Earlier this year, I noticed my brakes starting to screech (especially in the morning or when it was cold out). Not the distinctive squeal of finished brake pads, but the more "grinding" screech of smoothed-over pads and rotors. Sure enough, upon inspection it appeared that the rotors were quite shiny and overly smooth, and the pads, while they still had a fair amount of meat left on them, were quite glazed over as well.

So I picked up some new pads, and we made to change them out and get the rotors turned (AKA "lathed", resurfaced, etc.). But then... well, let's just say "life happened", and we were unable to complete the entire job on one occasion, and only got the new pads on without having the rotors turned.

Three months later... we are finally in a position to finish the job up. But now the question arises: SHOULD we still get the rotors turned, and use them with the semi-old pads now? I haven't put THAT much mileage on them since changing the pads, mostly just drive around town, I'd say around, oh, 3,000 miles or so. I've got conflicting opinions here on whether or not it'd be a good idea. One family member says it'd be fine. Another looks at me like I'm crazy for even suggesting the notion of having the rotors resurfaced and reunited with even the slightest of used pads.

I don't much want to go and pay another $60 for brand new pads again just three months after already doing so, but I don't want to keep putting off the full task either. And yet, I don't want to screw anything up or risk any worse possibilities. So I'd really appreciate some professional/experienced insight and advice here! What do folks here in the auto field think?

Thank you!

(A side-question: Should I take my rear brake drums to be turned without changing the shoes? I've noticed a bit of noise back there too. How often should brake drum shoes be replaced? The last I did them was March 2011, and I don't think the drums were turned at that time.)

3 Answers 3


If the discs are fine, why resurface them?

It is generally regarded as a bad thing to fit used pads to new/resurfaced discs, regardless of how much use the pads have - this is because the pads bed in to the shape of the disc, which will have slight grooves and ridges (especially at the edges), so you'll end up with a different shape after they've been resurfaced.

The same applies to the drums - don't turn them without changing the shoes. Though I can't say I've ever seen a set of drums that were so badly worn that they needed turning...

  • Thanks for your reply, Nick. I intended to get the discs resurfaced because A) I understood it to be routine practice when replacing the pads, and B) the brakes as a whole had been screeching for some time, and the discs are very clearly glazed over and lacking the gritty friction of fresh rotors. From what I've read/been told elsewhere, with pads this new, as long as no grooves have transfered onto them, it should be fine to use freshly turned rotors with them. As for the drums, they too screech a bit, and I know it's not time to change the shoes yet, so turning them was my next step.
    – user3697
    Sep 16, 2013 at 23:59
  • @user3697 If the disk didn't transfered any thing to the pad it would be fine. How ever in 3000miles I'm pretty sure the pad changed to fit the old disk surface.
    – Rémi
    Sep 19, 2013 at 22:35

Why would you even get those clean and shiny rotors resurfaced? its normal for new rotors and pads to make a screeching sound.

About your question yes im sure resurfaced rotors works fine with old brake pads. Be aware that it might take a little time for the pads to adjust to the new rotors so you may sometimes feel like you need to apply more pressure on the pedal, that is completely normal. I had exactly the same issue with my brakes after getting the rotors resurfaced.

  • Thanks for your reply. I was going to get the rotors turned because, as far as I knew, they're not SUPPOSED to be shiny and glazed over. They lack the friction of fresh rotors. And the screeching was occurring with the OLD pads and rotors, not the new ones (though it continues with the new pads, because the rotors are still slick and "glazed"). Thanks again.
    – user3697
    Sep 16, 2013 at 23:55

I think you should have your rotors turned when changing break pads its cheap and you will feel better knowing everything is in good shape so why not.

  • In my experience new rotors are so cheap it isn't worth turning used rotors. And I buy quality parts from stores who specialize in selling to mechanics, not the rubbish from O'Reilly. Sep 21, 2022 at 5:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .