rotors & labor). We estimate the average brake service to be anywhere from $230 – $500 AUD.
Warning signs brake rotors require attention
There are various symptoms you may experience than indicate your brakes need attention. These may be exhibited as:
- Shaking steering wheel
- Vibration in the wheel/brake area when brakes are applied
- Pulsating brake pedal
- Brake warning light illuminated when driving
- Vehicle pulling to the left or right when braking
- Grinding noise
The above symptoms indicate brake pads/rotors have reached their minimum thickness and need either machining or replacing.
Machining rotors over replacing them
- Rotor machining is more price economical than installing new rotors
- Rotor machining will rectify brake vibration/shuttering/noise
- Improves stopping performance
- Perfect contact between the brake pad lining and rotor
When rotors can’t be machined
Whether or not machining is viable depends on the thickness of the brake rotors & manufacturer’s specifications, or whether the rotor has been damaged from heat.
The ratings are printed on the rotors as per the manufacturer’s specifications. These are our legal guidelines as Technicians.
If the rotors are below the minimum thickness, they will need replacing. We have also witnessed brake rotors that wear so quickly that they cannot be machined at all because they disintegrate so quickly.
How long until the machining effect wears off?
If your brake pads are replaced when your rotors are machined, they should not need machining again until the brake pads require replacing.
On average, this is between 20,000-60,000 km, which can vary greatly depending on the vehicle, parts used and driving habits.
The process to machine rotors
It usually takes a minimum of 40 minutes; however, it may vary depending on how many ‘cuts’ are required to ensure a smooth finish. The process involves
- Placing the vehicle on a hoist
- Remove the wheels
- Remove the calipers
- Remove the brake pads
- Measure the rotors
- Inspect rotors for warping & heat damage
- Place rotor on a specific lathe and perform cuts
- Reassemble brake system
- Perform quality assurance
How many times can rotors be machined before they need to be replaced?
Usually, brake rotors can be machined three times before they need to be replaced. Of course, there are many variables.