An Informative Guide to Choosing the Best Brake Rotors

When shopping to improve your vehicle’s safety features, only high-technology and innovative solutions come to mind such as backup cameras, automatic brakes, and lane monitors. Nobody really cares about the real hardware anymore, like your vehicle’s brakes. However, you must be informed that it is just as important as any other safety feature available for your vehicle.

Most of you might think that the only maintenance required is to replace the brake pads, fully neglecting the brake rotors. In case you didn’t know, these also wear out and might need replacing from time to time. That’s why in this post, we will be talking about everything there is to know about choosing the best brake rotors. Read on if you want to know more.

best brake rotors

What Are Brake Rotors and How Does Your Car’s Braking System Work?

Before we begin the discussions, it is vital that you know what brake rotors are. Brake rotors are considered one of the most important parts of your car’s braking system, which stops or slows your car. Found on each wheel of your car, these are round metal discs that are visible if your tires do not have hubcaps. Once you disassemble a tire, you will be able to clearly see the brake rotor.

You might wonder what these brake rotors are commonly made of. Most of the vehicles nowadays have brake rotors that are cast iron. However, some high-performing cars make use of brake rotors that are made of reinforced carbon. Some also are constructed using ceramic composites, which help in reducing weight.

So, how do the brake rotors and the braking system work? The brake rotors are part of your vehicle’s wheel that links to the axle. The wheels rotate as the axle rotates, which makes your vehicle to move forward. Once you need to stop, the entire braking system, including the brake rotors, come into play.

Your car’s braking system uses a tool referred to as the caliper, including a pair of brake pads that are attached to it. When you press the brake pedal, it pinches the ends of these calipers together, creating friction by pressing the brake pads against the brake rotors. And since these rotors are linked to the wheels, the friction caused prevents the tire from spinning.

What Are the Different Types of Brake Rotors?

The brakes are considered one of the most powerful and most important safety features of your car. Therefore, you need to know what type is right for your vehicle. There are 3 common types that you may encounter and we are going to discuss them in detail in this section. Now, let’s talk about smooth, slotted, cross-drilled, and a combination of drilled and slotted brake rotors.

1. Smooth brake rotors

Smooth brake rotors have an unbelievably smooth surface. These are specifically designed to provide adequate stopping power under normal driving conditions. Did you know that almost 99% of the modern vehicles have smooth brake rotors installed? This is mostly because these provide a larger surface area when you compare them to slotted or cross drilled brake rotors.

Due to its large surface area, they efficiently serve as heat sinks. After all, this is what a brake rotor is made to achieve. They feature an exceptional structural integrity, which is why they are utilized in modern trucks. It is also a relief that you will be able to find direct replacements, such as zinc-coated brake rotors that prevent corrosion and rust build up.

2. Slotted brake rotors

Slotted brake rotors feature groves that run through the surface of the brake rotor, where the brake pads interact. They also feature slots that are designed to emit dust that is produced when braking. To add, gases that build up when it gets heated escape through the slots. Therefore, your vehicle’s brake pads provide more accurate stops.

The presence of these slots provides an increase in the coefficient of friction, which means that you will be using less energy when using the braking system of your car, even during on high-speed driving. Lastly, the vents are also very reliable when it comes to brake fade reduction. However, you should be aware that these slots might increase the wear of the entire braking system.

3. Cross-drilled brake rotors

Like the slotted brake rotors, cross drilled brake rotors feature holes that serve as the escape route of built-up gases. While they were originally intended to provide enhanced heat dissipation, modern cars use these just to improve the appearance. Using asbestos brake pads, on the other hand, easily lets the harmful dust escape the braking system.

4. Drilled and slotted brake rotors

These brake rotors combine the drilled and slotted brake rotors’ most powerful features. They are mostly used in heavy trucks, which tow the heaviest of loads. What’s great about these brake rotors is that the combination of drills and slots ensure accurate power, as well as high-stopping power. However, you should be informed that these drill holes are a little prone to cracking.

What Are the Essential Factors to Consider When Choosing a Brake Rotor?

best brake rotors

In this section, we will be talking about all the important factors that you must consider when choosing a brake rotor. Not all of them are created equal and some are far more superior than others. You might also make the decision-making process a lot easier if you know what features to look out for in a brake rotor.

Construction

The brake rotors’ construction is a very important factor to consider, as it is a testament to their reliability and durability. When choosing brake rotors, make sure that they are made of high-quality materials, as well as paint that will prevent rust and dust from building up. In addition, they should be able to withstand harsh driving conditions.

Performance

The sole purpose of the brake rotors is to effectively help you use your vehicle’s braking system. To that end, the ones you choose should be able to provide you enough or adequate stopping power for your everyday driving conditions. In addition, you might want to choose brake rotors that offer more surface area, as it will be of great help in dissipating heat.

Features

One of the main reasons why you are buying a specific product is because of their unique features. This is the reason why it is very important that you consider all the features that you need before you narrow down your choices in choosing the best brake rotors. Features including noise and brake fade reduction capabilities are something that you need to watch out for.

Easy installation

Installing or replacing your worn-out brake rotors should be a very easy task for you. You don’t need much mechanical or technical experience to get the job done. It would also help if the manufacturer has laid out the step-by-step instructions for you to follow. At the very least, there should be a detailed guide on how to properly install these brake rotors.

Price

A minor but still a very important factor to consider is the brake rotors’ price. However great the product is, it would still greatly depend on your budget. Just keep in mind that you need to watch out for cheaper alternatives if there are any.

Top 6 Picks for the Best Brake Rotors on the Market.

We have provided you a rundown of our top 6 recommendations for the best brake rotors that are available on the market right now. You might want to check these out, as we have listed each product’s pros and cons, which will be of help in narrowing down your choices into choosing only the best brake rotors for your vehicle.

Brake Rotors Quick Comparison Table

Product NameBrandItem WeightOur Rating 
best truck gps
EBC Brakes Sport Slotted Rotor
EBC Brakes42.2 pounds5/5
best truck gps
Shimano XT SM-RT86 Rotor
Shimano0.7125 pounds4.9/5
best truck gps
ACDelco 18A1705 Professional
Front Disc Brake Rotor
ACDelco26 pounds4.8/5
best truck gps
Centric 120.44146 Premium
Brake Rotor


Centric15.95 pounds4.7/5
best truck gps
ACDelco GM Original Equipment
Front Disc Brake Rotor
ACDelco27 pounds4.4/5
best truck gps
Power Stop Rear Evolution Drilled
& Slotted Rotor Pair
Power Stop40.9 pounds4.4/5

Reviews on the Best Brake Rotors

1. EBC Brakes Sport Slotted Rotor

EBC Brakes Sport Slotted RotorThe EBC Brakes sport slotted brake rotors are super quiet rotors that feature the signature EBC narrow profile slot pattern that aids in cooling the brakes, as well as de-gas the brakes under heavy speed and load while eliminating air noise. They are coated with a black zinc finish and comes with bearing cups fitted as OEM, sold in sets for the rear and front tires.

Another great feature of the EBC slotted brakes is that they maintain the flat and parallel pad wear. In addition, they also prevent record grooves or galling, which are common in non-slotted brake rotors. Overall, these features improve the pad contact, as well as braking, throughout the lifespan of the pad set and the rotor.

Pros:

  • Brake pads maintain its smoothness
  • Braking system runs cool
  • Narrow slot patterns reduce air noise
  • Suitable for premium sedans
  • There is brake fade reduction even at high speed
  • Zinc-coated

Cons:

  • Might not be suitable for AWD LX cars
  • A little pricey

2. Shimano XT SM-RT86 Rotor

Shimano XT SM-RT86 RotorWhat sets the Shimano XT brake rotors apart from its lower-tier offerings is that it now has an aluminum core that effectively transfers the heat away from the brake’s caliper. This feature, combined with the heat sinks found in Shimano XT and XTR brake pads, reduces brake fade. These Shimano brake rotors are reliable and consistent, with its aluminized steel construction.

Pros:

  • Aluminized steel construction
  • Durable and highly reliable
  • Has an improved brake fade reduction
  • Has an aluminum core
  • Can transfer heat away from the caliper

Cons:

  • Does not come with complete installation instructions
  • A little expensive

3. ACDelco 18A1705 Professional Front Disc Brake Rotor

ACDelco 18A1705 Professional Front Disc Brake RotorThis offering by ACDelco is well loved by its users due to its high performance, wide range of uses, as well as durability. While it is a great replacement for old brake rotors, it is also suitable for new vehicles. Its state-of-the-art construction comes with a high-performing stopping power, without affecting the lifespan of the other parts near the braking system.

The ACDelco brake rotors have a thickness variation of not more than 0.0004. This feature specifically aids in pedal pulsation reduction and noise, while increasing the durability of the entire brake system. During quality assurance, these brake rotors meet the SAE standards for integrity in terms of structure. To add, its OE matches the G3000 qualified components.

Yet another great feature of the ACDelco brake rotors is its easy and convenient installation. Did you know that you will not be required of any machining while installing them? They do come fully assembled and when the time comes that you need to replace the rotor, you will not be spending too much time to change them.

Pros:

  • Inspected for noise, wear, vibration, durability, and harshness
  • Durable and high-performing
  • Meets SAE standards
  • Easy installation
  • Improves the braking system

Cons:

  • No bolts included
  • Hub and fin paint comes off easily

4. Centric 120.44146 Premium Brake Rotor

Centric 120.44146 Premium Brake RotorAnother great product on this list is the Centric premium brake rotors. They feature an electro coating finish, which provides long-lasting protection from corrosion. If you are wondering, these e-coating finishes are strategically designed to withstand up to 400 hours of exposure to salt water, without rust build-up.

While phosphate finishes provided by other brands only provide the littlest protection, Centric brake motors have finishes that are generally very effective especially in shipping and storage of the brake rotor’s life. In addition, these feature a double disc ground that ensures quieter and smoother brakes.

Pros:

  • E-coating provides long-lasting protection
  • Offers adequate heat transfer
  • Prevents rust build-up
  • Delivers a quiet and smooth stop

Cons:

  • Might warp after a few years
  • Might not be suitable for aggressive drivers

5. ACDelco GM Original Equipment Front Disc Brake Rotor

ACDelco GM Original Equipment Front Disc Brake RotorAnother ACDelco on this list of the best brake rotors is the GM Original front disc brake rotor. These professional parts are specially manufactured to meet the consumers’ expectations for the right form, fit, and function. It also is priced competitively but still delivers a high-quality alternative to other aftermarket parts.

As with all ACDelco products on the market, these brake rotors were inspected for balance, which results in a smoother brake operation, as well as noise reduction. In addition, there exist GM-recommended replacement parts, specifically made for your vehicle’s original factory component. It also offers the same quality, durability, and reliability expected on a GM OE.

What’s great about these brake rotors is that the manufacturer is offering a 24-month limited or unlimited mile limited warranty on parts, qualifications, as well as possible labor coverage.

Pros:

  • Thoroughly inspected for balance
  • Replacement parts are available
  • High-quality brake rotors
  • Reliable and durable
  • Brand offers 24-month limited warranty

Cons:

  • Paint may start to rust after some time
  • Rust is difficult to remove

6. Power Stop Rear Evolution Drilled & Slotted Rotor Pair

Power Stop Rear Evolution Drilled & Slotted Rotor PairLast on this list is the Power Stop Evolution drilled and slotted brake rotors. These brake rotors certainly offer you the advantage of having both drilled holes and slots. These features are very important, especially when cooling, as well as sweeping away dust and gas. These only use the finest blanks and it utilizes the G3000 grade castings.

The Power Stop brake rotors are silver zinc-coated, which effectively resists rust. To add, the drill holes can make the brake rotors up to 180 degrees cooler. Indeed, this slotted and drilled design is one of the brand’s most popular brake rotors, which can be used on both day track and street applications.

Pros:

  • Features both slotted and drilled holes and slots
  • Slots have a clear contact patch with the pad and the brake rotors
  • Provides maximum braking performance
  • Silver zinc-coated
  • Slots can cool the brake rotors up to 180 degrees

Cons:

  • A little expensive
  • Might create a squeaking sound when braking

Conclusion

Choosing the best brake rotors might be a difficult task for you, especially if you are not familiar with how the braking system works. With this guide, we have provided you with everything you need to learn before you go and buy your vehicle a new set of brake rotors. We just hope that we have provided you with valuable information to make your decision making a lot easier.

 

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