(616) 364-6200

Disc Brake Maintenance

north east automotiveLet’s talk about disc brakes. Your vehicle weighs several thousand pounds and it takes a lot of force to bring it and your passengers to a safe stop – so everything needs to be in good working order.

The wheel hub keeps your wheel attached to the vehicle. The brake disc – or rotor – is attached to the hub and spins with the wheel as you drive. Your brake pads clamp onto the rotor to slow the wheel. The brake caliper straddles the rotor and squeezes the rotor to slow it down. The calipers contain brake pads which rub on the rotor when you step on the brakes. The brake piston causes the calipers to squeeze and release as you use your brakes.

Your vehicle brake pads start to wear the first time you step on the brakes. Eventually the pads are worn out and need to be replaced. If you don’t replace brake pads when they’re worn out, the metal parts of the brake will grind against the rotor and carve grooves into the surface. A semi metallic pad works like sandpaper and can be dusty on the wheels. A ceramic pad works like the sticky backing of tape.

If a scored rotor isn’t too bad, we can put the rotor on a lathe and smooth it out, also called resurfacing. If the grooves are too deep, or if the rotor is warped or cracked, it needs to be replaced. Here in Michigan more rotors are replaced rather than resurfaced.

Servicing disc brakes at Northeast Automotive require special attention to the mechanical sliding and mounting portions of the system. Sometimes brake pistons can stick and must be replaced.

Grand Rapids residents who replace their brake pads on time will not only keep their vehicle stopping safely, but could save money on unnecessary brake repair down the road.

So there you have it – a brief Northeast Automotive guide to how your disc brakes work.

Give us a call, and drive safely.


auto shop repair
  • Northeast Automotive

    1156 Knapp St. NE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49505

  • Phone: (616) 364-6200

  • Feel free to call or email us to schedule your next appointment.

    Business Hours

    Monday - Friday
    7:30AM - 5:30PM

    8:00AM - 2:00PM


    Memorial Day
    We will be closed on Saturday May 26 and Monday May 28 for Memorial Day.