What To Know About Brake Rotor Resurfacing

When your brake rotors are no longer in good condition, you may have the choice to perform brake rotor resurfacing. However, some people may prefer Brake Rotor Replacement instead. When you apply the brake pedal, the brake rotor is squeezed between two brake pads, and it’s natural for this metal disc to wear down. The rotor is subjected to a great deal of abuse due to the intense friction of the brake pads and the on-and-off pattern of use.

Brake rotor resurfacing, benefits and when to perform it

When it’s time to change your brake pads or if you’re having braking problems, resurfacing your brake rotors is an alternative. This procedure removes a tiny portion of the rotor’s mating surface, restoring it to a uniformly flat state. Well, in this article, we’ll be discussing the following:

  • What is Brake rotor resurfacing?
  • Factors to consider before performing brake rotor resurfacing
  • What are the Benefits of brake rotor resurfacing?
  • When do you perform brake motor resurfacing?
  • Signs you need a brake rotor replacement
  • MIsconseptions about rotor resurfacing

So, let’s dive in!


What is Brake rotor resurfacing?

Rotor resurfacing is utilizing a brake lathe to remove a tiny fraction of the rotor’s surface. Resurfacing rotors aid in the removal of corrosion and brake pad deposits, as well as the smoothing out of surface defects that may create braking vibrations. It is a brake service process that is usually performed in conjunction with a brake pad replacement to generate a ‘fresh’ surface for maximum brake pad friction.

Rotors resurfacing will not address hard areas in cast rotors because these typically extend well below the rotor surface. Shaving can help remove these hard places and allow the rotor to run true, but they will reappear eventually.

What are the factors to consider before performing brake rotor resurfacing?

It is not always recommended to resurface a rotor. In some cases, a replacement is preferable. This is true if your rotor is thinner than the minimum specification or will be after resurfacing. Each rotor is made with a minimum thickness specification. This spec is sometimes stamped on the rotor hub, but you may need to look it up with software like ALLDATA. Determine the present thickness with a micrometer, then compare it to the minimal specification. If there is a difference, the rotor may be resurfaced.

What are the benefits of brake rotor resurfacing?

When done correctly, brake rotor resurfacing can be an effective approach to save money because it is often less expensive than replacing the rotor. Other advantages include:

  • Increased braking pad life
  • Smooth, and efficient braking performance
  • There is less noise and vibration

Increased braking pad life

A rough rotor surface can prematurely wear down a brake pad, frequently tens of thousands of miles sooner than a new rotor surface.

Smooth, and efficient braking performance

When you resurface rotors, you should expect shorter stopping distances and a smoother, less tiring drive.

There is less noise and vibration

If your rotors are resurfaced, the humiliating sensation of screeching or grinding brakes in traffic can be eliminated.

When do you perform brake motor resurfacing?

The first factor to consider is the rotor thickness. A resurfaced rotor must fulfill the rotor manufacturer’s minimum thickness criteria. If a rotor does not reach the minimum thickness, it should not be resurfaced since it will become too thin, dangerous, and prone to warping.

The rotor must also not be deformed or damaged. For this type of damage, always replace the rotor. While resurfacing rotors isn’t always required when installing new brake pads, it does ensure the new brake pads have a solid surface to grip.

Can You Resurface Drilled and Slotted Brake Rotors?

Rotors on some high-performance vehicles have been drilled and slotted. Brake rotors that have been drilled have deliberately bored holes through them that also serve as vents between the opposing rotor surfaces. While shallow grooves have been carved into the surface of slotted brake rotors.

Rotors on some high-performance vehicles have been drilled and slotted. Brake rotors that have been drilled have deliberately bored holes through them that also serve as vents between the opposing rotor surfaces. While shallow grooves have been carved into the surface of slotted brake rotors.

These rotors provide excellent braking performance by swiftly eliminating moisture, heat, and dust that could harm the brakes. The substance on the surface of brake pads is also removed by slotted brake rotors, which enhances the pads’ ability to adhere to the rotor surface.

Drilled and slotted brake rotors may be resurfaced. However, hiring a qualified expert to complete this task is advised. This is because resurfacing a brake rotor with holes or slots can harm the brake lathe. The cutting tool will come into touch with an intermittent cut that can break it every time the rotor holes or slots pass beneath the lathe’s tip.

Due to the risk to their gear, some auto repair businesses won’t resurface brake rotors that have been drilled and slotted. Call your business in advance and find out if they can handle this repair.

MIsconseptions About Rotor Resurfacing

There are a few myths you shouldn’t ignore if you’ve been considering having your rotors resurfaced;

  • The first is that while changing brake pads, it is always required to resurface the rotors. You can just put new brake pads on if the rotors seem to be flat, in good shape, and there are no vibrations.
  • Second, not every rotor can be saved. Sometimes the grooves on a rotor are too deep or the runout on the rotor is too considerable to remove without going over the discard thickness barrier.
  • And finally, you ought to understand when to resurface and when to replace the brakes. Rotor resurfacing is not always less expensive than replacement.

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Is resurfacing brake rotors a good idea?

If the brake discs are still smooth, they may not need to be resurfaced; nevertheless, most professional brake specialists will not install new brake pads unless the rotors have been resurfaced. Resurfacing creates a level and even surface that reduces vibrations and maximizes brake pad friction.

What is brake rotor resurfacing?

Brake rotor resurfacing is a process that involves removing a small bit of the brake disc’s material with a lathe to remove corrosion and brake pad deposits. It can also smooth out surface abnormalities, such as changing thickness, that might produce vibrations.

How much does it cost to resurface a rotor?

The cost of rotor resurfacing varies depending on location and vehicle type, however, it normally ranges from $15 to $40 per rotor.

How long are rotors good for after resurfacing?

Even refinished rotors must be replaced every 70,000 miles, regardless of whether they are in good operating order. Uneven wear, excessive runout, and significant pitting, spotting, grooving, hard areas, or cracking should all be looked for.

Do I need new brake pads if I resurface rotors?

The frequency of rotor replacement is affected by rotor quality and driving conditions. If a mechanic finds warped or excessively worn rotors, they will recommend replacing them with new brake pads. Resurfacing rotors is another option, although it may impair their durability and expedite brake pad wear.

How do I know if my rotors need resurfacing?

  • When braking, you may notice vibrations in your steering wheel.
  • When you apply your brakes, you may experience vibrations in your brake pedal.
  • Wobbly wheels, possibly caused by worn-out wheel bearings, could result in warped rotors or uneven brake pad wear.

What are the signs of bad rotors?

A vehicle taking a long time to stop, loud bangs while braking, vibration or pulsation in the steering wheel, high-pitched squealing noise when braking, shaking steering wheel, large edges on the outer part of the brake rotor, and scratch marks on the rotor are some common signs of bad rotors.

Is it better to replace the rotors or resurface them?

When the rotor face is consistent, it will probably be less expensive in the long run to replace the rotors. Damaged rotors may cause your brake pads to wear more quickly than new ones will, and resurfacing the rotors will only give them one more “hoorah” before they need to be replaced.

How many times can brake rotors be resurfaced?

Never turn the brake rotors more than once. The ability to turn brake rotors depends on a variety of factors. Tolerances will vary depending on the rotor’s design and material thickness. The amount of material that can be safely removed without endangering the rotor integrity will be shown by these specifications.

Why do people resurface rotors?

The removal of rust and brake pad deposits from rotors through resurfacing evens out surface abnormalities that could result in braking vibrations. To create a “new” surface for maximum brake pad friction, it is a brake maintenance technique that normally goes along with a brake pad replacement.


In conclusion, keeping your vehicle’s best braking performance and safety depends on your ability to comprehend the nuances of brake rotor resurfacing. When carried out by qualified experts, resurfacing can be a cost-effective solution for problems with uneven wear or extending the life of your braking components.

When rotors reach the minimum thickness requirements, it’s crucial to understand the limits of resurfacing and the potential need for replacement. Regular brake maintenance, including resurfacing or replacement, is an essential part of responsible car ownership and will increase your safety while driving. To make knowledgeable choices about your braking system, always seek the advice of knowledgeable specialists.

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