Can You Throw Away Your Old Brake Rotors

The Truth About Throwing Away Brake Rotors: What You Need to Know

Because rotors are not replaced as often as brake pads, your mechanic might suggest that the rotors get replaced when they start grinding. If you have it done by a mechanic, they’re usually happy to recycle the rotors.

If you do your brake work, what do you do with your leftover rotors? The real question is, “should you throw away old brake rotors, or is there a better, safer option?

You can throw away your old brake rotors. The best option for the environment is to dispose of your old brake rotors by bringing them to a junkyard that recycles scrap metal. This can get you a few dollars and is much better than throwing them in the trash, where they will sit in a landfill for decades.

Can Brake Rotors be Recycled?

Most brake rotors are 100% recyclable, but you can’t just throw them in with regular recycling unless you check with your waste management company.

If you can’t just throw them in with regular recycling, what do you do with them? Can they be repurposed?

Recycling Your Brake Rotors

The process of recycling your broken rotors is fairly simple. It would be best to take the rotors to the junkyard that recycles them physically. Be careful because most rotors are cast iron, making them extremely expensive to move compared to their size.

Rotors don’t contain toxic elements like other automobile parts, such as batteries, so they don’t require special handling. The reason you don’t want to put the rotors directly into your household recycling has more to do with their weight and size than with their toxicity. Remember, rotors could damage the machines used to sort through household recycling, so taking them to the junkyard if you don’t plan on repurposing is the preferred recycling method.

How Much Can You Get For Old Brake Rotors?

You can expect to get about .07 cents per pound for your brake rotor when you bring them to a business that purchases scrap metal.

Exceptions to the Rule

Carbon-ceramic rotors and pads, typically found in higher-end sports cars like Porches and Ferraris, cannot be recycled. These rotors should not need replacing but should be thrown in the garbage if you have to replace them.

Options for Disposing of Brake Rotors

Let’s explore the options available to you and how to utilize them.

Recycling Center

  1. Do a quick search to find your local dump or recycling center. Checking with your city or town hall is a great way to get this location.
  2. A quick call to the recycling center before loading the heavy rotors is always a good idea.
  3. Flatten a piece of cardboard to lay the rotor on if you are concerned about a mess or damage to your car.
  4. Take the rotors to the recycling site.
  5. You can ask an employee where to dispose of your rotor when you get there properly. You could damage the sorting equipment if you put them in the wrong bin.

How Often Should Brake Rotors Be Replaced?

You should replace your brake rotors about every 70,000 miles. The exact distance varies based on the rotors’ quality and the vehicle’s weight.


Taking your rotors to the junkyard could make you some money. Depending on the location of your scrapyard, it may not be worth the trip, though, unless you take large amounts of metal for recycling, it may be more trouble than it is worth. In a Win-Win fashion, you could make up to $2 per rotor depending on weight and the going rate of redemption.

The amount you will make from the scrap yard varies and depends on the following factors:

  • Market value of the type of metal
  • Location
  • Demand
  • Time of year

Rotors can weigh anywhere from 15 to 40 pounds for normal mid-sized cars—generally, the larger the vehicle, the heavier the rotors. So if you are going to take the rotors to a junkyard for redemption, you should locate and call ahead because some junkyards will not take small amounts of metals. The junkyard will weigh your metal and pay you to recycle your rotors.

Craigslist or Other Social Media Sites

Maybe this all seems like a lot of work to do. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of loading the rotors in and back out of your car for a trip to the junkyard, then placing an ad on social media for a “Scrapper” or “Junker” to come to take them away is a pretty effective way to get rid of them. Though you won’t make any money going this route, you will have some extra space in the garage.

Can Brake Rotors Be Reused?

When I was a kid, it was common practice to resurface your brake rotors a couple of times before replacing them, but that is not the case now.

Rotors used to be made thicker, and the safety laws are more stringent now, so it is not recommended to resurface rotors because even one resurfacing can reduce the rotor to a point where it is no longer legally usable.

Practically, it is not smart to pay the costs of resurfacing anyway since it only costs about the same to replace the rotors, and that can give you peace of mind that the problem is fixed.

How Much Does It Cost To Have Your Brake Rotors Replaced?

For a total brake rotor replacement, it will cost around $350 to $500.

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce, But How

If your old rotors are rust-free, they can be great for a DIY project.

I once knew a guy who would melt down his old metal and use it to make fishing weights. He had a 5-gallon bucket of salvage metal that included everything from broken screws to car parts.

Here are some of the ways other people are recycling, reusing, and creatively reusing their old rotors:

  • Boat Anchors
  • Dumbbells
  • Wall clock
  • Windchime
  • Weights for your tractor wheel
  • Sculpture base
  • Grinder stand
  • Floor lamp base
  • In your outdoor garden


Yes, it would be best to recycle your old brake rotors. They are not toxic, and landfills are full of materials that will spend an eternity there.

Limiting the amount of usable waste in our junkyards and landfills is the key to our continued survival. Recycling just one aluminum can use 95% less energy than crafting one from new materials. Now imagine how much more your rotor weighs than that can.

There are so many creative and waste-conscious ideas for every type of material. We must all be responsible for reducing our carbon footprint in this world.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.