The brake rotors are an essential component of every modern car’s braking system. When it comes to the brake rotors in your car, “warping”, which is what it is popularly called, can result from a variety of factors. Following are a few of the common ones you should be aware of.
Cars that are left parked in the same spot for extended periods can accumulate rust in their interior components. Rotors that rust in this way cannot usually be machined out. That said, it is possible to turn such a rotor and put it under specification.
“Rush Hour” Driving
Also called “in-town driving”, this boils down to driving your car during rush hour, which carries the need for a lot of stopping. This understandably causes the brake rotors to heat up pretty fast, and if that gets too much, they could warp as a result. The best way to prevent it is by “riding” them lightly, and keeping some distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
Unless you use a torque tube as well, you should not fasten your lug nuts using air tools. If you sandwich the rotors while simultaneously tightening these nuts, and if the latter get placed unevenly, the brake discs could warp. Some cars are even sensitive to the force applied using a torque wrench, and if you think it is too delicate for you to handle properly, you should probably have a car technician do it for you.
Signs of Rotor Failure
- Thumping in the Brake Pedal: When you hit the brakes, the pedal will pulsate and actually push back. This is caused by the warp spot on the rotor, which is causing a surge in hydraulic pressure and forcing apart the brake pads. The surge then reverses itself and flows back through the car’s master cylinder, and all the way up to the pedal.
- Thumping in the Steering Wheel: At high speeds, warping can act up when you hit the brakes, in the form of vibrations in the steering wheel. This is conveyed via the steering linkage from the front brake rotors, and can be sufficient to rock even the entire vehicle. If, on the other hand, the warping is confined to just the rear of the car, then this vibration would normally be felt in the back.