Most people appreciate the importance that brakes play on their automotive safety. Yet when it comes to understanding the particulars of how brakes work, those same people often remain in the dark. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding increases the likelihood of something going wrong.
Wise car owners should, therefore, arm themselves with at least some basic information about what makes their brakes work. If you would like to learn more about one of the most important components involved in bringing your car to a halt, read on. This article will provide a useful introduction to your brake rotors and the role they play in braking.
The Rotor's Role
As you likely already know, brake pads are responsible for generating the stopping power of a car. Yet the pads don't accomplish stopping all on their own. In order to generate the friction necessary for overcoming the forward momentum of a vehicle, the stationary pad must be pressed tightly against the rotor.
When your foot comes down on your brake pedal, it causes brake fluid to flow through a hydraulic system. This, in turn, triggers the calipers that hold the brake pads to tighten up around the rotors. The large amounts of friction involved will cause the brake pads to wear down over time. It also generates large amounts of heat that the metal rotor acts to dissipate.
Rotors take quite a beating as time goes on, although you can expect to go many tens of thousands of miles until you start to notice any problems. Constant exposure to friction will eventually take its toll, causing the metal on the outside of the rotor to begin wearing away. The heat generated in braking can prove equally problematic.
Heat may cause a brake rotor to become warped. In other words, the rotor will no longer form a perfect circle. As a result, the brake pad will not remain in constant contact with the rotor surface during braking. This makes braking both less efficient and potentially more dangerous. You must replace rotors that have become worn down or warped in order to restore proper functioning.
Bad Rotor Symptoms
The outer surface of a new rotor appears shiny and smooth. As the rotor accumulates wear, its surface will become gradually more pitted and rough. This change may lead to noticeable effects when you apply your brakes. For one thing, it may cause your steering wheel to vibrate during periods of braking. The faster you are going, the more intense such vibration will be.
You may also notice that your brake pedal seems to be transmitting vibrations and/or pulses. While this symptom can indicate wear, it remains more commonly associated with a warped rotor. Those bumps indicate that your brake pad is not remaining in constant contact with the surface of the rotor.
You may also begin to notice odd or unusual sounds that occur when you brake. Scraping or grinding sounds tend to associate with excessively worn rotors. Squealing and squeaking, on the other hand, more often indicates a rotor that has become warped. Such sounds may also stem from one or more brake pads that have reached the end of their lifespan.
Auto Repair Experts
While certain automotive problems may not require immediate action, any issues with your brakes should be addressed by a trained repair person as soon as possible. By allowing brake problems to remain unsolved, you put the safety of your family on the line. For more information about what it takes to keep your brake rotors in tip-top condition, please don't hesitate to contact the experts at Redford Auto Repair.