What Are Brake Rotors And Why Does Your VW Need Them?

The brake rotors are arguably one of the most important parts on your car. They're essential to your car's ability to stop, and they need to be replaced every 30K-70K miles. We put together this quick but thorough guide for any Volkswagen owner who wants to know more about rotors and how they work. The more you know about rotors, the more prepared you will be when your rotors finally need to be replaced.

What are Rotors?

Rotors OEM

In this day and age, most cars come with disc brakes. Some cars have disc brakes only at the front wheels (and drum brakes at the rear wheels). Some cars have disc brakes at all 4 wheels.

Rotors are the discs in the disc brake setup. Basically, rotors are large metal discs that are attached to the wheels. When the wheels turn, the rotors turn, too. The rotor's job is to slow down or stop the car by creating friction with the brake pads. As soon as you apply the brakes, this sequence of events happens:

  1. The caliper (which is fitted over the top of the rotor like a clamp) squeezes the brake pads inwards against the surface of the brake rotor.
  2. The heat and friction created by the contact between the rotor and the brake pads cause the brake rotor to either slow down or stop turning.
  3. Since the wheel is attached to the rotor, the wheel slows down or stops turning in accordance with the rotor. This results in the car itself slowing down or stopping.

Why are Rotors Important?

Rotors are the link between the wheels and the vehicle's braking system. Without rotors, there's no way to stop your car when you apply the brakes. That's why it's extremely important to have rotors in good condition on your car at all times.

How do Rotors Wear Out Over Time?

Replace rotor

Image Credit: Eric Krzyzanowski

The rotors on your car come into contact with the brake pads every time you press down on the brake pedal. The friction from the brake pads will thin out the rotor over time. When the rotor reaches a certain minimum thickness, it has to be replaced. This is completely normal. Sometimes the rotor will become damaged as a result of repeated metal-to-metal contact with worn out brake pads. This is abnormal wear, but the rotor still has to be replaced.

Is it Possible to Replace the Rotors at Home?

Replacing your brake rotors is certainly something you can do at home. This step-by-step guide has all the steps you need to tackle the project successfully. 

Keep in mind that you'll have to replace your rotors in pairs, and you have to order replacement rotors before you can start the replacement process. At RealVolkswagenParts.com, we offer wholesale pricing to the public for genuine OEM Volkswagen parts. In other words, you'll get the best deal if you order replacement rotors from us.

We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about your rotors or if you need assistance finding the right part number(s).