How to Replace Your Brake Rotor

How to Replace Your Brake Rotor

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The brake rotors are the last stop in the brake system; they’re what makes your car stop. Shortly after you press the brake pedal, the brake fluid pushes into the brake lines to compress the calipers’ pistons, which force the brake pads to clamp onto the brake rotors. The friction created between the pads and the rotors brings the car to a stop. A few things that can affect the performance of your brake rotors: rust, grooves, and cracks are three things that could ruin your rotors. If your brake rotors have circular grooves all around them, you should replace them. If you see a crack or any signs of rust on one of your brake rotors, it is time for new rotors. The lifespan of brake rotors can vary depending on your driving style; however, the rule of thumb is the brake rotors should be replaced with the second brake pad cycle. So every second time you change your brake pads, change the brake rotors with them. Replacing the brake rotors is a similar process for most vehicles. The only difference between cars is be the type of screw holding the rotors in place; some vehicles have a Philips screw, while others have a hex screw. If you haven’t removed your brake rotor in a while, it may take a few taps with a rubber mallet to get it off, so be prepared for that. When your brake rotors start wearing, you will hear a grinding noise as your car comes to a stop. Check the brake pads first to make sure they are not the culprit. If you fail to replace your brake pads early enough when they start wearing, they could wear out your brake rotors. Read on to learn how to replace the brake rotors on your vehicle.

Tools Required:

Jack stands
Tire iron
Socket set
Philips screwdriver
Hex bit
Rubber mallet
New brake rotors

Step 1 – Raise the car and remove the wheel

Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel behind which you’ll be working and then raise your car using the jack. Most cars’ jack points are in front of the rear tires if you’re jacking up the rear, or behind the front tires if you are jacking up the front.

Once the car is high enough, secure it with jack stands, letting it rest on at least two.

Remove the lug nuts and the wheel to reveal the brake components.

Step 2 – Remove the brake caliper

To remove the brake rotor, the caliper has to be moved out of the way. Locate the two bolts on the back of the brake caliper; one is located on the top of the caliper, the other on the bottom. Remove both bolts, then lift the caliper up and off the brake rotor. Don’t let the caliper hang from the brake line; this could damage it. Rest the caliper somewhere safe.

Step 3 – Remove brake rotor

Remove the one or two screws on the brake rotor, but don’t remove the big ones – those are for the hub assembly. You can use a Philips screwdriver or a hex bit for this depending on your car.

Try pulling the brake rotor straight out. If you can’t pull it out, use your rubber mallet and tap the center a few times until it comes loose. Once it’s loose, pull it straight out to remove it.

Step 4 – Install new rotor

Install the new rotor straight in, and then turn it until the hole on it aligns with the hole on the wheel hub. Install the screws and tighten them.

Install the brake caliper on top of the rotor, and then tighten the two bolts on its rear.

Align the wheel in place, then hand-tighten the lug nuts.

Finally, raise the car a few inches, remove the jack stands, and then lower the car and tighten the lug nuts appropriately.

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