Sometimes, replacing just the brake pads won’t fix all of your brake problems. At some point, your vehicles brake rotor will need to be replaced or resurfaced, which means you will need to remove it from the car. Unfortunately, something that may sound relatively easy can quickly turn into a frustrating mess, and a seized or frozen brake rotor can easily explode one of those situations. When you have a frozen brake rotor, there are a couple steps to follow to conquer the challenge.
- Step One: If you are reading this article, you most likely have already had your car jacked up, the wheel off, and noticed the frozen or rusted brake rotor. If you have not already done this, go ahead and do it now. When you jack your car up, use caution and common sense to safely lift and support it. You will also want to gather your tools necessary for the job, in this case, a mallet or hammer, ratchet, sockets, and wrenches, and also two bolts with two nuts and washers, that can screw into the now-open holes where your caliper was.
- Step Two: Once you have all your tools and your car is ready to go, grab your mallet to try to break the frozen brake rotor loose. Obviously, you will want to have taken your brake caliper off before doing this. Using your hammer or mallet, start tapping liberally along the top hat of the rotor, not the surface area of it, especially if you are planning to keep using the rotor by resurfacing it. Take care not to hit the wheel studs, because the threads are easily damaged. This step may be the last step, for some, as hitting it may shake it up enough to break loose. If you are successful, congratulations! If not, or you just want to know the other way of braking it loose, then keep on reading to see the next step in removing your frozen brake rotor.
- Step Three: Look behind the rotor. You should see two holes where the caliper was attached. Those two holes are where you are going to put the bolts at. Start with one and point the screw-end of the bolt towards the rotor, going through the top hole. Then put two washers on and screw a nut on as well. Add a second nut as your leverage piece. The first nut will be your tightening nut, so make sure there is a small gap between the two nuts. Do the same process on the bottom hole.
- Step Four: Put your wrench on your tightening nut and the ratchet on the bolt. Begin tightening the bolt so it begins to pressure on the frozen brake rotor, alternating between the two bolts, listening for the pop of the rotor. Once it pops, give both bolts a few more turns and then your rotor should come right off.
These steps of removing your frozen brake rotor can turn what seems to be a difficult project into a relatively simple process. The frozen brake rotor will also come off with minimal damage, only a scarring where the bolts were pushing. You have most likely taken off your rotor to get it resurfaced or replaced so the minor scarring is nothing to worry about. So if your vehicle has a frozen brake rotor, you are now equipped with two bolts and a guide to help you overcome this issue like a pro.
Pro Tip: When installing the new rotor, or the old resurfaced rotor, make sure both the hub and rotor are clean of rust and that the rotor easily slides into place. Use a dab of anti-seize lubricant, around the center of the rotor only, to make future removal easier.