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Old 07-05-2012, 09:01 PM   #1
Jlarson909
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How do I keep my brake discs from rusting?

Im thinking about getting some rims that show a bunch of brake disks/drums.
I hate seeing cars with a great set of rims but then a rusty disc behind it.
I live in minnesota so this happens a lot in this climate. Any help is appreciated!
-J


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Old 07-05-2012, 09:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jlarson909 View Post
Im thinking about getting some rims that show a bunch of brake disks/drums.
I hate seeing cars with a great set of rims but then a rusty disc behind it.
I live in minnesota so this happens a lot in this climate. Any help is appreciated!
-J
Disks that get a light coating of surface rust are better than disks that are too hard and warp easily. I'd rather have to do a quick run around the block to clean them up rather than having to replace warped rotors like on the older Taurus my Father had, as well as the disk/drum set up on my grandmother's car.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:34 PM   #3
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As noted, the portion of the disc that contacts the brake pads can rus, but should clean up quickly with a few brake applications.

The rotor "hat" (the part with the bolts that attach to wheels) or brake drums can be painted with a high temperature coating found in hardware stores and used for gas grills. It will provide a flat black finish and won't burn off with high brake temperatures.

Careful not to get the coating on the area contacted by the pads, though.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:39 PM   #4
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You'll pretty much need new rotors if you want ones that aren't going to look totally rusted. The ones ford uses rust as a "feature"
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:50 PM   #5
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Yeah im having that problem also. The orange is so ugly and i just dont want it to happen. I dont really understand that stuff. How is it formed? and can it be prevented?
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:54 PM   #6
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Yeah im having that problem also. The orange is so ugly and i just dont want it to happen. I dont really understand that stuff. How is it formed? and can it be prevented?
Iron when exposed to oxygen generates iron oxide aka rust. If you put more nickel or other alloying agents you can increase the chance that it would remain free of rust, but the alloying agents can cause the disks to be more prone to becoming out of round and causing pulsations through the pedals that are not related to the antilock braking system.
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:58 PM   #7
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You do NOT want to put anything on the rotors which would keep them from getting the rust. As any coating would also make your brakes worthless for stopping!!
Even overspray of tire shine onto the rotors is a terrible error, as that will kill your stopping power.
The rotors only look rusty after a rain anyway. (or a washing) so what is the big deal?
As for the rest of the parts behind the wheel, you can coat them with any antirust stuff you want, as long as it does not get on the part of the rotors the brake pads run against. (and remember the whole rotor can get really HOT...)

Last edited by Elizabeth; 07-06-2012 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:03 AM   #8
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The only way to stop the rust is to never let your car sit over night. Drive it non stop.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suss6052 View Post
Disks that get a light coating of surface rust are better than disks that are too hard and warp easily.
Not quite. Steel rusts. Nickel doesn't. Steel is harder than nickel. The less nickel in the rotor, the more rust you'll have, the longer the life and less likely to warp. More nickel in your rotor means less susceptible to rust, but more to warping. You're options are deal with it or buy cheap rotors that will warp in no time. The brakes rub the surface rust off during the first, maybe second stop.
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Last edited by BetaDnB; 07-06-2012 at 06:40 AM. Reason: Misread suss6052's quote.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:08 AM   #10
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Tirerack has a variety of rotors with painted hats in a wide range of prices. Living in Massachusetts, I feel your rusty rotor pain, and I've always had luck with a good set of replacement rotors. As others indicated, a quick trip around the block will take care of any rust where the pad meets the rotor, and painted top hats will take care of the rest.
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