How Brake Pads And Brake Rotors Work On Your Vehicle

By | October 7, 2011

Most of us realize we are going to have to do a little maintenance on our vehicles in order to ensure they run properly. We all know we must get the fluids checked and changed, as well as checking to be sure our tire pressure is accurate. But many people don’t know a lot about their brake system and how it works.

There is one thing most of us overlook when it comes to the proper maintenance of our vehicle and that is our brake system. We think if we simple have our fluids changed and change our brake pads that we are good to go, right, well not really. There are a few other brake parts, such as your brake rotors that need to be included, in order to ensure your vehicle will brake properly and your whole braking system works properly together.

Most of us do not even realize the importance of the brake rotors in out braking system. The brake rotors or what some refer to as brake disc, are actually what your brake pads clamp down on in order to stop your wheels from spinning. Most of us would be surprised to realize that the brake rotors are of equal importance in stopping our vehicles as the brake pads are. In order to ensure both parts work together you must be sure both parts are replaced and well maintained as often as needed.

It’s also interesting to note that the front brake pads wear more on some cars, but the rear pads wear more on others. And in most cases, the rotors wear much slower than the pads. There are many types of brake pads available for the street and for the track. Some street pads do a great job of reducing brake dust. Track pads have more stopping power but they require more heat to work properly. So they are not well suited for the street.

There are two major types of brake rotors including drilled and slotted. Drilled brake rotors have holes drilled in them. Now this may seem like a strange concept but here are a few reasons why this type of rotor may make sense for your vehicle. The first reason being heat, when the brake pads grab onto the rotor they create friction, which in turn creates heat. If this type of heat can’t escape this may lead to permanent damage to your brakes and in turn reduces stopping power. There are also known problems of gas build up in some older types of brake pads caused by gas build up in between the rotors and pads. This type of gas build up can also limit your stopping power. The final reason you may prefer to use drilled rotors is water. This may seem strange but if the truth is that if you go through a puddle or take your car through the car wash water can get on the brake rotors and in turn making it harder for the pads to grab onto them when stopping. The downfall of these types of rotors is that with all the holes in them, they tend to weaken the rotors in the same way if you put a bunch of holes in a wall, it would be weaken the wall.

Slotted rotors are popular with performance car drivers because their type of driving tends to put a lot of pressure on the rotors and drilled rotors as mentioned above tend to be weaker and would not withstand the pressure. Slotted brake rotors use slots carved into flat metal the flat metal surface in order to move gas, water and heat away from the surface of your rotors. The downside to slotted rotors is that they tend to wear out your vehicles pads quicker; because of this most production performance vehicles tend to have a drilled variety in them.

No matter if you choose drilled or slotted brakes, the important part is that you keep your brake pads and rotors checked and in perfect running condition. Besides wanting your vehicle to go when you say, it is as equally important for your vehicle to stop when you want it to.