Can Brake Rotors Warp From Sitting?

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Brake rotors just like most, if not all, components of vehicle brakes are designed with some of the most durable and resilient substances after very in-depth research. It is due to this quality that they are capable of surviving virtually all kinds of environmental hazards. How then do brake rotors fare while in storage for either a short or extended period?

Yes,  brake rotors can both warp,  rust and go bad just from sitting while in storage, especially for very long durations associated with relative inactivity.

For example, if you park a vehicle for a long period without being driven, whenever you jump-start the battery and test drive such a vehicle, chances are pretty high that you will hear the brakes grinding, due mostly to warped rotors.

Additionally, you can also tell that the brakes have gone bad if you feel any grinding noise when applying the brakes or hear a high pitched squealing noise in some instances.

Table Of Contents

Can rotors go bad from just sitting?

Yes, brake rotors do go bad from just sitting. Though judging from the strength or resilience of brake rotors to withstand the destructive effects of environmental factors,  factory-made rotors are said to be better than all others, if experience and the overall customer reviews across a worldwide audience are used as an index.

What causes a brake rotor to warp?

Warping of brakes is having an uneven surface on it which is mainly caused by heat. Brake rotors can become warped whenever they become glazed with materials from the brake pads. Usually, this happens when the brake pads get very hot which often causes the materials of the pad to rub off onto the brake rotors.

What happens if my rotors are warped?

If your rotors are warped, the most common symptom is a squealing noise whenever you try to either slow down or stop the car. Warped rotors are also causative to scraping or grinding sounds. Though the squealing noise can also be made by worn out or degraded brake pads too. (Read Also:Can You Brake Check A Cop?)

What are the signs of a bad rotor?

Commonly, warped rotors can cause a kind of speaking or squealing noise if you try to either slow down or possibly stop the vehicle. (Read Also:Do Ceramic Brakes Pads Smell?)

How long does it take to fix warped rotors?

On a general note, completely fix a warped brake rotor can take up to about one and a half to two hours. It usually takes this much time because there’s a lot to be done if you want to execute a proper job, depending on the condition of the brake system when you start the repairs. However, this length of time includes that which you will use to resurface the rotors on some specific disc brake type vehicle. (Read Also: Can brake pads be too thick?Find Out)

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How do you check if your rotors are warped?

Whenever you notice that either your steering wheel or brake pedal wobbles after you apply the brakes to slow down or stop the vehicle, chances are that your rotors are warped. In cases where the warp is not a major one, you may not really notice the vibration, but if it is, you will definitely feel it. However, there are certain definite steps to take that will enable you to check for warped rotors.

Step 1

First, take the vehicle for a short ride and apply the brakes. If the brake pedal pulsates or vibrates, check the rotors immediately, as that may be an indication that they are indeed warped.

Step 2

Next, park the car on flat ground or even in a garage and then set the emergency brakes. Thereafter, turn the vehicle off and retrieve your car jack and its lug wrench. Ensure that you check the sides of both the driver and passenger in order to ascertain that they are in perfect condition. Where you have a four-wheel-drive disc brake, check the rotors in the rear too.(Read Also: Are Drum Brakes Self Adjusting?)

Now, use your lug wrench to loosen the nuts of the wheel on the side you have chosen. Do not remove the nuts completely, but only break them loose. (Read Also:Are Brake Pads Supposed To Be Loose?)

Step 4

Position the jack under the vehicle and proceed to lift it so that the tire is about one inch or so off the ground. Then adjust the jack stand and place it under the frame or even the axle of the car.

Step 5

Finally, unscrew the lug nuts totally and take off the tire. In cases where your rotor is extremely dusty or dirty, spray it down with a brake cleaner. Then, hold the edge of your ruler lengthwise against the surface of the brake rotor. Look between the rotor and the ruler, and if you see a between the two, there is a good chance that your rotor is warped, which must as a matter of necessity be replaced. This bad rotor must neither be turned nor resurfaced. If you are lucky that the rotor isn’t warped, make sure that you check the brake rotor on the opposite side as well.

How much does it cost to fix a warped rotor?

If you plan to replace your brake discs, it may cost you between two hundred and four hundred dollars for only the necessary parts and a further one hundred and fifty for the labor involved. All in all, you are looking at a total cost of about four hundred to five hundred dollars for a brake rotor replacement job.

Is it dangerous to drive with warped rotors?

Indeed it is. For that reason, if you suspect that you have a warped rotor or that your brakes are failing, it is important you avoid driving the vehicle and promptly contact a mechanic. You should know that driving with a warped rotor is liable to lead to a complete brake system failure, which can cause injury to you and even those around you. So, watch it. (Read Also: Can brake drums be welded?Find Out)

Are brake pads supposed to be smooth?

With time, your brake rotors will suffer wear and degradation and in addition, the brake pads may also create a slight groove in them.

This can be harmful to the rotors and as such must be prevented. A healthy brake rotor should be smooth and with an uninterrupted surface, free of any grime, grooves, or grit that can accord you the quality you deserve.

How do I keep my rotors shiny?

To ensure this without fail, always park your vehicle in a garage and your rotors will most likely stay nice and shiny. If however, you must park outside in the elements, then endeavor to spray the rotors with WD 40 and do not drive the vehicle at all. This will guarantee that they will stay nice-looking and shiny for at least one month.

Why are my rotors warping so fast?

Your rotors can commonly become warped fast when they are frequently glazed with the materials of a worn brake pad that is rubbed off on them.(Read Also:Can You Brake And Downshift At The Same Time?)

The material of the brake pads usually flakes off if it becomes too hot. Conversely, if you do not wish for your rotors to warp fast, you must always make sure that they are well taken care of and also used carefully in order to prevent any arbitrary rise in temperature which will predispose to both premature and frequent warping.

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Can warped rotors be fixed?

Yes, they can. However, this depends on the extent of damage they have suffered. This process of fixing warped brake rotors is referred to as resurfacing, which involves scraping down the warped metal surface in order to achieve a smooth surface. A good auto mechanic can accomplish that easily and at a very minimal cost too.

Can a stuck caliper warp a rotor?

Of course, brake rotors can warp from intense heat. It should be noted that when brake rotors are new, they are thicker and consequently better at dissipating heat, though where this heat comes from is a whole new matter entirely. For instance, a stuck caliper is capable of dragging and overheating a brake rotor. 

What happens if rotors are not replaced?

Obviously, this causes squeaking and squealing noises if the rotors are not resurfaced. In such a situation, you can quite satisfactorily resolve the issue with a product known as the CRC No Squeal, which when sprayed on the noisy rotors during resurfacing gives an impressive result. In fact, it also seats the pads well during stops.

How do you know if your calipers are seized?

It is easy to know if you look out for some basic symptoms. Should your piston get stuck within the caliper, or even when the caliper itself get stuck, the car feels down on power, just as if the parking brake is on.

In addition, you may also notice the car pulling to one side even when the steering wheel is pointed straight when you are only driving and not even applying the brakes. Furthermore, as you drive, the seized brake may also get hot, very hot indeed.

How long does it take to fix warped rotors?

All things being equal, the process should not take more than about thirty minutes or so for each rotor, but if the shop is busy, it is just better to call ahead and make sure that they can do it for you quickly.

Is it cheaper to resurface or replace rotors?

In some instances, it is a lot cheaper to replace a brake rotor than it is to actually get it re-coated, particularly if you are a DIY mechanic. (Read Also:Can Brake Drums Be Turned?)

What happens if you don’t resurface rotors?

Failure to resurface rotors can make your brakes squeal and squeak. However, the problem can easily be resolved by using an anti-squealing chemical agent known as CRC No Squeal. In using this substance, all you are required to do is to spray it on the rotors whenever you are replacing the pads. Spraying the rotors with it will more or less resurface the warped rotor and can eliminate the noise.

What kind of noise does a warped rotor make?

More often than not, warped rotors produce squealing and squeaking noises, but where they are severely warped, they produce a kind of scraping noise mainly. All in all, warped rotors are associated with very irritating noises, which may be indicative of the depth or severity of the warping.

Can brake rotors warp from sitting – Conclusion

Your brake rotors are designed to withstand strain by virtue of the quality of the materials used in manufacturing them. Despite this strategy, they can still get damaged, or in other words,  become warped by just sitting in storage.

When they do this, you are bound to hear both scraping or squeaking sounds coming from them. Luckily, there are simple means via which you can solve the problem either through a mechanic or by using a special anti-squeal chemical.

You have also been informed on the ways or means through which you can prevent your rotors from becoming unnecessarily warped via using very simple DIY methods.

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