Resurface or replace Rotors?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by chillwill120, Apr 17, 2021.

  1. chillwill120

    chillwill120 Junior Member

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    Hello everyone. I have a 2010 Prius with just over 100,000 miles. I purchased the car pre-owned in 2015 with 67,000 miles and I have no idea if brakes were over replaced. At my last oil change at the Toyota dealership, my front brakes were "yellow", meaning they would need to be replaced soon. I drove about 3,500 miles since that oil change. Today I had new tires installed at Mavis Discount Tires and they said I should have the front brake pads and rotors replaced. Mavis quoted me $280 to replace the front brake pads and rotors. The local Toyota dealership will charge roughly the same price for new front brake pads, but the rotors will be resurfaced as opposed to replaced. I assume Toyota will charge extra if they determine that the rotors need to be replaced. So I'm trying to figure out which way to go. On the one hand I prefer using Toyota so I'm getting OEM parts. On the other hand, it seem that going with Mavis might be better because I get new rotors as opposed to just resurfacing old ones (and don't have to worry about Toyota charging a few $100 extra if they decide they need to replace instead of resurface). Does anyone have an opinion on which way to go? Also, can this wait till my next oil change in August? I haven't really noticed any noises or weirdness with the brakes so I'm assuming this isn't urgent.

    I know lots of people will chime in and say how expensive it is, but I live right near Manhattan and it's a high cost of living area so I don't think I'll be able to get a much cheaper price even if I shop around all the local shops. Also, I'm not handy and I don't have tools, a garage, or a driveway so this is not something I'll be doing on my own. Thanks!
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Lots of people replace these days because the market is flooded with aftermarket rotors that sell new for a price comparable to resurfacing existing ones. If the comparison is to new OEM ones, resurfacing saves money. Unless there is some kind of serious damage, rotors have plenty of metal to be resurfaced.

    They can be resurfaced off the car, on a stationary lathe, or they can be resurfaced on the car, with an on-car brake lathe. Toyota recommends the on-car lathe, so that presumably is what the dealer will do. That produces a rotor whose surfaces are perfectly normal to the axis of the hub, which is kind of the ideal result. Even a new rotor, especially a cheap one, just thrown on the car, could fall short of that.
     
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  3. chillwill120

    chillwill120 Junior Member

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    So your opinion is to go with resurfacing the OEM rotors as opposed to replacing with aftermarket? Thanks.
     
  4. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    With only 100,000, the rotors should be fine. If you don't feel any pulsing when you apply
    the brakes, just replace the pads. You should have at least 1/2 the life of the pads left.

    Almost EVERY place will tell you that you NEED something. Brakes make them the most
    money and are easy to do. It doesn't mean that you actually NEED them.
    Yellow? Did they mean the color, or like a traffice like?

    If you have a flashlight, you can look at the pads without taking off the wheels.
    Better if you remove the wheel to get a better look. You can do that in a driveway
    or a parking lot and use the jack that came with the car.
     
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  5. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    That's likely what I would do, but I wanted more to just lay out the considerations than necessarily say what somebody who isn't me should do.
     
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  6. chillwill120

    chillwill120 Junior Member

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    I don't feel anything or hear anything weird when braking. Do you think this can wait till August? Thanks.
     
    #6 chillwill120, Apr 17, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  7. chillwill120

    chillwill120 Junior Member

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    I'll probably drive 1,000 to 2,000 miles tops by August.
     
  8. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Without seeing them, I cannot tell you.

     
  9. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Yellow means you have another 30k miles to go before they're actually needing to be replaced.

    Did they mark on the paper what the actual pad thickness was?

    New pads start at ~10 to 11 mm thickness. The Gen 2 Toyota Repair Manual (not Gen 3 because I don't have a Gen 3) states during brake inspection to replace the pads if they are at 1mm thickness. Yellow zone is probably still 4-5mm or more. Prius brakes typically experience significantly less wear due to much of the braking being from regen instead of friction.

    Your case may vary due to your driving habits, or the condition of your rotors may vary due to weather conditions in your area.

    Found it. 4-6 mm is yellow zone. You have years of life left at your driving rate and may never need to actually replace them due to normal wear. Here's a link.

    Brake Service & Repair
     
    #9 TMR-JWAP, Apr 17, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  10. chillwill120

    chillwill120 Junior Member

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    Ok, thanks for your input. I'll probably just handle it in the next few weeks to be safe.
     
  11. chillwill120

    chillwill120 Junior Member

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    Well, I also thought they had plenty of life since the dealer said they were yellow. I figured I was good for a year or two. However, I've had a tire changed twice since then at two separate places, and both times the person changing the tires commented about my brakes. Mavis is claiming that there is some warping on my front rotors. Maybe they're just looking to get some work, I don't know. I looked at the rotors and brake pads when the tires were removed but I really don't know much about cars, so I couldn't tell if the wear was excessive.
     
  12. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I agree with dogman above, 100k miles is nothing for Prius rotors unless they have been abused. If you look at them through the wheel and they are smooth, they are very likely to be fine. I would resurface oem rotors or replace with oem when needed instead of buying aftermarket rotors which often warp quickly.

    Pads are usually measured with gauges as Red 2 & 3mm; Yellow 4, 5 & 6mm; and Green 8, 10 & 12mm. Generally 2 mm is the absolute lowest before the pads start gouging the rotors. Yellow does not tell the story well enough, always ask for the actual measured millimeters. 576561A2-0FBC-48ED-8FFD-8997DAE5D0F0.jpeg Proper use of your regenerative braking (not "breaking") can make them last 200k miles or more. My pads and rotors are original at 250,000 miles.
     
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  13. chillwill120

    chillwill120 Junior Member

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    Well I drive pretty conservatively, not a lot of hard braking, but I can't say how the car was driven for its first 67,000 miles. I appreciate the Prius advice but not the grammar lesson for a simple typo when I was typing quickly and didn't proof read.
     
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  14. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    You're welcome.
    NO ONE can "look" at a rotor and tell you it's warped! What a joke! :)
    Unless they are super warped. But then you wouldn't be able to drive the car.

    Probably all rotors have some slight warpness to them. But you would KNOW if they were
    bad.

     
  15. chillwill120

    chillwill120 Junior Member

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    Well to be fair, he didn't say he could see that the rotor was warped, he said he could feel it. In any event, thanks again. After hearing everyone's input I think this really isn't a rush. The brakes feel fine and don't sound weird. We'll see what the dealer says when I get my next oil change in August.
     
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  16. privilege

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    ask them to measure the rotors in front of you.

    I would bet they are still well within spec.

    you can get a micrometer and measure it yourself, then look up the minimum thickness, I would really be surprised if a hybrid wore out it's rotors in such short number of miles
     
  17. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Nine times outa ten, nothing needs to be done to the rotors.
     
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  18. Paul E. Highway

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    I have a 2010 and replaced my brake pads and rotors at 153K. Pads had at least a couple months left on them. Did work myself, bought new aftermarket rotors for slightly more than turning the old ones would have cost. Rotors were probably not needed, but was driving Uber at the time and changed for safety’s sake. Both will probably last the remaining lifetime of the car!
     
  19. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    If the surface is uniform/shiny, and is within the repair manual tolerance specs, there is no need to do anything with them.

    Here’s the front specs:

    BFFF3DB8-1AE2-4C54-8915-7A6B46057656.jpeg

    And rear:

    F8036893-D23F-43C0-A095-52BDF02E5A9A.jpeg

    With $50 dial indicator with magnetic base and $30 micrometer you can check against these specs yourself. But typically, and especially if they feel fine, they ARE fine.
     
  20. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    unless your experiencing some type of car wobbling when braking at high speeds, rotors don’t need to be resurfaced. It’s a quick money grab and chances are they won’t even resurface it and will charge you for the service, don’t pay for a service you don’t need.
     
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