Should Brake Rotors Be Replaced In Pairs?

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A disc brake is described as a brake that utilizes brake calipers to squeeze the pairs of brake pads against a disc or a rotor to generate friction.

This will slow down the rotation of the shaft or the axle of the vehicle to reduce the speed of its rotation or even to maintain it immobile.

Brake parts are commonly replaced in pairs just to avoid the new parts wearing out faster if they were replaced alone.

In other words, when you replace only one component, it is likely to be subjected to more stress compared to when you replace other vital brake components at the same time.

Disc brakes are known to provide much better-stopping power than most other types of brakes in common use which can be of tremendous assistance when driving down long descents.

In addition, they do not heat the rim which is indicted in causing tire blowouts, especially in long descents when using rim brakes.

Also, disc brakes allow for more precise braking performance, thus making wheel lock-up less likely to occur. There is always the need to know the condition of your rotors.

Therefore, you should pay attention to what you feel while driving. The most common symptoms of worn-out brake rotors are rattling, wobbling, or shaking particularly while braking the vehicle.

These observations are normally felt in the foot when applying the brakes. And usually, they are indicative of brake rotors that have become warped.

Brake rotors are commonly put on the two front wheels of a vehicle. They are what your brake pads clamp down on in order to stop the wheels of the vehicle from turning, while the brake pads contact and apply pressure or friction to the rotors.

Why should brake rotors be replaced in pairs?

It is not necessary to replace all 4 rotors at the same time, although it is advised that you should replace them as a set or in pairs for either the front, rear, or those on the same axle.

Put in another way, rotors on the same axle should be replaced together. This will provide balance and uniform wearing of the brake components.

All the same, brake rotors are recommended to be replaced in pairs because when they are not, there is a strong probability that the newly installed rotors may wear or depreciate much faster than they would have if those on both sides were replaced at the same time.

To prevent this accelerated degradation, brake rotors and all other brake parts are supposed to be replaced together to balance their performance.

You should replace your rotors and brake pads as a set for each of the axles whether front or rear at the same time. Should you need to replace the front rotors only, you can do so, provided the ones at the rear are not worn out yet.

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What happens when brake rotors are replaced in pairs?

Brake rotors are recommended to be replaced in pairs, which have to be the same in every respect too, regardless of whether they are composite or cast.

New rotors are sold ready-to-install out of the box and therefore, should be replaced without the need to resurface them at all, especially since doing that will reduce their durability and create a runout or problems with vibration.

When brake rotors are replaced in pairs, it reduces the rate at which they wear out or depreciate. In addition, it accords the vehicle more balance too. Although they are sold individually by most supply stores, it is better to replace them in pairs.

However, manufacturers recommend that rotors should be replaced in pairs. Hence, it is good to replace rotors whether those in front or the rear in pairs.

Consequently, if one of your brake pads has any problem or wears down, you may have to replace them one set at a time.

Even when the rotors of only one side are good, it is advised that you replace both of them to maintain even braking performance since any difference will likely make the brakes pull to one side.

There is no problem whatsoever in replacing even a single rotor. For this reason, they are sold singly and can be replaced as such too.

However, you should bed in your brake pads if you do this. Although the moment your brake pads conform to the rotors, there will be comparable stopping power on each side.

All replacement rotors should have the same features whether composite or cast.

How do I replace brake rotors in pairs?

 The following steps will guide you on how to remove your brake rotors in pairs.

Step 1

To replace rotors in pairs, you should consider safety first. Therefore, park the car on a dry, flat surface and after that install wheel chocks.

Also, you should wear safety goggles and protective gloves as well. You should equally be very careful when lifting the vehicle and secure the jack points for both the jack and jack stands. 

Step 2

After that, check the fluid level in the brake fluid reservoir. Even it is full, you should remove some as that will guard against spillage due to any overflow.

Then, raise the vehicle and remove the wheels after loosing the lug nuts using a breaker bar and socket while the vehicle remains on the ground and immobile. 

Step 3

Next, you should raise the vehicle using a hydraulic jack from secure places. After all these, you should place a jack or jack stands beneath the proper points before you safely lower it onto the jack stands. Remove the lug nuts and the wheel. 

Step 4

The next thing is to remove both the bolts and calipers, which you can get at pretty easily. Then, turning the wheel to either the left or right as the case may be, will accord you easy access to them.

The moment one of the calipers are removed,  you should suspend it with the aid of a bungee cord.

Step 5

This step involves the removal of the old brake rotors after checking them for signs of uneven wear. Uneven wear is an indication of a lack of adequate lubrication.

You should then remove the brake pads before the rotors. In many vehicles, you will have to remove the caliper mounting bracket before you can remove the rotors. 

Usually, the brake caliper bolts to the brake caliper mounting bracket which in turn bolts to the spindle assembly. Therefore, in order o remove the brake rotors, you should first remove the brake caliper before removing the brake caliper bracket.

Doing this will give you easy access to the brake rotors. You should look out for uneven wear when removing the rotors. Also, you may require the use of a rust penetrant or a mallet to remove the rotors from the hub assembly.

Step 6

This is where you should clean the rotor mounting surface before any installation is done. Specifically, the surface of the hub needs to be cleaned using a wire brush to remove any rust or debris.

Doing this will ensure that your new rotors remain in place snugly on the hub.

In addition, it will also eliminate the possibility of any pulsation in the brake pedal too, since no matter the size of rust, it can still manifest as a pulsation in the brake pedal.

Step 7

Clean your new rotors with good rust-fighting protection or brake cleaner.

Step 8

Finally, install your new rotors exactly where you removed the old ones. After all these are done, reinstall the brake hardware and you’re essentially done.

Is it necessary for all brake rotors to be replaced in pairs?

No, it is not necessary or mandated that you must replace all brake rotors in pairs. That is why they are even sold singly in most cases.

However, it is good if you do so, especially if you are replacing either the front or rear rotors which you should replace in pairs.

This will prevent uneven and fast wearing of the brake rotors. Therefore, it will be good if you replace the rotors on one axle at the same time or both of those at either the front or the rear at the same time.

Is it OK to replace just one brake?

There is no problem whatsoever if you should replace just one brake rotor as long as all the others are perfectly alright.

On the other hand, if there is any uneven wear or rust on the others, you should replace them as well.

Should I replace all rotors at once?

No, it is not mandatory to replace all 4 rotors at the same time unless they are all bad. However, you should replace them in sets or pairs either in front or the rear.

Should Brake Rotors Be Replaced In Pairs – Conclusion

Brake rotors are an integral part of the braking system of most modern cars. Without them, you should be aware that there will be no brakes altogether, which portends great danger to you, others, and the vehicle itself.

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