On the road, safety comes first. That’s why ensuring that a vehicle’s brake system functions properly is the responsibility, each driver has to take seriously. Most drivers think that changing the brake fluids and brake pads is enough to keep a car’s brake system in optimum shape. It is often easy to forget just how important brake rotors are since they produce the friction that stops the wheels.
Changing brake disks regularly is of utmost importance if you want to be absolutely sure that your car’s braking system can deliver high-end performance even under challenging weather conditions. There are so many different brake rotor manufacturers on the market, and it is hard to know which brand is the best option for your car. That is why we are going to take you through some of the best brake rotor brands and introduce you to some of their best brake rotor models.
What does the brake rotor do?
Every time you press the brake paddle, the calipers push the brake pads against the surface of the brake disks which causes friction. Brake rotors are attached to each of the vehicle’s wheels and they turn the kinetic energy into thermal energy. The friction caused in this process is used to stop the wheels from turning and enables you to slow a vehicle down.
Constant exposure to heat and friction can cause a brake rotor to deteriorate over time and in some cases even break down entirely. The material from which brake rotors are made usually determines how durable they are. The vast majority of rotors are made of cast iron or gray iron because this material disperses heat efficiently.
Brake rotors on race cars and other high-performance vehicles are made of ceramics that are much lighter than those made of iron, and they are much more stable at high temperatures. However, most cast-iron breaks are powerful enough to cater to the needs of regular drivers.
How many different types of brake rotors are there?
If you are thinking about changing the brake rotors on your vehicle, you must first determine which type of brake disks that vehicle uses, since all types of vehicles have brake disks that are designed specifically for them.
Furthermore, there are four different types of brake rotors:
- Blank & Smooth
- Drilled and slotted
For instance, blank & smooth brake rotors are frequently used on passenger vehicles, while slotted rotors are a great option for trucks or SUVs. Drilled and slotted rotors are probably the best type of rotors you can find on the market, as their performance is not impacted by heat or weather conditions. They are designed to withstand the heat that is generated during braking at high-speeds which is the reason why this type of rotor is mostly used for race cars and other high-performance vehicles.
Opting for drilled brake rotors can help drivers that drive in the rain or snow to have more control over their vehicles because the holes are designed to help move water or dust from the rotors quickly. Nonetheless, the blank & smooth rotors provide enough stopping power for regular road conditions. Which type of brake rotors you are going to choose ultimately depends on the terrain through which you are going to drive and your style of driving.
What is the difference between slotted and drilled rotor brakes?
The holes and slots in rotor brakes can improve braking, although under different conditions. The slots in slotted rotors work as narrow ditches that are used for the removal off all materials from the rotor that can potentially hamper its performance. Even though slotted rotors are more durable than drilled rotors, they wear out brake pads more quickly, which makes them a poor fit for vehicles that are used on a daily basis.
The holes in drilled rotors reduce the surface that the brake pads can grab while stopping a car. In addition, the holes also weaken the drilled rotors and make them more prone to damage, especially while stopping a car at high speeds. On the other hand, the heat and the gas that is caused by the buildup between the pads and rotors can cause the brakes to fade, but it doesn’t impact drilled brake rotors because the holes allow the heat and the gasses to escape.
Rotors can get slippery while being exposed to water which is why it is important that all water is removed quickly from the rotor’s surface. The holes in drilled brakes allow for water to be removed from the surface easily which enables the pads to keep a firm grip of the rotors at all times.
The only downside of drilled rotors is that they don’t perform as well in high heat conditions as slotted rotor brakes. Even so, drilled rotors are a better choice for most drivers than slotted brake rotors because they don’t wear out the brake pads as quickly.
Why do brake rotors wear out?
Like all other car parts, brake rotors have a limited lifespan. Constant temperature changes, dirt and general wear and tear are the reason why brake rotors have to be changed regularly. How often you have to replace brake rotors on your car, depends on a number of factors that range from their type to the material from which they were made. The most common reasons why brake rotors wear out are:
- Frequent temperature oscillations
- Dirt and debris accumulation
- Damaged brake pads
- High mileage
Brake rotors have a lifespan that varies between 30,000 and 70,000 miles, but regular checks of a car’s entire brake system must be much more frequent. In order to find out how often you should change brake rotors on your car, you should check the manufacturer’s instructions or consult with your mechanic.
Each time a brake rotor heats up, it expands and it contracts while cooling which can cause warping of the metal in time. Additionally, the dirt that accumulates on brake rotors can cause gauging or pitting and hamper the vehicle’s braking performance.
Even though proper maintenance can slightly reduce the damage brake rotors are taking, it can’t extend their lifespan significantly. It is advisable to check the brake rotors frequently, since failing to do so can potentially endanger your safety on the road. Downshifting to control speed instead of using brakes can also help keep brake rotors in good condition.
How much should you spend on brake rotors?
The quality of each part of a car’s braking system can make you safer and better equipped to stop your vehicle quickly. So, spending some extra money on calipers, brake pads, and brake rotors can make controlling your vehicle easier, despite the conditions on the road.
Different types and models of brake rotors are priced differently, and you can spend anywhere between $35 and $75 on one brake rotor. The important thing to remember is that you should never replace just one brake rotor since it can result in an uneven braking process.
You should either replace the brake rotors on the front or rear wheels or you should install new brake rotors on all four wheels at the same time. Replacing the brake rotors on your own isn’t always simple, and it is better to hire a professional mechanic to do the job for you. On average, the costs of replacing the brake rotors can vary between $150 and $300 depending on their type. Installing high-performance rotors may cost more, so it is best to consult with your mechanic to find out the details.
The Best Brake Rotor Brands: Six Drilled and Slotted Rotor Brake Brands You Need to Know About
How reliable the brake rotors are going to be, depends on a variety of factors, that include the material from which they are made, their type and how often they are used for sudden braking at relatively high speeds. There are hundreds of brands on the brake rotor market, but the products offered by some of those brands largely differ in quality than others. That’s why opting for well-known brake rotor brands is a much safer option in the long run, since brands like Power Stop and EBC have been among the leaders in the industry for decades.
Before you opt for one brand or the other, you must first make sure that the model you are considering can be installed on your vehicle. We’ve selected the top six brake rotor brands on the market and some of their best models. So, let’s take a look at the six, blank, drilled and slotted rotor brakes.
Power Stop – K200 Front and Z23 Rear
The Power Stop has been on the brake rotor market since the mid-1990s. Over the years the brand became synonymous with quality and Power Stop is currently one of the leading brake rotor manufacturers in the industry. Their K200 and Z23 rear brake kit that includes drilled & slotted brake rotors, ceramic brake pads and shims is a significant upgrade from the stock braking system most cars have.
Besides drilled & slotted brake rotors, the kit also includes a set of Z23 rear ceramic brake pads that are capable of delivering great performances regardless of the weather conditions. The Power Stop’s drilled & slotted brake rotors are made of stainless steel that distributes the heat caused by friction efficiently. The holes and slots make keeping the surface of the rotors dry and clean easy, by ensuring that water or any other material is removed quickly.
In doing so the Power Stop’s K200 brake rotors increase your vehicles stopping power and enable you to put a vehicle to a halt within seconds. The holes in the brake rotor ensure that the heat that is generated when brake pads are pressed against the surface of the rotors escapes and keeps them cool even during hard braking.
Opting for the matching brake rotors and pads this kit offers is a much better option than trying to match the brake rotors with brake pads on your own. This is probably the priciest product we featured in our list, but spending a bit more on a kit that includes several braking system parts may be a profitable investment that will improve the quality of your driving experience.
- Resists heat, which reduces the warping of the brake rotors
- Minimum dust and debris accumulation
- Braking performance is increased by matching components
- Excellent for everyday use
- More expensive than most brake rotors
- Not compatible with all types of vehicles
EBC – GD7237 -3GD Sport Rotor
The EBC Brakes company has produced a wide range of trademarks products over the course of the last several decades. The European Brake Company emerged on the brake rotor and brake pad market in the 1980s and since that time it has produced some of the best brake rotors for high-performance vehicles and race cars.
The GD7237 sport brake rotor is designed for pickup trucks and SUVs that are often used for towing purposes. Moreover, this EBC’s brake rotor model is a popular choice among race car owners, since they can’t be easily damaged by the heat. This drilled and slotted brake rotor features wide aperture slots that draw in the cool air and prevent the rotor from overheating during hard brakes. The wide aperture slots can reduce the temperature of the brakes up to 200 degrees, which extends their lifespan significantly.
The holes in the EBC – GD7237 -3GD Sport Rotor are drilled using the dimple drilling technique that protects the brake rotor from stress cracks. This brake rotor keeps the brake fade at the very minimum even when used for braking under heavy load or at high speeds. These brake rotors are designed to avoid galling are extremely efficient at removing dust or debris from the braking area. They also maintain flat and parallel wear of the brake pads that enables the pads to maintain a firm grip over the brake rotors and prolong the lifespan of brake pads significantly.
These EBC’s brake rotors are an excellent choice for all drivers who frequently manage heavy loads or drive in off-road conditions.
- High-end performance in all weather conditions
- Durable and resistant to stress cracks
- Nearly instant water removal from the rotor’s surface
- High level of corrosion resistance
- Only suited for high-performance vehicles
- More expensive than most brake rotors
Max Advanced – Max Brakes Front & Rear Elite Brake Kit
The Max Advanced brand is one of the largest suppliers of brake rotors and all other brake parts in North America. Before you can install brake rotors, manufactured by this brand you first have to determine if that model is compatible with your car. The brand is famous for proving high-quality products at affordable prices which makes it appealing to many different types of drivers. Their kit includes both ceramic brake pads and drilled & slotted brake rotors that meet the highest safety and performance standards.
Both front and rear brake rotors are included in the kit and they come with matching pairs of brake pads. Together they provide a unique driving experience and allow you to react quickly when needed. The brake rotors have the G3500 – Grade Iron Castings that provides additional protection against corrosion.
Like all drilled & slotted brake disks the front and rear brake rotors included in this kit are a significant upgrade compared to the stock brake rotors on most vehicles. These rotors are designed to withstand high temperatures and the wear and tear of daily use. The rounded slots and chamfered cross drills help heat escape the brake rotors quickly and allow for the dust and debris to be removed quickly from the rotors.
Besides the brake pads and rotors, the kit includes shims that ensure that the braking process is virtually silent. Even though the brake rotors featured in this kit are capable of high-end performances, they are compatible with only a handful of car models. That’s why you must first check if these brake rotors can be installed on your vehicle before you decide to purchase them.
- Great performance at an affordable price
- Excellent heat elimination features
- Superb corrosion resistance
- The braking performance is empowered by matching brake pads
- Only suitable for a limited range of car models
- Durability could be better.
StopTech – Slotted Brake Rotors
The innovative brake designs StopTech company is famous for has secured its position among the best brake system manufacturers in the industry. Over the course of the last couple of decades, StopTech has presented advanced brake systems specifically crafted for high-performance vehicles, as well as a variety of brake systems for cars, SUVs and various other vehicles.
StopTech’s slotted brake rotors have over 1200 vehicle fitments that enable you to install them on cars, trucks, SUVs or almost any other vehicle. Their Vac-U-Slot vents supply a steady flow of cool air that reduces the temperature of the rotors even during hard braking. In addition, they allow for quick removal of dust, water, debris and gases and all other materials that could potentially hamper the performance of the rotors. The Vac-U slot also reduces the damage the brake pads take, by keeping the rotors cool and clean.
The military-grade cadmium coating lasts 60% longer than the zinc coating you can find on most brake rotors. This improves their durability and corrosion resistance while enabling you to drive your vehicle safely in all weather conditions.
The StopTech’s Slotted Brake Rotors come with a 3-year, 3600-mile warranty, which makes them a great investment for all car owners who want to ensure their vehicles are equipped with high-performance brake rotors. However, each of the slotted brake rotors is sold separately, so if you are considering buying these brake rotors you should get at least two or four. Even though their price tag can be a little steep, StopTech’s slot brake rotors are still a great option for different types of vehicles.
- Efficient removal of gasses and debris from the rotors
- Excellent cooling features
- Performance is not impacted by weather conditions
- Suitable for a broad range of vehicles
- Slotted Brake Rotors are sold separately
- Less reliable than other brake rotors for high-performance vehicles
TeraFlex brand has been producing components for Jeep Wrangler decades, which is why it is hardly a surprise that it is considered one of the best brake rotors manufacturers for contemporary Jeep Wrangler vehicles. Their 4304450 brake rotors model is designed to be used with wheels that have 17-inch or wider diameter and it is considered a significant upgrade from the stock brake rotors.
If you are thinking about upgrading your 2007-2018 JK Wrangler Jeep’s tires, then it might be a good idea to also update the brake rotors. The 4304450 brake rotors are much larger than the stock brake rotors which improves your Jeep Wrangler’s braking performance considerably. These 13.5-inch brake rotors distribute heat evenly and ensure that all gas or dust that reaches their surface is promptly removed. They feature cooling vents that disperse the gasses and the heat that is generated while slowing down or stopping a vehicle.
No break line or brake bleeding modifications are required during the installation process. Moreover, these brake rotors are equipped with caliper brackets that allow for quick bolt-on installation. They are a perfect choice for all off-road vehicles that are frequently used on different types of terrains as they allow the driver to maintain control over the vehicle effortlessly.
Even though TeraFlex 4304450 brake rotors are an appealing option for only a fraction of drivers, they are still one of the best brake rotors for high-performance vehicles on the market. Jeep Wrangler owners who want to give a boost to their vehicle’s braking system should opt for the TeraFlex 4304450 brake rotors.
- Excellent cooling capabilities
- Low dust and debris accumulation
- Simple installation process
- Great for off-road driving
- Only suitable for Jeep Wrangler models
- More expensive than similar brake rotor models
ACDelco – 18A1705 Professional Front Disk Brake Rotor
The brake rotor models produced by ACDelco can be used on a wide spectrum of vehicles. They are considered to be among the finest replacement brake rotors on the market. Their 18A1705 Professional Front Disk Brake Rotor has an OE G3000 qualified material certificate that vouches for its performance. In addition, these brake rotors are in compliance with all SAE structural quality standards.
They can be installed on almost any car, but before you go ahead and purchase these brake rotors, you must first make sure that they can be installed on your vehicle. The 18A1705 brake rotor model is designed to provide smooth and balanced braking in normal road conditions, but their performance can be limited by severe weather conditions.
The ACDelco 18A1705 Professional Front Disk Brake rotors are tested for noise, vibration, and harshness, which guarantees that you can slow down or stop your car smoothly and effortlessly. Their corrosion resistance, however, is far from great, and in case you decide to use these brake rotors, you must perform regular checks of your car’s braking system. The ACDelco 18A1705 Professional Front Disk Brake Rotors preserve the brake pads by dispersing heat and gasses effectively and by ensuring that their surface is always clean.
No additional modifications are required while installing these brake rotors, as they are ready to be installed out of the box. The ACDelco 18A1705 Professional Front Disk Brake Rotors may not be the best brake rotors on the market, but they are still a reliable option for all car owners in need of a solid replacement for their stock brake rotors.
- Low noise level
- Great price-performance ratio
- Prolongs brake pad life
- A two-year guarantee
- Lower performance capabilities than drilled or slotted brake rotors
- Corrosion resistance could be better
Our recommendation: The best brake rotor brands for your vehicle
Each component of your vehicle’s braking system is equally important, and each deserves an equal amount of attention in order to ensure your safety. The type and the model of the vehicle you own is the best way to determine which brake rotors you can install since some brake rotor models are only compatible with a handful of cars.
Moreover, checking the rotor brakes frequently will allow you to know when the time is right to replace them. Even though most brake rotors have a lifespan of more than 30.000 miles, heat, dirt or water can produce serious damage that will cause them to deteriorate faster. Choosing the brake rotors that don’t expand or contract when heated, or that prevent the dirt from accumulating on their surface can give a significant boost to your braking system.
Even though there are thousands of different brake rotor models on the market, there is only a handful of brands whose name stands for quality. Brands like Power Stop, EBC or StopTech are among the most trusted brake rotor manufacturers in the industry.
Purchasing a brake kit that includes shims, brake pads, and brake rotors may be the best option for car owners since the complementary parts commonly provide better braking performance. That is why we recommend opting for EBC – GD7237 -3GD Sport Rotor if you are a pickup truck or SUV owner. The StopTech’s Slotted Brake Rotors are an excellent choice for a broad range of vehicles because it has more than 1200 vehicle fitments.
ACDelco – 18A1705 Professional Front Disk Brake Rotor is an affordable replacement option for stock brake rotors, but they are not as durable or as powerful as the more expensive drilled and slotted brake rotor models.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it necessary to replace brake rotors every time I replace brake pads?
You can change brake rotors and brake pads separately. However, replacing brake rotors and brake pads at the same time reduces the chances of wearing them out unevenly.
Can I change brake rotors on my own?
Even though changing the brake rotors isn’t a complicated procedure, you still need to have the right tools and the know-how to complete the job.
Can metallic brake pads cause damage to the rotors?
Premium brake pads rarely cause any damage to the rotors, but some less expensive models can damage them in time.
Do all brake rotors perform the same in all weather conditions?
No, a brake rotor’s performance under different weather conditions depends on its type and the material from which it is made.
Which brand makes the best brake rotors?
Although it is hard to single out the best brake rotor brand on the market, using the EBC’s or Power Stop’s products will ensure that you have a high-quality brake rotor installed on your vehicle.
Are brake rotors expensive?
A brake rotor can cost anywhere between $75 and $150, but you should keep in mind that you must purchase two or four brake rotors at the same time.
Are aftermarket brake rotors better than stock brake rotors?
Most cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs have stock brake rotors that are only capable of modest performances. So, if you are looking for a brake rotor that can deliver the same braking quality under any conditions, you should consider getting aftermarket brake rotors for your vehicle.
How frequently should I replace brake rotors on my car?
Most industry professionals recommend changing brake rotors once every few years. However, how frequently you will have to change brake rotors depends on their quality and your style of driving.
Finding a new brake rotor for your car, SUV or pickup truck doesn’t have to be a painstakingly long process if you know where to look. Each of the brands we presented in this article offers a broad range of brake rotor models, which enables you to select the one that is compatible with your vehicle. Do you have a favorite brake rotor brand? Leave a comment below and let us know which brake rotor brand do you like to use the most.
When changing the rotor of your vehicle, you may also find out that your brake pads need renewing too, so check out some great reviews on that too which will help you decide to make the right choice: