How to prevent rust on brake rotors

This blog will answer the question, “how to prevent rust on brake rotors” and covers topics like how to remove rust from brake rotors, different techniques to remove rust, and frequently asked questions. 

How to prevent rust brake rotors?

Rust can be prevented from brake rotors by following the steps given below:

  • Eliminate corrosion from the rotors with a brake cleaner. 
  • Allow the rotor to dry before wiping it down with a dry cloth (no oil on the rag). 
  • If any corrosion persists, use extra brake cleaner and cotton wool or a scrubbing brush to remove it. 
  • Wash the rotor thoroughly and apply a final coat of cleaner.

How to remove rust from brake rotors?

Brake rotors are in full view thanks to the popularity of alloy wheels.  Rotors, on the other hand, must be built of strong, heat-resistant metal—metal that corrodes quickly in the extreme circumstances of a tire well. 

Many individuals wonder how to prevent corrosion from brake rotors because of the unattractive staining that shows through their pricey alloy wheels. Depending on how severe the rusty rotors are, you can clean them in a range of methods. 

We’ll lead you through the steps, from the simplest to the most time-consuming, to ensure you complete the task. The most vital security precaution to take is to: On the rotor’s braking surface, no lube (such as WD-40) or persistent coating should be used. Period.

Rust is visible on the surface, whereas corrosion is degradation that occurs underneath the surface. The rotors will need to be resurfaced or replaced if they are corroded.

Rust can be removed from brake rotors by the following the guidance below:

  • Drive the Automobile
  • Preparation for Rotor Cleaning
  • If needed, detach the caliper and pads
  • Examine the Pads
  • Eliminate corrosion from the rotors with brake cleaners
  • A Few Words on the Caliper Assembling
  • Time for a bath
  • Reassemble
  • A Protective Action

I will now elaborate on the guidance given above.

Drive the Automobile:

If the automobile stays in one location for several days, corrosion will most probably form on the rotors. Merely driving will remove this surface corrosion. Take the car for a drive, along with some stop-and-go riding, and then inspect the brakes. 

Bring it to the next level if the rusting is still apparent. Look for an empty lot or a desolate roadway. Start the vehicle on the road and get it up to around 10 mph before slamming on the brakes. Re-check the rotors after a few repetitions of this operation. If there is still rust, proceed to the next stage.

Preparation for Rotor Cleaning:

Always secure the tires of the vehicle you’re not operating on with chocks. Release the lugs on the wheel you’re working on, then lift it off the ground with a ground jack. 

As a supplemental security precaution, we strongly advise utilizing a jack stand in addition to a flooring jack. To reveal the rotor, detach the tire.

If needed, detach the caliper and pads:

Cleaning the rotors with the pad and caliper in place is possible, but it may be quicker if you detach them. 

Here’s how to do it: 

  • Unscrew that hold the caliper component to the guide screws on the caliper bracket with a wrench. 
  • Lift the caliper component away from the rotor and place it in the tire well where it can dangle without damaging the braking system. 
  • This can be done with old cable coat hangers, but caliper racks are also available at most auto shops. 
  • To release and detach the bolts that secure the caliper bracket, use a wrench (which holds the pads). Eliminate it from the equation and tuck it away.

Examine the Pads:

While the brakes are apart, we advise that you examine the pads for any external glazing (a crystalline appearance). It’s also a good opportunity to check the brake pads’ integrity. Everything with a thickness of less than 4 mm must be removed.

Also, look for tears in the caliper cylinder and guide screw boot. Any damage to these boots’ stability opens the mechanical components to filth and rust, which might cause them to halt. This needs to be taken care of effectively.

Eliminate corrosion from the rotors with brake cleaners:

Steps of removing rust with brake cleaner:

  • Place a pan underneath the rotor to collect any spills, and afterward sprinkle the rotor using a brake cleaner. 
  • Allow the rotor to dry before wiping it down with a dry cloth (no oil on the rag). 
  • If any corrosion remains, use extra brake cleaner and cotton wool or a scrubbing brush to remove it. 
  • Wipe the rotor clear and apply a final coat of cleaner. It’s best to do it in a well-ventilated place.

A Few Words on the Caliper Assembling:

The caliper assembly may be kept in place, but you’ll need to rotate the rotor to reach the area occupied by the pads, as previously stated. 

Brake cleaning will not damage the padding, but too much of it can compromise the lining’s adherence to the pad backing, so be careful.

Time for a bath:

Disconnect the rotors (if the caliper component and bracket are dismantled, this is as easy as using an impacting tool to release an anchoring nut (not found on all automobiles), and afterward slipping the rotor off the lug. For obstinate corrosion, use industrial cleansers such as CLR and Evapo-Rust.

These chemicals fight the corrosion while leaving the metal underneath unharmed. Vinegar is a much more environmentally friendly choice, albeit this may not perform as effectively as professional cleaning chemicals.

Rub with steel wool or a scrubbing brush if necessary, taking caution not to scrape the rotor’s surface. Thoroughly rinse and dry.


Reassemble the brakes and reinstall the tire after the rotors have been cleaned. It may be necessary to use a hefty C-clamp to retract the cylinder in the caliper component so that it can lay over the brake discs. After the automobile has been taken off the lifts, the lug nuts should be levered.

A Protective Action:

Painting the hubs will enhance the condition and protect the non-braking area of the rotors from being unattractive, as eliminating corrosion from rotors is a decorative exercise (regular use of the automobile keeps it in control). Spray brake caliper paint to the center area of each new pair of rotors when installing them. 

To preserve the brake area from contaminants, wrap it off before priming, and only paint the cap that fits over the wheel. After painting, wash away any debris from the tapes with brake cleaners with a towel.

Materials and tools needed for the whole process are given below:

Materials Needed
Rags (oil-free)
Brake cleaner
Commercially available cleaner or white vinegar
Steel wool
Tools Needed
Wire brush
Floor jack
Jack stand
Bowl to collect runoff

How do you prevent rotors from on the exterior?

Want to keep corrosion from forming on your brake rotors or at least slow it down? Consider the following recommendations:

  • Drive your car
  • Select high-quality rotors
  • Make use of a garage
  • Maintain the cleanliness of your vehicle
  • Never oil noisy brakes

I will now elaborate on the guidance given above.

Drive your car:

Keeping your brake rotors from deteriorating is as simple as driving your car on a routine basis, even if only for short ranges. When superficial corrosion is naturally cleared by using your brakes, corrosion cannot build up and cause harm.

Select high-quality rotors: 

You must also ensure that you have good rotors, to begin with. 

Here’s a highly recommended brake rotor:

Zinc-plated and Geomet(R) protected brake rotor

  • Zinc-plated and Geomet(R) protected brake rotors provide an excellent defense against corroding.

Make use of a garage:

Keeping your automobile out of the weather, especially in a shed or other covered building, is another approach to prevent corrosion from accumulating on your brake rotors. This will keep humidity out of your automobile and lessen the chances of rust.

Maintain the cleanliness of your vehicle: 

Cleaning your automobile on a routine basis is a good method to keep it in good shape since it eliminates grime and other impurities from areas they shouldn’t be. You can prolong the life of your automobile by maintaining it on a regular basis.

Never oil noisy brakes: 

Filthy rotors can create screeching that usually goes away when the brake pads wipe them. Never lubricate the rotor or the rubbing side of the brake discs, no matter what’s prompting them to squeal.

How do you keep your brake rotors from rusting?

Unless you have a super-expensive vehicle, your brake rotors will be constructed of iron. Cast iron is stable and strong, making it perfect for its intended use, yet it likes to corrode! So, what are your options?

The truth is that there’s not much you can do about the corrosion process; once it begins, it won’t prevent; but, you can maintain your brakes appearing excellent by using high-temperature paints. And there is nothing you can do to keep it from rusting on the exterior. 

Steps to keep the rust away:

  • The only way to get rid of it is to accelerate the automobile and apply the brakes. The disc’s central area, as well as the outside rim, are suitable to paint.
  • Like any painting project, prep is crucial, so use a bristle brush to remove any stray shards. 
  • Next, with a judicious amount of brake cleaner, clean the brakes to eliminate any dirt or other pollutants.
  • The rotor’s actual surface, where the pads contact the rotor, must never be coated or treated with anything except brake cleaners.
  • After that, cover off the disc’s face and apply high-temperature paint according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Conventional paint will start burning the first time you operate the vehicle, resulting in a sloppy appearance.
  • We recommend painting it in a neutral color like black or silvery, as it will crack and fade over time, and if it’s a vibrant color, it will stand out even more.
Materials NeededTools Needed
High-temperature paintBristle brush
Brake cleanerA piece of fabric

Here’s a top recommended High-temperature paint:

Rust-oleum heat-protective enamel.

Benefits of Rust-Oleum heat-protective enamel:

  • Timber heaters, boilers, motors, and other metal equipment benefit from this treatment.
  • It can cover up to 65-130 square feet and dries in 2-3 hours.
  • After continuous heating, color preservation is great.

Frequently Asked Questions:(FAQs) “How to prevent rust on brake rotor?”

Can you prevent rust on rotors?

Because a lot of humidity comes from the earth, parking on top of a tarp can assist to keep dampness and corrosion at bay. No lubrication or corrosion inhibitor should be used on the rotors since it will pollute the brake pads and cause stopping problems. Using a plastic bag to wrap the tires will just collect humidity.

Why do my brake rotors keep rusting?

What causes my rotors to oxidize? It all comes down to the rotor’s substance. But if you have a high-end vehicle with ceramic brakes, your rotors are most likely constructed of iron, which rusts easily. Iron oxidizes quickly, and if the discs come in contact with water or humidity, corrosion will grow on the exterior.

Will rust come off brake rotors?

Humidity covers the iron brake rotor’s exterior, forming a small coating of corrosion behind. But don’t worry, this type of corrosion isn’t dangerous. Because it’s a tiny coating that only occurs on the iron rotor’s exterior, it will wear away within a few minutes of driving as the disc brakes scrape it away.

Should new rotors have rust on them?

Brake rotors corrode and there isn’t much that can be done about it. It makes no difference whether the vehicle is completely new or outdated. This should not impact the brakes and may avoid superficial corrosion on an automobile that is not driven because it is intended to sprinkle directly on the tires.

How do you get the rust off of rotors?

Eliminate corrosion from the rotors with a brake cleaner.

  • Allow the rotor to dry before wiping it down with a dry cloth (no oil on the rag). 
  • If any corrosion persists, use extra brake cleaner and cotton wool or a scrubbing brush to remove it. 
  • Wash the rotor thoroughly and apply a final coat of cleaner.

Should you paint brake rotors?

DO NOT PAINT the rotor portions that come into touch with the padding. 

  • Paint includes contaminants that can pollute the brake pad and cause it to lose friction. 
  • These contaminants can linger long after the discs appear to be clean and glossy. Just Use relevant items.


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