2010 Lexus RX 350 - rattling while braking

My 2010 Lexus rx350 began having a rattle when braking just after having new brake pads put on. Easy right? The mechanic didn’t smooth out the rotors! So I took it back. Twice! And they say they did! (And that they can’t recreate the problem :face_with_raised_eyebrow:) So then I took it to a Lexus specialist instead of a big chain. He said this model has a defect in the steering column causing a rattle. Typically the rattle on effected cars can be heard at low speeds on bumpy ground, etc. He thought the rotor could be turned a little better and that would eliminate vibration coming through the column. So he did that again, but kinda hinted that it was just bad luck to have this problem cuz there’s no easy/cheap fix. But it’s still noticeable to me, and basically only when I am braking from above 50 down to about 30 mph. (And it is very noticeable then!) I can sometimes even see the wheel shake back and forth a bit. I really don’t have a big problem with what I hear going on at low speeds on bumpy ground. Could it still be a problem with the brake system generating the vibration that comes through the steering column? I am thinking of taking it back to him and having the rotors replaced, but hate to spend the money if it won’t help. It seems odd that this “defect” never bothered me until I had a brake job done. Other ideas?

No, lumpy rotors cause a pulsation or vibration in the brake pedal, not a rattle. Rattles usually happen when the anti-rattle clips don’t get put back in. So no issue with the brake shop.

So is the “defect” under recall? Or a partial cost share? What price did the dealer say would be required to fix the defective part? Things to ask the dealer.

Yes, but I wouldn’t call it a problem with the brakes. The brakes will always have some variation side-to-side that could set off the rattle. And since you went to a “big chain” they likely used cheaper aftermarket rotors and brake pads that are just not as good as the originals. They might “wear in” and lessen the problem but…

If you want the problem fixed, you’ll need to spend the money to have the actual defect fixed.

I’ve heard about the anti rattle clips…

So are you saying that would do it, but likely not in this case since another mechanic inspected it after and would have spotted if they were missing?

The Lexus specialist I took it to is not the dealer. He just runs a shop that fixes mostly lexuses. I bought the car used from a dealer. Is there a chance a dealer would honor a recall in that situation? From what I’ve read googling they weren’t helping folks out much on repairing this even when it was first discovered. The mechanic said replacing the steering column is about $1500. That seems a lot for a 10 year old car with an annoying problem. Unless it’s more dangerous than annoying.

I never noticed this until having the brake pads changed. And yes they used non-Lexus pads. They didn’t replace the rotors. Are you suggesting that having better pads put on and maybe changing rotors would bring me back to where I was before this brake job? I’m having a hard time believing it wasn’t produced by something done by the brake repair which by now was well over a year ago so any wearing in that would have happened hasn’t helped.

If there is a recall any Lexus dealer is obligated to correct the defect. To see if there are any recalls on your vehicle go to nhtsa.gov and enter your VIN.
But from what you have said, sounds like there is not a recall.

Yes, pretty obvious if they are missing.

If it was a recall, yes they would have to honor it. “Specialist” not dealer explains why they used the term “defect.” A dealer would never use that language for something not recalled.

$1500 repair for a 10 year old car is not a large bill. If you can live with it, don’t fix it.

I would never replace pads without replacing rotors. I would not bother to turn (machine) the rotors as it costs almost as much as replacing them. And, Yes, doing the brake job a second time with new rotors and more new pads (from the specialist, not a chain) may make things better.

I checked the recall website and no luck. I am headed back to the specialist mechanic for more digging and maybe new brake parts next. Thanks for the info!