Brake rotors provide a surface for the pads to clamp down on when the vehicle needs to stop. As with most parts on a vehicle, they come in varying degrees of quality and price. There are tradeoffs for some of the 'performance' rotors when comparing them to standard ones. Drilled and/or slotted rotors provide increased stopping power and performance, but at a cost. Drilled rotors allow for quicker dissipation of heat and easier dispersion of water, but are more likely to crack due to the structure of the disc being weakened by the holes. Slotted rotors use channels that are carved into the rotor to perform the same function, however instead of the rotor being weakened slotted rotors wear down pads faster.
Rotors should be inspected every time pads are replaced, and typically either machined (turned) or replaced along with the pads. For optimal performance, it is good to have a fresh surface for new pads to make contact with. Issues elsewhere in the braking system can cause rotors to wear unevenly, or even become scored, warped, cracked or gouged to the point they become useless. In these instances, replacing just the rotors will often be a temporary solution!
Replacing rotors on the vast majority of vehicles is as easy as removing the wheel and caliper, pulling off the rotor and putting on a new one. There are other steps that should be taken to perform this job "the right way," but those are the basics. Some rotors have the wheel hub built into them.
We have a fantastic selection of quality Brake Rotors from the following vendors: