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Discussion Starter #1
My Subaru dealer is telling me that I need to replace my rotors when I have my brake pads replaced. To the best of my knowledge the rotors are not damaged. Why would the Subaru dealer tell me this? Do I really need new rotors? I understand most shops don't turn rotors anymore. I'm just trying to get some ground truth here. Any thoughts you might have would be greatly appreciated.

Aldo
 

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2007 OBXT Limited, 5MT 148K
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There a lot of folks that change pads without swapping or machinge rotors and have good results. Most shops will not, since they have to warranty the work. Pads wear in faster and last longer on a proper surface. If the shop doesn't turn rotors, or yours are already too thin to machine, they're going to replace them.

If you had a few hours on a weekend, you could do it yourself pretty easily.
 

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2004 Outback Wagon, 2.5, 4EAT, All weather package.
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It is possible that your rotors are so badly damaged that they are beyond repair. All turning the rotors does is thin out the metal and make them more easy to warp in the future. In my personal opinion, rotors have gotten so cheap (cheap to buy and cheaply made) there is no reason to ever machine them.
 

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How many miles what year is the car? Generally no rotors especially Subaru rotors are pretty decent and under normal use should last a long time. I've found many dealers are doing this now given they mark up the parts cost and it sounds like a bigger job when its not.

My last subaru had 180,000 miles of SF commuting and Sierra trailer towing on the original Rotors which were cleaned up around 140K and were perfectly fine. I simply just replaced the pads about every 65/70,000 miles.

Also dealers like to turn the rotors every chance they get. I caught a Toyota dealer who turned nearly 50% of the meat off my brand new perfectly good rotors during a wheel bearing seal job I asked them to do. I ended up with brand new rotors in the box handed to me by the service manager after I showed them when I purchased the rotors from their parts dept and the note on the service ticket saying not to touch them they were brand new.
 

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How many miles what year is the car? Generally no rotors especially Subaru rotors are pretty decent and under normal use should last a long time. I've found many dealers are doing this now given they mark up the parts cost and it sounds like a bigger job when its not.

My last subaru had 180,000 miles of SF commuting and Sierra trailer towing on the original Rotors which were cleaned up around 140K and were perfectly fine. I simply just replaced the pads about every 65/70,000 miles.

Also dealers like to turn the rotors every chance they get. I caught a Toyota dealer who turned nearly 50% of the meat off my brand new perfectly good rotors during a wheel bearing seal job I asked them to do. I ended up with brand new rotors in the box handed to me by the service manager after I showed them when I purchased the rotors from their parts dept and the note on the service ticket saying not to touch them they were brand new.
That's a little optimistic, even with the trailer towing. Sounds like you really lucked out. Really depends on where the OP lives and what kind of driving he does. Here in Western PA (land of the hills and more hills) brakes do not last long. I replaced the brakes on the Subaru when I got it and thus far haven't had an issue, but on my old 95 Grand Prix it blew threw a set of rear pads and rotors every year... just the nature of the beast.
 

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That's a little optimistic, even with the trailer towing. Sounds like you really lucked out. Really depends on where the OP lives and what kind of driving he does. Here in Western PA (land of the hills and more hills) brakes do not last long. I replaced the brakes on the Subaru when I got it and thus far haven't had an issue, but on my old 95 Grand Prix it blew threw a set of rear pads and rotors every year... just the nature of the beast.
Nope not really. Had the rotors checked by a machine shop a couple of times they were perfectly fine.

Same thing with my heavy and brake pad hungry Land Cruiser. The proper pad compound vs vehicle weight / rotor should keep the rotor in good condition for a long time. I replaced the rotors on the LC at 150K. They were starting to get thin but my experience so far with now 5 cars doing the brakes my self. Is that we have had zero issues since we stopped having shops do the brakes. Every time a shop turns the rotors your pretty much on the hook for new rotors sooner than later.
 

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Nope not really. Had the rotors checked by a machine shop a couple of times they were perfectly fine.

Same thing with my heavy and brake pad hungry Land Cruiser. The proper pad compound vs vehicle weight / rotor should keep the rotor in good condition for a long time. I replaced the rotors on the LC at 150K. They were starting to get thin but my experience so far with now 5 cars doing the brakes my self. Is that we have had zero issues since we stopped having shops do the brakes. Every time a shop turns the rotors your pretty much on the hook for new rotors sooner than later.
My cars don't go into the shop for brakes. I've had my inspection mechanic replace brakes on the Grand Prix before, but that was because the car was already there and it needed the brakes to pass inspection. I never have rotors turned... pointless to me.
 

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short answer; no

you only NEED to replace rotors when the ROTORS are 'bad'.

that can be due to several issues, mostly having to do with minimum thickness or an extreme overheat/cementite, rust ,cracks or other 'metal' problem.
 

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Unless the pads zeroed out and deeply gouged the rotors there's no need to replace them.
I've had numerous cars with over 100K on OEM rotors. I've also seen aftermarket rotors need to be turned "out of the box" as they were warped when new.

If they look good and don't pulse...I wouldn't worry about it.
 

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I second the notion that it isn't mandatory, but I ALWAYS replace them - I got tired of getting less than "factory new" brake feel after just changing the pads.

Tires and brakes are two areas where you should never cut corners.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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The only vehicles I know that have to have the rotors replaced with brake pad service is BMW, Mercedes and Land Rover. The newer models, not so much since the friction blend and metalurgy has changed with advancement in electronic braking.

I resurface rotors to have a clean and true surface for the new pads. Any low spots or wave patterns in the rotor means the pad is not contacting the surface in these low areas to help stop the car. Plus, it insures smooth stops and longer pad life.

And yeah, no replacement unless it is below the minimum specification for resurfacing the rotor. There is always a discard measurement spec'd for the rotors. Manufacturers test brake systems to verify what the minimum threshold is for heat dissipation.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My Subaru dealer is telling me that I need to replace my rotors when I have my brake pads replaced. To the best of my knowledge the rotors are not damaged. Why would the Subaru dealer tell me this? Do I really need new rotors? I understand most shops don't turn rotors anymore. I'm just trying to get some ground truth here. Any thoughts you might have would be greatly appreciated.

Aldo
Thank you all for your thoughts on this topic. It turns out that my 2011 with just over 60K miles on it does not need brakes yet:) Saving money to put two kids through college at the same time is really tough so I find myself looking for ways to save a little $'s where ever I can. Unless I damage the rotors I'm thinking why replace what is not broken.

Aldo
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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I noticed that the folks who sell the brake pads and rotors "recommend" you replace the pads and rotors at the same time. Hmmmm...

Just be sure to bed the pads properly or you'll have brake judder.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not sure what you mean by "bed the pads properly or you'll have brake judder". Can you elaborate. I'm old enough to admit when I don't understand something and can blame it on my age:) I've done brake jobs before but it was when my hair wasn't grey and I had more of it:)

Aldo
 

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After everything is put back together, the first drive is used to bed the pads or burnish.

Its the process of overheating the pads quickly to complete the bonding process. It can't be done properly in manufacturing, so its done after installation.

Drive down the road and apply light pressure to the brakes for a slow heat up. Like stop and go for a couple blocks. Then speed up to 45-50 mph and get on the brakes hard, but not hard enough to activate the ABS. When the car gets to about 30, accelerate again and hard on the brakes at 45-50. Do this a total of 8-10 times, then park the car and let everything cool down. Your done.
 

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After everything is put back together, the first drive is used to bed the pads or burnish.

Its the process of overheating the pads quickly to complete the bonding process. It can't be done properly in manufacturing, so its done after installation.

Drive down the road and apply light pressure to the brakes for a slow heat up. Like stop and go for a couple blocks. Then speed up to 45-50 mph and get on the brakes hard, but not hard enough to activate the ABS. When the car gets to about 30, accelerate again and hard on the brakes at 45-50. Do this a total of 8-10 times, then park the car and let everything cool down. Your done.
For many people this is simply your standard commute to and from work.. LOL

Yes 60K on the OB pads might be around 40-30% pad left roughly pending driver. Always a good idea to replace the pads before they hit metal of course.

Funny thing about dealers when its the car owner footing the bill they recommend rotors and pads. When its just the dealer doing warranty work say for pads that wore out fast for some reason they nearly always just replace the pads. LOL - yep replacing rotors when the rotors are within spec and are smooth is just a ploy to generate more money.
 

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Thanks cardoc for covering the bedding procedure question. Judder is often mistaken for warped rotors when it is actually the pads "skipping" over the rotor surface due to not being properly bedded or mated to the rotor surface.
 

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I have 46000k on my outback and the dealer said I have 30% break pad left on the front and 20% left on the rear. They also recommended to turn the rotors to the tune of around $600.00? No pulsing at all.
 
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