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Brake Job - Need Advice

Hi guys,

I know that you are all going to tell me to “do it yourself,” however, I really have no clue what I am doing, nor do I really have the time right now to do it. My wife has an Acura, and when braking at higher speeds, she is getting a really bad “vibration”. I am assuming the rotors are warped. We had both axles (rotors/pads) done last year (about 40k ago) at Midas. After they did them, we had to take the car back about 3 times for squeaky pads, and I swear a slight vibration, but they didn’t fix them. Anyway, even though they offer “lifetime pads,” I refuse to go back there.

So, her pads now started squeaking again. We were dealing with the warped rotors until we had some extra money and time to take it in. At this point, I am wondering where I should take it. I have no clue if the pads are good, and I’m guessing the rotors just need to be turned since they were just put on last brake job.

I did call the Honda Dealership (close to our house) and they quoted me $279 for pads, rotors, (or cutting them) per axle. That seems high to me. I was going to call Merlins and Tires Plus. Does anyone have any recommendations on decent shops to use? I wish I had a good independent mechanic in the Wisconsin area, but I don’t ):

Thanks all!

It’s simple.

You need a complete brake inspection performed.

Then it can be decided what brake components need replacing.


Is the dealership the best place to go?


The dealership sells cars.

And fixes them on the side.


As posted above, first off you need a qualified shop to do an inspection. the best way to find a good inde shop is by a recommendation from someone you know who has used them. I’d suggest to avoid using chains or dealerships if at all possible for something like this. Plus this gives you an opportunity to start a relationship with a good independent mechanic. So phone up your co-workers, fellow church goers, fellow pub-goers, friends, relatives, whomever you know that might be willing to offer up who they use to fix their own cars. And from that list, choose one that specializes in your make and passes your “first visit” criteria. If the problem is warped rotors, most often the recommendation I see here is to use replacement rotors, not machining the existing ones. Replacement rotors aren’t that expensive. And like you say, you’d normally install new pads and shims at the same time. Your inde mechanic should be able to come up with a set of rotors, pads, and shims that don’t squeak. I get best results myself on my Corolla by buying brake pads that are priced in the middle of the price range, not the cheapest, and not the most expensive.

What area in wi? Rotors can be warped by improper lug nut torque. I am sure you want to look at an economical band aid approach, but do not be surprised if a mechanic says time fr a do over. $279 sounds cheap, and cutting rotors, well I would spend the extra bucks and get new. 45k miles call it regular maintenance and the dealer should be fine.

I am in Southeast, WI - Kenosha area


If you want the best results . . . install factory brake pads and rotors. Also replace the disc brake hardware.

It’s the most expensive way to go, especially if you’re paying somebody to do it

I’ve had lots of noise problems with aftermarket brakes, even if EVERYTHING was done correctly

I’ve had virtually no noise problems with factory brakes

Keep in mind I’m a pro . . . so my sample size is huge

I have used Anastos for years, a little more pricey than others, less than the dealership, but being a regular customer, I have had a few out of the box situations, like once a after an oil change I heard what sounded like valve noise, I took a video, and said hey this is happening when I start the car on cold mornings, they looked in the records, saw the oil filter had been superceeded by a new one, ordered one of the old ones and redid the oil change no charge, sure things can be coincidental, and it ended up being a bad tensioner, but to have a shop work with you to that degree is appreciated.

There is a guy who does work on the side for less, ask Kenny, though he might be only gm!

Rotor runout or parallelism issues do not have to be a guessing game. That can be checked and verified. Both ends of the car should be checked.

I might also state that because the car shudders under braking that does not necessarily mean the brakes are the cause. A loose steering or suspension component (even slightly worn) can cause brake shudders.

As to the dealer price, that is a very fair price.

Try this, open the hood and look at the brake fluid level in the master cylinder. If it is near the low mark, you need new pads. If it is near full, you may or may not need pads. If the place where you get your oil changed has been topping off the master cylinder, then you can’t tell without pulling the wheels off.

If you are certain that no one has topped off the master cylinder and it is near full, then do a couple of hard stops from 60 mph or so. Don’t go to lockup but just short of it and don’t come to a complete stop either, just down to 5 or 10 mph. Repeat 2 or 3 times and the shudder should go away.

Since you have 40k on pads of marginal quality, you probably do need new pads and rotors. The dealer is offering a good price, almost too good if new rotors are included.

The best way to go about this is to first have one or two places inspect your brakes. If you have someone rotate your tires regularly, have them check your brakes when they do the next rotation.

If you do need new brakes, first write down exactly what you want. My suggestion is ceramic OEM quality pads (factory, Raybestoes, Wagner Thermoquiet etc), new rotors, brake fluid flushed. Then go to recommended places, and the dealership too, and get quotes for that work. Make sure they include everything exactly as written. Do not accept a quote that says “new or resurfaced rotors”, it must be one or the other, preferably new.

One more thing, if this Acura has captive rotors, (92-200?), get new wheel bearings too. Rotors for this type will not be cheap because they are hard to remove, but one they are off, the wheel bearing are right there and it doesn’t take very long to change them too.


Personally, I do not consider Wagner Thermoquiet to be “OEM quality pads”

Ironically enough, I find them to be among the noisiest pads out there

The idea of “quiet” is a cruel joke, if using those pads

I asked our parts guy to STOP stocking thermoquiet, because they’re so lousy

So, I guess I should have the dealer check steering and suspension for problems too? Also, what are the typical signs of a warped rotor? I always though you felt it in the brake, and the wheel vibrated when braking from higher speeds? I really need to learn more! LOL

"I really have no clue what I am doing, nor do I really have the time right now to do it."
I applaud your recognizing your limitations in this area. The bottom line is that the car has to go to a reputable shop to have the brakes checked.

Don’t be fooled by “lifetime pad” offers. They’re “comeons”. Once they have the car on the rack they’ll find expensive work that “must be done” whether or not it’s needed. Or they’ll overcharge you for the rest of the work. They’re scams.

You need to have HIGH QUALITY rotors installed. Midas installed the Chinese made 19 dollar each rotors. Rotors suffer from quality control in metallurgy…constantly

For instance Midas used El CHeapos…I promise. New rotors from HONDA cost near 300 EACH sometimes …and they last a long long time. I promise they are of high quality and you cannot say that about any old rotors. Its a real problem and I see this often…

I would buy a set that has at least a 2 yr warranty on rotor warpage etc. Someone also needs to inspect your brakes and the sliders to ensure there is no binding occuring…which can make the rotors GLOW RED and quickly warp them no matter what quality they are.


+1 to Honda Blackbird’s hint about the sliders. These are the shafts or “pins” the calipers are mounted on. They allow the caliper the slide laterally. They should be removed and inspected and greased when disc brake work is being done. It’s easy to overlook this step and disaster does not ensue… only uneven application of pressure to the sides of the rotor, therefore uneven heating, therefore warping, etc., etc.

Keith’s suggestion of some good hard almost stops is worth a try. It might free up a caliper that’s not centered, but if the rotors are already warped, it won’t fix them.

I have done almost all my brake work myself for decades, so all labor prices look high to me - but I if I were in your shoes and didn’t know an excellent independent repair shop I’d go to the Honda dealer for this work and any needed parts.

db, I know you and I do not agree about the Wagners, but I have never had a problem with them. They have always been quiet, stopped well and last as long or longer than the factory pads. But the Thermoquiet pads actually come in different grades and I only use the ceramic OEM pads. I’ve had really good luck with their rotors as well. The cost more than the “El Cheapos” but not as much as the ones from the dealer, about $60-70 each. Worth every dime IMHO.

There are other top quality brands as well. Personally I avoid store brands as lately, they haven’t been as good as they used to be.

The reason for the hard stops is that sometimes the pulsing you feel in the brakes is from a residue build up on the rotors that causes uneven gripping. This build up seems to be most common for people who are easy on their brakes. The hard braking on occasion will burn off excess residues and return to smooth braking. If it doesn’t work, then the rotors are most likely truly warped and need to be trued or replaced, recommend replace.


We stock the “top of the line” ceramic thermoquiets at work . . . for some light duty vehicles . . . and they are garbage IMO

EXTREMELY noisey. It’s so bad, every time you step on the brakes, everybody in the area . . . pedestrians and fellow motorists . . . looks at you in horror. It sounds as if the brakes are metal to metal, and a crash is imminent. It’s not true, of course, but it sounds like it. Really embarrassing

And they don’t last as long as factory pads. In fact, the lifespan is FAR shorter than factory pads

IMO you might as well spend a few bucks more, get the factory pads, and be done with it. Your ears will thank you. And your wallet will, in the long run. It doesn’t make financial sense to purchase several sets of thermoquiets, when one set of factory pads would have done the job.

If you’re going aftermarket, I’d rather go centric, versus wagner