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Do I have to replace the rotors when I’m getting new brake pads?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader confused by a costlier-than-expected brake job.

 Q. I recently had my 2006 Honda Accord’s front brakes repaired at my local repair shop. I thought I just needed pads but was told that I needed pads and rotors. They told me that with the new type of brake pads, the rotors should also be replaced because they wear better together. I always follow the usage rule of 20,000 miles for pads, 40,000 miles for rotors, and 60,000 for calipers. My front brakes had about 18,000 miles usage for both the pads and rotors. Do you agree with what my shop told me about replacing the pads and rotors about every 20,000 miles?

A. I believe in replacing parts when they’re worn out. There is no reason to think that if the brake rotors are in good condition they need to be replaced. Years ago, when brake rotors were worn, we resurfaced them. Now many rotors don’t allow for anything other than minor resurfacing. If the rotors were scored, out of round, or pitted, it would make sense to replace the pads and rotors together.

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