Replacing Brake Rotors, Know How to Do it!

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When driving your car, can you hear scraping noises, squealing, or maybe feel that your brake is pulsing? Those are the signs that your brake rotors are finally done! Most of the time, you’ll find yourself changing brake pads when replacing your brake rotors. Some rotors need to be refinished at a shop if they’re still not worn too thin or warped yet again you will have to deal with taking your car’s wheels.


How and when will you replace the brake rotors?


All trucks, cars, SUVs have brake rotors which means they usually have four. Brake rotors are expensive. RandomFix will guide you in replacing your brake rotors! Skim them at a more inexpensive cost and make the most of the mile you use them. And since rotors are replaceable and easily disposable, they need to be replaced from 15,000 to 70,000 miles on use. This advice proves true depending on your driving style and the type of brake pads you are using.


While some brake pads usually wear, some have notches to be aggressive than the others. You’ll know the pads are aggressive when it makes a lot of dust. According to tests, more than 90 percent of brake dust is iron (Fe) that comes from your rotors which means that the pads that are less aggressive pad will wear less not only in terms of rotors but also with dust production. The rotor wear happens due to friction, and the friction allows for the stopping power.


Attached to the vehicle’s axles are metal discs called brake motors. The wheels are forced to turn slower after the driver pushes on the brake pedal, making the brake pads press on the rotor creating friction resulting in the slowed wheels. The resistance is also the reason why the disc wears out and to need resurfacing. Over time, the brake rotors will require replacement due to the excessive wear or the damage below limit along with the other factors such as the driving conditions or mileage.


Here’s a guide you can follow for changing your brake rotors:

, Replacing Brake Rotors, Know How to Do it!, We are RandomFix World

Replacing your brake rotors have two parts, removing the old and installing a new one.


Remove The Old Rotor


Protective Gloves, Lift Or Jack


Put on your protective gloves before you proceed on working your vehicle. A pair of gloves would be a wise idea to protect your hands from the grime, grease, and any possible accident.


Before lifting a wheel, you may want to proceed by loosening the lug nuts a little if you wish to use a jack. Use a lug wrench; the ground will hold your vehicle’s wheels from turning. When lifting one end of the car or only one wheel, you may block the other wheels to keep your vehicle from rolling. Always set your parking brake with the vehicle gearbox in engaged, park or gear. When servicing a particular wheel, you need to release its parking brake. It would be easier to use a power impact wrench or a hydraulic car lift like some of the professionals, but a hand tool and a hand-operated jack will do.


If the jack presses into the plastic molding or thin metal, it could bend, warp, crack or punch through surfaces. Use the jack on the sturdy and thick parts of metal on your vehicle’s undercarriage. Use a heavy duty jack. Warning: A jack can fail at any time so always use heavy duty jack stands.


Remove the wheel


The brakes along with its other components are mounted behind the wheel. Remove the wheel to gain access by unscrewing the lug nuts then pulling or lifting the wheel off. Expose the hub, rotor, and calipers. Tip: Remove the hubcap or wheel cover and use this as a dish where you can put the small parts to keep track of them. Be careful not to damage the hubcap when placing on the floor.


Caliper removal


Usually, two bolts hold the brake calipers. Threaded in the rear of the caliper are these bolts. Reach them by using an extension. The bolts could have hex-key/Allen-head, or standard hex heads, remove them and take the caliper off by hanging it out of your way with a wire or cord. Be reminded not to put tension on the brake hose. Prepare a wood block and hammer or a screwdriver to wedge and pry to remove the caliper from the rotor and caliper bracket. Note: If done correctly you do not need to bleed the brake system for a simple brake pad and rotor replacement. However, removing the brake line from the caliper means the brake will start to leak fluid out, letting the air in the lines. It needs to be bled later following the repairs to remove the air.


Loosen and remove the caliper mounting bracket bolts when necessary. The brackets securing the caliper can prevent rotor removal in some vehicles, you might need to use ratchet or wrench to unscrew this racket’s bolts allowing removal. They may come out hard as they possibly have some thread lock cement on them.


Removing the brake rotor

, Replacing Brake Rotors, Know How to Do it!, We are RandomFix World

You’re lucky if this goes off smoothly. Some rotors have not been replaced for a long time making it stuck by corrosion, rust, and dirt to the wheel hub which makes it difficult to remove. Loosen the rotors, a wooden block or hammer may be used to tap it. Do not strike the rotor directly.  Put a wooden block against a rotor and hit the wood. It would also be easier to loosen the rust and corrosion with penetrating oil.


Remove the Grease-packed bearings and axle bearing must (some wheels have them). You may find them in the center of the hub or the knuckle on the spindle or axle. You may need to remove the cotter pin, metal dust cap, or un-clinch the castle nut or keyed flange, and the bearing to remove the rotor. Avoid getting dirt in the bearing.


Clean the hub surface from any corrosion or debris for the new rotor to sit on the hub surface.


Install the new rotor


Clean protective coatings or oil from the rotor by using a particular cleaner solvent and a clean, dry cloth to wipe residues off your new rotor. Bearing grease, oil, and improper coatings or solvents may cause damage or impair brake pad performance. Make sure that you don’t use or clean brake pads that are greasy or oily. Replace them, instead.


Place your new rotor over the wheel hub — thread wheel studs through the corresponding holes on the rotor. Then, Push the new rotor in place around the wheel hub. Replace the castle nut or the cotter pin on the hub assembly depending on your exact wheel construction. If you bent the cotter pin previously from trying to remove it, replace it with a new one.


Replacing caliper mounting brackets, if:


If you’ve previously removed the caliper mounting brackets, return them. Secure the brackets by re-aligning them in place with the bolts you unscrewed initially. These bolts should have been put a thread locker if used on an earlier installation.


Compressing caliper pistons


You can use a caliper compressor or a C-clamp to compress caliper pistons. Proceed with caution since some caliper pistons screw in, have notches and grooves in their top face to do so. Put the caliper with spring clips and pads in their appropriate spots over the rotor. Untie/unhook the caliper from its place. Using a caliper compressor or a C-clamp, carefully compress the caliper pistons. The caliper should fit over the rotor when the pistons are compressed completely. A lot of vehicles may require slightly-opened bleeder valves to allow pistons to compress back into calipers. Forcing the brake fluid back through the lines may cause damage like anti lock brake mechanisms or in the internal check valves.


Tip: Slightly loosen the brake fluid reservoir cap before compressing the piston. Brake Fluid is corrosive, and it’s best to keep it away from the paint.


Re-installing the caliper


Clean the caliper slides and lube it with caliper slide grease. With suitable brake pads in place, put the caliper over the rotor the same way it did before the removal. Line up the bolt holes. Re-install the bolts you removed to take the caliper from the rotor. Almost done! Finally, re-install the wheel and lower the vehicle to the ground, carefully lifting the wheel back to its original place. The lug nuts should be screwed again over the wheel bolts.


Now, you can lower your vehicle carefully back to the ground. Remove the jack you may have used earlier and put it out of the way. You better give these lug nuts an extra tightening when the wheel is on the ground. Next, refill the brake fluid and pump the brakes up. Use quarter strokes to avoid the master cylinder from bottoming out until the brakes are hard enough. Recheck the fluid level and make sure to top off as necessary. You should bleed the brakes if you opened any of the brake lines.


Tip: Avoid using power tools to install lug nuts and always torque your wheels using a Torque wrench. Over-tightening the vehicles will can premature brake rotor wear and will warp the brake rotors.


Test before driving


Test in a safe location. Start the vehicle and roll forward. Try pumping the brakes for a few times, push down on the brake pedal. Slowly, let it rise. The brakes should function adequately without vibrations or loud squeaking. Loud squeaking means that the brake pads are worn-out while the vibration means a warped rotor. A routine road test should be in order and brakes should stop without any pulsations or noises.


Congratulations! Now, you’re done replacing your brake rotors!


Do you plan on replacing your brake rotors by yourself?

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