Warped Disc Rotors
What is it?
Warping refers to when the mating surface of the disc rotor thickness varies throughout the rotor, because of this distortion it can usually cause things such as shuddering/vibrations when braking and a pulsating brake pedal.
What causes it?
There are a number of possible things that can to lead warping to occur, common ones but are not limited to include:
- Excessive braking – Racing or Mountain roads
- Improper cooling – i.e. Washing rotors after heavy usage/Keeping brake-pads pressed in when cooling
- Uneven braking – Brake calipers stuck or applying uneven force to both sides
- Incorrect fitment – Torquing lug nuts incorrectly e.g. Over/Under Torqued
- Unclean surface – Grime, dirt and rust etc. may make the mating surface uneven
- Misaligned Wheels – Misaligned wheels means even braking is difficult and can lead to handling/tyre wear problems
How is it fixed?
It is possible for individuals to fit brake components themselves, however we encourage you take it to a certified professional for the best results.
The solution depends on the cause of the issue, most of the causes listed above however can be surpassed in the initial fitting phase. A good initial fitting phase includes inspection of wheels and braking system to check it is free of problems, cleaning the disc rotor surfaces (if necessary) and finally perfect fitment.
Even before the fitting phase is the sales phase, make sure you are buying the correct rotor for use. For example if you intend to take the car to the track then rotors intended for street use will not be able to handle the excessive heat from track-use.
If the disc rotor is already warped, then you may require them to be machined/resurfaced to restore a flat mating surface. This can be done by a technician with the proper tools to do so. (NOTE – If your rotors are close or below the minimum thickness then this will not be possible!) Alternatively you may simply purchase new rotors and replace the old ones, however ensure you diagnose the correct cause of the issue! Incorrect diagnostics mean the cause is still unfixed and you will continue to get warped rotors even after replacement.