What are the Rotors in Your Ford’s Braking System?

When it comes to maintaining your Ford, the braking system is one of the most important things to keep an eye on for two reasons:

  1. Your car’s braking system plays a large part in ensuring your safety on the road.
  2. The braking system requires regular maintenance. For example, the brake pads need to be replaced in regular intervals. Neglecting to maintain your car’s braking system will seriously compromise your safety on the road.

The brake rotors on your car are a vital part of the disc braking system, and they require regular inspection. That’s why you (as well as every other car owner in the world) should know a bit about rotors.

To help you better understand what rotors are and why they’re important, we put together this guide. Below, you will find 3 of the most frequently asked questions about rotors, along with answers to each one.

What are Rotors?

New Ford rotor

Rotors are also commonly called discs, and for a good reason. They’re literally metal discs that are connected to your vehicle's axle(s).

If your Ford has disc brakes at all four wheels, then it has four rotors. If it has disc brakes at two wheels on the same axle (and drum brakes at the other two wheels), then your car has two rotors.

A rotor is connected to the axle via lug studs and a wheel hub assembly. The wheel and tire on the other side of the rotor are also attached by the lug studs. This means that the wheels move along with the rotors and axle(s), and they’ll stop when the rotor stops.

To access one of your car’s rotors:

  1. Lift one end of your car. Be sure to take all the weight off of the tires.
  2. Remove the lug nuts from one wheel.
  3. Pull the wheel off of the car.

Once the wheel is off, you’ll see the rotor. You’ll also see a caliper wrapped around a section of the rotor. The caliper is another important part of your Ford’s braking system. When you press down on the brake pedal, the caliper squeezes against the rotor and, with the help of brake pads, stops the rotor from turning. This in turn stops the car.

Why are Rotors Important?

Rotors don’t last forever. They eventually wear thin from repeated contact with the brake pads. Sometimes rotors will fail prematurely from overheating (usually due to a caliper not releasing correctly). A bad rotor drastically reduces your car’s braking power. More specifically, you’ll experience an increase in your car’s stopping distance and that can be quite dangerous (especially if you’re accustomed to a short stopping distance).

Rotors are just as important as brake pads in terms of stopping your vehicle, and they need to be replaced periodically in order to keep your vehicle’s braking performance optimal.

How Often Should I Replace My Rotors?

Ford rotor replacement

Image Credit: AutoRex

Rotors are typically replaced every 30K-70K miles. While some car owners wait until they experience the symptoms of a bad rotor, others routinely replace their rotors like clockwork. Either way is okay. If you like to wait until there are symptoms of failure, we strongly suggest addressing the problem as soon as the symptoms crop up. It is important to replace your rotors as soon as possible if necessary.

You don’t have to bring your car to a Ford dealership or local shop to have the rotors replaced. It’s certainly something you can do at home in an hour or so as long as you have a jack/jack stands (or a proper car lift) and a few basic tools. There are many model-specific tutorials you can find online, especially on YouTube.

If you have any questions about your Ford’s rotors, please contact us. We’re more than happy to help out!