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Brake Rotors - Need Help

I have a Toyota Sienna 2005 LE minivan , when I push the brakes my steering vibrates. I checked the tire balancing at the tire store just to double check no issues with balacing he verified all looked fine on tires he mentioned it is possible the front brake rotor causing it. He said I may have to replace the rotor itself since there may not be enough room for resurfacing the rotor. My question is

is it true I cannot resurface the rotors?
if I have to buy new ones is it advisable if I buy it from "Autozone or OReilly " store or does it have to be the original from Toyota ? Toyota’s pricing are 4 times more than from these stores. I know safety is important so let me know which option is better.

You can buy rotors from an autoparts store. I personally prefer Brembo for longevity, but just about any will do. It sounds like you have warped rotors (which actually are not warped, but have hardened brake pad material unevenly deposited on them). Turning is pretty much a thing of the past, and the price is similar (you’re already paying the labor to get the rotor off the car, might as well put a new one on rather than the old one).

Thanks for your quick response, as you mentioned I’m leaning towards the new rotors than surfacing the current one but my dilemma is where to buy since it is an safety issue ? I checked on Brembo looks like it is difficult to get it in AZ. Please can you tell me what is the easy way to get those.

It’s pretty common to replace rotors instead of resurfacing them. Often they’re too thin to resurface safely. Even if they can be resurfaced safely, this often leaves them so thin that they warp again easily, so that you end up replacing them soon anyway.

Just FYI, if you’re having the work done the tech will inspect the rotors for surface conditions such as glazing, scoring, and deposition of materials, and also use a special jig and gage to measure “runout”, which is a term to describe how much the surface of the rotor varies side to side as the rotor turns. It’s the way that warpage is measured.

In short, tell the tech your symptoms and he should be able to diagnose the cause. It’s standard stuff.

Dont cheap out on your rotors, if you go with aftermarket (which is fine) go for the better quality ones. Try very hard to stay away from the made in China rotors. I would also ask about replaceing your pads, as it probably will not add much cost to the repair, and then you know your front brakes are new and good to go.

Thank you all for your response. Yes I’m planning to replace the break pads as well just debating which rotors I should buy manufacturer or Autozone ? Thanks again for all your inputs.

If you go to a parts store, tell them that you want rotors that meet the OEM specifications and you’ll get the right rotors. Also, look at the cooling vent ribs on the rotors to see if they’re curved. If they are you have to make sure the rotors go on the proper side of the vehicle. Otherwise the rotors won’t vent the heat properly and this will shorten rotor/brake pad life.


I stopped having brake rotors turned over 10 years ago. New rotors are the way to go. OEM specifications are the way to go as Tester pointed out already.

I would only add that neither you or the shop should automatically assume that a brake shudder means there is a brake rotor problem.

There are a number of things that can mimic a warped brake rotor including a loose wheel bearing, worn tie rod, tie rod end, ball joint, control arm bushing, bent wheel hub, sticking caliper slide, and in some very rare freaky cases a bad tire can cause a symptom like this.

Rotors can be checked for problems with a micrometer and dial indicator but many shops choose to assume the shudder is the brakes and work from there.

Before spending money, just take your vehicle out where you can do a couple of hard stops from around 60 mph. Don’t lock up the wheels and skid, just short of that and don’t come to a complete stop. Just almost stop then accelerate back up to speed. One or two of these could well clean up the rotors and solve your problem.

Thank you all again for your valuable inputs. Keith, I would definitely try this before I take it to the tech again.

Tirerack sells brembos.

That’s the ones for your car.

Hard stops bed the pads, but won’t remove cementite from the rotors, which is what is formed when pad deposits are heated.

Stick with OEM Toyota rotors over AutoZone.
For a few extra bucks, you know you won’t need another brake job (if the cheapo are junk)

Just because it’s OEM does not mean it’s any good. The OEM rotors on my TL, for instance, were pathetic, and I’m not the only TL owner to have said so.

Thanks Shadowfox. Since I see lot of good reviews about Brembo’s and price is also reasonable in Tirerack I might buy it from them if not I’ll go with AutoZone.

shadowfox, it works for me. It doesn’t cost much to try.

Before you do anything, try this: With a torque wrench, gradually tighten your lug nuts to 40, 60, then 80 ft lbs or to whatever torque is specified in your owner’s manual. With five, do every other nut. With four, skip across and then do the other two. Some require 100 ft-lbs and some might be less but use the correct torque. This procedure has mostly eliminated the mild brake pulsation that one of our cars has had for years.

Another source for Brembos for your car is Autohaus Arizona, an on-line vendor. I think that you will find that Brembos sold in the US are made in Mexico. They are good rotors but they rust like crazy when it rains or you wash the car. Not a problem, but not pretty if you can see them through your wheels.

I ordered Centric brand rotors off of Amazon for my 2004 Sienna and they have worked great. They are OEM quality and inexpensive. I also used Centric ceramic pads and they have held up great. I now have Centric pads and rotors in all three of my vehicles with no problems and excellent wear. Stay away from “white box” rotors at the auto store. They are cheap Chinese rotors made of junk iron and they never hold up.