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Honda Accord Front Disk Rotors

The ?96 Honda Accord Value Package, automatic, 4 cyl, 4 dr sedan with 170,000 miles has front disk brakes that pulse when the brake pedal is depressed. Front pads appear good with about 60% more life. I suspect the rotors are warped. The rotors are original, I believe, and had been turned when new calipers were installed. Recent measurements indicate they are still legal, but can?t be turned again to true the rotors. I am preparing to replace them to solve the pulsing issue.

My questions: First, any other reasons why the brakes would pulse OTHER than warped rotors?

Second, should I shop for the best buy in terms of price? Local Vendor A says $16. Says it is made by Qualis for Raybestos. Vendor B says $26. Says the disk is Raybestos. Vendor B says theirs product is US steel and better than Vendor A, which is made of lesser quality steel from China. How do I know if one product is better than another - especially when some foreign products have a good reputation?

I?m keeping the car for the next five to seven years so I want fewer problems with the rotors in the long term. I?m after functionality and value ?nothing fancy. Perhaps I should be looking for another brand name altogether?

Also, ANY OTHER suggestions/recommendations as I do this job?

My thanks to all,

If you’re averse to doing the job again, spend the extra money and buy the more expensive rotors. For an extra $20, why mess around? I’ve bought the cheapest and the mid grade rotors depending on my tolerance for revisiting the job down the road. I’ve only had one problem with the cheap rotors where I discovered an inclusion in the metal that was harder than the surrounding material. It cut a groove in the pad and started squealing. I had to remove that rotor and grind it smooth.

It doesn’t take much runout to be felt in the brake pedal. I never waste my time having rotors resurfaced anymore. They’re too close to min thickness from the start and the price of a new rotor is low enough that it doesn’t make sense. As you can see, you’re back at the job way before it should be necesary.

In your situation, I’d save the old pads and dress them to restore the flat surface before using them on a new rotor. But I may be more frugal than some…

Here’s a thought for you ~ thank your lucky stars you aren’t changing rear Jaguar rotors, a job requiring complete IRS rear axle removal and strip down to remove the inboard rotors. Okay I did also replace the diff output shaft bearings while I was in there, but 3 days of concerted effort all the same. The IRS is now sitting on the tranny jack in my garage floor for re-installation today.

You can now proceed with a big smile on your face.

BTW - Don’t use the old pads no matter how good they look, it’s a false economy.

Good luck.

I would not use either of these brands. For your Honda, you want genuine Honda rotors, Brembo (OEM), or EBC Ultimax slotted (not drilled and slotted). Honda rotors are very difficult to replace, so they are built with plenty of “beef” so they can be turned several times, on the vehicle. You can ignore the advice to replace the rotors with every pad change when it comes to Honda’s of this vintage. It is good advice for other cars by the way, and maybe even for the newer Honda’s.

But you may not need to replace them just yet. Modern pad formulations transfer a resin film to the rotors that can build up unevenly, especially with people who are easy on their brakes. They don’t get the brakes hot enough to burn off the excess build up. Find an empty road where you can safely do a couple of 50-10 hard stops. Do not allow the wheels to lock up, but just short of that. Do not stop completely and drive for a minute or two between the braking. After doing this up to three time, drive for about 15 minutes without stops to allow the rotors to cool down. If the problem goes away, you will be able to put off buying new rotors for awhile. Its not uncommon to have to repeat this every 5-10k miles, but it tends to become less necessary as the pads wear down.

One more thing, when you replace the rotors, plan on replacing the wheel bearings at the same time since you have to take the hubs off anyway. The rotor and the wheel bearing have to be pressed on and off so you may need to take them to a shop to be done, and it needs to be done by someone familiar with this design, it’s tricky and I’ve seen people do serious damage who were not familiar with this hub assembly.

At least get the better rotors, OE Honda parts would be best, and DO replace the pads at the same time, that way you can’t do any damage to the new rotors, plus you will have it all apart anyway, AND might as well go for the bearings and seals while you’re at it. Make sure the calipers are seated properly when re-installed.

One of the odder causes of brake pedal pulsation I have found was a inner bearing race that did not fit tightly in the hub, if you turned the hub over with the bearing out the race would just fall out.

To all those that responded, I thank you for your time. I’m especially grateful for the comments that will save me time and money in the long run. Again, thanks!