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2003 Buick Park Avenue Front Brake Rotors Warping

We replaced our front brake pads at 75000 miles. We had to replace the front rotors at 92000 miles. The rotors had to be turned again at 107,000 miles. Now, at 114000 miles the rotors are vibrating again when braking. Why are the rotors not lasting any longer?

Could Be Second-Rate Parts Or Maybe Dragging / Sticking Caliper(s) Is / Are Overheating A Rotor Or Two.

Are the hubs, wheels, all brake parts being thoroughly cleaned before / during installation. “Brake Clean” cleaner is being used to clean the brand new rotors before installation ?

Are the calipers “floating” or sliding freely on their pins / guides so that you are not stopping with pressure applied just to the piston-side pad ?


I really can not answer your questions. I have wondered if the rotors were second rate, but the mechanic I’ve used for years is on Car Talk’s list of recommended mechanics list for this area. I have been very satisfied with his work. However, this is the first brake work he has done for me. I will talk to him about the points you made. Thanks.


Typically most shop brake repairs include complete component replacement. This means new pads, rotors and calipers.
This is not necessary in most cases. In most cases, just replacing the pads on a moderately worn set of pads and drums and the same calipers will be fine. Not for purists, but just fine for real life conditions.
In some cars the rotors rot or warp or both, given normal conditions soon after 100,000 miles.
But not in your case. In your case the rotors were probably needlessly turned twice, when just a straight up pad replacement was needed. So now your rotors are thinner and may have warped, and the so the car shakes when you brake at high speeds. I think you need to replace the front rotors and pads with new parts. Cost should be around $400 total.

"Typically most shop brake repairs include complete component replacement. This means new pads, rotors and calipers."

This is new to me, but I do my own brakes and don’t ordinarily deal with brake shops. Are you sure brake shops usually replace calipers when they install pads and rotors ?

The owner said he replaced pads at 75,000, rotors at 92,000, and turned the “new” rotors at 107,000.

Could it be that the new pads on old rotors (“rotors rot or warp”) screwed up the pads and the screwed up pads then screwed up the new rotors ? Probably at 75,000 the pads and rotors should have both been replaced together. I wonder if the owner was encouraging the mechanic to keep the cost down too much.

Now, it seems like that’s still the case. No more turning is recommended, but check the brakes for evidence that calipers / master cylinder are / aren’t sticking, too.

I’d just have to believe that with new pads, new rotors, and parts cleaned up and everything that is supposed to move, moving, and hoses good, calipers and cylinders not sticking, the brake job shoud be just fine. I don’t think this make / model has many unusual brake problems. This shouldn’t be Rocket Science.


I recommend replacing the rotors with the pads in today's cars.  While I am not sure what the "official" recommendation is, I believe that the effort to lighten the unsprung weight (especially on the front) has lead to lighter weight systems including the rotors.  They appear to be designed to be replaced along with the pads.  

In general there appears the rotors are more than half way worn by the time the pads are worn. Since the cost of rotors is not all that high, it just seems to make sense to replace them along with the pads. Try handling a rotor from the '70’s and one from a current car.

Replace the rotor with the pads and you should be far less likely to have a problem. Since you are paying to do a lot of the work when you do either of the jobs, it seems to make sense to always replace the rotors and the pads at the same time.

Sot of like replacing the water pump when you do a timing belt.