Honda civic wrapped rotors

I have a 1999 honda civic ex with only 54000 miles. In the last 8000 miles I have gone through 3 sets of rotors and 2 sets of brakes. Has anybody come across this problem? What is the problem and how do I fix it?

Who’s been replacing the brakes? Probably need someone better to do it.

I would agree with that assessment. You should also keep in mind that a brake shudder is not always caused by the brakes at all. It can be due to a loose wheel bearing, worn suspension or steering component, etc.

my personal opinion is that you should always get it repaired through a good mechanic…you have wasted a lot of time and money…try going online and perhaps on honda help desk you might get some helpful information.

They work much better when they’re unwrapped. If they’re getting warped, then I agree with the suggestions already made. (Couldn’t resist.)

If the rotors are truly getting warped…look for a stuck caliper.

I went through a similar thing over 20k miles. However they were able to machine them straight again.

I blamed my wife but it turned out to be on occasionally sticking caliper.

Check all the brake calipers for free movement on the sliders, and condition of the pistons.
Clean and lube everything as best as you can, or replace the slider hardware if you see signs of rust.


They are known for this. AFTER you check for a sticky caliper…hopefully you find one and fix it. If you do NOT have any caliper problems then you need to buy a nice set of cross drilled rotors from ebay or somewhere on the net. Buy a high quality set. I went through the same issue on my girls 98 CivicEX… I went through 3 sets of new and high quality (supposedly) rotors. I bought the best rotors I could buy from each Auto parts store despite being offered several lower cost sets. I always went for the most expensive set…TO NO AVAIL. I went on ebay and bought a nice set of cross drilled rotors…over 7-8 YEARS AGO…and they are still going strong with not a single issue since. I am guessing that most if not all of the aftermarket rotors available to us are made of CHINESEUM…DO NOT BUY CHINESEUM!!! It is basically dog poop shaped into a ca part, cooked in a pottery oven and painted to look like metal. If its made in China just throw them away or burn your money whichever you choose…same thing.

Find a nice set of cross drilled otors and put the issue to bed. This is all assuming youdo not have a stuck caliper. You can find a stuck caliper if you have an infra red temp gauge. YOu drive the car and then take a temp reading of the rotors…DO NOT USE YOUR FINGER!!! I cannot stress this enough. If you have that tool use it and the hotter rotor is the one that has the fault caliper…fix as needed. If you find they are the same temp…You just need better quality cross drilled rotors. I have never looked back ever since. This issue drove me totally nuts until I did this.

The real reason I believe this happened to us both around the same mileage is that the OEM rotors are getting thinner due to normal wear. The thinner metal is now more prone to warpage…THEN…the new sets you bought were Chineseum…which wont work at all. If you purchased OEM Honda rotors which are expensive…I bet they would be fine for the same number of miles.


I firmly believe your and my OEM rotors thinned out due to normal wear…then they couldnt stand the heat ad warped due to material loss. This is also why you CANNOT CUT HONDA ROTORS…they dont have enough material to stand the heat. The aftermarket rotors are simply poop. I then bough the nice set of thick material and cross drilled rotors and have been trouble free for over 50K miles or more now.

I don’t usually call people out on here but. . .Your advice is not going to help. Cross drilled rotors won’t stop the warp. If anything they’ll warp easier because there’s less metal, and more surface area, for uneven heating and cooling to occur. Crossdrilled rotors are for autocross racing and for people who want everyone to think they race. They’re also more prone to cracking, especially if you get the ebay specials that are actually drilled rather than cast with the holes already in them, and consequently, are much more prone to catastrophic failure than regular rotors.

After 3 sets of rotors this points to an installer problem and one can certainly machine rotors without a problem.
Most rotors have about .030 - .040 to play with before reaching the minimum thickness and shaving 20 or 30 off should not make them any more prone to warpage; assuming all else is what it’s supposed to be.

Well Shadowfax…since you did decide to call me out here then you had better know what you are talking about. I’ve been racing and wrenching for over 25 years now, so I know a “few” things about cars and car parts. The Cross drilled rotors do NOT have less material. They are thicker on each wall and the cross drilling dissipates HEAT MUCH FASTER…HEAT AND NOTHING ELSE CAUSES ROTORS TO WARP.

You have stated that there is less metal and more surface area…your statement is is partially correct. There is equal if not more metal due to higher wall thickness on the rotor. They DO have more surface area…which is exactly what you want when you are trying to dissipate HEAT…to prevent warpage.

Oh and then there is the 8 or so years and 50K plus miles that I have put on them with no warpage what-so-ever. Think what you might my man…but the goal here is to keep the rotors cool to prevent warpage. Since this is the one SINGLE issue I have had with this vehicle in its entire life so far…and the only set of rotors out of 4 that have solved the problem. I did nothing but put these rotors on the car after 4 sets of rotor failures back to back. My theory of keeping the temp of the rotors down to prevent warpage has worked…and the temps ARE down according to my Infra-red thermometer.

I dont understand how you can say that this will NOT work…when it HAS worked and IS STILL working. REALLY not sure how you come to this conclusion my man. Your turn…

Also in the shops I have worked in over the years we have seen 52 documented occurences of Honda rotors warping IMMEDIATELY after being cut within the proper amount dictated in the manuals. Also the rotors were within spec on thickness…after they were cut even a fraction from their new or OEM thickness…they warp…over and over and over again. We simply stopped doing it. The guys would buy OEM Honda rotors and the issue went away…My guess is that the OEM’s will last around 50K miles…Just like this fellows have, just like my girlfriends did… I bet if I bought Honda rotors I wouldnt have had the issue anymore…but I went with the “Holy Rotors”…they worked…are working…its that simple.

At any rate I am certainly not here to argue with anyone. I was just answering a question… If I have seen the issue…I have… WHat did I do to fix it…I think I answered fairly. Take it as you wish. I dont want to fight with anyone, I’m just trying to help. So my apologies if I offended anyone this was not my intent.

My 1998 Civic has almost 200,000 miles on it, and although the problem wasn’t as bad as yours, I have had warped rotors. Here is my advice:

-As others have said, check for a stuck caliper.

-Get rid of the plastic wheel covers. They cover some of the holes drilled in the steel rims, preventing airflow that cools the rotors.

-Don’t bother getting the rotors resurfaced (turned) when you do a brake job. That just makes them thinner, and makes them warp faster. When they warp, replace them with new rotors. If the rotors aren’t warped, just replace the pads without resurfacing the rotors. Many mechanics admonish you to turn the rotors each time you replace the pads, but not doing so hasn’t caused any problems for me.

-Slow down and drive like an old lady. I know your Civic can take corners at 30 MPH without missing a beat, but that doesn’t mean you should. With a car as light and nimble as a Civic, it is tempting to take corners fast, but resist the urge.

Funny how the cross drilled rotors on my motorcycles don’t ever warp, and they aren’t racing bikes. One is a cruiser, and the other is a standard bike.

At any rate I am certainly not here to argue with anyone.

I don’t know if you noticed, but we kind of specialize in arguing here. It keeps things interesting. Don’t take it personally. In my experience it isn’t as bad as some other forums, and it is usually done with the best of intentions.

That’s a motorcycle. This is CAR talk, and we’re talking about a CAR. Unless you really need to go on a diet, your motorcycle isn’t stopping nearly as much mass as the OP’s car, and therefore there isn’t nearly as much heat buildup. Totally different application.

I’m not sure how you can come to the conclusion that the holes are what worked. Maybe the starting rotor was better quality than the cheap crap you bought the first 3 times :wink:

Or maybe you got the wheels torqued right the 4th time around.

At any rate, your next post proves my point - the OEM honda rotors didn’t warp until you turned them. You’re right about that. Turning rotors is pointless. But that OEM lasted 50k miles as you said means it’s not the holes, but the original quality of the rotor.

The way I figure it, you bought some cheap crap rotor from NAPA or Autozone (a hint: pretty much any rotor you buy at NAPA or Autozone is crap unless you special order from a good rotor manufacturer), it warped because it was cheap crap that probably wasn’t uniform composition due to poor metallurgy, and then you blamed the lack of holes rather than the lack of quality. If you bought the same “nice set of thick material” rotors in the non-swiss-cheese variant, you’d have gone just as long without warping.

The ONLY thing cross drilling does for a rotor is to mitigate outgassing between the pad and the rotor. The ONLY time this is useful (on a car) is on the track, because you don’t get brakes hot enough during normal driving. If you’re driving fast enough to have to brake hard enough for outgassing to be an issue on the street, you’re going to get arrested. So when you put crossdrills on a street car, at best you are accelerating pad wear as you’ve now introduced a little cheese grater that’s helping to shave off pad material.

To the OP: Buy OEM or better than OEM rotors (think Brembo) and make sure they get put on properly, and that the lugs are torqued to factory spec in the proper order, and unless you have a sticky caliper you won’t have an issue with rotor warp for some time to come.