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Pulsating car noise

A friend of mine has a Honda Civic 2004, and when I was driving it to get the brakes and rotors changes it was fine but when the brakes were changed there was a pulsating noise on the steering wheel. To discerne it imagine a clock. The pulsating starts at 9 at its weakest at 12 is at its strongest and at 3 it stops. When I am going 40 mph, it starts pulsating every two. The mechanic checked the brakes again and didn’t see anything that would cause it. Any ideas

What driving conditions causes the pulsing sensation at the steering wheel? At speed, when the brakes are applied? At speed without applying the brakes? Coasting in neutral? Idling in the driveway?

Given this started after some work was done that required removing the wheels, first check is to make sure the wheels were re-installed correctly, all lug nuts present, torqued to the correct value & in the right sequence, and the wheel/hub interface is clean.

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two what? 12 is the steering wheel position when driving in a straight line.

its winter here but regular driving conditions. only when traveling above 40 mph braking is fine. i didn’t try coasting. the mechanic check all that and nothing was off to him. also brand new rotors and pads. i saw the wheel hub get cleaned.

the pulsation lasts for half a second and starts one and a half seconds to two seconds

Not helping, that is not very clear.

the vibration is felt on the steering for half a second to one second and starts again every second and a half to two seconds

OK that half of it. Now about the 9, 12 and 3 O’clock positions. From your original post, if I assume comma’s that you didn’t put in, I get this.

The pulsating starts at 9 at its weakest, at 12 is at its strongest, and at 3 it stops. That would mean to me that at the 12 O’clock position, the vibration is strongest and weakens as you go off center to the right or left. The further off center you go, the weaker it gets and as you go left past the 9 O.clock position or right past the 3 O’clock position, it disappears.

Questions and please copy and paste the questions in your reply and answer under each one.

Is that correct? If not please correct.


Does the vibration only occur above 40 MPH or only below 40 mph or both?


Does the vibration only occur with the brakes applied or only when the brakes are NOT applied?


Do you feel the pulsing in the steering wheel or in the brake pedal or both?


No, I am driving in a straight line I was using that as an analogy because that’s how it felt, but it starts the pulsating every 1 1/2 seconds to 2 seconds and last 1/2 a second to 1 second

I edited my post above. Please see.

More edit:

By 9, 12 and 3, do you mean that the vibrations would graph like this? Top graph, the duration of the pulse is 1/2 to 1 sec and pulses are about 2 sec apart and occur around 40 mph. That would be a wheel bearing if occurs when brakes off or on, defective rotor if only occurs with brakes on. The defect in the rotor may not be visible but a casting defect that causes uneven gripping by the pads.

I hope you don’t mean that you can turn the steering wheel between the 9 O’clock and 3 O’clock positions and still go straight down the road because if you can do that, this car is vary dangerous to drive. It must be towed to a shop because there is a serious problem and it has nothing to do with the brakes.

the first graph is more accurate and then it starts again near that two second mark
and no i am driving in a straight line

i only felt it when i was traveling above 40mph

when the brakes are not applied

steering wheel only

That would indicate a wheel bearing or loose hub bolt. There are other things in descending order. worn inner tie rod ends, worn outer tie rod ends, loose steering rack, dragging caliper due to stuck caliper pins (bushings), loose lug nuts, uneven lug nut torque, aftermarket wheels that are not hub centric and the hub matching rings are missing.

If the vehicle has after market wheels, the last option goes up to first place as that would be the only thing that is directly related to the brake job.

the only problem is that the rims are OEM