3 Considerations When Replacing Brake Discs: A Guide for First-Time Buyers

Posted on: 18 September 2017

Every car owner has to replace brake discs/or rotors at one point in a car's life. For beginners, when you want to stop a car, pushing the brake pedal will cause the brake pads to hold against the rotors. The seamless motion will cause the vehicle to slow down or halt, albeit smoothly, depending on the force you apply to the pedal. Old or malfunctioning rotors will cause vibrations when braking at high speed. Here are some useful tips to consider when shopping for a new brake disc.

Brake Disc Part Number -- There are many designs and sizes of brake rotors in the market, which can overwhelm a first-time buyer. For a handy person, figuring out the part number of the component is just a wheel away. Remove the wheel to locate the old brake disc. If you are sure that the old rotor is the original one, then the part number will be inscribed on the disc. However, individuals that are not DIY-savvy should contact a brake specialist to remove the disc. Furthermore, a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can be vital when you want to know the code of the old brake rotor. Give this number to an authorized car dealer to retrieve the information for you.

Carbon Ceramic Composite Discs -- High-performance cars must stop faster just as they accelerate. Brake discs slow such cars by friction, which dissipates a lot of heat. Over time, constant breaking causes wear and tear in the rotors, which eventually weakens their performance. Unlike ordinary cast iron and steel materials that form brake discs, carbon ceramic composite brakes have high heat resilience. Furthermore, such brakes do not warp or deform easily at high temperatures. Further, when exposed to salt and water, carbon ceramic composite rotors do not corrode. Another advantage of this type of disc is that they are light in weight, which enhances driving and handling. These attributes give such brakes a longer lifespan compared to conventional brake discs.

Drilled and Slotted Rotors -- As the name suggest, drilled rotors have holes in them to help in dissipating heat caused by friction. A variant of such brake rotors is the cross-drilled version, which has chamfered holes to minimize cracking. If you have a high-performance car, then a drilled rotor might be ideal for you. However, for off-road lovers, such discs might be problematic because of their tendency to allow mud to jam in the holes. Slotted discs have machined channels or grooves to allow cooling air to penetrate the space between the disc and the pad for fast heat dissipation. However, the extra air turbulence might cause some level of noise, which some drivers can find irritating.