Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

New car brake question

Two weeks ago I bought a brand new Ford Fusion. After the first couple of hundred miles I noticed a slight pulse in the brake pedal. Now it’s gotten worse, most noticeable when slowing down from highway speeds. The car now has about 1,200 miles on it.

I’m going to take it in to have it looked at within the next couple of days. This should be covered under warranty, correct? I’m hoping the dealer is not going to try to blame me for it, like saying I must have driven with the parking brake on etc. According to the manual there is a chime that will go off if an attempt is made to operate the car with the p-brake on.

Assuming they fix it free of charge, how should I expect them to cure the issue? Resurface the offending rotor or replace it?


Assuming the rear brakes are drums, the parking brakes will not affect the front brakes. So, usually a pulsing pedal is caused by the front disk brakes which means they are warped. I don’t really believe that resurfacing will really fix this in anyway, at least not for long period of time.

A pulse in the brake pedal is usually caused by a problem with the rear brakes. Front brakes normally cause a shake in the steering wheel if the rotor is warped.
If there is a rotor parallelism problem then the front rotors can cause a pedal pulsation.

Take the car out on a deserted stretch of smooth road. Run it up to about 45 MPH and with your foot off of the brake pedal, slowly bring the car to a stop with the handbrake.
If you feel a pulse, it’s the rear. If not, the front.

Warranty should cover it but it does raise some questions about the reason behind the problem. It’s difficult to say since there is little info to go on at this point.

Stop trying to figure out what is causing the pulse. The car is under warranty. It’s the dealer’s job to figure out what’s wrong and fix it.

They should replace the offending rotor since the vehicle is brand spankin’ new. Resurfacing the rotor(s) will lessen the rotor life you get out of your new cars and you’ll get shortchanged.

Yes, it should be covered under warranty with no questions asked.

Let us know how you make out.

Thanks so much for the input everyone.

I stopped by dealer this morning and scheduled an appointment for next week. The service adviser said the rotor would be resurfaced instead of being replaced. When I mentioned the shorter life of the rotor due to the resurfacing she said that’s all they could do because that all Ford pays them for. Pressing the subject did nothing.

I kept the appointment, but in the meantime I called Ford Customer inquire about it. The person I spoke to was rude and abrasive and obviously not too into customer service. He took what I told him and punched it into a computer then read the script of what it told him to say, which was to resurface the rotor only. It was a joke.

I could see their point if the car had maybe a few thousand miles on it, but the issue became noticeable with roughly 400 miles on the car. How much would a new rotor really cost them?

I’m sure I calm down as in the realm of things this is really nothing to get too worked up over, but I’ve already had to bring my new car back because of a defect, and it would cost them next to nothing to make me a happy customer. They’ve really soured my new car experience, and over such a small thing that when the time comes, I won’t be buying another Ford.

I would also be disappointed with resurfacing of the rotors, rather than replacement. In a similar situation with my Subaru, I got new rotors at ~5,000 miles.

However, I hope that the OP can calm down and accept the reality that even Ford–the healthiest of the US car makers–is trying to save money any way that they can with warranty claims. I am reasonably confident that this car will turn out to be a decent one in the long term, even if you have had some teething problems with it at the outset.

Please try to enjoy your new car, rather than viewing it with resentment.

Hi everyone,

One more question! When the bad rotor is resurfaced, must the other one be dome also?

Also, I know all vehicles are different, but my last set of front brakes on my previous car were at almost 60k miles and seemed fine when I traded it in. How much of a hit will I take on longevity with resurfaced rotors V. new ones?

Additionally, the car’s alignment seems to be off most of the time. Other times it seems fine. Could a stick caliper have caused the warping in the first place?

Thanks again!

Yes, the other should be done also. Coefficients of friction should be as balanced as practicable, and the machining of one side only could cause pulling.

It’s impossible to tell how much of a hit you’ll take. Rotors that have been turned have a greater tendency to warp, and in your case that’ll probably happen before th pads wear down.

Yes, a sticky caliper can cause pulling to one side as if the car was out of alignment as well as premature warping of a rotor. Even of it isn’t a stickky caliper causing the pulling, the vehicle should not pull to one side. They need to troubleshoot and fix it.

I’d go back and complain again.

Thanks for the helpful information.

I’m dropping it of Tuesday morning and will post back with the results. Hopefully in the meantime I can avoid damaging the rear rotors by not driving through puddles or braking too hard; the service adviser indicated that was most likely why the front one warped. Funny, I used to autocross my Mr2, AND drove through puddles and the rotors were fine for over 60k. :slight_smile:

Brakes should be done in pairs, but with so few miles I do not really know what they will do. Braking too hard or much would be possible in the mountains but around town driving I would not think so. Puddles should not even be a consideration, sounds like hogwash to me. Faulty rotor or improperly torqued lug nuts are common causes for rotor problems. To not feel too bad depending on how long the pads last, rotors may need to be replaced when time for new brakes comes up, 30 to 90k miles from now. I don’t know what the average is for this car.

Does anyone know if an alignment would be covered by warranty? I do live in Massachusetts, so the roads aren’t the best, but most of my driving thus far has been highway. I haven’t hit any bump out of the ordinary.

I read the manual and didn’t see anything coverage-wise regarding it. I also double checked the tire pressure and it was fine. Because they insinuated the brake issue was my fault, I’m sure they’ll probably balk.

Why would the car already be out of line after such a short time, aside from regular MA. roads? The car did have 107 miles on it when I bought it, so…


You are correct to raise a eyebrow about the puddle explaination. How many people do you think would have pulsation if driving through puddles caused pulsations. We have discussed the puddle explaination here at lenght score puddle .01 common sense 99.9.

Now you have added a bit more to the story.
You purchased the car with 107 miles on it so it is not a BRAND new car. It’s just close to a brand new one. It’s a demo UNLESS the car was a transfer from another dealer to the dealer where you purchased it.
A demo (or demostrator) is technically a used car and the warranty period generally begins on the day the vehicle was put into service as demo; not the day you bought it.

The problem with a demo is that you have no idea how it was driven for 107 miles.
Many car salesmen (often the drivers of those demos) have the metabolisms of hummingbirds and a lead foot to boot. This means nail it to the floor taking off and nail the other pedal to stop.

That being said, the dealer can only perform the warranty repair as FOMOCO will pay for it, unless the dealer can be talked or coerced into doing more.
Their “customer service” number is a joke just like other car makers and it is true that one should not service one rotor.

Also, NEVER put any faith into what a service advisor says. Only a small percentage of them have any mechanical knowledge and the larger percentage rely on BSing their way through each work day to avoid showing their ignorance.

The car was purchased new, the miles were accrued driving it from another dealership.

I want to thank everyone for all of the helpful information. I did double check the warranty booklet, it appears an alignment is covered for the first 12k miles.

I’ll be sure they resurface both rotors, give it an alignment and will post follow up results.

Brake rotors warp if you get them hot then cool them off real fast like driving through a puddle. Alignment can get messed up by hitting a curb. You are lucky if they fix any of these under warrantee

Your assesment on rotor warping has been debunked several times on this Forum,it is simply not true.

If puddles of water caused brake rotor warping then every car that is driven in the rain, snow, and ice will also suffer from warped rotors.

Driving through puddles even on a cold day at the bottom of a steep hill when the puddle has ice on the surface will NOT warp a rotor…fortunately, because if it did I’d be putting new rotors on every week here in NH in the winter. And the lines at the parts store would be a mile long with people buying their weekly rotors.

Best of luck at the dealer’s. And if the car’s fine after they work on it, even if they simply refurface the rotor, let it go and enjoy your new car. Life isn’t perfect. They’ll not do warranty work that isn’t reimbursed.