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Brake Pad/Rotor Replacement

I’ve been told various things about replacing brake pads and rotors. I recently replaced the front and rear rotors to eliminate a pulsation when braking. (Have had this problem a lot with original rotors which had to be machined 3 times in 60K miles). The problem still persists. Should I have replaced the pads at the same time as the rotors? Any other ideas?

For years one of our cars had lightly pulsating brakes when nearing a stop. The pulsation was not a problem at higher speeds.

Then I recently began tightening wheel lug nuts with a torque wrench. Skip every other lug nut if your vehicle has 5 lug nuts; run each to 40, then 60, then 80 ft-lbs or whatever your specification is. If 4 lug nuts, move across and then do the other 2.

The brake pulsation was greatly diminished at first and now is completely gone after a the second wheel rotation session after torque wrench use.

Are the pads wearing unevenly? If the caliper is binding on its guides it can cause a pulsation when braking and the pads will wear unevenly.

Pads can be as much of a problem as rotors. A lot of the time the pulsation comes from pad deposits on the rotors that create an uneven surface, and then hot spots that go on to make it worse. So I’d say that if the problem persists then, yes.

I’d also say that a good front end shop needs to check everything out. A bad tie rod, ball joint, and/or wheel bearing can continue to produce this symptom.

There there’s what Wha Who? mentioned about lug nut torque.

One also has to make sure that the mating surface of the hub is perfectly clean and smooth (no rust chunks, for example), and make sure that nothing is sticking - caliper slides or pistons, etc.

It is not much more cost in parts and labor to get pads done typically.

Ask for difference and I think the decision will be easy.

That is not how you torque lug nuts. You do use the star pattern or cross pattern, but the first torque is about 25 ft lbs. On the second round, go to the specified torque in one smooth motion. It usually is about a quarter turn (90 degrees). The torque wrench must be in motion when it clicks or it is not correct.

Generally, as I seat the lug nuts, I hit the wheel several times while putting tightening tension on the lug nut to make sure the it is centered in the hole, especially on tapered holes. I also make sure the wheel is clean where it contacts the rotor and the threads are clean, but not oiled or greased.

Whatever you say but what I did works for me. Can’t beat success, can you?

My torque wrench is the beam type; does not click.

Wow, that was quick. Beam types are more accurate, but they still have to be in motion to be correct. They are harder to use, but done right, they are the best, except for the very expensive dial type.

If the pulsation is felt in the brake pedal and/or the seat that points to a rear brake problem. A shudder in the steering wheel points to a problem with the front end and it may not be the brakes causing it. A loose wheel bearing or suspension component can cause what appears to be a brake shudder.

I won’t go into the tech explanation at this time as to why this problem may only appear after a certain number of miles are put on new or resurfaced rotors.