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How to Remove Stuck Brake Rotors

by Mark Robinson

If you need to remove a brake rotor for repair or replacement, chances are the rotor is rusted stuck. Rust and corrosion caused by constant exposure to the elements can cause a brake rotor to weld itself onto the hub. There are many different ways to remove a stuck brake rotor, ranging from simple solutions to those that take much longer to complete and require professional tools.

Removal using a large rubber mallet

Spray a liberal amount of penetrative lubricant on the hub and back side of the rotor. Wait a few minutes for the lubricant to penetrate the hub surface.

Strike the rotor with a large rubber mallet, from behind and from the front. In many cases, the shock from the rubber mallet should be enough to loosen it from the hub.

Pull the rotor away from the hub. Remove rust and other debris from the hub with sandpaper.

Removal using rotor puller

Apply a liberal amount of penetrative lubricant on the hub and back side of the rotor. Allow the lubricant to sit for a few minutes.

Attach the three-arm rotor puller onto the rotor. Position the center bolt on the hub and hook the three arms onto the back of the rotor.

Tighten the bolt on the puller gradually. This will apply pressure to the hub and lift the rotor away from the rusted surface. If the rust is severe, there is a chance the rotor will come apart in pieces due to the amount of force applied to the outer edges of the rotor.

Disconnect the three-arm rotor puller from the rotor. Inspect and clean the surface of the hub with sandpaper.

Removal using acetylene torch

Apply a liberal amount of penetrative lubricant to the hub bearing. Wait a few minutes for the lubricant to soak in, then strike the rotor from the front and back with a rubber mallet.

Light the acetylene torch and apply heat to the hub face and around the hub studs. Turn the torch off and strike the rotor. It might take repeated attempts before the rotor is successfully freed.

Pull the rotor away from the hub. Remove rust and other debris from the hub with sandpaper.

Tips

  • Instead of purchasing a three-arm rotor puller, you can rent one from a local automotive parts store for far less money.
  • Add anti-seize compound to the rotor hub after thoroughly cleaning it. This will prevent the rotor from getting stuck in the future.

Warnings

  • Wear safety glasses when working on brake rotors, especially while using a rotor puller.
  • Keep the acetylene torch away from easily flammable materials. Turn off the torch when it's not being used.

Items you will need

About the Author

Mark Robinson is a freelance graphic designer and writer. Since 2008 he has contributed to various online publications, specializing in topics concerning automotive repair, graphic design and computer technology. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Science in graphic design from Alabama A&M University.

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Photo Credits

  • disque de frein image by Christophe Fouquin from Fotolia.com