Do I Need to Turn Rotors When Changing Brake Pads?

Although replacing rotors can be more affordable, if you opt to reuse existing rotors, turning them when you replace your brake pads is highly recommended.

What is rotor turning?

Turning is the machining or resurfacing of rotors on a lathe to ensure a smooth friction surface for new brake pads. A flat or “true” rotor surface will increase the new pads’ performance.

turning brake rotor brake pad porsche

Resurfacing rotors while the brake pads are being replaced makes sense, but should only be done if it is safe. Before turning the rotors, find the minimum thickness specification stamped on them. Rotors should also be inspected and measured for minimum thickness whenever brake pads are replaced. As long as the rotors are within the specified thickness, they can be turned. Otherwise, they should be replaced.

Does it cost less to turn rotors?

Turning rotors used to be more affordable than replacing them, but machining is now less common because of the cost.

Replacing rotors can also be more economical, according to one of our product experts, because rotors are now lighter and more efficient thanks to a reduction in mass by the original equipment manufacturer.

To compare prices, one of our product experts said the cost of turning rotors could be around $25 per rotor, while replacing rotors can range from $18 to $95 each.

Replace your rotors yourself

Need to replace your rotors and brake pads? Check out our large selection of brake rotors, pads, and brake kits, which help you take the guesswork out of figuring out which brake parts to buy individually.

Our mechanics will walk you through the steps of replacing your own rotors. For help removing and installing front brake pads and rotors on a 2007-2009 Chevy Equinox, check out this video. Or search for how-to videos specific to your vehicle’s year, make and model in our video library.

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