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2004 SES 88,000 miles. Told I need pads and rotors. If I pull off the wheel what do I look for to see if I really need rotors? I know how to tell if the pad is worn out. But can aside for looking for grooves etc in Rotors can I measure or something to see if it is really worn? We don't drive this car hard and it seems to be stopping just fine so I am not so sure there is any thing wrong with rotors but at almost 90K miles maybe it is time to change them. I do expect to keep this car at least another 2 to 3 years.

thanks!!!!
 

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My own opinion here but I would be very cautious putting in new pads without having fresh rotors, either new or turned. The new pads on worn rotors will not mate up exactly and you could have reduced braking ability until they eventually mate up. You don't have a lot of miles but they may not have enough thickness left to turn anyway so I would go with new rotors. For what it's worth, I've bought the cheap ones at NAPA and ended up getting cracks in both of them within 10K miles, then I replaced them with the 'good' ones and had no problems for a long time. For all I know they could be made in the same line in Korea or China and I just got two defective ones on the first try but in the future if I put rotors on a car I am keeping I'll go with the better ones.
 

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Even if you don't race the car, I recommend at least getting a top brand rotor. You get cheap rotors, you get poor braking, and they won't last as long as the factory stuff. I would even recommend using a Motorcraft or ACDelco rotor.

Myself, maybe I'm just picky, but I would run the slotted rotors and ceramic pads.
 

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Personally I never got new rotors. I just put in the new pads. Unless they are very badly grooved they will be OK. And buy cheap rotors too. Just don't buy cheap pads.

To turn the rotors you should do so while they are mounted on the car.
 

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When I read the thread title the first thing that came to mind was "Oh god. Not another 'weight reduction' thread"

I've only had to replace the rotors once. And that was only when they were warped. We got the cheapest thing available. However I got top quality pads. Made a big difference in braking. DONT SKIMP ON YOUR PADS. I was going to upgrade my rotors to brembos for shists and giggles though.
 

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Thats interesting that you are willing to use cheap rotors. I have done the same, and it bit me every time. You go get a set of rotors, and the cheap ones cost almost as much as good ones, only to have the warp cause they were cheap, which in turn damages the pads.
 

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The only time I paid over $50 for a set of rotors they developed radial cracks within a year.

A lot depends on the size of the rotor too. But if you are running the 11.6" rotor then cheaper is better. Never had one warp over 9 years. In fact the only one I did have warp was a rear rotor on my '93 because the hose had swelled shut not allowing the piston to relax.

But for the +'96 Taurus SHO it seems cheaper is better.

IMHO 99% of warped rotors is really pad deposits. If mine started to wobble whne applying the brakes then a few really hard stops to heat everything up would cure it.
 

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to the original poster

A lot of shops will routinely try to sell new rotors to anyone who will listen. That is what it's all about these days, making $$$.

If you don't feel any pulsation in the pedal, and it is stopping fine as you say, I would hold off on the rotors. The old school way of checking for thickness was with a micrometer. Some OEM rotors on certain makes have a thickness wear indicator cast into the rotor itself. Viewing the rotor from the outer edge (fins) you will see an 'indention' on the fin side of the braking surface. Hard to explain in words, but it is sort of like wear bars on a tire. If the outer braking surface is flush with the 'indention', then the rotors are past their minimal thickness.

As far as new pads not 'mating up' with old rotors, I never have had a problem with that. It is primarily a noise issue. Scuffing the glaze on the rotors with 100 grit sandpaper or similar will be sufficient to 'break in' new pads. Just be sure to do it uniformly.
I'm always in favor of turning, as long as you are dealing with beefy rotors. Maybe the Taurus aren't real thick to start with, so replacement is the norm.
 

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That is true, if they are not warped and they are still thick enough they do not need to be replaced. If they are glazed over and cracked, they will need to be turned.
 

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If your feeling vibration when braking, you need your rotors replaced. If not, your rotors should be fine.
This is the common conception but is not always true. Usually the rotor is not really warped but has pad deposits.
 

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I had to put on new frt. rotors to pass the Md. State Inspection to get titled when I bought my SE a coupla mos. ago at ~ 71K even tho the pads were still OK. It sure needed them...abt. a 1/8 in. slot from the pads was worn on both sides on each of the rotors. That meant 1/4in. would have been needed to trim off the ridge. Obviously too much for the flimsy stuff called rotors these days. And the pads had a very soft feeling too when I used the brakes. I was there and saw the job and I've worked on disc brakes many times, so the inspector/mech. guy did the right thing. Now w/ new Hawk pads which I supplied and fresh rotors the car feels much better.
 

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I've never needed to replace any rotors unless they were at the
min. thickness due turning them to remove any damage from the rivet pads (I hate rivet pads).
All my cars are used so previous owners may have neglected the brakes.

I do get them turned every brake job, approx. 65K for the front.
Machine shop guy could not believe they were still in spec after the third visit.
he takes off minimal so they run true.

One time the tire guy damaged my front rotor when he used the tire gun full blast
in circular pattern instead of cross pattern. Lug nuts were torqued 50% more then spec.
Never used that tire place since.
 

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I may take my brakes to the extreme, but I change both rotors and pads every 2 years (every other May) no matter what the miles. I bought top of the line Autozone (ok, no rants about the zone) and I buy the cheap rotors. So, every 2 years I have to buy 4 rotors and get my pads for free, not such a bad deal to know my brakes are always good. Come May 2011 I will be doing it all over again on the wagon.
 

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Most of the time, I replace mine, as it costs over $25 to have them both turned. When you turn rotors, the surface gets thinner, and the rotors will warp more easily, so to me it's worth replaceing rotors with new each brake job. I don't skimp on rotors, though, I usually buy Raybestos PG Plus rotors, or I will get the next expensive ones, look for "made in usa" rotors, since almost everything comes from China (hard to remember, as I've never had to put brakes on this car).
 

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Like Paul stated above, rotor rarely warp. This link has good information about rotor warp.

StopTech : Balanced Brake Upgrades

You should put your money in getting very good pads. Then bed the pad properly for best performance. The only time I know that you should either replace or turn rotors is when you are switching pad compounds (the different pad compound will have a clean surface to bed) or the rotors are worn out.
I have used these processes to bed pads and season rotors with good results.

Baer Brake Systems | Performance you can See!
Baer Brake Systems | Performance you can See!

Bob
 
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