Do my rusty brake rotors need to be replaced?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader wondering if recommended repairs are truly necessary.

2017 Kia Sorento.
2017 Kia Sorento. –Kia

Q. My two-year-old Kia Sorento has only 22,000 miles on it. The brake rotors are all rusty, and at the last trip to the dealership, the mechanic said I would need new rotors and would have to pay for the brake pads. The vehicle has an incredible warranty, so why isn’t the entire repair covered? Why does this happen?  

A. Brake rotors will rust. Usually it’s just surface rust that will wear off after a couple of miles of driving. If the rust is deep — to the point of pitting — it is certainly possible the rotors need to be replaced. Heavy rusting can be caused by the chemicals used to melt ice during winter as well as exposure to salt water. The brake pads are considered wear items and are only covered for one year or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to