I have a Subaru Forester 2011. Yesterday I noticed passenger rear wheel is extremely hot and has a burnt smell, and sent the car to my mechanic. Today he told me he did not find anything wrong with the calipers and the pistons move well. The only thing he suspects is the brake fluid is dirty and need to be replaced. However as my calipers are in warranty, he will replace the calipers anyway. But he said I also need to replace my rotors.

We stay with this mechanic for five years since 2015. In 2018, I had front calipers and rotors replaced. In 2019 I had rear calipers and rotors replaced. The car is used by my wife and I for daily commute and we have ~8000 miles/year. So I asked him why the rotors need to be replaced so soon. He said he did not know and he said "Maybe it's your driving habit". My wife did do hard brake sometimes. But I doubt if that will cause the rotors to wear that much.

My question is: Is it possible for a rotor to wear out in one or two year after driving only ~15000 miles? Is my mechanic cheating on me and should I go to another mechanic to do a check next time?

  • 1
    If he replaces the calipers for free I'd stay with him.. Brake rotors are quite cheap compared to the calipers. Perhaps he suspects the rotors to be warped, because of the heat, an assumption that is not far fetched.
    – Martin
    Oct 29, 2020 at 17:07
  • Rotors, assuming an decent driving style, should have a much longer lifetime. But driver mistakes can ruin a rotor in a day (I live in the mountains. On a near steep and long road I can often see the glowing rotors in the night of tourists that are used to the plains)
    – Martin
    Oct 29, 2020 at 17:10
  • BTW .... Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Oct 29, 2020 at 17:24
  • @martin Guilty as charged... I once warped rotors in a single week of driving in the mountains on a vacation. My fear of plunging off a mountainside overrode my rational urge to use engine braking. I just couldn't stop myself from hitting the brakes.
    – barbecue
    Oct 29, 2020 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


You can always go get a 2nd opinion. In your case, though, if your caliper was stuck (or sticking) and caused the brakes to overheat as you suggested, it is completely within reason the excess heat/wear presented to the rotor has caused it to fail (or become out of its tolerance range). This would mean it needed to be machined or replaced.

If the same mechanic has not given you a reason to doubt them to this point, more than likely they are giving you the straight scoop this time. To me it is reasonable to have them replaced, considering. When replacement is warranted on one side, you should really do them in pairs (on the same axle). They could possibly have the rotors machined to get them back into tolerance, if there is enough thickness to the rotor to allow you to do so. Usually, though, it costs just a little bit more to replace them than it does to machine them, so the better option in my book is to just replace them and be done with it.

  • 1
    An internally damaged brake hose can cut off fluid flow preventing calipers to reduce enough pressure when you let off on your brakes. This can cause these symptoms. Some mechanics forget to check for this.
    – Jupiter
    Oct 29, 2020 at 17:47

there are several issues to this problem.it can be driving style,sticking caliper pins,caliper not fully releasing,restricted brake hose and if your subaru has an electronic parking brake that is bad.also in some cases a brake pad can get jammed in crooked and wedge itself against the rotor.

You must log in to answer this question.

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