Drilled and Slotted Brake Rotors: What are the pros and cons?

Updated Dec 31, 2020 | Same topic: Tuning & Mods

You might want to upgrade your car's brake rotors soon.

I. Brake Rotor: Introduction

When learning how to drive, you are introduced to two basic pedals, namely the brakes and gas. Sometimes, you could even encounter a third pedal called the clutch which is available on cars with a manual transmission.

Most new drivers would know that the brake pedal is used to slow down a car. However, few know the working principles behind braking. Well, you don’t need to know how it works for it to function.

Plain brake rotor

Most cars come with a plain brake rotor for practical reasons

Learning more about brakes is amusing as there are variations that you can choose from. For starters, most production vehicles come with a plain rotor brake. This is the round metal shape you see behind your car’s wheels.

The reason why most production vehicles come with a plain rotor brake is that it is cheaper than other rotor brake options. Car manufacturers would want their cars to be as affordable as possible but not compromise on their intended specifications. Plus, a plain rotor brake is quiet in braking applications and lasts for a very long time.

The only downside of having a plain rotor brake is it doesn’t cool off as efficiently as the other variations such as the drilled and slotted brake rotors. You can mostly see a drilled or a slotted, sometimes even both, rotor brake on performance or modified vehicles.

Slotted brake rotor

Here's a slotted brake rotor

It is safe to say that installing brake rotors other than a plain rotor brake isn’t necessary. But just like what was said earlier, it is fun to make modifications to your car, and maybe installing a new rotor should be your next project.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the drilled and slotted rotors pros and cons and see what works for you.

II. Drilled and Slotted rotors pros and cons

1. Pros of Drilled and Slotted Brake Rotors

Drilled brake rotors, as the name suggests, come with drilled holes on the rotor in a spiral manner. Even those who are not exactly a car enthusiast would notice that a drilled brake rotor looks more appealing to the eyes and sportier.

However, the drilled holes aren’t just designed to provide a better appearance. Although that is one, the main purpose of the drilled holes is to allow the gasses built from heavy braking to escape. This results in better gas ventilation and better cooling.

Drilled Brake Rotor

And here's a drilled brake rotor

>>> Related: Things you might not know about brake pads and car rotors

On the other hand, a slotted brake rotor comes with carved lines that come with a turbine design. The biggest advantage of installing a slotted brake rotor is it scrapes the debris on your brake pads. This way, your brake pads would work at optimum performance for most times.

How it works is that when the leading edge of the slots on the rotor hits the brake pads, the debris slide through the slots and is thrown off the rotor. As such, slotted brake rotors have more braking power as compared to drilled brake rotors.

Combination of Drilled and Slotted Brake Rotor

The hybrid of drilled and slotted brake rotors offers benefits from both worlds

There is also a combination of the slotted and drilled brake rotors. This hybrid comes with the advantages provided by the two types of brake rotors. But of course, since the hybrid version comes with various modifications, it is the most costly among the bunch.

If you are using your car as a daily drive only from home to work, then your brake rotors won’t exactly heat up thoroughly when driving through traffic. But if you drive long distances and require you to speed up at times, then you might want to upgrade your car with drilled brake rotors or slotted brake rotors, or a hybrid of both.

>>> Related: Everything about brake pads: Tips, Advice, Prices in the Philippines

2. Cons of Drilled and Slotted Brake Rotors

Due to the construction of a drilled brake rotor, it is more likely to cause cracks. The holes on a drilled brake rotor cause the rotor to lose its rigidity, unlike a plain rotor brake which comes with complete construction.

For those who want the design of a drilled brake rotor but not its disadvantage, there is a variation called the dimpled brake rotor. Unlike a drilled brake rotor, a dimpled brake rotor comes with the hole designs like a drilled version but are not drilled all the way through. In terms of functionality, a dimpled brake rotor does come with thermal efficiency but not the same as a drilled brake rotor.

Rusted Brake Rotor

Replace your brake rotors when they are worn for optimum braking performance

As for a slotted brake rotor, one of the disadvantages of installing it is that the brake pads would wear faster. Since the slots scrape the brake pads every single braking application, this causes the brake pads to lose some of their rigidity as well.

So basically, a slotted brake rotor will provide a stronger brake power but will wear your brake pads faster and they should be. With that in mind, using this type of brake rotor will cause you to replace your brake pads more often.

Lastly, the biggest disadvantage of installing a drilled, slotted, or hybrid brake rotor is the cost. These types of brake rotors are more expensive as compared to the practical and long-lasting plain brake rotors. However, if you want to make your car look and perform more track-ready, then try considering them. Choose the one that best suits your daily driving needs following your budget.

III. Drilled and slotted rotors pros and cons: FAQs

Q: What is a slotted brake rotor?

A slotted brake rotor comes with slots that clean the brake pads. This causes the brake pads to bite stronger resulting in a more secure driving experience.

Q: What is the brake rotor used in most cars?

Most cars come with a plain brake rotor due to its long life, affordability, and quietness on the road.

Q: What is a drilled brake rotor?

A drilled brake rotor comes with holes that help cool the rotor.

Q: How much are brake pads in the Philippines?

On average, you can get brake pads for around Php 1,500 to Php 2,000, depending on the build-quality.

Q: Are drilled brake rotors expensive?

Yes, a drilled brake rotor is more expensive than the standard plain brake rotor.

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Rex Sanchez

Rex Sanchez


Rex Sanchez grew up in Saudi Arabia where he saw and got into the automotive scene. He started his career for an aviation company in the said region, writing about turbines and rotors which are later distributed for educational purposes. And now, he joined Philkotse.com as a staff writer. Currently, he is the youngest on the team and is more than ready to grow in the field.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rexsanchez09

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