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Can you replace only the Brake Pads and not the Rotors?

To Pad Slap or Not to Pad Slap

Because brakes are such an essential part of a vehicle’s operation, every mechanic – be he/she a DIYer or a professional – should take servicing these life savers seriously. However, this does not mean that there aren’t some people who are willing to take shortcuts when it comes to replacing/serving this vital safety component. What we are referring to is the practice of “pad slapping’ which means replacing only the brake pads as opposed to replacing the pads and rotors when needed. At Autohaus we believe that a job worth doing is worth doing well. Here are some things you need to know about pad slapping and why we do not recommend this practice.

Reasons to Replace Rotors and Brake Pads

A car’s braking system is an intricate interplay of various machines parts that work in conjunction with one another. Neglecting one component of this system can compromise your vehicle’s ability to stop when necessary. Here are some reasons to replace all components of your braking system.

  • Rotors are much thinner: Rotors nowadays are made thinner and are not able to be resurfaced like they were years ago.

  • It’s nearly impossible to perfectly resurface old rotors: Rotors that can be resurfaced are never as efficient as brand new rotors. Therefore, pad slapping can leave other components of your braking system in disrepair.

  • Pads and Rotors should wear at the same rate: Because the pads and rotors are designed to wear at approximately the same rate, if only the pads are replaced, the worn rotors can begin to cut a groove into the new pads, which will cause premature wear of the brake pads.

  • Your brakes will not be as efficient: Replacing only the pads and not replacing damaged rotors will reduce your vehicle’s stopping ability because it is likely that the rotors will be used beyond their minimum width.

  • You will end up paying more for brake service by paying for labor twice: If you choose to have only the pads replaced now, then a few months from now, you may need to have the rotors replaced. You will have to pay the same amount of labor to do the rotors at a later time, so it only makes sense to do the whole job at one time.

The Ideal Brake Job

The best chance for consumers to get good results when having their brakes replaced is to make sure that the mechanic does a thorough job and does not cut corners. An honest mechanic will tell you exactly which components need to be replaced. He or she will also be able to show you the parts that need to be replaced and how they differ from new, more reliable parts.

We, at Autohaus, understand that some people may consider pad slapping from a money saving perspective only. However, you can’t put a price on safety. The damage that you can do to yourself, your passengers, your vehicle and the passengers of other vehicles can far outweigh the short term savings in repair fees. So, the next time you experience brake squeal/squeak, brake pulsation, brake grinding or your brake pad warning light comes on, it may be that you need to have your pads and rotors replaced.

A brake fluid flush is a necessary maintenance service that is required every two years, regardless of mileage on most vehicles. Although it will not solve the major issues involving your braking system, it is important to keep the fluid fresh for optimal breaking.

If you are experiencing brake issues, give us a call at 248-549-3636. We are here Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM to take care of all of your vehicle’s needs. Autohaus serves the Royal Oak and greater Metro Detroit area, including Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Franklin, Farmington Hills, Clawson, Berkley, Oak Park and the surrounding areas.

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