Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Rust on brake rotors — is it serious?

Is rust on brake rotors serious?

Brake rotors are made from cast iron and they will form an orange surface rust if left unused and exposed to moisture or water. The surface rust can form as quickly as overnight in humid conditions.


Is rust on brake rotors a problem?

Surface rust isn’t a big problem because it will wipe right off as soon as you drive the vehicle and use the brakes. But surface rust can turn into a big problem if you leave the car or truck unused for long periods. Then the surface rust beings to pit the rotor and no amount of driving can fix that.

Brake rotor rust pitting can’t be fixed

When left unused, the rust will begin to pit the rotor and that’s a serious problem. The brake pads can wipe away surface rust, but it can’t wear down the rotor enough to get rid of the pitted areas. The pitted areas reduce your stopping power (increased braking distances) because they’re not contacting the brake pads.

These pitted brake rotors must be replaced

©, 2023 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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