Which Brake Rotor Type Is Best For Your Vehicle? Solid or Vented?

Which type of brake rotors do you need, solid or vented? When selecting your new rotors, you’ll want to be certain if you’re getting the correct type for your vehicle. You can see the difference while looking at the side of the rotor. 

Certain vehicle models can have either type, even within the same year. Some can have either solid or vented on the rear wheels. To be certain, check out the rotors you currently have. You’ll need to order the same type you find already on your vehicle. Different PowerStop brake kits come with different types of rotors. It’s good to know the differences in the modifications on the rotors and how they may benefit you.

Understanding the Function of Brake Rotors

Brake rotors are key elements of your braking system that work with other components to bring your vehicle to a stop when you press the brake pedal. While brake calipers are fixed in relation to your vehicle’s suspension, brake rotors rotate with your wheels. When you press down on the brake pedal, the calipers force the brake pads onto the rotors. This results from hydraulic pressure transmitted through brake lines, creating friction between the rotors and pads, and slowing the wheels’ rotation until your vehicle eventually comes to a stop.

Brake systems are generally designed to meet the specific needs of the vehicle. For example, brake systems for vehicles intended to drive on a race track will differ from brake systems designed for vehicles intended to drive on winding, hilly roads at varying elevations.

Each time the brakes are engaged, the friction between the pads and the rotors generates heat. Well-designed braking systems keep brakes cool by dissipating this heat efficiently. The more frequently and aggressively you stop, the more heat your brake system needs to dissipate. When too much heat builds up, braking components may perform poorly or fail altogether. Brake rotor failure can cause extremely dangerous situations that place your safety and the safety of others on the road at risk.

What Are Solid Brake Rotors?

As the name indicates, a solid rotor consists of a single metal disc. Braking systems that utilize solid rotors generally operate at temperatures that aren’t high enough to cause gas cushions or friction films to develop under typical driving conditions. Ultimately, solid brake rotors are most often used with light passenger vehicles whose braking systems are less likely to undergo significant heat stress.

What Are Vented Brake Rotors?

While a solid brake rotor comprises a single disc of metal, a vented brake rotor has a hollow channel, or “vent”  between the front and rear surface of the rotor. This design allows for enhanced heat dissipation.

All-vented configurations are generally the standard for performance braking systems because resistance to heat and gas is essential. 

Are Drilled & Slotted Rotors Solid or Vented?

PowerStop offers Drilled & Slotted rotors available in both vented and solid configurations. If a vehicle has solid rotors stock from the factory, then our D&S rotors for that vehicle will also be solid, and vice versa. PowerStop slots are beveled to reduce noise and pad wear. The rounded slots eliminate moisture, debris, and gas, keeping a clean friction contact patch on the surface of the rotor for safe, smooth braking. The chamfered, cross-drilled holes resist brake fade while also reducing pad wear and noise – delivering maximum performance and cooling even in the most extreme conditions. Zinc plating is applied to our drilled & slotted rotors to deliver exceptional resistance to rust and corrosion compared to standard painted or uncoated rotors.

Drilled & slotted brake rotors offer a variety of benefits, including:

  • Maximum rotor cooling
  • Consistent performance in wet conditions
  • Minimal brake pad glazing
  • Excellent brake support for high-performance vehicles

Are Solid and Vented Rotors Interchangeable?

There is a reason why your vehicle came with solid or vented rotors in the first place. Vehicles that require vented rotors come with them by default from the manufacturer. Vented rotors cannot be replaced with solid rotors because they will be a different size than the vented ones.

Simply put, solid and vented rotors are not interchangeable. You need to buy the right kind for your vehicle so the rotors can withstand the generated heat and provide powerful braking performance when you need it.

Have a Question? PowerStop Can Help

At PowerStop, we are committed to providing top-quality performance brakes for every vehicle on the road. If you have a question about any of our products, contact us today online or toll-free at (888) 863-4415. Our customer service team is available to answer your questions Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CST). Se habla español.


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