Why Brake Rotor Quality Matters
Brake rotors are just as important as brake pads when it comes to stopping the vehicle. Brake pads and brake rotors work in partnership, as calipers compress the brake pads against the brake rotor to cause the friction needed to slow and stop the vehicle. Because brake pads and rotors can’t function without one another, making sure that both brake pads and brake rotors are high quality and designed to work together is important for safety, ride comfort and the longevity of the parts.
Remember, not all brake rotors are created equal. Just like brake pads, rotors can be made from various metal materials, producing different results. There are different types of rotors to suit budget and driving style, so understanding these differences will help you make the right recommendations to your customers, every time.
Types of Rotors
Economy rotors are usually made from cheaper scrap iron. Quality can vary greatly amongst economy brake rotors, and there is no way to tell how well a rotor will perform based on the way it looks. Because of the mix of metal materials, economy rotors often have hard spots that can create warping or pedal pulsation problems as the rotors wear. Economy rotors often have thinner facings than standard or premium rotors, resulting in compromised heat dissipation and absorption, increased brake fade and rotor warping or cracking.
Standard, or “blank” rotors, come factory installed on most vehicles (with the exception of luxury or sport vehicles) and feature a smooth braking surface without any elaborate features like grooves or drilled holes. These rotors are designed to provide reliable performance under normal driving conditions like commuting. These rotors are also made from metallic compounds that provide high braking power while effectively transferring heat, reducing the likelihood of warping.
Premium and Ultra-Premium Rotors
Premium and Ultra-Premium rotors have more features than economy or standard rotors, ranging from coatings to precision-drilling of slots and grooves. High-end rotors also feature more precision machining and metallurgy, containing quality metallic blends that provide optimal heat absorption and dissipation, including increased carbon content. These premium and ultra-premium features result in a brake rotor that is more resistant to brake fade and thermal cracking under extreme heat. Premium and ultra-premium rotors are also less likely to warp over time. All of these characteristics contribute to an overall better brake feel, specifically combined with premium brake pads.
Why Does it Matter?
The quality of brake rotors directly impacts the lifespan and effectiveness of the braking system as a whole. In fact, brake rotors and brake pads should always be serviced and replaced together in order to keep the entire system performing at its best.
Premium rotors, especially when paired with premium brake pads, deliver the best driving experience with smooth stopping and enhanced braking power. They also work as a team beneath the vehicle to help ensure that neither pads nor rotors are putting in overtime to compensate for the lesser-quality of the two, should a customer opt for premium brake pads and economy rotors, for example.
When parts are engineered to work together, safety, ride comfort and part longevity are all enhanced, so recommending a higher quality brake rotor and brake pad together is the best choice for providing customers with an enhanced braking experience.
ADVICS’ expanded brake rotor coverage will be one of several topics presented at the AISIN/ADVICS booth #A4657 at the 2022 Automotive Aftermarket Parts Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas, November 1-3.