Does Autozone Take Old Brake Rotors and Pads?

AutoZone, a leading automotive parts and accessories retailer, has a notable presence in the United States. Among its numerous services, the recycling of automotive parts plays a significant role in promoting environmental sustainability. This article delves into the specific aspect of does AutoZone take old brake rotors and pads for recycling, exploring the economic and ecological implications, alternatives for disposal, and the broader context of recycling in the automotive industry.

does autozone take old brake pads

Does Autozone Take Old Brake Rotors and Pads?

AutoZone has a track record of recycling activities, particularly for car batteries, motor oil, engines, brake calipers, alternators, starters, and transmissions. These efforts are a part of their commitment to environmental sustainability. However, the scenario is a bit more complex when it comes to old thin brake pads and rotors.

Economic and Practical Considerations

AutoZone’s decision not to recycle brake rotors and pads primarily stems from economic and practical considerations. Brake rotors do not contain toxic fluids or elements that necessitate unique disposal methods, nor possess a substantial core price that could make recycling economically viable. Therefore, recycling these items needs to make more economic sense. Instead, the focus is on items where recycling is both environmentally beneficial and economically feasible.

Conflicting Information

Some conflicting information exists regarding the policy on recycling brake rotors. While some sources affirm that AutoZone does not engage in this form of recycling, others suggest that customers can bring their old rotors to any AutoZone location for recycling. This contradiction may arise from regional policy differences or corporate strategies changes over time.

Alternatives for Recycling Brake Rotors and Pads

Given the uncertainty surrounding policy, exploring alternative avenues for recycling these parts is important.

Scrapyards and Recycling Centers

One of the most straightforward options is to take old grooved brake rotors and pads to a local scrapyard or recycling center. These facilities are equipped to handle a wide range of metal items and ensure that these parts are recycled responsibly.

Online Platforms

Another viable option is selling old brake rotors and pads on platforms like Craigslist or eBay. This ensures the parts are reused and can provide a small financial return to the seller.

Automotive Workshops

Some local automotive workshops and garages may accept these parts for recycling or refurbishment. This can be a specifically convenient option for those getting their vehicle serviced.

Can Brake Rotors Be Scrapped?

Yes, brake rotors can be scrapped. They are typically made of cast iron or other metals, which are highly recyclable materials. Here are a few points to consider when scrapping those:

  1. Value of Scrap Metal: The value of scrap metal varies depending on market conditions, but brake rotors generally have some monetary value as scrap. Cast iron and metal prices fluctuate, so it is a good idea to check current rates.
  2. Scrap Yards: Most scrap yards accept brake rotors. Call ahead and confirm that they accept them and inquire about the current price per pound or ton.
  3. Preparation: While there is generally no need to prepare the rotors before taking them to a scrap yard, removing any attached parts like brake pads or other non-metal components is a good practice. This can increase the value you receive, as pure metal is often more valuable.
  4. Environmental Benefits: Scrapping brake rotors instead of disposing of them in landfills is environmentally friendly. Recycling metal reduces the need for new metal mining and production, decreasing environmental pollution and conserving energy.
  5. Volume: If you have many brake rotors, this could increase your leverage in negotiating prices with scrap dealers. Larger quantities often fetch better rates.
  6. Legal Considerations: Ensure that you are legally allowed to scrap them, especially if they are not your personal property or if they come from a commercial source.

Scrapping brake rotors is not only feasible but also economically and environmentally beneficial. It’s a simple way to contribute to recycling while potentially earning money.

Is it OK to Reuse Brake Rotors?

Reusing the rotors is a practice that depends largely on the condition of the rotors and suitability for continued use. Here are key considerations to determine if it is okay to recycle brake rotors:

  1. Thickness: Brake rotors have minimum thickness specifications set by the manufacturer. It should not be reused if it is at or below this minimum thickness as it can compromise braking performance and safety.
  2. Surface Condition: The surface of the rotor should be free from deep grooves, cracks, or warping. Slight grooving is usual, but excessive wear or damage means it should be replaced.
  3. Warping: If a rotor is warped (not flat and even across its surface), it can cause braking issues like vibration or pulsing in the brake pedal. Warped parts should not be reused.
  4. Refinishing (Turning): In some cases, rotors can be machined or ‘turned’ to make the surface even and smooth again. However, this is only possible if it remains above its minimum thickness after machining.
  5. Vehicle Usage: For vehicles subjected to high stress (like racing or heavy towing), it’s often better to replace rotors rather than reuse them, as these activities can cause more rapid wear and potential damage.
  6. Safety Considerations: Brakes are critical to vehicle safety. If there’s any doubt about the condition of the rotors, it’s safer to replace them.
  7. Cost vs. Benefit: Sometimes, the cost savings of reusing a rotor might not justify the potential decrease in braking performance.
  8. Professional Inspection: If you do not understand the condition of the rotors, have them inspected by a qualified mechanic. They can provide advice on whether they are suitable for reuse.

Reusing brake rotors is possible and cost-effective, but you can do it if they are in good condition and meet safety standards. When in doubt, prioritize safety and consider replacing them.

Can Brake Pads be Sold for Scrap?

Brake pads can be sold for scrap, but their value is limited compared to other automotive components like metal parts. Here are some significant points to consider:

  1. Material Composition: Brake pads are typically made from a composite of materials, including metals like steel or iron, as well as non-metallic materials such as rubber, fiber, and various bonding agents. The presence of non-metallic materials can significantly reduce their value as scrap.
  2. Metal Content: The metal components in brake pads, usually in the form of backing plates or small amounts of metal in the friction material, do have some scrap value. However, this value is often minimal due to the mixed and relatively small quantity of metal.
  3. Recycling Process: Separating metal from non-metallic components in brake pads can be labor-intensive and might not be cost-effective. Some scrap yards might not accept the pads for this reason.
  4. Environmental Considerations: Disposing of brake pads in an environmentally responsible manner is vital, as the non-metallic components can be harmful if not handled properly. Some specialized recycling facilities might accept them for proper disposal or recycling, but this is rare.
  5. Volume: Similar to other types of scrap, the value you can get from scrapping brake pads may depend on your volume. A large quantity might be more appealing to a scrap dealer or recycler.
  6. Alternative Disposal: Due to their low value as scrap and the potential difficulty in finding a recycler who will accept them, brake pads are often disposed of through normal waste channels, provided that this complies with local environmental regulations.

While selling the pads for scrap is possible, the financial return is usually minimal. The mixed materials and the potential difficulty in processing them for recycling make brake pads less attractive to scrap yards compared to more straightforward metal scrap. The focus should instead be on ensuring that they are disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.


The issue of whether AutoZone recycles old rotors and brake pads is not clear-cut. While economic considerations suggest that they might not engage in this form of recycling, evidence suggests otherwise. Given this uncertainty, those looking to recycle these parts should consider alternative options such as scrapyards, recycling centers, or online platforms.

Recycling brake rotors and pads is a small but significant part of the broader effort to make the automotive industry more sustainable. Whether through large retailers like AutoZone or local recycling initiatives, each step contributes to a more environmentally responsible approach to automotive maintenance and repair.


Mr. Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer and has more than 15 years experience of repairing and maintenance of different brand vehicles like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW etc. He is also giving training to Mechanics. He has started writing to share his practical knowledge to Vehicle Owners, Drivers and Mechanics to keep their cars at best fit.

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