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Should I Buy New Rotors or Should I Just Turn Them?

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You might want to save a few bucks by turning your rotors instead of purchasing new ones, but in most cases, it’s not worth it. Keep reading to find out why. 

What does ‘turning’ brake rotors mean?

Turning the brake rotors is a process done to the rotors to extend their lifespan. Usually the rotor is mounted on a lathe where two bits of steel are placed on either side of the rotor. It is then spun around by the lathe while the bits remove the material from the surface of both sides to true up the rotor, essentially removing the embedded brake pad material from it. 

Turning brake rotors essentially ‘heals’ your brake rotors by correcting any warpage that may have occurred during your daily drives, as these parts are often exposed to extreme heat cycling. 

How much does it cost to turn brake rotors?

Turning your brake rotors is a complicated process. When it’s done by a mechanic, it usually costs around $15-25 per rotor. That might sound cheap and affordable, but not when you consider that a new rotor will set you back around $20-30. This means that you might be able to save up to $15 per rotor when you turn them.

When do you replace your brake rotors?

While turning brake rotors is a quick and easy way to extend the lifespan of your brakes, it doesn’t always solve the problem you have. If you’re thinking about getting your rotors turned, read this list of instances first, and then decide. 

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Visibly thin or worn down brake pads

Most of the time, it will be visibly obvious that your brake pads are worn down. A simple visual inspection will be enough for you to see the difference between a new and an old pad. When worn down brake pads are your problem, turning the brake rotors won’t affect your brake’s performance. 

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Squeaking or squealing sounds when braking 

If you hear squeaking or squealing sounds when you press down on your brake pedal, then it might mean that the problem won’t be solved by turning the rotors. Your rotors might be worn down to the point where turning them will do more harm than good. 

When you have an Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) equipped vehicle 

If your car has an ABS, then turning your rotors is not recommended. ABS’s are very complex, and they have sensors that are tuned according to your brake’s shape. If you turn your rotors and wear them down too much, then the ABS might not be able to function, as the sensors wouldn’t be able to do their jobs properly.

Financial Capability

The process of turning rotors is cheaper than having them all replaced completely. However, when you consider the fact that you’ll have fewer problems with the replacements, will the gap still matter? To some people, yes. 

So if you feel like you need to save the extra few dollars, and you aren’t experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms, then, by all means, have your rotors turned. 

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Where can you have your rotors turned?

Once you’ve decided that you would rather have your rotors turned than having them replaced, the next question for you would be where to have it done. Most repair centers and car dealerships offer these services. Just make sure that these centers and dealerships don’t charge you way more than the rates listed above. If they do, then you might want to explore a different option. 

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Extend the Life of Your Brakes

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