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Dealing With Model S Brake Rotor Hat Rust

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by ToddRLockwood, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    #1 ToddRLockwood, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
    If you've owned your Model S for more than a year and you live in a winter climate, chances are you're beginning to see rust on your rear brake rotor high hats. It's an unfortunate consequence of the alloy used to make the high hats. Many other brands of cars have the same issue. I've found that Audi's brake rotors are notoriously prone to rust, often requiring premature replacement. Fortunately, in Tesla's case the rotors themselves are not as susceptible to rust as the high hats are. Here is one of my rear high hats after two years of driving in Vermont...


    IMG_1329SM.jpg


    On my P85, this is unfortunate because otherwise the car is still in pristine condition. The front high hats do not seem to suffer this rust problem.

    A few years ago, GM developed a treatment process that makes their rotors highly rust-resistant. I believe it can also be achieved by adding zinc to the steel used to make the rotors. So what is a Model S owner to do with their otherwise pristine car?

    Jerry Jones, the owner of ForMyTesla.com, suggested that I try some high temperature brake caliper paint that he sells. So I took my car to a local body & paint shop, and they tried out Jerry's paint kit. The results are quite good, and the car looks like new again. Time will tell whether the paint stays intact, but based on the etching pretreatment the kit included, I'm optimistic.


    IMG_1333SM.jpg


    UPDATE

    The body shop tells me that there was some paint leftover, but probably not enough to do the front rotors. So, plan on purchasing two paint kits if you are doing all four rotor hats.
     
  2. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    Those look great Todd, what an improvement. I also bought the silver paint from Jerry, and I plan to have it applied this Spring or Summer. Was one kit enough to cover the channel and the high hat on all four wheels?
     
  3. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    #3 ToddRLockwood, Mar 12, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
    Good question, Jake. We only did the rear wheels, and I'm not sure how much paint was left over. I'll check with the body shop.
     
  4. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Many Roadster owners have had problems with this - it's even worse on the Roadster. There have been several solutions ranging from high-temperature rust-resistant paint to treating the rotors with the same treatment that Chevy did to the Volt's rotors (they don't rust). The newest solution is in this thread: Custom-Tesla-Roadster-2-Piece-Slotted-Rotors.
    And this: Custom-Aluminum-Rotors-A-possibility

    These custom rotors we're fabricating have hats made of plated aluminum which solves the corrosion problem as well as saving a lot of weight. This is un-sprung rotating weight where it matters most, so it will also improve performance. In addition, the friction disks are having two anti-corrosion treatments applied. The first, called FNC, is what Chevy is doing to the Volt Rotors. The second treatment is a simple black oxide that some aftermarket suppliers of brake rotors are offering.

    I already applied anti-rust paint to my rear hats like Todd has done. The last time I went in for service, Tesla noticed that the front hats were starting to rust so they applied some paint to those as well. Nice of them, but not sure how long it will last.

    Good luck to all of you keeping your MS looking pristine!
     
  5. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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  6. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    The thread you linked is mostly about painting the calipers. Little or no discussion of the hats. Maybe there are other threads about rusty hats?
     
  7. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

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    This has been talked about in fact I asked this question last year.

    For anyone not wanting to mess with it if your car is still under warranty tesla will paint them twice per year at no cost. Takes about 2 hours and they look like new.
     
  8. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    The answer is here:

    Solution for rusty brake rotor hats
     
  9. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    I asked Columbus SC to apply this exact fix, sending them this very link, and they refused to do it, saying it might gum up the brakes. How painting the rotor hat would ever interfere with the brakes is beyond me, but that is what they said. I am guessing YMMV depending on the service center. Columbus also offered to do a one-time courtesy replacement of my rotors, but I never took them up on it, since Cleveland opened before my next annual, and I was switched to the closer location.
     
  10. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    They are definitely misinformed, as that Wurth product is designed to be applied to the entire disc - _including_ the braking surface. It won't gum up the brakes at all.
     
  11. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

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    odd...the service center here paints mine using this method. They did it about 12 months ago and 30,000 miles ago. Having it done again next month.
     
  12. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    Yes I was wondering about asking the Cleveland SC to apply this product, but then I found the G3 DIY paint kit.
     
  13. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    If they're painted with the two part silver epoxy there's no need for Tesla to do anything with them as this method will probably last for 5-10 years.
     
  14. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    Just saw a brand new S85D today, and it had flat grey paint on the rotor hats, instead of the exposed metal I have. Very interesting. VIN was just shy of 70,000.
     
  15. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    Here's a pic, care of Newscutter:

    image.jpg
     
  16. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

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    I'm under normal driving conditions this may be the case but 8 months out of the year my wheels are coated with mud/clay from a 3 mile gravel road. I'm just now entering my sunny season and they're just slightly rusty.
     

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