How Long is a Brake Disc Supposed to Last?

We all know what brakes on a car do. They slow the vehicle down, allowing it to stop safely – and brake pads perform a crucial role in this process.

In emergency situations, brakes can halt a vehicle abruptly, avoiding collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. The importance of an effective braking system cannot be underestimated.

Due to the amount of use that the brake discs undergo, they will have to be replaced over time. The brake rotors on a car usually last anywhere between 80 000 and 120 000 km’s. The constant friction of the brake pads can create a lot of heat. If the discs become really hot and you then have no choice but to drive through a puddle of water, it can cause them to warp. The only way to fix a warped disc is by getting it skimmed (if it meets the minimum standard of thickness) – or otherwise replaced. Usually, there will be a variety of signs that you may notice when there are issues with your braking system.

Since the brake discs play such a large role in the overall braking power the car has, it will be very noticeable when there is an issue with them. Usually, the professionals that are hired to fix the braking issues you are experiencing will measure the thickness of the rotors. In some instances, the rotors can be turned to remove the wear spots that they have if they are not too worn out, skimmed if the warping is manageable or replaced if they are too thin or beyond repair.

Signs You Need to Replace or Skim Your Brake Discs

  • Noticeable squealing or roaring noises when trying to stop the car
  • A vibration when trying to bring the car to a stop
  • Noticeable scratches or spots on the rotors
  • Grooves worn into the rotors
  • The car pulls to one side when trying to brake

How Long Do Brake Discs Last?

Much the same as brake pads, life expectancy of brake discs will differ from vehicle to vehicle, from driver to driver – and average commute distances and circumstances.

Sometimes, both pads and discs will need changing and replacing at the same time – though generally discs will outlast the life expectancy of pads.

Front brake discs will eventually get too thin, which could result in overheating and losing efficiency. The required thickness of a brake disc is dictated by manufacturer, and the minimum should be stamped on each disc.

A good rule of thumb would be to have your brakes assessed annually (if no issues arise in-between); perhaps have your entire braking system assessed during each service interval, and if you notice any of the signs we listed above of evidence of wear and tear on your brake discs, have them assessed, repaired or replaced as soon a possible.

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