What Can Happen To My Car If I Have Warped Brake Discs?

Understanding what causes warped brake pads is the first step in learning to identify them – as well as how to reduce the possibility of it happening in the future.

Warped brake discs (also known as brake rotors) is not simply a disc which is misaligned; a warped brake disc refers to the flat surface of the disc becoming uneven.

Heat is the number one cause of this, and can cause warping in more than one way:

Glazing the brake rotor with material from the brake pad. This happens because brake pads, similar to tyres, are made with different amounts of hardness and stickiness depending on the intended purpose. When brake pads made for normal road use get very hot from high-speed driving and braking, or from riding on the brakes for a prolonged period of time, the material can get too soft and basically “paint” the brake rotors. This means that the brake pads won’t grip onto metal when the brakes are applied again, causing decreased brake performance that is less smooth than before.

Wearing down the surface of the rotor and making harder spots in the metal stay slightly raised off the surface. The reason for this is quite simply the metal of the rotor is harder than the brake pad applying friction to it, the pad wears down while the rotor remains largely unaffected. With excessive heat, the metal becomes soft enough for the pad to wear down the rotor surface. This means that slightly less dense spots in the metal wear down faster and make the harder spots stick out, causing warping.

Another common reason is the rapid cooling of a highly heated brake pad; driving a long distance or having applied your brakes heavily will cause a surge in heat. If you were to drive through a puddle of water in the road, your brakes are instantly cooled – without allowing the metal to cool naturally and return to its regular shape. This rapid cooling causes the brake disc to warp.

Read the full article on what causes brake disc warping by clicking here. https://www.astrobrake.co.za/causes-warped-brake-pads-fix/

Dangers of Driving With Warped Rotors or Discs

Brake discs, like other cars parts, are prone to wear and tear over time. You should have your rotors and other components of the brake system such as pads and callipers inspected on a regular basis to ensure your safety on the road. (Click here to experience your free assessment at Astro Brake today! (LINK)

Warped rotors significantly increase your stopping time, which can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency. This will happens regardless of the smoothness of the surface or your response on the wheel. This is especially more noticeable if the warped rotor is on the drive axle and the slow stoppage of your car becomes quite evident even to people on the outside.

A warped rotor affects your brakes and can cause them to fail temporarily. In an emergency, the brake pads start to wiggle back and forth, which makes the brake fluid form up, affecting the amount of hydraulic pressure aiding the braking system. If you are driving and you lose control over your brakes, you will start to waver and hit other drivers around you. On a bad day, warped rotors can create a traffic disaster.

As a driver, you need to pay close attention to your car, especially the braking system. If you notice any unusual vibrations on your brake pedals, you should have a car mechanic checked your rotors immediately. Depending on the extent of the warping on your brakes, you may feel the vibrations while applying a little pressure to the brake pads and in other cases, it takes more pressure to notice the vibrations. Whatever the case, have your mechanic check and fix the vibrations as soon as possible.

Remember to pay attention to the noise your brakes make when you are trying to stop your car. Often, a warped rotor will start making uneven contacts with your brake pads creating a thump or pitch like noise. If you notice such a noise, or any other unusual noise when braking, your brake system is due for a check-up. 

How to Prolong Brake Disc Lifespan

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to protect your brakes and ensure that you get the most life out of them and the best performance for your car.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do for your brakes is to give yourself plenty of time to stop. Don’t tailgate people, causing you to have to slam on the brakes and wear down your brake pads faster.

Plan out your route so that you aren’t hitting your brakes hard to take turns at the last minute. Look far ahead as you are driving to spot any obstacles before they cause you to have to stop suddenly.

Don’t ride your brakes while you’re driving. By giving yourself plenty of stopping distance, you won’t feel the need to constantly be tapping your brakes anyway, since you will have plenty of free room in front of you.

If you are in traffic, just let space form in front of you before moving ahead. You don’t have to move a few cm’s every time they open up.

Clear your car of heavy items, and keep the clutter out of your vehicle. The heavier your load is, the more pressure you put on your brakes when you stop, which will wear down your brake components faster. With a lighter load, you’ll protect your brakes, improve your fuel efficiency and enjoy better performance from your vehicle.

Slow down, keep a safe driving distance, keep the clutter out of your car and practice overall safe driving habits, and you’ll protect your brakes and protect your car.

At the first sign of trouble with your brakes, head over to Safety Brake and Clutch for an assessment. Click here for more info!

Cover Image Credit: Compass Mazda