What is a Brake Disc? When to Change?

Just as the acceleration capability of a car is crucial, so is its ability to stop abruptly. In this context, a reliable and robust brake disc is indispensable. This article will provide a detailed look at what a brake disc is, what it does, and when it needs to be replaced.

What is a Brake Disc?

A brake disc, also known as a Rotor, is the metal disc that brake pads create friction against to stop the vehicle. This disc ensures the vehicle slows down and stops in a controlled and smooth manner. Along with the brake pads and hydraulic fluid, the brake disc is one of the three fundamental components that play a vital role in the vehicle’s stopping process.

A notable feature of brake discs is their tendency to wear out frequently due to high stress. The direct pressure applied by several parts onto the disc makes their wear inevitable. Therefore, checking the brake discs at every maintenance of the vehicle is of great importance.

What Does a Brake Disc Do?

Simply put, a brake disc acts as the metal disc that, when the brake pedals are pressed, the pads rub against to slow down or stop the vehicle. The energy generated during braking is utilized by applying pressure to the vehicle’s tires, thereby slowing down or stopping the vehicle as desired.

Especially in hybrid and electric vehicles, the energy generated during braking contributes to charging the battery. In gasoline vehicles, this energy is dissipated between the disc and the parts that contact it.

How effectively a vehicle slows down depends on how effectively the brake disc and pads work. The rate of deceleration varies according to the amount of pressure the pads apply to the brake disc.

When Should a Brake Disc Be Replaced?

The timing for replacing brake discs starts with correctly identifying potential problems. Wear and tear on brake discs can easily be determined by experts. Additionally, a decrease in braking performance noticed during vehicle use can signal that the brake discs need to be checked.

Generally, pads last longer than brake discs. It’s recommended that an average driver should have their brake discs checked every 40,000 kilometers. Experts suggest that brake discs should be replaced every 60,000 to 70,000 kilometers.

With this information in mind, it’s crucial to regularly have your brake discs checked and replaced when necessary to maintain the highest level of sudden stopping capability for your vehicle.

How to replace brake disc?

Changing the brake disc is a critical process for ensuring the safety of your vehicle and requires a certain level of expertise. If you lack experience in car repairs, it’s recommended to have this procedure carried out at a professional service. However, if you’re interested in understanding the brake disc replacement process, the steps are detailed below:

  • Prepare the Hydraulic System: As the first step, slightly loosen the brake hydraulic cap to allow hydraulic flow from the piston back to the reservoir.
  • Push Back the Piston: With the help of the caliper body and disc, the hydraulic piston should be pushed back.
  • Remove Caliper Bolts: The bolt holding the caliper in place should be removed using a torque wrench.
  • Loosen the Pin: The pin at the top should be loosened so that the caliper’s bottom bolt part can be removed.
  • Unload the Pads: Lift the caliper to unload the pads. No lubrication or greasing is needed at this stage.
  • Remove the Pin: The loosened pin should be completely removed.
  • Detach the Caliper Bracket: Unscrew the bolts at the back of the disc to release the caliper bracket and remove the hydraulic hose.
  • Unscrew Disc Bolts: The bolts on the front face of the disc should be unscrewed with a torque wrench.
  • Separate Disc and Hub: Discs left unmaintained for a long time may be firmly stuck to the hub. In this case, use a plastic hammer to separate the disc.
  • Install the New Disc: After removing the old disc, the new disc should be positioned in its place.
  • Complete the Assembly: After the new disc is installed, repeat the processes in reverse order to mount the new disc and make it ready for use.

This process is important for ensuring your vehicle’s brake system operates safely and effectively. Replacing brake discs on time enhances your driving safety and maximizes your vehicle’s performance during sudden stops.

Why Does a Brake Disc Warp?

Warping of brake discs occurs due to overheating situations. This condition can arise from factors such as incorrect assembly of brake system components. Specifically, excessive friction from improperly installed pads can cause overheating and subsequent warping of brake discs. Additionally, incompatible tire sizes, poor balance settings, and loose wheel nuts can also lead to heating and thus warping. The presence of stuck calipers can also cause similar issues.

It’s also important not to overlook shock absorber problems that hinder the correct functioning of brake discs. Malfunctioning shock absorbers disrupt the vehicle’s weight distribution, which can lead to warping of the brake discs.

When is Vehicle Maintenance Done?

Why Do Brake Discs Rust?

Brake discs, despite being made from durable and heat-resistant materials like steel, are prone to rusting when exposed to water. Particularly, humid weather conditions can lead to rusting on brake discs. In regions experiencing heavy icing, rusting on brake discs may be more common. Being aware of brake disc prices and having spare parts can be beneficial when dealing with rusted brake discs.

However, rusting rarely poses a serious problem for brake discs because the friction created by the pads during braking cleans off the rust. The key is ensuring compatibility between the pad and brake disc sizes. If there’s a discrepancy in sizes, uncleaned rusty areas might remain, reducing braking performance.

In vehicles not used for an extended period, rust spots can deepen over time, turning into pits, significantly affecting braking performance. Rust can also spread to the pads, causing further rusting and wear. This can be detected by noises made during braking.

While grinding may be a solution for excessively rusted brake discs, purchasing new brake discs is the most sensible solution if the discs have become thin.

Why Do Brake Discs Get Scratched?

Scratches on brake discs typically occur as a result of hard and sudden braking actions. Harsh and abrupt braking can cause the pads to apply excessive pressure on the brake disc, leading to wear and scratches on the disc surface. Moreover, not replacing brake system components in a timely manner can lead to deformation and scratches on the discs.

What are the Features of Summer Tires? When to Wear?

Why Do Brake Discs Warp?

Warping of brake discs stems from similar reasons as bending. The main factor in disc warping is the disc coming into contact with cold air or water while hot. This situation leads to uneven cooling of the discs and, as a result, warping. Incompatibility between the pads and the disc can also contribute to warping.

Warping of brake discs carries significant safety risks. Therefore, it’s essential to regularly check brake system components, especially pads, brake discs, and calipers. Warped brake discs can significantly reduce braking performance, leading to dangerous situations like brake failure.

Another major risk caused by warped discs is increased stopping and slowing times. Longer braking distances, especially during emergency braking, can lead to accidents. Thus, it’s crucial to immediately cease using warped brake discs.

Warped discs can cause continuous forward and backward movement of the brake pads and foaming in the brake hydraulic system. This can prevent the formation of adequate hydraulic pressure, rendering the brakes ineffective. Therefore, any warping or deformation in brake discs requires prompt intervention.

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