I have noticed some rust formation on the rear rotor. I am able to scrape the rust off with a hard toothbrush. I noticed other rotors, but they appear to be fine.

What is the best way to get rid of rust on the brake rotors?

Edit: I do not have the tools/skills required to remove the rotor and the wheel.

  • If it is only one rotor, are you sure that it is functioning correctly? The pads do a better job of cleaning a rotor that pretty much anything.
    – Paul
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 15:58
  • If you have rust on the face of just one rotor, it may mean that the pad never comes in contact with it. At any rate, the toothbrush is fine. Or try some fine steel wool if you want it extra shiny. Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 8:10
  • Rust usually poses no harm on the brake pads. You can just drive it and hit the brakes normally a few times and it'll just come right off. Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 17:51

2 Answers 2


Where is the rust at? If it is on the outer edges and/or on the hat area (part in the center where the brake pad does not ride), there's probably absolutely nothing wrong with the brake rotor in the first place. As long as the wear area where the pad does it's business is clear, you have no issues. Only brake rotors which have been treated with some type of anti-rust agent (like zinc plating) will not rust in these areas.

If on the other hand it is where the pad should be riding at, you may (as @Paul was suggesting) have an issue with your caliper being stuck or possibly not sliding correctly on its pins. Since you said you don't have any means of removing the brake rotor yourself, you'd need to take it to a brake/mechanic's shop to have it fixed.

  • I like giving my brake rotors a coating of high heat paint on the non-contact areas. It just looks better than rust. It's not necessary, but if you like rims with thin spokes like I do, it's a must. Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 8:12
  • @JuannStrauss ... Agreed. Rust was my favorite color as a pre-teen. Completely different story now ;-) Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 10:14

If it's light enough that it'll scrape off with a toothbrush then it'll be scrubbed off by the pads the first time you use the brakes - i.e. don't worry about it.

It's quite normal on any car that has been sitting for more than a few days.

  • Yes, but the car is running every day. At the very least it runs from my house to my son's school and back, which is a round trip of 5 miles.
    – abhi
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 15:35
  • @abhi if it just rained, or is super humid then some rust showing up within maybe an hour of not moving would be totally normally Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 16:54

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