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Volvo XC90 Brake Rotors

How to Diagnose Problems of Your Volvo XC90 Brake Rotors

Brake rotors operate by using brake pad friction to slow the automobile. In the old days they were thick and can be resurfaced several times but nowadays they're not so thick and are sometimes made out of composite materials. Your Volvo XC90 brake rotors can show some early warning signs of failure that you can immediately remedy if you know what to look for.

The usual suspects

Check the dashboard for a brake warning indicator light as trouble codes may appear via the dashboard in cases of brake failure. If there are any unusual sounds coming from the brakes under normal driving conditions, it is possible that your brake rotors have become worn or they overheated. These sounds are most noticeable during very slow stops.

When you feel a vibration in the brake pedal-and the faster you travel the more violent it pulses-you might be dealing with a warped brake rotor. A badly warped brake rotor should be replaced if they are of the composite style. However, if they are of the thicker, more old-fashioned cast-iron variety, they can be resurfaced.

The brake caliper should also be inspected as it holds the brake fluid that exerts pressure on the pads to grip the rotor. A faulty caliper will make the brake fluid leak, and this leak can contaminate the rotors, causing slippage, glazing, and burning.

What a functional brake rotor should be

Brake rotors should have a smooth, clean, and shiny surface, so any sign of striations or grooves in their surface is a red flag. Brake rotors that have worn past to their rivets or have worn past factory specification limits should be replaced immediately.

Brake rotors have to be resistant to heat fade during high-speed braking and repeated stops. How long rotors last is directly related to the heat generated by the vehicle and the efficiency of getting rid of it. City driving generates more heat; it also provides less cooling airflow, thereby wearing out the rotors faster.

Rotor systems should be resistant to water and problems associated with running through puddles. They also adjust for wearing pads and require no manual adjustment.

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  • What to Do to Maintain the Quality of Your Volvo XC90 Brake Rotors 04 March 2014

    Brake rotors are important mechanisms in your vehicle. They play a vital role in your safety as you make your journey through your destination. These brake rotor maintenance tips not only ensure the functionality and safety of your rotors, but they also ensure a longer life span of your Volvo XC90's braking system.

    • Always practice routine inspection of your brake rotors.
    • To prevent scoring or wearing out of our brake rotors, it is prudent to periodically inspect them for wear. A tire rotation is a good time to do so, since rotation must be performed based on vehicle operation time and all wheels must be removed, allowing ready visual access to the brake pads. When practical, pads that are near the wear-out point should be replaced immediately, as complete wear-out leads to scoring damage and unsafe braking.
    • Regularly clean the brake rotors using a commercial rotor cleaning spray found at any auto supply store and a rag to prevent them from rusting.
    • Brake rotors are commonly made from cast iron and a certain amount of what is known as 'surface rust' is normal on them. The disc contact area for the pads is kept clean by regular use of the vehicle. However, a vehicle that is stored for an extended period of time can develop significant rust in the contact area that may reduce braking power for a time until the rusted layer is worn off again. Regularly cleaning the rotors, especially the ones on vehicles that are not driven on a daily basis, will surely go a long way in maintaining their quality.
    • Cut the finish of your rotors using a car lathe if you think they're not smooth enough.
    • A rough rotor finish can cause conditions like brake pad chatter, noise, and increased pedal effort because only the peaks between the grooves make direct contact with the pads. If you can feel grooves with your fingernail, the rotor's finish is probably too rough. A smooth finish (80 microinches or less) is good for the rotors as it affects the coefficient of friction, noise, pad seating, and pad break-in and wear.
    • Resurface your brake rotors only when they really need it.
    • Rotors shouldn't be resurfaced in an attempt to correct noise/squeal, cosmetic corrosion, routine brake pad replacement, or discoloration/hard spots, as resurfacing is ineffective at addressing these conditions and unnecessarily shortens rotor life. So when is the right time to resurface your rotors, you may ask? The time for brake rotors to be turned is only when one of these rotor surface conditions exist: severe scoring with depth in excess of 0.060 inch, pulsation from excessive lateral runout of more than 0.003 inch, thickness variation in excess of 0.001 inch, or excessive corrosion on braking surfaces.