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Car Shaking Problems
Brake Pads and Rotors

How do you turn a car's brake rotors?


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Answered 2015-04-17 20:34:41

The brake rotors on a car or truck are turned on a lathe. Few of us have a lathe like this in our garage, but lots of shops have this piece of gear. Additionally, there are "jobbers" who have a lathe in a van that can come to your place. (The mobile brake specialist also has pads, shoes and the like, and can turn drums as well as rotors.) Note that a mobile service may or may not do the work of removing the rotors and then replacing all the parts to complete your brake job. There are also shops that have a lathe that will turn a rotor without the necessity of removing it from the vehicle, by the way.

In some cases of advanced wear, the brake rotors will end up too "thin" after being turned, and cannot be used again. In this case, new (or reconditioned) rotors will have to be installed on the vehicle. A shop has a special caliper to determine if the rotor will still have enough "meat" on it (still be thick enough) to be resurfaced and trued, and then used once more. Let's touch on the lathe and then wrap up.

A lathe is a device that turns a workpiece, in this case, the brake rotor, and a tool rest of some kind holds a sharp tool against the turning rotor to remove material. The lathe is used to remove the outer layer of material on the rotor to provide a fresh surface for the brake pads to grip on. The rotor is also trued in this process, and the finished rotor will be very flat on a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation.

Unless you're really good with a wrench, it is best to let a professional shop do this work. If you mess up a tune up, your car won't run well (if at all). But if you mess up a brake job, you might easily find yourself in an accident. Think this through and get some estimates before you consider pulling your rotors and hauling them in to get turned. You may not be able to get things back together correctly to finish the job.

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Do brake rotors need to be replaced if there is no noise shimmy or other brake issues?

When Brake Rotors Are To Thin To Turn On A Brake Lathe To Have The Minumn Thickness. They Need To Be Replaced.


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What do brake rotors do for cars?

Although I am not terribly knowledgeable regarding car mechanics, I have done some research. A brake rotor is what actually works to stop your car when you step on the brake. This takes place when the brake pads squeeze against the rotors when braking.


When changing the brake pads on a Mercedes ML320 can you skip the turning of the rotors if the rotor is smooth and hasn't gone metal to metal?

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Is there anywhere that will turn rotors for my Dodge Ram 1500?

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What would cause brand new brake rotors to warp repetidly on a 1996 Buick Le Sabre?

Break rotors heat up very fast while drive and stopping, todays technology in my sense isn't the best on rotors. If you have a heavy foot and brake hard, that will contribute to warped rotors. Sudden stops will also case warping. Most brake Specialist (Les Shwab) recommend on new cars, and new rotors to brake easy, (light foot) on your new rotors for the first 1,000 miles of the rotors life. That way they have time to brake in.


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What are brake calipers?

Brake calipers are the hydraulic devices that wrap around the rotors and pinch the brake pads into the rotors when you stop.


Where can I get the brake rotors on my vehicle replaced?

You can get your brake rotors replaced by visiting Autoparts Warehouse which contain various brake rotors in size and durability to fit your needs and accommodate your budget.


Do rotors have to be turned when installing new pads?

If you chage the pads before they are worn down to the metal and no groves in the rotors you do not have to turn them. I have owned several cars and replaced the pads or had the dealer replace the pads. Turning the rotors every time is a ruse to get you to buy new rotors. Every time you turn a rotor you shave metal off of it which makes it thinner. Eventually it is below specs. and they sell you a new rotor. They will shave so much off the first time, the next time you go nfor a brake job you will be convinced you need new rotors. To qualify my statements, I have been retired for 7 years from a major auto co. ,and when I was much younger I used to rebuild cars as a hobby. These quick lane oil and brake shops that advertise lifetime brake jobs will not give you the life time guarantee unless they turn the rotors, thus insuring your return to their shop for replacement pads and now a new rotor because they will say that if you have them turned again they will be underspecs, thus you will have to purchase new rotors.


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