Skimming vs Replacing: When Should You Skim Your Brake Discs vs When You Should Replace Your Brake Discs

Skimming vs Replacing: When Should You Skim Your Brake Discs vs When You Should Replace Your Brake Discs

Brake discs are the most modern type of braking systems available to motor vehicles. They are considered the “superior” type of brake, because  disc brakes do a better job dissipating heat. Under severe use, such as repeated hard stops or riding the brakes down a long incline, disc brakes take longer than drum brakes to lose effectiveness, which is a condition known as “brake fade.”

Even so, a car with disc brakes on both front and rear axles will provide superior braking performance in wet weather and on long downgrades. Incidentally, you should never ride your brakes when driving down a long incline. Instead, downshift and let the engine control the car’s speed.

So, what happens if your car’s brake discs are showing the tell-tale signs of wear and tear, including delayed braking times, a vibrating steering wheel or even the smell of burning rubber when the brakes are applied? These are all sure-fire signs of an underlying problem, and you should take your vehicle to a qualified brake fitment centre as soon as possible.

The brake fitment centre may opt to employ one of two solutions, either skimming your brake disc / rotor or replacing it. They will conduct the necessary tests to accurately determine which would b more beneficial to you, but it’s always good to understand why they might opt for either option and what will be done in each circumstance.

What Is Brake Skimming?

“The lathe works on the vehicle, by attaching itself directly to the hub. The technology includes an automatic, electronically-controlled, gyroscope system which measures run-out in the hub and corrects for this to an accuracy of 0.025mm. That’s less than the thickness of a human hair!

The automatic surface machining of a disc is completed in around 4 minutes. The complete process takes less than 10 minutes per disc. All brake discs can be skimmed at least once.

The only time your brake discs should be replaced is when they reach minimum thickness. Leading manufacturers have approved the Pro-Cut process of brake disc skimming.

Brake disc skimming  is a better quality and lower cost alternative to brake disc replacement.”

h/t to aerocitytyres.co.za for the information sourced for this article!

If all that jargon has you a little confused, we’ve simplified the process of brake disc skimming:

“Your brake pad has a certain industry standard thickness that needs to be met; when fitting new brake discs, they are at their maximum thickness – similar to tyres. Over time, application of the brakes will gradually wear down the brake pad. You may experience warped brake pads or just a general loss of efficiency when braking in your vehicle. A brake fitment retailer will assess the thickness of your brake disc, and if he or she finds it feasible, they will then skim the brake to increase efficiency without forcing you to cover the costs of a brand new brake dis. The brake fitment centre will remove the disc, and, using specialised equipment, gently level out the surface of the brake. We can equate it to “sanding down a table to be level” – as an easy to understand comparison. The brake pads will now  demonstrate greater efficiency and speed when braking, and avoid that dreaded steering shudder associated with worn discs.”

When Should I Replace My Brake Discs Instead of Skimming?

Skimming is by far the more affordable solution, but if your brakes meet any of the following criteria, your brake fitment centre should recommend replacing them to guarantee brake safety when driving:

“Some brake pads are much more aggressive than others. A sign of a fairly aggressive pad is one which makes a lot of dust. Tests have shown that over 90% of brake dust is actually iron material coming from your rotors – so a less aggressive pad will wear rotors less and also produce less dust.

Some rotor wear must happen for the rotor to self-clean and function properly, no wear at all usually will result on rotor black spotting where with a self -cleaning pad, the rotor surfaces get mildly scrubbed us as you drive the car to keep them smooth and keep them true.”

If you brake disc exhibit any of these signs, it’s time to get them replaced:

Your brake fitment centre has assessed and determined the thickness of your brake pads will not meet minimum criteria if they were to skim them.

Irreparable damage has occurred and caused the brake to warp beyond a level where they can be fixed.

The brake disc has a manufacturer fault that puts you in danger when driving.

Your brake pads have damaged the brake discs due to incorrect fitment or usage.

The brake disc is not the right size or specification for your specific vehicle.”

h/t to ebcbrakes.com for the information sourced!


Why not contact us to have your brake systems assessed and rectified? Call us on 011 826 7000 or click here to get in touch!




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