What Does it Mean to: Turn Your Brake Rotors?

Has your mechanic said that you’re better off “turning” you brake rotors but you don’t know what that means? Don’t feel bad, a lot of people have trouble understanding the different parts and terminology of cars. Take a look to see what it means to have your brakes “turned”, and find out if this is the best option for you. 

What are Brake Rotors?

There are four main types of brake rotors ー blank & smooth, drilled, slotted, and drilled & slotted. 

Most passenger cars are equipped with blank and smooth rotors. As the name suggests, these rotors have a blank metal surface all around the rotor.

Vehicles that are equipped with drilled rotors have holes drilled in them. Their holes ensure that there is less surface area for the pads to grab in order to prevent friction, gas buildup, and water from affecting the stopping power. 

Slotted brake rotors have grooves cut along the face of the rotor where the brake pads make contact. Their groves are essential for moving gas, heat, and water away from the surface. 

Drilled and slotted brake rotors have both holes and groves on them for enhanced performance. 

What is Turning your Brake Rotors? 

When you bring your vehicle in to have their brake rotors turned, it means that a mechanic will be machining your rotors to remove any additional brake material from the brake pads. This process prevents warping and grinding from occurring. It’s generally recommended to have this done every other brake change. 

Turning vs Replacing

How do you know when it’s time to turn your brake rotors and when it’s time to replace them? If your rotors show any visible signs of being worn out, that means you should have them replaced. Physical signs of worn-out brake rotors include:

  • Heavy rust
  • Groves
  • Scoring

Other signs that tell you it’s best to have your rotors replaced rather than turned are:

  • Weird sounds when braking
  • Vibrating when braking
  • ABS light is on 

Let the Professionals Help 

If you’re having problems with your brakes, let Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions check them out. We’re proud to offer drivers in Frederick, MD, auto repair and auto maintenance for every make and model car. With over 50 years of experience, we know a thing or two about brakes and we can get you back on the road quickly. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment

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