Most truck owners understand that brake pads wear down as the result of use over time. When a brake pad has been worn down to a critical level, it must be replaced immediately, in order to maintain the effectiveness of your braking system. Yet with all of the attention paid to brake pads, many people overlook the fact that rotor wear can be just as problematic.
While rotors don't wear down at quite the same rate as brake pads, over time they will develop problems that need fixing. Worn rotors can often be returned to serviceable shape through the process known as resurfacing. If you would like to learn more about this process, read on. This article will provide a useful overview of the topic of rotor resurfacing.
Most trucks are equipped with a disc brake system powered by pressurized air. When you engage your brakes, air supplied by the compressor causes a a caliper mounted at each of your braking points to tighten. The calipers hold the brake pads, which close down around the rotor attached to the tire itself. The friction generated in this way causes your truck to slow.
Rotors tend to be composed of highly heat resistant metal alloys. Yet because they are subjected to high levels of both friction and heat every time you engage the brakes, over time they develop small surface imperfections. For one thing, material from the brake pads may accumulate on the rotor.
Known as heat spots or heat checks, these deposits will eventually lead to noticeable performance issues like vibrations and harshness when you engage your brakes. They will also reduce the rotor's structural integrity and reduce the ability of the brake pad to grip the rotor. Finally, they will increase the heat retention of your rotors, thus leading to an increased risk of warping and other heat related issues.
Resurfacing represents a used to restore proper rotor functionality. During the resurfacing process, a trained truck mechanic will essentially shave off a thin layer of metal from the outside of the rotor. This acts to eliminate heat checks and other minor surface defects, thus ensuring that the brake pad can fully and smoothly engage with the rotor.
Resurfacing can also be used to combat minor instances of rotor warping. By restoring a perfectly round shape, resurfacing promotes even contact between the pad and the rotor. This will make your brakes' performance much smoother.
Rotor resurfacing promotes better braking, while extending the functional lifespan of the rotor. Yet that doesn't mean that resurfacing represents a viable option in all cases. It cannot be used as a way to repair more extreme damage, which will require that the entire rotor be replaced.
Any of the following rotor problems may necessitate replacement:
- Surface cracks
- Cracks in the rotor's back plate
- Excessive warping
- Excessive grooving or wear
Likewise, you should be aware that a rotor can only be resurfaced to a certain extent. This limit is designated by the term minimum thickness, which refers to point beyond which a rotor cannot be resurfaced. If the thickness at any point on the rotor has become less than the minimum thickness, the rotor will have to be replaced.
Brake and Rotor Experts
Educate yourself as much as possible about the braking system on your truck. This knowledge will ensure that you enjoy as safe a trucking experience as possible. Equally important is finding a reliable and experienced company to service and maintain your brakes and rotors. For more information about what it takes you keep your truck braking safely, please don't hesitate to contact the experts at Clutch & Brake Xchange Incorporated.