Brake rotors are one of the most common parts to replace on any vehicle. While you typically don't need to replace your rotors as often as your brake pads, they will inevitably wear down and produce noise, vibrations, or other issues. Once your rotors are too far gone, you'll need to replace them with your brake pads.
However, like brake pads, there are countless rotor options available for any car. Which one should you choose? Does it even make a difference? This guide will quickly dive into three features you'll commonly find on rotors at various price points, helping you choose an option that works best for your needs, aesthetic preferences, and driving style.
1. Slotted, Drilled, or Solid
There's no getting around the rotor design elephant in the room: slotted and drilled rotors. These discs contain holes or slots that help to dissipate heat. In theory, dissipating heat more rapidly helps prevent brake fade and improve performance. While technically true, these features often don't make much difference for regular street driving.
If you routinely take your car to the track or you do heavy towing over steep grades, you may want to consider these options as a marginal upgrade. Otherwise, solid, vented rotors can still provide exceptional performance. Of course, there's nothing wrong with choosing slotted or drilled rotors if you prefer how they look on your car.
2. Rotor Coating
Many newer rotors come with a coating that helps to prevent rust and keep your rotors looking good. However, corrosion on rotors is more than just a cosmetic problem. While the surface rotor on the rotor surface will wear out with braking applications, the central rotor "hat" can corrode onto the wheel hub, making future rotor replacements difficult.
Installation is another concern and worth considering if you're a do-it-yourselfer. Uncoated rotors come from the factory with grease to prevent the rotors from rusting prematurely. You must thoroughly clean this grease since it can contaminate your brake pads. Coated rotors don't have this problem, making installation more straightforward and less error-prone.
Finally, it's worth considering the rotor manufacturer you're choosing, although this factor may matter less than you expect. For example, parts from an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) are typically identical to genuine parts from the dealership. In other words, OEM rotors won't have your automaker's logo on them, but they're still identical to the parts that originally came with your car.
When deciding between rotors, purchasing a reliable brand from a trusted auto parts dealer is important. Aside from this requirement, nearly any well-regarded manufacturer is likely to produce rotors that will provide decent performance and longevity.
To learn more, contact an auto part supplier in your area such as Padco Auto Parts.