Rusted Brake Rotors? Here's What You Can Do

25 August 2016
 Categories: , Blog

It's common to see specks of rust, or even large concentrations of rust, on the brake rotors of your vehicle. While you might feel highly concerned upon noticing this issue, it's important to know that this is more of a visual concern than a performance one; rusty rotors don't look very nice, but in most cases, the rust will not affect the vehicle's ability to brake in a timely manner. However, if you want to remove the rust because you don't like how it looks, you have several options available to you. Here are some things you can try.

Sanding The Rotors

Sanding the rust spots off your brake rotors is an effective way to clean up their appearance, but is the most labor-intensive way of getting the end result you desire. To sand the rotors, you'll first need to remove the wheel. With the wheel out of the way, you can access a significant amount of the rotor and rub it with a light-grit sandpaper until the rust is all gone. If you want to take things a step further, you'll need to remove the brake caliper housing, which will then allow you to remove the entire rotor.

Remove It Through Friction

Perhaps the simplest way to remove the rust on your brake rotors is through friction — that is, consistently braking until the rust is gone. While you can achieve this end result simply by driving your vehicle normally — especially around the city where you'll be frequently stopping and starting — you can also head to a quiet road and do some braking at high speeds. It's important to pick a road that has little traffic and that is straight, as it will allow you to watch for oncoming cars in each direction. Then, it's simply a matter of getting up to speed and then hitting the brakes in a solid, controlled manner. A few applications of this should typically be enough to remove the rust.

Visit A Brake Shop

If you notice that the rusty rotors have thin sections of rust that are flaking off, rather than simply just small specks of rust, it's a good idea to visit a licensed brake shop in your city, such as Buettner Tire & Auto, to make sure that the brakes are still safe. If the rusting is significant — for example in a very old vehicle — it could indicate that the brakes are damaged. The brake shop technicians will be able to assess the issue and let you know if the rotors need to be replaced.