How long does a typical brake rotor last? I’ve replaced and or resurfaced my VW Routan van front rotors 4 times within its lifespan on only has 49,000 miles. Why is this happening and what can I do to prolong the life of the brake rotors. This is “braking” my wallet!
Have you watched my video on brake rotors? Do this first, then read below.
That is a great question and depends on a few factors.
1. How hot the brakes are getting during normal driving, the hotter the brake pads the more heat is transferred to the brake rotors which will cause them to warp
2. How thin/thick the brake rotors are to begin with, and how much material can be shaved off to make them smooth again during the resurfacing process, called “truing”
Brake Rotor Failure
You have replaced them too many time in such a short amount of mileage I can only assume you have a problem with one of the following.
1. You are a two footed driver and are riding the brake during normal driving causing the brakes to overheat
2. There is not enough air flow across the front brake pads, maybe a dust shield is being used to keep brake dust off the wheels? I would remove it if so.
3. You are using cheap brake rotors or cheap brake pads which are not venting properly.
Some brake rotors are slotted in the middle to allow heat to escape easily, check the OEM rotor against your rotor. And some brake pads have a groove in the middle to allow dust and heat to escape from the brake pad, make sure you are using OEM pads or they look like the OEM pad does.
You might want to try an aftermarket high performance brake rotor from your auto parts store that is slotted/vented
4. There is a problem with the rear brake adjustment and the front brakes are doing all the work, causing overheating. Apply the emergency brake at 30MPH SLOWLY with the release button engaged so you can do a slow and controlled stop just using the emergency brake, which is just the rear brakes. It should stop the vehicle fairly easily and smoothly.
5. You have too much weight on the vehicle or are pulling a trailer or something that is causing too much work on the brakes
6. You are driving in high water, or going through large puddles of water when the brakes are hot, causing the rotors to warp
7. There is a problem with the front brakes causing them to “drag”, like a stuck brake caliper or collapsed brake hose that is basically applying the brake just enough to cause the rotor to overheat. Lift up the front of the vehicle and try to spin each wheel by hand, they such spin fairly easily.
I would expect to have to replace the rotors every other brake job UNLESS the brake pads were run down to metal on metal or there was a problem mentioned above. See if you can rule out the above list and get back to me.
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