The Average Life of Brake Rotors

by William Zane
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Brake rotors are an essential component of a modern car’s braking system. Although they last a long time, they are considered a "wear" item that eventually will need to be replaced.


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The brake rotor, or disc, is the round metal disc that is clamped by the caliper and the brake pads. In some high-performance cars, the rotor is made of a carbon and ceramic compound.


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While brake pads can last anywhere from 15,000 to 35,000 miles or more, rotors are generally expected to last through three or four brake pads changes. Because driving conditions, driving styles and other factors influence rotor life, it is difficult to come up with an average life expectancy for them.


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An important factor that influences how long brake rotors last is the maintenance they receive. If pads are allowed to wear down to the metal backing, they can score the rotors and ruin them.

Driving Style

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How long a brake rotor lasts also depends, in part, on how the brakes are used. An aggressive driver who accelerates and then brakes quickly and frequently will wear out brake rotors faster than a conservative driver.

Driving Conditions

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The conditions that a car is driven in also influence rotor life. If a car is driven primarily in stop-and-go traffic, in which the brakes are applied frequently, the rotors will wear out faster than on a car that is driven at constant speeds on a freeway.

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