Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Best brake rotors

Best brake rotors

Is there really a difference between economy and premium rotors? You BET! In fact, if you think you’re saving money by buying the cheaper rotors, think again. Economy rotors don’t cool as well, wear faster, create more noise, and actually increase stopping distances. How do you know whether you’re getting a good rotor? Simple. Walk into any auto parts store and ask for a brake rotor for your vehicle. The first price they quote you will be for an economy rotor. Why? Because they make more money on economy rotors than they do on a premium rotor. So you have ASK for a premium rotor. Take a look at the two photos of rotors on a scale.

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Economy Brake Rotor

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Premium Brake Rotor

Both are for the same year, make, and model. But they don’t weigh the same. That’s right, the economy rotor weighs less because is has less metal. That means it can’t dissipate heat as well as the premium rotor. And THAT wears out your pads faster. But that’s not the only reason why economy rotors are bad.
Now look at the two photos showing rotor friction surface thickness.

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Economy Brake Rotor Friction Surface Thickness

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Premium Brake Rotor Friction Surface Thickness

You have to look at them side-by-side to really notice the difference. You guessed it, the economy rotor is thinner and has less friction surface. What you can’t see in these photos are the total number of cooling fins. Right again, the economy rotor has fewer cooling fins, and in many cases, the cooling fins on economy rotors aren’t curved like the factory or premium aftermarket rotors. That diminishes cooling even more. here’s the bottom line. Economy rotors won’t last as long as premium rotors. Your stopping distance will increase due to the extra heat. They make more noise, and, because they’re thinner, they’re more prone to lateral run-out (called warping). So you’ll be replacing them before you thought. All the brands shown below are well known name brands. But even they offer two versions of each rotor. The economy version is referred to as “service grade,” while the premium version is called “professional grade.” So don’t shop by name brand alone. I’ve also listed a new high temperature brake grease. The Permatex product is specifically designed for ceramic pads. The synthetic grease has ground up ceramic particles in it. Apply the grease to caliper slides, pins, and pad abutments to keep them sliding.

© 2012 Rick Muscoplat

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