Monday, November 26, 2012

More on Brakes

Many of you all know, I like to tinker with cars (okay more than tinker, my "spare" time is consumed with it). Recently I was talking to a friend about brakes and rotors, and he said "yeah, I'll just get the good pads and the Chinese rotors." Which is what I have recommended in the past to people doing their own. Well, then it got me thinking, where are brake rotors really made these days? In the 80s, as a kid, most of the brake rotors were made in North America; Canada, USA and Mexico. After some emailing and phone calls, I have found that disc brake rotors are no longer manufactured in the USA or Canada for aftermarket DIYers and Jobbers. The big players, we are all familiar with (Wagner, Bendix, Centric (who owns Powerslot), Raybestos, Motorcraft, ACDelco) are all manufactured overseas in China and Taiwan. The disc brake foundries and plants in the North America have ceased production. Have a European car? Those guys (ATE, Brembo, TRW, etc.) are now also procuring a large amount of their replacement rotors from China and Taiwan. Now, rotor production in Mexico is dwindling to almost nothing. One interesting note: Centric who was known as a budget/value brand, also owns StopTech brand and Power Slot brand. All Centric Premium, StopTech SportStop, and Power Slot rotors are designed and engineered in-house, then Centric supervises strict manufacturing processes in Asia. They specify their own casting and manufacturing technologies. All parts are double disc ground, balanced, match the OEM vane designs and are E-coated (electrostatically applied black finish to all non-swept surfaces). Most competing brands do not offer all these OE features and benefits. Centric's rotors are Machined stateside. The good news is that country of origin is not a relevant indicator of brake rotor quality. The bad news is, theres no longer any North American sourced brake discs and drums available to the normal guy like you and me.