Best Brake Rotors in 2021 – A Complete Guide

| Last Updated: June 25, 2021

When discussing the braking system, most people automatically think of brake pads. However, the reality is that installing the best brake pads is a waste if your rotors are not in good shape and a good match. Both your brake pads and rotors should match your application. They work as a team.

In this article, we will walk you through this exciting topic so you can choose the brake rotors that best suit your needs.

Comparison of the Best Brake Rotors

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Stopping Power: Slots provide fantastic cooling to greatly reduce brake fade
  • Durability: Coating resists corrosion & slots keep temperatures low, resisting warping
  • Style & Options: Coated to resist rust & aggressive vents improve both form & function
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  • Stopping Power: Outstanding race-developed stopping power with maximum friction surface
  • Durability: Outstanding heat resistance and cooling lead to a very long lifespan
  • Style & Options: Black & gold hat coatings, with single or two-piece options for both colors
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  • Stopping Power: Improved stopping power with just enough cooling slots to improve cooling
  • Durability: Better than OE thanks to improved cooling, metal formula, & hat coating
  • Style & Options: Slot design stands out even among slotted rotors, black hat looks good
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  • Stopping Power: Great stopping power even under repeated hard braking thanks to cooling
  • Durability: Great cooling, full coating, and metal formula leads to long lifespan
  • Style & Options: Coating resists rust & unique slot design stands out among slotted rotors
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  • Stopping Power: Drilled, slotted, & high surface area provides a good improvement over OE
  • Durability: Additional cooling extends rotor life span in tougher conditions
  • Style & Options: Drilled & slotted design improves braking & appearance
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  • Stopping Power: Highly resistant to brake fade, great sustained stopping power
  • Durability: Hat coating resists rust & improved uniform cooling resists warping
  • Style & Options: Black or gray coating options available for most applications
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  • Stopping Power: Reduced brake fade from additional drilled/slotted cooling reduces fade
  • Durability: Cooler temperatures lead to reduced chances of warping
  • Style & Options: Drilled & slotted design provides aggressive/sporty look
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Are All Brake Rotors The Same? 

The short answer is no, not all rotors are the same. Nowadays there are countless variations in the design of brake rotors. Each design seeks to meet a specific use case such as off-road, street racing, professional racing, daily driving, and more. Despite all these differences in design, brake rotors can be classified in different ways.

According to their construction, brake rotors can be grouped as follows:

  • 1 Piece Rotors: This is the most common design since it is cheaper to manufacture. The entire rotor is made from a single casting

  • 2 Piece Rotors: As its name implies, the rotor is made from two different pieces that later are put together. These rotors are lighter hence are usually aimed to high-performance applications

Another useful (and popular) way to classify brake rotors is according to their pattern: 

  • Blank Rotors: This is the most widely used design which consists of a smooth surface. Most passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs come fitted with this type of rotor. They offer excellent noise-dampening levels and low dust properties.

  • Drilled & Slotted Rotors: Offer better cooling than blank rotors plus great brake pad gas/resin handling. Their main disadvantages are their tendency to crack and (somtimes) higher noise levels.

  • Conventional (uni-directional) Slotted Rotors: Provide excellent brake pad gas/resin/debris handling. Usually noisier than blank rotors.

  • Special (multi-directional) Slotted Rotors: Cutting-edge slotted rotors that provide all benefits from conventional slotted rotors with the added benefit of a more aesthetic look. No performance benefits have come to light on these.

In this review, we will focus only on sports brake rotors intended to improve your car's stopping power.

When to Replace Brake Rotors: Good Rotors vs Bad Rotors

The first thing to know is that depending on the brand, material, and design of your rotors they can last between 30,000 and 80,000 miles. That said, even if you buy the best brake rotors on the market, for safety reasons you should replace them every 70,000 miles. The question you are probably asking yourself now is, how do I know if I need to change my rotors before 70,000 miles?

Fortunately, there are a few signs that can help you identify a (possibly) bad brake rotor:

  • Vibrations on the steering wheel

  • Pulsations when braking at different speeds

  • Wear marks on rotors such as grooves or scoring

  • Change of coloration in the rotors (bluish color indicating overheat)

Driving with bad brake discs is a huge safety risk, even at low speeds. That is why, in case you suspect that your rotors are bad, we strongly suggest going to a shop for complete verification of your braking system.

How Do I Choose a Good Set of Rotors? 

Choosing a good set of brake rotors comes down to deciding which features you need the most for your application. There is no set of rotors that fit every use case. This means that you will always have to make a compromise between different aspects such as noise levels, temperature, dust production, and brake pad life, among others.

To facilitate your selection process, we have created a checklist with three key points to filter your options. Select which aspect (or aspects) are most important to you, and then remove the rotors that don't meet your criteria.

Durability

This is probably one of the qualities most people look for in a set of brake rotors. If your main motivation is durability/longevity then the most economical option is to choose blank brake discs. In the world of performance rotors though, your best option is rotors with a slotted design. The smoother the surface (fewer grooves) the better.

Braking Performance

Along with durability, a key aspect to consider is braking performance. In this regard, both slotted and drilled rotors are good options. If you are looking for a set of brake discs that offer excellent braking performance and good durability then your best option is choosing blanks rotors.

Aesthetics

Last but not least, there are countless enthusiasts who favor the look of their wheels above everything else. If the appearance of your wheels is a decisive factor then slotted rotors are a good choice (we're not huge fans of the drilled & slotted look, but many are).

You might be wondering, why rotor quality or price is not among the most important features to consider? Are they irrelevant? No, they are not irrelevant. However, in our opinion, comparing the price and quality of different rotors makes more sense after reducing your options using the checklist shown above.

Review of the Best Brake Rotors

Ready to choose the best brake rotors? In this section we present you with different options, ranging from high-performance to daily driving applications.

Best Aftermarket Brake Rotors & Best Rotors for Trucks:
EBC Brakes USR Series Brake Rotors

EBC Brakes USR972 USR Series Sport Slotted Rotor

PROS

  • Considering its premium quality, these rotors are reasonably priced
  • Great durability and low dust production, ideal for daily driving vehicles
  • Consistent brake pad contact with the rotor which dramatically extends its service life
  • Striking black coating, not only protects against rust but make your wheels stand out
  • The finer slot pattern used in EBC’s USR rotors makes them more silent than most slotted disc brakes

CONS

  • The premium materials used in these rotors makes them somewhat heavier than other alternatives (this improves heat absorption though)

What Recent Buyers Report

As with the USR model for SUVs, these rotors have excellent reviews such as this one where the vehicle owner mentions how these rotors lasted 4 years before needing replacement. An amazing feat that definitely speaks volumes about EBC’s quality.

Why it Stands Out to Us

EBC USR rotors are undoubtedly one of the best alternatives for those looking for better performance than OE rotors while maintaining high reliability and low noise levels. 

Durability

If there is something that makes EBC rotors stand out from other manufacturers, it is their quality and incredible attention to detail. USR rotors are no exception. They offer incredible durability thanks to their exclusive alloy, which together with the improved contact of the pad with the rotor surface guarantees uniform wear throughout the life of the rotor and pad set.

Braking Performance

The slotted design of the EBC USR rotors dramatically improves key aspects such as rotor and brake pad temperature, handling of water and dirt, and noise levels. All of this makes these rotors a good choice for everyday use.

Aesthetics

We are not going to deny that we are fans of the look of EBC's USR rotors. Its first-class finish along with its slotted design gives them a sporty and distinctive look 

Bottom Line

Similar to their SUV and truck counterparts, EBC's USR rotors provide an interesting combination of factors that make them worth considering for everyday applications. However, if you require a more aggressive look or significantly higher stopping power, we recommend other options such as PowerStop, Raybestos, or EBC's BSD rotors.

Runner-up:
Disc Brakes Australia 5000 Series Brake Rotors

DBA (52323.1S) 5000 Series Slotted Replacement Disc Brake Rotor, Rear

PROS

  • Convenient Thermo-graphic Paint markings (THGP) for quick checks between laps
  • Innovative universal slot design eliminates the need for separate left and right slot designs
  • Ultra-durable XG-150 High Carbon Alloyed Iron for reduced rotor fatigue during heavy braking
  • National Aerospace Standard (NAS) bolts and crimp nuts for a tight union between the disc and the hat
  • DBA’s 5000 Series T3 two-piece construction make these rotors very light, ideal for high-performance applications

CONS

  • Can be noisy when extremely hot (like after several track laps)
  • Pricey, you will pay good money for the high-end features these rotors offer

What Recent Buyers Report

This buyer summarized the key benefits of DBA Club Spec 5000 Series T3 rotors wonderfully, and embodies the general consensus amongst auto enthusiasts regarding these rotors. In addition to praising how good the rotors look on his wheels, he emphasizes how quiet the braking is now and how noticeable the stopping power is.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Disc Brakes Australia 5000 Series rotors are without any doubt an excellent option for people looking for high-end rotors with very few compromises. Let's take a look at its key features using our checklist.

Durability

The high carbon XG150 alloy in DBA 5000 Series T3 rotors gives them impressive mechanical characteristics. Not only do they perform extremely well at high temperatures, but they also guarantee remarkable durability even under heavy braking conditions. Add their paint protection on non-friction areas and you have a rotor set built to last.

Braking Performance

DBA's exclusive Kangaroo Paw ventilation system along with its tri-symmetrical slot design and two-piece construction guarantee unrivaled pad bite with zero fading even at high speeds. Moreover, its Thermo-graphic Paint markings (THGP) give you the ability to verify the temperature of the discs quickly and comfortably which is a great advantage in high-performance applications.

Aesthetics

Although the DBA 5000 Series T3 rotors are not drilled, their distinctive slot design gives your vehicle an aggressive, modern look.

Bottom Line

The Disc Brakes Australia 5000 Series brake rotors are definitely an incredible engineering achievement. In addition to offering durability and high-performance features, the exclusive design of its slots provides a fairly acceptable noise level. However, due to their high price, you should think twice before using them for daily driving.

Best for the Money:
Sparta Evolution GP-1 Brake Rotors

Sparta Evolution GP-1 Rotor for Subaru Forester/Impreza/Legacy 265x10 Rear (Pair)

PROS

  • Designed to last longer than comparable slotted rotors
  • Excellent performance under the most demanding braking conditions
  • Built using Sparta’s GX 3.0 alloy to increase its wear resistance and heat cycling capabilities
  • Coated in with Sparta’s E-Met formulation, to provide them with superior protection against rust and corrosion
  • Evolution GP-1 brake rotors feature Sparta’s patented Tri-Wing (TW3) vented and slotted pattern for improved gas/dust removal and maximum durability

CONS

  • Little coverage of domestic vehicles, more focused on European and Japanese vehicles
  • The price/performance ratio of the Sparta GP1 rotors still leaves much to be desired, especially when compared to StopTech or PowerStop rotors

What Recent Buyers Report

Unfortunately, in the case of Sparta Evolution GP-1 brake rotors, buyers' feedback is sparse. We believe this is due to the exclusive nature of this product, even in the North American market.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Sparta Evolution GP-1 brake rotors were designed with one clear goal in mind, offering maximum durability. In that sense, they are ideal candidates for daily driving vehicles or even occasional street performance runs. 

Durability

This is definitely the strong point of these rotors. On the one hand, they are made with G3000 High Carbon cast iron for improved service life. On the other hand, Sparta's E-coating provides Evolution GP-1 rotors with better rust protection than conventional zinc plated rotors.

Braking Performance

Although Sparta Evolution GP-1 rotors certainly offer excellent heat dissipation as well as timely removal of gas and dust from the brake pads, they were not created for high-performance applications. These rotors were designed to offer a marked improvement in braking performance over standard OE parts.

Aesthetics

It would be unfair to say that the Sparta Evolution GP-1 rotors don't add a sporty touch to your car. However, that's the problem, it's just a little touch. Unlike other options in this review, the pattern of the grooves is hardly noticed, and that can be a problem for those looking for rotors that stand out from the rest.

Bottom Line

In our opinion, Sparta Evolution rotors are a good fit for people who need a set of rotors with great durability and enhanced stopping power. However, these rotors are not necessarily the best option for those who want to show off their wheels to their friends.

Best EBC Rotors:
EBC Brakes BSD Series Brake Rotors

EBC Brakes BSD7520 BSD Blade Disc Rotor

PROS

  • Bi-directional slot design for improved braking performance
  • Intermediate grade track day and race rotors that also suit daily driving applications
  • BSD rotors feature the legendary quality and premium finishes that only EBC can offer
  • The Black Geomet coating gives these rotors added protection against corrosion as well as a distinctive look
  • Exclusive blade slot design that removes gases and debris from the braking zone and thus increases stopping power

CONS

  • Expensive, not at the level of BDA’s 5000 Series, but markedly more expensive than StopTech or USR rotors

What Recent Buyers Report

This review eloquently summarizes what you should expect from EBC's BSD rotors. Basically, the vehicle owner shares his experience when using EBC’s BSD rotors along with EBC’s recommended Greenstuff brake pads and how noticeable was the braking improvement overall.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Unlike the USR line, EBC Brakes' BSD rotors are focused on delivering excellent performance, even at the expense of producing more dust and reducing the pad life. Let's review its main characteristics.

Durability

BSD rotors are made from an iron alloy of unsurpassed quality, which gives them a long service life. However, the design of its grooves considerably reduces the useful life of the brake pads. This is a factor to consider if you are using (as you should) high-quality brake pads.

Braking Performance

In terms of performance, BSD rotors are only second to BDA's 5000 Series. The design of their grooves and their excellent internal ventilation allow them to guarantee safe braking in the demanding conditions of a race track. Since they are considered "intermediate grade race rotors" they can also be used in daily driving. That is if you are willing to sacrifice your brake pads.

Aesthetics

This is another aspect where BSD rotors stand out from the rest. Their perfect finish gives them a sporty appearance that is very hard to beat.

Bottom Line

BSD rotors are the top of the line for the EBC brand. As such, they provide unsurpassed quality and better braking performance than most of the other brake discs in this review. If your goal is to enjoy a weekend on the track these rotors will not disappoint. Now if you plan to use them in your vehicle on a daily basis, be aware that your brake pads will suffer accelerated wear.

Best Power Stop Rotors:
Power Stop Evolution Drilled & Slotted Rotors

Power Stop AR8640XPR Front Evolution Drilled & Slotted Rotor Pair

PROS

  • Excellent price/performance ratio
  • Zinc plated for enhanced rust protection
  • Ideal for daily driving as well as occasional spirited driving
  • Direct replacement, bolt-on ready performance brake upgrade
  • Their drilled & slotted design prevents gases and dust from accumulating on the surface

CONS

  • Only recommended as an upgrade to your OE rotors, these rotors are not suitable for racing
  • Even though they are high quality, their design makes them prone to cracking, especially under continuous heavy braking conditions

What Recent Buyers Report

The huge amount of positive reviews only confirm how popular are PowerStop rotors among enthusiasts. Take this review for example, where the buyer describes how after 10 years of using different brands Power Stop rotors proved to the best ones yet.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The incredible price/performance ratio offered by PowerStop could make you wonder, are these inexpensive rotors really good for my vehicle? Let's find out.

Durability

While it is true that PowerStop produces high-quality rotors, it is also true that the drilled & slotted design does not favor the durability of the product. Even using beveled drill holes, the appearance of cracks is inevitable. Under "normal" daily driving conditions, you can expect these rotors to last over 50,000 miles, but if your driving style is spirited/sporty, their lifespan is likely to be significantly reduced.

Braking Performance

The bright side of using a drilled & slotted design is the performance gains. PowerStop rotors offer fantastic heat dissipation which translates into a noticeable stopping power increase. Moreover, these rotors make an exceptional job at sweeping away gases and debris from the rotor's surface increasing braking consistency at all speeds.

Aesthetics

PowerStop scores another point in this category. One of the reasons that make this brand so popular is its striking design. Considering its inexpensive price tag, it's hard to avoid the temptation of improving the look of your car, truck, or SUV by installing a set of these beautiful rotors.

Bottom Line

PowerStop Evolution rotors are certainly a solid choice for those looking to improve the appearance of their vehicles without breaking the bank. They are also a valid choice for people who want to enhance braking power using “bolt-on ready” rotors. However, if durability is what you need, Spartan, Raybestos, or EBC rotors are a better alternative.

Best Raybestos Rotors:
Raybestos Advanced Technology Brake Rotors

Raybestos 580279PER Advanced Technology Disc Brake Rotor

PROS

  • Designed to provide low noise and vibration levels
  • Vented for optimal cooling and reduced brake fade
  • Black fusion coating on the rotor hat to protect it against rust
  • Awesome price/performance ratio, ideal for daily driving vehicles
  • Their unique S-Groove slotted pattern is precisely machined to improve pad life

CONS

  • Given that Raybestos built these rotors to last, they are heavier than similar products from other brands

What Recent Buyers Report

Raybestos rotors are designed with durability in mind. This buyer expresses it quite clearly when he mentions how quiet, and dependable they are.

Additionally, consider this client who discusses the performance and aesthetics that Raybestos rotors gave to his truck, quick stops, and nice-looking behind open wheels.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Raybestos rotors may not be the most suitable for high-performance applications, but they are definitely an option to consider for people who prefer durability above all else.

Durability

This is one aspect where Raybestos rotors stand out from the rest. Its entire design revolves around maximizing both rotor and brake pad life. As you might expect, these rotors also favor low levels of noise and dust. Ideal for everyday applications.

Braking Performance

While it is true that this is not the strength of these rotors, it is also true that they offer a noticeable improvement over OE rotors. The grooved design and efficient ventilation of the Raybestos rotors allow them to maintain a suitable temperature even during heavy braking.

Aesthetics

Although the slotted design of the Raybestos rotors is not as striking as that used by EBC or DBA it is certainly better than the design used by Spartan. So it can be considered a sporty yet conservative design.

Bottom Line

Raybestos brake discs belong to the same category as EBC USR and Spartan rotors. It is a product designed for everyday use, which places a huge emphasis on durability and convenience. This approach is possibly suitable for 80% of vehicle owners. If you belong to the remaining 20% who require maximum braking performance, then DBA or EBC BSD rotors are definitely a better alternative.

Best Stoptech Rotors:
StopTech Select Sport Drilled & Slotted Brake Rotors

StopTech 227.40021R Select Sport Drilled and Slotted Brake Rotor; Front Right

PROS

  • Zinc coated for added rust protection
  • Backed up by Centric’s leading quality
  • Excellent cooling and degassing capabilities
  • Great looks thanks to its drilled & slotted design
  • Good price point, not as cheap as PowerStop rotors, but still a good option for street performance enthusiasts

CONS

  • Since they're drilled, these rotors can develop cracks
  • Although they significantly improve stopping power, they are not designed for high-performance applications

What Recent Buyers Report

Talking about Centric is talking about high quality. StopTech rotors are no exception. Positive reviews like this one praising StopTech’s exceptional quality are proof of that.

Or this one, where a customer satisfied by StopTech quality also mentioned it was a perfect fit for his vehicle.

Why it Stands Out to Us

You can think of StopTech rotors as an improved version of PowerStop's drilled & slotted rotors. These rotors are aimed at the same driver profile, people looking for a bolt-on performance upgrade for their brakes.

Durability

Being designed and manufactured by Centric’s team, there is no doubt that these rotors are of excellent quality. However, they are drilled. And that fact alone makes them prone to cracking. It's just a matter of timing and driving style. Despite this, they have in their favor the high-end materials used by Centric, which guarantees better service life than other brands.

Braking Performance

StopTech Select Sport Drilled & Slotted brake rotors offer an unmatched improvement in stopping power. The pattern of the grooves as well as their perforations allow the brake pads to stay cool and free of dirt. However, this increase in braking performance comes at a price. Noise and increased dust production.

Aesthetics

It's hard to imagine another set of rotors that looks as good as StopTech's Select Sport Drilled & Slotted rotors. Nevertheless, if you like the look of drilled & slotted rotors, PowerStop is another alternative to consider.

Bottom Line

StopTech Select Sport rotors have advantages on almost every front. They look amazing, provide a huge improvement to the braking system, and are relatively inexpensive. However, if you are concerned about the durability of your pads, it may be wise to opt for other alternatives.

Slotted vs Drilled Rotors - Comparison Overview 

Certainly, both slotted and drilled rotors give your car a distinctive look. But beyond that, what makes one design better than the other? The answer lies in how each type of rotor affects the behavior of the brakes. 

  1. Slotted rotors are designed to remove both gases and brake dust that normally get trapped between the brake pad and the rotor. Thanks to this action, the braking power remains stable at high speeds. That is why slotted rotors are indispensable in high-end performance applications where the vehicle needs to brake at high speeds.

  2. Drilled rotors do not provide the same ability to disperse gas or dust, but their design confers them better heat dissipation than slotted rotors. Although that is a great plus for street performance applications, drilled rotors tend to crack quicker and more frequently than slotted rotors which is why many people stay away from them.

Note: Recent testing has proven that these features and their benefits are relics from the earlier days of brake pad/rotor quality. Brake pads do not 'gas' or need slots to be 'cleaned' any longer.
Formula 1 teams use blank rotors.

That being said, neither drilled rotors nor slotted rotors are really necessary anymore. The best option for everyday driving applications is plain blank ventilated rotors due to their lower manufacturing expenses.

Slotted Rotors vs Solid - Comparison Overview

In the previous section, it was mentioned the clear advantage that slotted rotors offer for racing applications. However, how do these rotors compare to conventional blank rotors?

  1. Solid rotors provide optimal performance for daily driving applications. They offer more contact area than slotted rotors, are generally quieter, and produce much less dust under normal driving conditions.

  2. On the other hand, the design of the slotted rotors makes them "scrape/clean" the brake pads to keep them free of impurities. The problem is that at low speeds this does not bring any benefit and rather accelerates the wear of the brake pads.

Resurfacing Rotors vs Replacing

From a technical point of view, you could theoretically resurface rotors as long as they comply with the manufacturer's minimal required thickness. However, from a practical standpoint, it is probably a better idea to replace them. Below we elaborate on why replacing your rotors is, in most cases, your best choice.

  1. You can only resurface blank/smooth rotors. Cross-drilled and/or slotted rotors can not be resurfaced - it is likely to break the lathe’s carbide tip. So, if you currently use slotted or drilled rotors, you have no option but to replace them.

  2. Even if you do have blank rotors, buying a new set of quality rotors is inexpensive nowadays. Why bothering with resurfacing them? For a few dollars, it is not worth taking the risk of driving with thinner brake discs.

  3. In newer vehicles, for safety reasons, manufacturers literally forbid the installation of resurfaced brake discs.

Coated vs Uncoated Rotors

Today there is a lot of excitement around coated rotors. However, do you really need coated brake rotors? Below we contrast the advantages and disadvantages of this type of treatment.

Pros

  • Coated brake rotors provide an extra layer of protection against rust to rotor edges and ventilation vanes

  • Coated brake rotors (especially those using black coatings) provide a striking look to your wheels

Cons

  • Coated brake rotors are more expensive than non-coated rotors

  • The coating material will wear away over time. Depending on your driving style, this will eliminate the flashy look of your rotors in a matter of months or even weeks.

Overall, if you live near the ocean or any other area with high levels of humidity you may benefit a bit from coated rotors since they will keep your ventilation vanes cleaner for a longer period of time. However, in most scenarios, you will get little to no performance gains from using a coated brake rotors.

Best Rotor Brands

Making a list of the best brake rotor brands is quite a challenge. In principle, because today there are brands that specialize in manufacturing the best rotors in terms of durability and reliability, while other brands focus on designing and manufacturing the best high-performance rotors on the market. With that said, below we present, in no particular order, what in our opinion are the best brake rotors brands in the world.

  • EBC Brakes
  • StopTech
  • Centric
  • Raybestos
  • PowerStop
  • Brembo
  • Bosch
  • ACDelco
  • Wagner

Best Brake Rotor Material

There is a lot of debate about which is the best material for brake rotors. The Society of Automotive Engineers in its SAE J431 standard defines different grades of automotive gray iron casting materials ranging from G1800 to G4000 which are commonly used by brake rotors manufacturers. Higher grades provide brake rotors with higher tensile strength and hardness (but more brittle), while lower grades confer rotors better noise-damping properties. 

And therein lies the debate, which material offers the best balance between noise-dampening and strength? The general consensus is that the G3000 iron is best suited for normal driving conditions and therefore is the most widely used by brake rotor manufacturers. On the other hand, G3500 and G4000 iron are normally used in specific use cases involving high-stress situations where noise and durability is not the main concern.

StopTech Select Sport Drilled & Slotted Brake Rotors

How to Change Rotors

Changing rotors is a relatively easy procedure if you have the right tools at hand. Below we will outline the main steps necessary to carry out this task. However, for your convenience, we also include a video at the end of this section that shows you the detailed procedure on how to change your rotors.

  1. Have everything you need close at hand. Consult your vehicle's service manual and have all the tools you need to change your rotors handy.

  2. Lift the wheels. Lift your vehicle and secure it by placing jack stands at the manufacturer's recommended support points.

  3. Get access to the rotors. Remove the wheels and then, using the appropriate wrenches, remove the caliper as well as its support bracket

  4. Remove the rotors. If the rotor has never been changed you will find two screws that hold it in place. If so, it is most likely that they are rusty so you will need lubricant and give a few taps with a mallet to loosen them. Once you remove the screws you can remove the rotor, however, it is very possible that it is also stuck with rust. Read our last section for tips on how to remove a stuck rotor.

  5. Clean the brake hub. Rust is your enemy. Use a wire brush to remove rust buildup around the rotor hub.

  6. Prepare new rotors. Before installing the new rotor you need to remove residues and oil on its surface. Refer to our last section for tips on how to clean rotors.

  7. Install new rotors and brake pads. Now that your rotors are free from oil and dirt you can install them along with the new brake pad set. 

For more detailed instructions on how to change your rotors (and brake pads) refer to the video below.

Conclusion

In this review, we have explored many aspects related to brake rotors, types of rotors, materials used for their construction, and even how to replace them. Also, we have examined various rotor options and rotor brands ranging from daily driving applications to competition-grade rotors. Hopefully, with the knowledge in this article, you will be able to judge for yourself which are the best brake rotors for your vehicle and therefore take full advantage of your braking system.

People Also Ask

Although this is an exciting topic, it is also quite extensive and has probably generated some doubts. In this section, we will focus on clarifying these doubts by answering the most common questions related to brake rotors.

How Much Should it Cost to Replace Brake Pads and Rotors?

Depending on the make, model, and year of your vehicle, you can expect to spend between $400 to $1500 on parts, and between $200 to $500 on labor (depending on the repair shop). These prices assume that you are servicing front and rear brake pads and rotors, using any of the brands described in this review. 

What is the Average Lifetime of Brake Rotors?

High-quality brake disc rotors can last from 50,000 miles to 80,000 miles (80,467 km to 128,747 km). However, in addition to the brand, many other factors determine how long rotors can last. These factors include driving habits, brake pad material, rotor type, vehicle weight, and vehicle usage.

Power Stop Evolution Drilled & Slotted Rotors

How Do I Remove a Stuck Rotor?

Probably the most common way to remove a stuck rotor is by hitting it with a hammer. However, this method can damage the rotor permanently. A safer method is to use a homemade extractor along with a penetrating nut and bolt oil such as PB Blaster or WD-40.
Using a long bolt with a smaller diameter than the hole in the caliper bracket, a nut, and a washer you can improvise a puller to loosen the rotor. With the help of a wrench hold the nut and start threading the bolt until it makes contact with the rotor. Thread the bolt a little more to free the rotor, loosen the bolt a little bit, spin the rotor, and repeat. Spraying PB Blaster or WD-40 over the hub will facilitate the process tremendously.

Do You Have to Resurface Rotors When Changing Pads?

Not necessarily. If your rotors are warped, have signs of cracks, severe grooving, or rusting, then you will definitely have to resurface (or replace) them. 

On the other hand, if your brake rotors show normal wear and tear you may install a new set of brake pads without resurfacing them. In general, if your rotors are not damaged and their thickness is within the manufacturer's acceptable threshold, you can just replace your pads.

How Do I Clean Rotors?

Cleaning the brake rotors before installing them is an important part of the process to prevent dirt or metal debris trapped in the pads or rotor from later causing squeaks when braking. All you have to do is scrub both sides of the rotor with a stiff bristle brush or abrasive pad using hot soapy water. Then do one final wipe down with brakecleen.

What Causes Brake Rotors to Warp?

Rotors warp is caused by a combination of two factors. On one hand, an aggressive driving style with excessive braking at high speeds, and on the other hand rotors or brake pads near the end of their lifespan.

The heat produced by braking at high speeds combined with the uneven contact of the brake pad with the rotor causes some of the friction material to adhere to the rotor surface and eventually form cementite. Once cementite is formed, you will start noticing your brake pedal wobbling when you apply brakes due to the vibration produced in the rotor caused by cementite “hard spots”.

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Steve has been maintaining and modifying vehicles for over ten years. He grew up like most of us did: progressing from Hot Wheels & Legos to racing games like Gran Turismo, eventually taking everything apart just to see what made it tick. His career path was pretty clear early on!

Steve is currently a Certified Auto Repair Technician who graduated top of his class; he's rebuilt engines, transmissions, suspension, and everything in between. Steve also runs his own Youtube production covering hot automotive topics called Cars Simplified. He currently terrorizes the streets of New England in an iconic American classic: the Pontiac GTO.

Who Wrote This Article?

Damaso Sig

Our Automotive Journalist

Damaso has been in the automotive world since he was 14 years old when his father bought an auto repair shop. Years later, his passion for electronics, computers, and automotive mechanics motivated him to graduate in Mechanical Engineering and venture into the sales of automotive equipment.

For years Damaso worked as a technical advisor assisting car dealerships, tire shops, and even the plants of Toyota and Mitsubishi that operate in his country. He has over 25 years of experience reporting on topics ranging from DIY jobs, technological analysis, automotive news, and more. He is a wealth of information and a valued member of our team.
@damasosanoja

Damaso has been in the automotive world since he was 14 years old and his father decided to bought an auto repair shop. Years later, his passion for electronics, computers, and automotive mechanics motivated him to graduate in Mechanical Engineering and venture into the sales of automotive equipment. For years Damaso worked as a technical advisor assisting car dealerships, tire shops, and even the plants of Toyota and Mitsubishi that operate in his country. He has over 25 years of experience reporting on topics ranging from DIY jobs, technological analysis, automotive news, and more. He is a wealth of information and a valued member of our team.