• Solid disc
  • Ventilation disc
  • Perforated ventilation disc
  • Scribed ventilating rotor
  • Floating ventilation disc

Amongst the most commonly mass-produced models, the majority are front ventilated discs and rear solid discs. During the braking process, most of the braking force is generated by the front braking system. When buying a car, the brake disc configuration is often overlooked – most people don’t know what to look out for or why many luxury brands now have front floating brake discs as standard.

The advantage of floating brake discs comes in when the car generates a large amount of heat during high-intensity braking as thermal expansion and contraction of the brake discs would usually cause deformation (affecting normal braking systems). The floating brake disc, however, is not directly locked with the centre disc and there is a slight space between the floating part and the disc. After breaking, there is still a gap between the disc surface and the centre disc, and it can move left and right, but the centre can be firmly fixed. This design can solve the problem of overheating and jittering.

The floating brake disc, compared with the two-piece disc, is a lighter weight and stronger braking system. However, it should be noted that the structure of the floating brake disc is more complicated, and such standards usually cannot be achieved by small workshops due to the processes required. So look for genuine products, don’t try to get things on the cheap!

For ventilated brake discs – as the name implies – the brake discs are ventilated, which can achieve better heat dissipation than solid discs. The side of the ordinary ventilating disc is flat like the solid disc, and the vent holes can be seen from the side. The internal structure is intricately alternating because it is necessary to ensure the heat flow and the rigidity of the brake disc.

The main function of the scribing in the scribing brake disc is to scrape off and discharge the brake powder from the worn disc to reduce the chance of it affecting the brake friction.

The main purpose of perforating a perforated brake disc is to have a stronger heat dissipation effect. A higher-strength brake will cause the temperature of the brake disc to increase sharply, so more airflow is required for heat dissipation. Only relying on the ventilation disc is not enough, and usually in the case of multi-piston brake calipers, more efficient perforated ventilation discs are required.

Many drivers have little understanding of the structure of the brake discs, but the above points may be more clear to those who love cars and their engineering, though even some maintenance technicians do not fully analyze the design of the air duct or understand the differences.

Under normal, non-vigorous driving conditions, we recommend you (or an experienced mechanic) carry out an inspection of your vehicle’s brake discs to:

  • Check whether the brake disc needs to be replaced – roughly every 60,000 kilometres (around 37,300 miles)
  • Check whether the brake pads need to be replaced – roughly every 20,000 kilometres (around 12,400 miles)
  • Check your brake oil levels every 2 years or 40,000 kilometres (around 24,800 miles) – whichever comes first.