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Which disc brake rotor is best?

Technical Bulletins

Nov 29, 2022

Just as there are many different types of brake pads available to motorists, so too is there a wide choice of disc brake rotors.

Some rotors offer better stopping performance, other styles are more durable, and certain types claim to provide both. Here’s an overview of the various types available, and the pros and cons of each.

Smooth / plain rotors

Most commonly fitted to passenger cars, smooth or plain rotors perform reliably in most day to day driving conditions.

These are the most commonly fitted rotors to passenger cars. They’re typically made of cast iron, can tolerate an average amount of heat, and generally perform reliably in day to day driving conditions.

Smooth rotors will not cope well with spirited driving or for towing heavy caravans or trailers, particularly on undulating roads where heavy braking might be needed. These conditions generate a lot of heat which the smooth rotors have difficulties in efficiently dissipating. On the plus side, their smooth finish has the advantage of delivering a longer pad life.

Drilled rotors

Drilled rotors allow heat to more efficiently dissipate during demanding braking situations, leading to increased braking performance.

Drilled rotors feature a series of holes on the surface which allows heat created by pad friction to dissipate more effectively to improve braking performance and consistency.

A negative aspect of drilled rotors is reduced structural integrity, which may cause them to eventually crack in demanding applications. This style of rotor will also lead to increased pad wear, owing to the greater friction the drilled surface provides against the pad.

Slotted rotors

Rather than having drilled holes, slotted rotors feature grooves that run along the surface of the rotor. In heavy braking conditions, these help to remove glaze from overheated brake pads while also allowing dust to escape.

The structural integrity of the rotor is also somewhat affected by the slots, but not to the same extent as the drilled rotors, meaning they will better resist cracks. On the downside, slotted rotors will also reduce brake pad life.

Drilled and slotted rotors

A combination of the previous two rotor types, providing the same benefits: improved dissipation of heat, gases, dust and water, resulting in a cooler and cleaner braking surface that boosts braking performance. These rotors are ideal for performance vehicles that regularly brake hard at speed, but provide reduced brake pad and rotor life.

It's not just about power, having the right braking package on a sports car will also increase driver enjoyment and cut lap times on track.

The Bendix rotor range

Bendix offer a range of proven and reliable disc brake rotor replacements and upgrades to suit a variety of vehicle categories.

The Euro+ Disc Brake Rotor is a plain style ‘Original Equipment Fit’ rotor, that meets or exceeds OE specifications, making it an ideal direct OE replacement part that delivers strong braking performance in a variety of conditions. High carbon metallurgy also ensures reliability and longevity in the Euro+ Disc Brake Rotor, while SwiftFit coating provides more efficient fitment for installers as rotor pre-cleaning is not required.

For greater braking performance in sports cars, Bendix offers its Ultimate Sports & Performance Disc Rotor. Bendix’s take on drilled and slotted rotors, this range features specially designed slots and V-shaped dimples to efficiently expel gas, dirt and water.

This balanced pattern has evolved from racing and provides outstanding stopping power and minimum brake fade. The use of dimples rather than drilled holes ensures these rotors achieve their braking performance while retaining the strength of a solid rotor.

Ultimate 4WD™ Sports & Performance Rotors coming soon

This Bendix package features specially designed slots and V-shaped dimples to efficiently expel gas, dirt and water.

Bendix will also shortly take the covers of an exciting new range of sports and performance disc brake rotors for four-wheel drives.

These rotors feature metallurgy specially designed for off road vehicles while also introducing Bendix’s proven slot and dimple technology to significantly increase braking performance over the OE equivalent. Full details will be shared soon.

For further information:

For more information free call the Bendix Brake Advice Centre on 1800 819 666 or +61 3 5327 0211 from overseas (8am-5pm Monday to Friday EST), e-mail us at: brakeadvicecentre@bendix.com.au or visit our website www.bendix.com.au

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