Improving on the traditional rim brakes, the invention of disc brakes proved to be a huge improvement on the overall braking system of bikes. At the core of the disc braking system is the rotor blade that gets squeezed on from both sides when the brake is pressed. But a bad or faulty rotor is not suited for the job at all.
One of the many problems that you will face with a faulty rotor is the sound that it makes. These sounds are a clear indication that the rotor is turning bad or there are some issues with it.
We will tell you about the types of rotor sounds that you might come across and explain to you what the causes and the effects might be so that you can understand when to replace brake rotors.
Significance of a Rotor
On the brake system of a bike, the rotor plays an important role. The rotor directly controls the motion of the wheel. It rotates along with the wheel. That means, when the rotor moves, the wheel moves. And when the rotor stops, the wheel stops.
How does a Rotor Stop a Wheel in Motion?
When you press the brake, the rotor gets squeezed from its two sides by the brake pads from the brake caliper assembly. This squeeze creates friction and resists the motion of the rotor and consequently, the motion of the wheel. The more effective this friction is, the more easily the wheel comes to a stop.
Sounds and Noises from a Bad Rotor
The brake system of your bike is supposed to be quiet and fast. When you hear unusual sounds from your brake and the brake system can’t stop your bike, then it is because of the bad rotor. The most common type of sound that a bad rotor can make is the squeaking sound.
It the most common type of sound or noise that comes from a bad rotor. The squeaking sound is a sharp, high-pitched scratching one. You’ll hear this sound when you press the brakes, and the sound dies away as soon as you release the brakes.
Reasons Behind the Squeaking Sound
The squeaking sound could come from a disfigured rotor. Because of the uneven shape, the rotor will not be able to make perfect contact with the brake pads. As a result, the braking mechanism will not work properly and the squeaking sound will be produced.
Another reason could be excess heating. Rotors are metal objects that use friction from pads to make the wheel stop. The rotor could overheat because of bad braking pads. If the metal part of the braking pad makes contact with the rotor instead of the composite non-metal part, then the rotor is bound to overheat and the make squeaking sounds.
Grinding and Scrapping Sounds
Unlike squeaking noises, these sounds are not very sharp. They are low-pitched, harsh, and grating sound. If the faulty rotor of your brakes doesn’t make a squeaking sound, then you will probably hear this kind of sound.
Reason Behind the Grinding and Scraping Sounds
The reasons for grinding sounds are quite similar to the reasons for the squeaking sounds. If a larger portion of the rotor makes direct contact with any metal, then you will hear that harsh sound. Since the contact point is large, it will not produce the high-pitched squeaking sound. Overheating could also be a reason behind this.
Solutions to Bad Rotor Sounds
Identify the source of the problem first. If your rotor is disfigured or out of shape, then you should make it an even, circular disk-like it was before. Make sure that the braking pads have not decayed and are making enough contact with the rotor. If you notice that the brake pad is decayed then you can look for the best brake pad here.
You may also consider cleaning the rotor and the parts relevant to it. Dirt and debris create unwanted friction that causes those sounds. Tighten any loose parts related to the rotor and the brake.
In 9 cases out of 10, the sounds from a rotor do not indicate anything serious. But that doesn’t mean that you should continue riding your bike with the sound still there. We recommend looking into the problem as soon as you hear those unwanted sounds.
If you’re a beginner, then the best option for you would be to go to a mechanic and get the whole brake system checked up for faults. This way, you can fix that sound along with some upcoming problems that you might have missed if you checked it yourself. But if you’re a veteran with these things, feel free to do it yourself. It’s not very hard.