A symptom of a damaged rotor is having a pulsating brake paddle. Usually, it gets rusty, especially if the customer/owner is using it as a daily driver during both winter and summer.
Here we’ll go over the painstaking process removing a stuck rotor. I’ve tried to keep things as simple as possible and notify you of all possible dangers.
Why Does a Motor Stick?
The vehicle braking system is as complicated as its engine. Even, it plays a more important role to save your life than an engine does. Stepping into this type of complicated system requires a deep understanding. That’s why before taking any action, you need to figure out the root cause behind this dismay.
Front-wheel brake rotors are just mounted on the wheel hub with some ordinary bolts. But as the wheel faces dust and water while cruising along the road, these joints collect water and eventually cause rust. Moreover, the contact surface of the hub and rotor collects that rust and eventually freezes the rotor on the hub.
Lack of maintenance, especially, lack of oiling on the rotor and hub joint quickens the action of rust. Each time you open the assembly for changing the brake pad, proper oiling in the joints between brake caliper, rotor, and the hub is necessary.
Did You Find These Symptoms?
As the surface between the rotor and the hub assembly gets rusted, the primary symptom it shows is to jam the rotor. But if the bolts are not perfectly removed or they’re some sort of new holding mechanism that remains leashed, the rotor also gets stuck. Anyways, some additional signs confirm the halt is for rust. You may see:
- Less oiling between the two surfaces.
- Broken bolts in some extreme cases.
- Minor cracks or the rotor.
What Not to Do?
Once you’ve figured out the dismay is because of rusted surfaces, you may try to brute force it. But the improper application of force can cause several damages to the rotor and also effects your safety. That’s why stay away from these:
- Excessive hammering on the outskirt of the rotor.
- Applying excess pulling force.
- Cut off the assembly.
What to Do?
There’re certain procedures to be followed. If these are followed correctly, no matter how rusted the rotor is, it’ll slowly be freed.
Ensuring Proper Safety
The commonly used rotor can be up to 21 lbs. (9.5 kg). While you’re trying to slide the rotor along the axel, it may fall on you. Besides, some dedicated parts of the vehicle may also be damaged. Follow these procedures to properly secure the parts during the operation.
- Once you’ve removed the brake caliper, don’t let it hang along the brake hydraulic line. Those lines are not designed to bear the load. It can damage that line and cause a hydraulic failure. Get a bungee cord and tie the brake caliper with the shock.
- Don’t put out all the bolts at a time. It’s better to loosen the bolts and let them hang. This method will help you to safely apply force behind the rotor.
Removing the Brake Caliper
The rotor must be freely accessible from the outside of the vehicle for any operation. Follow these steps to make it happen:
- If your vehicle has a hub cap on the center that covers the lug nuts, remove the hub cap by tightly grabbing the hub cap and pulling it outwards. But if your vehicle has a center cap, just put a screwdriver or a small ply bar behind the cap and uproot it.
- Loosen the axle nut or the bolt in the center of the wheel by loosening it with an appropriate socket. But don’t loosen the axle nut completely.
- The axle nut may have a cutter pin or a locking cap in it. Straighten up the straps of the cotter pin and remove it with the locking cap.
- Loosen the lug nuts while the tire is still on the ground. And guess what? Don’t loosen these nuts entirely too.
- Uplift the working tire by a jack and jack stand.
- Spin-off the lug nuts and remove the wheel.
- Remove the two hex-pole bolts on the back of the caliper. There may be removable rubber caps that cover the bolt. Pop them up first.
- Remove the caliper along with the pads with a screwdriver. Hang them with the shocks by tying with a rope or chord. Remove the caliper bracket by loosening the bolts behind them.
- If the rotor has a torque screw that secures it with the hub, remove that screw.
Only, now you can be sure whether the rotor is jammed on the hub or not. Apply outwards force on the backside of the rotor to slide it gently. If that doesn’t end the story, some steps are needed.
Try These Methods
Okay, let’s jump into action! Here’re some methods you can try to solve the problem.
Stuck on the Rotor
It’s the most common technique that is used for this purpose. You may have heard this before but what you might’ve missed out on is the proper way of applying this technique. There’s a subtle difference in the process depending on whether you’re going to reuse the rotor or not. Anyways, follow these steps:
- Rotate the wheel axis at the outside direction pointing towards you.
- Spray some oil on the rotor and make sure that the oil penetrates holes to hit the joining surface of the rotor and hub. Leave it for a while to make the surface slippery.
- Remove all but one bolt from the rotor. That one bolt will ensure that the rotor doesn’t come off flying and hit you just after you make it free. Make sure that the bolt is left having some threads in the hole.
- Grab a heavy brass hammer or a heavy mallet and hit the rotor. Give several shocks here ‘n there on it. But if you want to reuse the rotor, gently hit on the face and try not to hit hard on a particular portion or the back of the rotor. This will ensure no dent or crack is left on the rotor.
- Remove the mostly removed screw and pull the rotor outwards. You may need to repeat step 4 if the rotor cannot be removed easily.
Use a Bolt to Move the Rotor
Tapping hard may be hard. Moreover, there’s a chance of damaging the rotor. You can apply a clever technique instead. Just do this:
- Make sure you remove all the bolts except one to secure the rotor. Hit the face of the rotor gently with a hammer or mallet.
- You can see two holes at the back of the rotor. These are holes for the bolts that are used to hold the bolts for the brackets. Take a couple of washers and attach them with a bolt. Then secure the washers with a pair of nuts. Set the bolt properly along with one of the holes.
- Place a wrench on the nut and a socket on the bolt. Then rotate the socket along with the bolt and counter that force with a wrench on the washer. This will push the bolt towards the rotor and make the rust fall freely.
- Do the same thing with the other hole. Make the same setup with another bolt and set of nuts. Once the bolt on the other hole is pushed completely towards the rotor, copy that step for this hole.
- Pull off the rotor gently removing the screw that kept it hanging.
For the Future
If you want a hassle-free removal next time, you need to invest in some lubricants this time. Do these to play safe:
- Clean off any rust on the hub with a wire brush. Pay attention to the side and especially in the middle.
- Apply grease on the hub to keep the two adjacent metal surfaces slippery.
- If you’re putting on a new rotor, clean that first. Put off any oil and dust from the new rotor by wiping with a clean cloth.
- Grease at the backside of the rotor.
- Do some greasing on the caliper and its brackets too.
Don’t forget to wear hand gloves during the operation to protect our hand from oil and rust. You shouldn’t have any doubt about how to remove a stuck rotor by now. If you follow all the narrated steps properly, you’ll nail it. Congratulation in advance!
Also read-Brake Pads Comparison | Leash For Cars