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2009 Toyota Camry shakes and vibrates when braking at high speeds

I just bought a 2009 Toyota Camry with 78K miles on it. Everything is great except at highway speeds it shakes and vibrates when braking. The higher the speed the worse it is. Steering wheel shakes as well. I pulled both front tires off and the rotors appear to be smoothe on both sides with no grooves, etc. However, I’m due for new front brake pads. Theres some pad left but could that be why it shakes and vibrates when braking? How do you tell if rotors are warped? Rotors are smooth but could they still be warped? Thanks for the help.

if you are having a shop replace the front pads just be sure to explain the braking symptoms you have. They would most likely check the rotors but if you ask for pads only they might not.
If you are doing this yourself I would replace pads and rotors at the same time.

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My 2005 Camry was doing the same around 90K miles. The pads were fine and the original and the rotors were original too. So I couldn’t see a reason why they would not function properly, but chaging them fixed the problem.

This is typical of warped rotors. They can be as smooth and groove free as can be but if they’re warped you’ll get just the symptoms you’re describing.

You cannot detect warped rotors visually. Tell the shop your symptoms and let them do the brake job properly.

To the previous bits of valid advice, I want to add a recommendation for the OP:

Since the brake rotors are clearly problematic, please don’t attempt to have them resurfaced.
Just bite the bullet on costs and pay the slightly higher cost for brand-new rotors.
The difference in braking performance will be…dramatic…if you opt for good-quality replacement rotors instead of trying to cheap-out by doing resurfacing of the old ones, or instead of buying cheap-o Chinese-made replacement rotors that will be badly warped after…maybe…12k miles.


Excellent suggestion, VDC. I totally agree.

Concur w/the others, new pads and rotors should get you back to a non-vibrating car. Ask the staff there at the shop to hand-torque your wheel nuts when they put the wheels back on, in rounds of three. First to 1/3 the torque value, next to 2/3, and then to the final value. If they balk, offer to pay more for the extra time it takes. This can help prevent the new rotors from warping again.

When a customer states that the brakes vibrate at highway speeds it is apparent to me how the brake rotors got warped. I very rarely find the need to use the brakes at highway speeds, my vehicles slow sufficiently when releasing the accelerator.

There is the belief that modem brakes are smaller and lighter than they have been in the past but these brake rotors are heavier than the rotors on my Dodge Ram.

Yeah just have them replace the rotors at the same time as the pads. Agree to not settle for re-surfacing. He may insist on checking for run-out but to me it would be a waste of time.

OEM front brake rotors are $76 each while resurfacing is normally included with the brakes service, this depends on your budget.

In my neck of the woods turning the old rotors is a billable procedure.

Same in my area…

Here i am checking the rotor for out of round. I had bought the cheapest rotors to save money and within 2 weeks they over heated and wrapped. Causing steering wheel shake when braking. No more cheap rotors for me.


Furthermore, don’t rule out a bent wheel.

Just curious, aren’t you checking the disc for warping, side to side wobble there?

Concur with all advice except on how to torque the wheel nuts. Typical Toyota spec is 76 ft/lbs. First round to 25, then all the way to final on round 2. The reason is that 25-76 is only about a quarter of a turn (about 90°).

When you stop at an intermediate torque, before the torque wrench will start moving again, it has to overcome start-up torque. Going from 50 ft/lbs to 76 only involves a few degrees of movement so the wrench might click at 76 without even moving.

If it does move, the arc of movement is not enough to establish the smooth and steady motion to get an accurate torque. A quarter turn to final generally gives the best results.