Understanding Rotor Type In Terms of Performance Improvement

Understanding Rotor Type In Terms of Performance Improvement

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If you are looking to improve your car’s performance you may have already considered adjusting air intake and fuel-injection, perhaps you have switched to high-performance tires.  You might also, though, want to consider an upgrade to your car’s rotors, as well, as these handling components can improve your tire and wheel performance, particularly at high speeds.

Of course you will need to know about the different types of rotors first:


Known also as “smooth-surface” brake rotors, solid surface rotors are typically made of a single material, as their name suggests.  And more often than not, that material is solid cast iron.  More importantly, you need to know that [cast iron] solid surface rotors are the industry standard for all OE non-performance vehicle applications.  Basically, if you bought a car from a new or used lot within the past few decades, this is probably the type of brake rotor you have.  Since this is the standard, though, you likely would not simply replace them with the same if you want to upgrade performance.


Somewhat similar to the first, slotted surface rotors provide just a little protection at higher friction levels. This makes them ideal for competition vehicles as well as heavy truck operations.  Because of the higher friction level, slotted surface rotors generally provide more stopping power but keep in mind that this also means they tend to reduce brake pad life.


Cross Drilled Rotors are the next step up from slotted surface rotors, so to speak.  But, much like how slotted surface rotors’ improved braking efficiency comes at the expense of pad life, cross drilled rotors’ benefits come at the expense of uneven brake pad wear and the potential for more intense stress cracks in the future.


As you might have guessed, this is a combination rotor kit.  And, if you follow the logic, then, these rotors provide a combination of benefits.  Some people like them, too, because they provide the performance benefits of cross-drilled rotors but the aesthetics of smooth surface rotors.


Finally, these rotors have, obviously, dimples on the surface.  This feature continues to add more benefits with added stress-crack resistance and the attractive look of drilled rotors.

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