Replacing Disc Brake Rotors
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated February 21, 2009)
After you have replaced the brakes on your car a few times, you may notice that there is a little damage to the rotors. If you have noticed this damage, then it is time to fix it. Replacing disc brake rotors is as simple of a process as replacing the brake pads. Since it is any easy job, why not do it yourself, and give you something to brag about?
- Brake rotors
- Lug wrench or tire iron
- C clamp
- Bungee cord
- Carburetor cleaner
- Jack stands
- Allen wrenches
- Adjustable wrench
If you notice, you are going to be using the same tools as when you change your disc brake pads. Begin by doing everything that you would to change the disc brake pads, up until you have removed the pads. From this point on, you are going to be doing a few extra things.
- Remove. Typically the rotor is a separate mechanical entity from the hub. So to remove the rotor, all that you need to do is remove the rotor from off of the lug stands. In order to do this, you might have to remove an additional set of screws or pins, or whack (GENTLY!) with a hammer a couple of times. If the rotor and hub are one piece though, you are going to have to first remove the grease cup, then the cotter pin and castle nut from the axle in order to remove the rotor.
- Replace or resurface? If you have the available funds, then I would suggest purchasing some new replacement rotors. While it is definitely more expensive, it does allow longer life for the part. If you are reluctant to pay the higher cost of a new part, or simply unable to, then you might want to look into getting the rotors resurfaced. Resurfacing or "turning" a rotor can greatly extend the life of old rotors, and is usually a much more economical solution. Before making your final determination though, you should have your rotors examined by a professional at any auto parts store, and they can tell you which would be a better option for you.
- Install. To install your new or turned rotor, you can simply do the reverse of what you did to remove the rotor in the first place. Be aware though that most new rotors come prepackaged in a layer of oil that is going to need to be removed. To remove the packaging oil simply washing this off with carburetor cleaner, and wipe away.
- Reassemble. Reassembly of your wheel assembly should be an easy task, since all you need to do is the same steps as when you change the brake pads on your car. Be sure that you thoroughly test out everything before you begin driving your car on the roads again then feel pleased with yourself since you have replaced the rotors on your car!