Will worn brake pads wear rotors?

About 2 months ago a shop said I need brakes and the rotors are good. The place I go to has been closed for 2 months due to Covid 19 and just reopened. I went there today and he said the rotors are bad too. Once brake pads are so worn does it end up eating into the rotors and destroying them?

12 Answers

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  • 2 months ago

    If you don't replace the rotors or have the old one machined there is a glaze burnt into the rotors from all the braking done with the previous brake pads. That glazing stops the heat from dispersing properly through out the rotor and will cause them to warp and you also get brake fade. The new brake pads will go bad sooner then if the rotors had been replaced at the same time you did the new pads. Using cheap low grade brake pads also ruins new rotors so buy premium brake pads. Thy only cost a few bucks more!

    Source(s): Mitsubishi Master Tech
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  • Jensen
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    Unfortunately, yes, the worn out pads can  severely damage the rotors.

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  • Phil M
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Yes, pads can be worn down enough to destroy the rotors.

    • Barry
      Lv 5
      2 months agoReport

      Only if the friction material is lost.

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  • M.
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Wouldn't it be nice if everybody just replaced rotors and pads together? 

    Surely! 

    But the rotors don't get used up with each set of pads, unless the pads are worn past the friction material. 

    Rotors have a minimum thickness, which should be clearly shown upon the rotor.  This number is multifaceted. 

    A rotor can be resurfaced in many cases, but as consumers we are highly tuned to cost. 

    When disk brakes first appeared in mass production in USA about 50 years ago, the cost of resurfacing a rotor was only a small percentage of the cost of a replacement rotor, so it was cost effective at minimum, to make a thin cut on the 2 surfaces of the rotor and reuse it with new pads. 

    With the increased cost of machine shop labor and the decreased cost of Asian replacement rotors nowadays, the costs are getting closer together. 

    Most brake shops would prefer to just install new rotors and pads, for simplicity, and reducing any long term problems for the customer, at a higher cost to the customer.  Machining rotors takes time and reduces profits, and thinner rotors can have problems easier.

    Thinner rotors warp easier, but so it seems that new Asian rotors warp easier too.  Some new Asian rotors even come prewarped as many brake technicians know.  

    So what's the answer?

    In your case, are the surfaces of the rotors injured?  Are your rotors too thin?  Some mechanics can look you straight in the eyes and lie to you.  And others can tell you 100% facts but be disbelieved.  If you want to know for sure, you need to look at your rotors and pads and measure the rotor thickness. Then you'll know.  

    None of us out here on the internet can tell you the condition of your rotors without seeing them.

    -General automotive mechanic since 1972

    • M.
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      A thumb down means that at least one person here CAN tell the asker the condition of his rotors without seeing them? Or does it mean that "thomas" has his own ideas about disc brakes?? 

      If it's YOUR thumb down thomas, ask the brake shop WHY your "rotors are too bad".

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  • Erik
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    It's possible.  Brakes usually squeak first, and then they grind.  The grinding sound is the metal on metal destroying your rotors.

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  • Scott
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Yes, that's exactly what happens, rotors aren't very expensive.

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  • 2 months ago

    When they get down metal to metal, they tear up the rotors. If they haven't worn that far, rotor damage is very unlikely.

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  • 2 months ago

    Yes.  If the rotors are too scored to turn down, they have to be replaced.

    • ...Show all comments
    • Barry
      Lv 5
      2 months agoReport

      Rotors have a minimum thickness. Turning down is likely to go beyond this. New rotors are always preferable.

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  • Ron
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    brake pads would have to be nearly non existent to damage the rotors. anyone with working eardrums would know when that happened

    • Eastside Guz
      Lv 6
      2 months agoReport

      The day you start hearing metal against metal in your brakes, you should at least inspect them.

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  • 2 months ago

    YES, worn pads will cause excess wear to rotors.

    Note: In MOST locations, auto shops were considered 'essential' and never closed.

    • Snezzy
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      Sometimes it's "Follow the money." Not everywhere, but in some parts of our immense planet a bribe is expected. If it's not paid, then things go wrong. 

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