Can You Turn Drilled And Slotted Rotors?

Can You Turn Drilled And Slotted Rotors? This question often arises when discussing brake maintenance. Drilled and slotted rotors, primarily used as brake rotors, feature holes and slots for fitting, cleaning, and operational purposes. Resurfacing and turning these rotors periodically is crucial to enhance the performance and longevity of your vehicle’s braking system. Neglecting the condition of drilled and slotted rotors can lead to severe damage to your brake pads.

In this guide, we will explore the significance of these rotors and how they contribute to maintaining your vehicle in pristine condition.

Understanding Drilled and Slotted Rotors

Before we delve into the turning process, let’s first understand the concept of drilled and slotted rotors. These rotors are modified versions of traditional solid rotors and offer several benefits:

1. Drilled Rotors:

  • Drilled rotors feature holes drilled through the rotor surface in a specific pattern.
  • The primary purpose of drilling holes in rotors is to improve heat dissipation and gas venting.
  • The holes allow for better airflow, reducing the risk of brake fade and improving overall braking performance.
  • Additionally, the holes can help prevent the buildup of gases between the brake pad and rotor surface, known as gas glazing.

While drilled rotors offer these advantages, it’s essential to consider a few potential drawbacks:

  • Drilling holes weaken the rotor structure, making it more prone to cracking or warping under extreme conditions.
  • It requires expertise to maintain proper alignment and ensure that the holes are drilled accurately.
  • The holes may accumulate debris over time, which can lead to noise and vibration during braking.

2. Slotted Rotors:

  • Slotted rotors feature shallow slots or grooves on the rotor surface.
  • The primary purpose of slots is to improve pad bite and friction modulation.
  • The slots create channels that allow gases, debris, and water to escape, enhancing braking performance.
  • By maintaining a cleaner contact surface between the brake pad and rotor, slotted rotors can reduce the risk of brake fade and improve overall braking consistency.

However, it’s important to consider the following considerations for slotted rotors:

  • Turning or resurfacing slotted rotors may affect the preservation of slot dimensions and shape.
  • There is a potential for widening or distortion of slots during the turning process.
  • It’s crucial to assess the remaining slot depth to ensure optimal performance after turning.

The Turning Process for Rotors

To maintain the performance and extend the lifespan of rotors, turning or resurfacing is often performed. The turning process involves removing a thin layer of material from the rotor surface to restore its flatness and eliminate any irregularities. Here’s an overview of the turning process:

1. Rotor Removal and Inspection:

  • The first step is to remove the rotors from the vehicle.
  • Thoroughly inspect the rotors for any cracks, warping, or excessive wear.
  • Check the rotor thickness to determine if it falls within the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • It’s crucial to follow the specific guidelines provided by the rotor manufacturer and consult with a professional if needed.

2. Lathe Setup and Operation:

  • The rotors are mounted onto a lathe, a specialized machine used for precision cutting.
  • The lathe is set up to ensure accurate measurements and cutting depth adjustments.
  • The rotor is securely fastened in place to prevent any vibrations or inaccuracies during the turning process.

3. Precision Measurements and Cutting Depth Adjustments:

  • Precise measurements are taken to determine the amount of material that needs to be removed.
  • Cutting depth, adjustments are made based on the rotor thickness and desired surface finish.
  • The goal is to achieve a smooth and even surface without compromising the rotor’s structural integrity.

4. Surface Finish and Balancing Considerations:

  • After the turning process, the rotor’s surface should have a specified surface finish to optimize brake pad contact.
  • It’s essential to check for any imbalance in the rotor’s weight distribution.
  • Balancing the rotor helps prevent vibrations and ensures smooth operation during braking.

Can You Turn Drilled And Slotted Rotors?

Now that we understand the turning process let’s explore whether drilled and slotted rotors can be turned. While turning is a common practice for solid rotors, it requires careful consideration for drilled and slotted rotors due to their unique characteristics.

Considerations for Turning Drilled Rotors:

  • Drilling holes weaken the rotor structure, making it more susceptible to cracking or warping.
  • Turning drilled rotors may further compromise their structural integrity, increasing the risk of failure.
  • Maintaining proper hole alignment during the turning process requires expertise and precision.
  • It’s crucial to evaluate the remaining rotor thickness to ensure adequate heat dissipation capacity.

Considerations for Turning Slotted Rotors:

  • The turning process may affect the preservation of slot dimensions and shape.
  • There is a potential for widening or distortion of slots, which can impact braking performance.
  • The remaining slot depth should be carefully assessed to maintain optimal friction modulation.

Given these considerations, it’s generally recommended to exercise caution when turning drilled and slotted rotors. While it may be possible to turn them under certain circumstances, it’s crucial to consult with a professional who specializes in brake systems and has experience working with such rotors.

Alternatives to Turning Drilled and Slotted Rotors

If turning drilled and slotted rotors is not recommended or feasible, there are alternative options available:

1. Replacement Rotors:

  • Consider replacing worn or damaged drilled and slotted rotors with new ones.
  • New rotors offer optimal performance, as they haven’t undergone previous modifications or wear.
  • When selecting replacement rotors, consider factors such as material quality, heat dissipation characteristics, compatibility with brake pads, and overall system performance.

2. Material Upgrades:

  • Explore upgrading to rotors made from advanced materials that offer improved performance.
  • High-quality materials, such as carbon composite or ceramic rotors, provide enhanced heat dissipation and durability.
  • These materials can often withstand higher temperatures and offer better resistance to warping or cracking.

3. Performance Brake Kits:

  • Performance brake kits offer a comprehensive solution by including upgraded rotors, brake pads, and sometimes calipers.
  • These kits are designed to improve overall braking performance, heat dissipation, and durability.
  • They are often engineered specifically for certain vehicle models, ensuring a proper fit and optimized performance.

It’s essential to evaluate your specific needs, driving style, and budget when considering these alternatives. Consulting with a reputable brake specialist can help you make an informed decision and select the best option for your vehicle.

Maintenance and Care for Drilled and Slotted Rotors

Proper maintenance and care are vital to prolong the lifespan and optimize the performance of drilled and slotted rotors. Here are some maintenance tips to follow:

1. Cleaning and Inspection:

  • Regularly clean the rotor surfaces to remove brake dust and debris buildup.
  • Inspect the rotors visually for any cracks, warping, or excessive wear.
  • Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage and ensure optimal braking performance.

2. Routine Maintenance Intervals:

  • Follow the recommended maintenance intervals provided by the rotor manufacturer or your vehicle’s owner manual.
  • These intervals may vary depending on driving conditions, mileage, and other factors.
  • Adhering to routine maintenance will help identify potential problems early and ensure timely repairs or replacements.

3. Brake Pad Selection and Bedding-in Process:

  • Choose brake pads that are compatible with drilled and slotted rotors.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding bedding-in procedures for new brake pads.
  • Proper bedding-in ensures optimal performance, minimizes noise, and maximizes the lifespan of both the pads and rotors.

4. Driving Practices:

  • Avoid harsh driving conditions that may put excessive stress on the brake system.
  • Minimize abrupt or aggressive braking whenever possible.
  • Practice smooth and controlled braking techniques to reduce wear and heat buildup on the rotors.


Question: How often should I turn or resurface my drilled and slotted rotors?

Answer: To maintain peak brake performance, it is advisable to resurface your drilled and slotted rotors periodically. The ideal frequency for this procedure depends on individual circumstances.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eIn my recommendation, it is best to address any minor issues in the brake system promptly by turning the rotors. Additionally, considering resurfacing during routine car check-ups, whether performed at a professional garage or at home, can be a beneficial practice.

Question: How often should I replace my drilled and slotted rotors and brake pads?

Answer: It is advisable to replace your brake pads after covering a distance of 10,000 to 20,000 miles. As for the slotted rotors, it is recommended to replace them every 50,000 to 70,000 miles.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eFollowing this maintenance schedule will ensure that your braking system operates optimally and reduces the chances of malfunctioning. Sudden brake malfunctions can pose a significant risk and potentially lead to accidents.


Drilled and slotted rotors offer enhanced performance and safety benefits for automotive brake systems. While turning can be a viable option for solid rotors, it requires careful consideration for drilled and slotted rotors due to their unique characteristics.

Consultation with a brake specialist is recommended to determine the best course of action for maintaining or replacing these rotors.

Remember, the safety and performance of your brake system should never be compromised. Regular maintenance, proper cleaning, and timely inspections are key to ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of your drilled and slotted rotors.

By following the recommended guidelines and seeking professional advice when needed, you can make informed decisions and enjoy the benefits of a reliable and efficient braking system.