Why Brake Rotors Rust

Written by william zane
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Brake rotors are some of the main components of a vehicle's braking system when it is equipped with disc brakes. Rotors can develop rust.

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Description of Rotor

The brake rotor is the round metal disc that the calipers and the brakes pads clamp onto when the brakes are applied to stop or slow the wheels from rolling.

New Rotors

When you buy a brand new set of rotors, they are completely rust-free because of an anti-corrosion film that is put on them by the manufacturer. This is removed with brake cleaner before installation.

Cause of Rust

Rust on a brake rotor occurs when the rotors are exposed to the air for long periods of time. The rotors do not have a rust-resistant coating, so even air has enough moisture in it to build up rust on the rotors.

How to Remove Light Rust

If there is only light surface rust on the wheels, then simply driving the vehicle and operating the brakes will remove it. The brake pad will wipe the rust off when the brakes are applied. You can also scrub the rotors with brake cleaner and fine steel wool.

Heavier Rust

If there are signs of pitting on the rotor, where the rust has eaten into the steel, then the rotors will need to be re-machined. In severe cases, they may not be usable.

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