2009 Chevy Malibu Brakes

I have a 2009 Chevy Malibu that gies throygh rotors every 6 months. I have replaced thwm 3 times now in 102,000 miles and had them turned multiple times. What happens is about 6,000 miles after I put new rotors on they warp and I get a violent vibration when braking at high speeds. I have been to 3 different dealerships and none of them can figure out why they continue to warp. Anyone run into this issue on this make, model and year? Any suggestions on what the issue may be?

With thinner rotors improper lug nut torque can be a contributing factor.

Would you consider new OEM rotors thin?

Dragging (Not Fully Releasing When Foot Off Of The Brake Pedal) Brake Calipers Can Overheat The Rotors And Cause Warping.

Other Questions For Sara:
Does this car sit parked for several days or more, at a time?
Has it done this winter, summer, and basically all year?
Do you live where salt/brine is applied to roads in the winter?

Where I live the roads have salt water for nearly half the year. Drive through salt and park your car (any car) for a week. You will have rusted areas on the rotors that will cause uneven heat build-up/dissipation and warping. One more reason I’m rethinking where I’ve been living for so many decades.


I drive it everyday. We live in Illinois and have spurts there is quite a bit of salt. It typically doesn’t sit more than a day. I asked about heat and the technicians told me there was no sign of excessive heat. The car is garaged daily.

It has consistently had the problem during all seasons.

Buy high grade rotors and ceramic pads. I bought Raybestos rotors and Ankebono pads at www.rockauto.com. I never turn rotors. I just buy new. The other possibility is rust on the hub. It will cause the rotor to not sit flush. Impact wrenches can warp rims and rotors. Take it to an independent mechanic listed in the Mechanis Files link above and have them do the work. You can even take your own parts.

@saral “Would you consider new OEM rotors thin?” Based on the fact that turning ie resurfacing rotors is no longer a standard practice, yes.

Further reading http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/1002409/how-often-to-change-rotors

I’ve Been Reading A GM TSB ( Technical Service Bulletin ((for GM techs)) ) Pertaining To Brake Pedal Pulsation.

One section of the bulletin agrees with Barkydog’s comments. GM points out that Improper wheel tightening at the time of car service (spare tire usage, after tire rotations, brake inspection…) can cause LRO (lateral run-out) that can lead to rotor thickness variation.

What’s really interesting is that GM says that the pulsation is not immediate and usually takes 3,000 to 10,000 miles to fully develop because the excessive LRO causes the brake pads to wear the brake rotors unevenly, which causes rotor thickness variation. Since the process takes many miles of driving to occur, car owners/drivers often do not associate the pulsation with the car servicing that caused it.

Improper use of impact wrenches greatly improves the odds of pulsation developing and proper use of torque wrenches and torque sticks can help prevent it.

This is nothing new to me. I worked at a Volkswagen dealer decades ago and saw this happen then. Some cars seem more intolerant to improper wheel installation/servicing than others, I have observed. I have also observed most many service employees whaling away on wheel lugs with powerful impact wrenches!

I always “star” tighten my own wheel lugs with a torque wrench, in at least two stages.


Thank you. I will look into purchasing some higher end rotors and take them to an independent mechanic.

OEM (original Equipment Manufacurer) rotors should be fine, so don’t go overboard. An independent shop may offer different grades of rotors. I found some brake guys that would re-torque lugnuts for free after somebody else’s tire rotation etc., as they had found it saved money for them and me in the long run.

Another possibility . . . the front hub(s) have excessive lateral runout

This would be fairly easy to check out with a dial indicator gauge

If that is the case, new rotors will not fix anything, in the long run

Some cheapo rotors are warped right out of the box. Unfortunately, I’ve verified this, more than a few times. As far as brakes go, you get what you pay for. If you buy cheap, don’t expect much

Sara , most mechanics will install the type of rotors you ask for but they really do not want to install parts you purchased and will not warranty their work.