How to Choose the Best Brake Rotors?

If you are opting to do your own car maintenance, you are going to have to learn a lot about all the various components that make a vehicle.  For now, let’s look at choosing the right brake rotors when it comes time to replace them.

Solid surface rotors

Also known as smooth-surface brake rotors, this type is typically made of solid cast iron and are, basically, the standard rotors in all OE non-performance vehicle applications. Essentially, if you bought a car from a lot or used from a friend without any modifications or upgrades, this could have been the type of rotor installed.  If you do not plan to upgrade your vehicle you can probably replace your brakes with this kit.

Slotted surface rotors

Similar to solid surface rotors, the slotted variety offer a little higher friction and so many people choose to upgrade to these rotors for competition vehicles and for heavy truck operations. That little extra bit of friction provides better stopping power, particualrly useful for trucks hauling heavier loads.  However, heavy braking needs like that often result in reduced brake pad life.

Cross-drilled surface rotors

Cross Drilled Rotors provide yet more friction—and, thus, stopping power—than slotted surface rotors.  However, cross drilled rotors can result in uneven wear and, at some point, a more serious risk of stress cracks that form from rigorous racing conditions. Thus, cross drilled rotors are not suggested for street racers unless they are required through a particular racing league’s rule set.  Experts recommend, then, that these rotors best suit vehicles consistently driven in rainy conditions.

Cross-drilled and slotted surface rotors

Basically a combination kit, these rotors feature both types of surface cuts which means, in essence, both benefits. These are recommended more for street vehicles.   You might choose these if you are looking for quality stopping power and, more importantly, long brake life.

Slotted and dimpled surface

Basically, these rotors have the added feature of dimples on the surface. This feature is popular among those who want the performance benefits of a drilled rotor as well as the stress-crack resistance of non-drilled rotors, and the aesthetics of drilled rotors. You might opt for these if you want rigidity and performance and still want that drilled rotor appearance.