Disc Brake Rotors

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Automotive Disc Brake Rotor
Automotive Disc Brake Rotor

The two most common disc brake rotors are; the “Solid” and the “Vented”. A vented rotor means that the rotor has two separate braking faces separated by a vaned core which serves to ventilate the rotor and improve cooling. Vented disc brake rotors are used on almost all modern vehicles. If your car is fitted with a vented disc brake rotor, you must replace it with a vented rotor for it to fit and work correctly on your vehicle. Many vehicles will have rear brake rotors that are not vented since the rear brakes do not apply as much force therefore they do not get as hot.

A brake disc rotor is connected to the axle or spindle and spins with the wheel. When someone steps on the brake pedal fluid or a mechanical or electrical signal travels to the caliper which pushes the brake pads out and squeezes the rotor causing friction to bring the vehicle to a stop. A byproduct of creating the friction is that it generates heat, if there is too much heat created the brakes will begin to be less effective resulting from brake fade. There are disc brake rotors designed to minimize the heat which will be explained further down.

A brake rotor must be cleaned prior to installation to remove rust inhibitors. This can be accomplished with the use of detergent, steel wool, sand paper or brake cleaner depending on how much has been applied to them. There are disc brake rotors available that do not require this preparation but do not assume that they are, you need to be sure. If you skip this step it is possible to have a glazing effect on the rotors which will prevent the vehicle from stopping the way it should.

A standard brake rotor is usually made out of cast iron but can be made from many other materials. Very high performance disc brake rotors are typically be made out of reinforced carbon, do not install this on your daily driver as it will not work. These high performance rotors require a certain heat range to begin to function; this would result in not being able to stop at the first few stop lights.

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