How to Remove Rust From Brake Rotors

The popularity of alloy wheels puts brake rotors on full display. Rotors, however, must be made from heavy, heat-resistant, metal—unprotected metal that easily rusts* under the harsh conditions of a wheel well. The unsightly discoloration showing through their expensive alloy wheels leads many people to ask how to remove rust from brake rotors. You can clean up rusted rotors in several ways, depending upon how bad it is. We’ll walk you through the process from easiest to most-labor intensive to help you get the job done.

The most important safety tip you must observe: No lubricant (such as WD-40) or permanent coating should ever be applied to the braking surface of the rotor. Period.

*Rust appears on the surface while corrosion is actual damage that goes deeper than the surface. If the rotors have corrosion, they will need resurfacing or replacement.