What Are Brake Rotors and How Do They Work?

Author: VMAX Brakes   Date Posted:15 November 2021 

At the touch of a pedal, a motorist can sensitively control the speed of their vehicle, bringing it to a complete stop when necessary. To most of us, this is just an everyday occurrence we simply accept, but when you break down the mechanics, it is an ingenious process. Brakes are one of the most important parts of a car, after all, as we rely on them to bring tonnes of flying metal to a halt, time and time again.

Brake rotors are central to the mechanics of brakes. They allow pads to slow down the wheels and dissipate the heat created from the friction of brake pads. Brake rotors typically hold a long useful life, but just like any material under excessive use, they wear down and need to be replaced to keep your driving experience safe. In this article, the team at VMAX Brakes explain exactly what brake rotors are and how they function to help brakes work effectively.

What are Brake Rotors?

Brakes consist of over 40 components, each playing a critical role and working together to create a safety system. Brake rotors are one of the biggest parts of a brake, both physically and functionally. They’re the circular disc or metal plate part that connect to each wheel, and as the wheels spin and allow the car to move, brake rotors spin with them. When the brake pedal is applied, brake pads push on the brake rotors, and this friction reduces the motion of rotors and, in turn, the wheels, slowing the car down.

How Do Brake Rotors Work?

Rotors are designed as large discs so that they can spin with wheels, but also for the brake pads to have a large surface area to grip on. The surface area will simultaneously work to disperse heat, because a significant amount of heat is caused by the friction of the surfaces in contact when brakes are activated. Given the materials of brake pads, they often need to be serviced and replaced much more often than rotors, and if they remain defective, they can damage the rotors.

How Long Do Brake Rotors Last?

As with all car parts, the length of time and distance that brake rotors last depend on many factors. Brake rotors typically last between 50,000 to 80,000 km on average, but you can gather more accurate figures for your vehicle model by referring to your owner manual. Following your maintenance plan and replacing brake parts when a mechanic recommends is important to ensure the quality of your braking system.

The main influences are the vehicle make and model, the driver’s unique habits, driving conditions, age of the vehicle and the condition of the other brake components. The quality of parts used to replace brake components is also pivotal in facilitating a long life for brake rotors, as poor-quality parts can wear them down faster.

VMAX provides top-quality brake components to ensure your whole system is working effectively and serves you for a long time. Review our selection today or contact a member of our staff for more information.