Types of Brake Rotors to Buy for Your Car

If you’ve ever heard the familiar light crunching sound your brakes make on your rotors, you’ve had to deal with getting new brake rotors. Brake rotors traditionally only need replaced when brake pads aren’t replaced before they have been worn down to the metal. This damages your rotors, creating grooves from the metal-on-metal contact. This can be an expensive prospect. There are several things to consider when choosing new rotors, including the different types and options based on your budget, which you will find examined below.

Basic Flat Brake Rotors

The rotors that come stock on most vehicles have a flat surface that can wear down over time, but they can last 100,000 miles or more if you take care of them. They will provide you with solid performance and average stopping power, just like any stock part. You can buy brake rotors to replace the stock ones at automotive parts dealers. You can go with the automaker’s brand as a replacement or after-market rotors you can get at auto parts stores. The cost for basic brake rotors will be between $25 and $50 each, depending on the brand and place of purchase.

Grooved or Slotted Brake Rotors

If you want to upgrade your vehicle’s stopping performance, one way to go is to buy brake rotors that have slots or grooves cut in them. These types of rotors sometimes come stock on high-performance or European cars. These types of rotors allow the metal to breathe during extreme conditions, keeping the heat level lower than flat-faced basic rotors. The grooves or cross-drilled holes also help keep these rotors cleaner and drier than traditional rotors. These types of rotors can cost you as little as $85 each to as much as $150 each.

Cross-Drilled Brake Rotors

Cross-drilled brake rotors are the most expensive types of brake rotors you can buy. If you really go all-out, these rotors can cost you in excess of $300. They are traditionally only made for racing and for premium high-performance vehicles where money is really no object. These rotors offer the absolute best in performance, made of the most efficient materials and custom-made for your particular vehicle. They stay cooler than any other rotor, even under the most demanding circumstances. Cross-drilled rotors also have the ultimate in stopping power due to the air being permitted to flow through the rotor.

Brands of Brake Rotors to Buy

There are no shortage of companies that make replacements brake rotors that you can buy for your vehicle. If you’re going with basic rotors, Centric is a brand you can trust, along with your manufacturer’s brand, such as AC Delco for General Motors products. The best brands for grooved or slotted replacement rotors are EBC, StopTech, DBA, and Brembo. EBC and Brembo are also two of the leading brands when it comes to the more expensive cross-drilled rotors as well.

Used Brake Rotors

If you really want to cut corners and get an old vehicle or one that’s not driven very often road-ready, you could opt for buy brake rotors that are used. They will be cheap, of course, but there are things to watch out for. Used brake rotors obviously won’t last as long, but the larger issue is that they could be defective. If the rotors are defective, they could also damage your vehicle or not provide the stopping power you need to drive safely. Chances are they will work fine for a period of time, but it’s not advisable to put these on a vehicle that you drive often or long distances. Used brake rotors are really only acceptable if you purchase them for an older or little-used vehicle.

Replacement car parts are big business and brake rotors are no exception. You get what you pay for to some extent, but there’s nothing wrong if you buy brake rotors that are the same as what came stock on your vehicle. However, if you feel you need better performance or you are concerned about your vehicle’s stopping power, an upgrade is certainly worth the money. Be careful not to waste your money or blow your budget if high-performance, expensive brake rotors aren’t something you feel you need for your vehicle. Any set of brand new brake rotors is going to provide improved safety, stopping power, and performance over what you were used to with your old rotors.