Brakes: Rotor Corrosion and Creak

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Feb 17, 2016
Richmond, VA
I recently had rear rotors and pads replaced at local shop. Shortly after, I noticed surface rust on the "base" portion of the rotor that abuts the wheel itself. Since that time, I've also noticed fairly annoying "creak/scrape" from the driver-side rear wheel that can be heard when I apply the brakes at low speed. It seems to be a "rotational" sound in that its heard at a regular interval as the wheel turns. My searches on the forum suggest that after-market rotors that aren't coated are prone to rust and that perhaps the sound is related to some misalignment of the parking brake apparatus. That said, before addressing with the shop, I wanted to get some input as to whether I have any grounds to gripe about the unsightly rust, and would also like to have a better idea as to the source of the creak. Any help is greatly appreciated. I've attached a few photos for consideration. For what its worth, you'll see that the rotor itself appears to have a strange wear/rub pattern that isn't apparent on the passenger-side rear rotor.

Thanks much,




The surface rust is normal on the drum portion of the rotor. However, the wear marks on the working surface of the rotor does not look normal to me. I'd either take it back to the shop and have them take at look at it or pull it yourself and investigate.
Agree with @94SRUNNER, the rust on the hat isn't anything out of the ordinary, but I've never seen a rotor surface that wavy/inconsistent. It's like the shop found the absolute cheapest rotor made for a Land Cruiser and slapped it on.

There is a lot going on in the pictures, but something made or is making contact with the splash shield behind the rotor. The scrape/creak could also be a sticky caliper or something dragging or improperly installed in the parking brake mechanism.

I'd have the shop take a look at it again.
normal for the rust on the rotor, the pad surface looks not so good. the noise could be from the parking brake shoes if they pried or hammered off the rotors without backing off the parking brake, the parking brake hold down pin can pull through the spring cup and allow the shoes to rub on the inside of the rotor.
Most higher quality rotors are painted/coated to prevent rusting. No coating and the cast iron will rust in no time. Next to rust are those splash shields. I bet they slapped the brakes on and then went for a test drive and heard squealing. They then proceeded to take some type of grinder/wire disc and scrub the surface of the outer rotor.... removing paint from the splash shield as well.
Someone has been "home grinding" that rotor, by the look of it. How thick is it? New rotor is 18 mm thick.

Edit: ...Although I think Hoser's explanation is more likely...
My 2 cents, if the marks on the sheild was done the same time as discs I would of thought it would show rust like on the discs. It looks like this is fresh rub marks and this is what is causing the noise.
Thanks everyone for the input. I wish I had more time to contribute to the forum and work on the rig. In the meantime, I'm once again astounded by the willingness of the group to spend time enlightening my newbie self.
They defiantly did a half assed job.
You can pull the wheels, wire brush the rust off and paint the rusted part of the rotor.
As for the grinding marks on the will wear away and the noise you hear will stop once everything is "seated" or broken in as some would say.
The shop's not going to do anything other than tell you to go pound sand.
If the shop was worth anything they would've done it right the first time.
Thanks again, all. The shop agreed to replace the pads and rotors with a set of my choosing at no cost. My primary concern is that they correctly install (no creaking) on the second go around. The second concern is the rust -- which, in my view, is very unsightly and highly visible on the pre-2003 stock wheels. To this end, I located some OEM rotors at a great price, however, wonder if I should select an alternative (coated version) to diminish rust potential. Any thoughts are appreciated. Side note, I've read many of the brake threads here and don't intend to spark the best non-OEM pad/rotor debate -- just asking whether I should expect the same rust as originally pictured on OEM hub. Thanks,

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