worn brake disc

Front Disc Brakes/Rotors Symptoms, Function & Replacement Cost

In Brakes by Magnus Sellén1 Comment

The front disc brakes in a car are responsible for keeping the car on track with the help of brake pads and calipers. Without properly functioning brakes, an accident is inevitable. Therefore, the brakes must be taken care of effectively.

Functions of a Front Disc Brake Rotor

When you press the brake pedal, it is usually the front disc brakes that receive the signal. The brake discs, therefore, run in tandem with the wheel. To prevent the wheel from moving, the brake calipers press the brake pads against the brake discs to stop the car.

Signs of Bad Front Disc Brakes Symptoms


The disc brakes in a car use the concept of friction to slow the car down. Friction can very easily wear out any component, and brakes are no exception.

As a result of their wear and tear, you will feel and hear some signs that indicate that the disc brakes are failing.

1. Squeaking Noise from the Brakes

The brake pads in disc brakes are made of high-quality rubber, so they are supposed to last for a long time, but when they fail, they start to produce noise from the brakes. The squeaking noise can be heard when the brakes are applied heavily. In addition, the brake rotor can also be a cause of brake problems. If the brake rotor has an uneven surface or if the rotor has scratches, you will inevitably hear a loud, unpleasant noise from the front brakes of your car.

2. Vehicle Takes Longer to Stop

When the brakes are worn, it takes longer for the car to stop. This is possible if the brake calipers do not press on the brake pads strongly enough. This is also an indication of a failure in the hydraulic system of the brake. However, this symptom can occur mainly because the brake pads are worn. Worn brake pads cannot stop the car as quickly as new ones. If you have such a feeling, you should, therefore, see the mechanic as soon as possible.

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3. Scratch Marks on The Rotor

The brake’s rotors come into contact with nothing but the brake pads. Therefore the only explanation for scratch marks on the rotor is that the brake pads are worn. If you do not take care to replace the brake pads of your car in time, you can seriously damage the brake rotors. And brake rotors are not cheap.

Inspection the Front Disc Brakes

The first thing you should do if you suspect that your discs are worn is to inspect them carefully. With this method, you can check them and try to repair and clean them in the best possible way. If you suspect that you have grease on them, it may also be a good idea to clean them if the discs look in otherwise good condition.

Things you will need:

Disc brake cleaner

Remove the Wheel/s

First of all, you should raise your car with a floor jack and jack stands. If you do not have a jack, you can consult our overview of the best floor jacks. If you remove the tires, you can inspect the disc much better to see if it is damaged.

Check the discs

Now you can carefully inspect the discs, so check both the inside and outside of the disc. Check for rust or other damage to the disc. If the discs are heavily rusted or damaged, it is best to replace both front discs. If you find that the discs look good but there is grease on them, try cleaning them with brake cleaner. You can find brake cleaner here on Amazon: CRC Brake Parts Cleaner. Make sure you check both front brake discs.

Reinstall the Wheel

As you have only removed the wheel, all you have to do is put it back on and voila! Mission accomplished!

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Testing Front Disc Brakes by Driving

Disc brakes can be checked in two ways, either by driving the car or by lifting the front of the car with a jack and checking the brakes. While the latter method is somewhat impractical, the former is more practical, so we will start with the former.

It is easy to check the front disc brakes while driving. First, try to drive slowly and brake after every 3-5 seconds to check the strength of the brakes. Once you are familiar with the performance of the brakes at low speeds, you can go faster and do the real tests. Finally, accelerate to 30-40mph and brake hard. If all goes well, you will probably feel the tautness of the brakes and a sudden jolt.

Make sure that there is no vibration in the steering wheel when braking and that the vehicle does not move to the right or left when braking. If you experience vibrations in the steering wheel when braking, it is probably the front brake discs that are unbalanced and need to be replaced.

You can learn more about these symptoms here: Why is my Steering Wheel Shaking?

Front Disc Rotors Replacement Cost

There is not just one, but three main components that can fail in a braking system. Brake pads are probably the most prone to failure due to their rubber nature. Rubber can wear faster than most other materials, especially if it is affected by friction. Fortunately, brake pads are easy to find and replace. The caliper and disc are more robust. Often the brake pads are replaced at the same time as the front disc brakes. Also, check that the brake calipers work properly before you install them again. All in all, a simple replacement of the brake system will cost you about $200 to $300 without the labor costs, which are $100 to $150.

1 thought on “ Front Disc Brakes/Rotors Symptoms, Function & Replacement Cost ”

  1. in January 2019 we had all brakes replaced, rotors grounded, fluid flush, the car was not running smooth it was if something was like something was holding it back. Now the brakes are grinding. Mechanics say the calipers failed. Is this common? Are the calipers replaced during the initial brake job?

  2. Due to a very high demand and high ammount of comments, you have to wait for some time for your car questions to get answered. If you want to get fast answers from a certified master technician you can ask your questions here:
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