My 2001 Honda Accord EX front brake rotors started warping around 130,000 miles and my excellent long-term mechanic informs me that he has tried everything he knows but can’t prevent them from continuing to warp soon after repairing them. I really like this car and want to keep it but the continued brake problem (my “Achilles wheel”) which causes shimmying upon braking is really annoying and potentially unsafe. Anyone have ideas as to how to fix this problem?
So are you saying that you keep having new rotors installed and each time they warp again? If that is true, the the mechanic might not be so “excellent.”
There are a large number of things that can cause this - Google it and you can come up with a list. Here is a partial: cheap brake parts; improper/uneven lug nut torque; rust/deposits on the hub; sticking caliper slides; other caliper problems; worn brake hardware etc. etc.
If your mechanic is a “generalist” you might want to find a local shop that specializes in brakes, and explain the problem that you’ve been having.
if you are using high quality rotors (made in usa vs. chinese made) and good pads i would suspect the calipers are needing replacing.
as AA said, the proper torqueing and clean hubs are important too.
Also something to consider. Have your driving/braking habits changed to the point that you are riding and/or overheating the rotors?
My mechanic is good. He has discounted lug nut torque, rust on the hub,et. and uses good quality parts. He doesn’t install new rotors every time; we are not fools.
I will ask him about the calipers, although I am sure that he is aware of this. And my braking habits have not changed. However, the suggestions about calipers, changing the rotor and pad quality, and worn brake hardware sound useful and I will ask him about this. He did say that he would continue to experiment with different rotors until, hopefully, he can find something that works better. Thanks to all who anwered!
If it hasn’t been mentioned yet, then I would ask the mech about one other thing. If your rotors had begun pulsing and the solution was to turn them this might only be a temporary fix, if at all. Check out the following:
Thanks for taking the time to think about my problem and find the excellent article which I have printed and will give to my mechanic. Your suggestion about seeing a brake specialist if my mech can’t solve the problem is also an excellent one. Thanks, again.
“He doesn’t install new rotors every time”
Well, then I have to assume that when you say that the rotors are “continuing to warp soon after repairing them” that your mechanic is machining them each time. You should be aware that there is a limit to how many times a rotor can be machined before it is too thin to be able to do its job properly. And, after being repeatedly machined, warping is a definite probability.
How many times have these rotors been machined? If it is more than twice, then I would suggest that it is time for new rotors from a US (NOT Chinese!!) manufacturer.
Next time you get the pulsing, find a safe place and do a hard 60-10 stop. don’t come to a complete stop and do not lock up the brakes, brake just moderately hard one or two times. If the pulsing stops, and I strongly suspect it will, the problem is solved. I have to do this on several of my vehicles periodically. I usually have to do it most frequently, every couple thousand miles, when the pads are new, as they get worn, I don’t have to do this much if at all.
I don’t know which theory applies, warped rotors, resin transfer to the rotors, what ever. It just works.
The problem is not your car; something is being overlooked on the brakes.
Some of your complaint sounds odd because it is unclear what they are doing to your rotors each time; cleaning them, machining them or whatever.
At 130k miles it is quite possible to have a loose wheel bearing, tie rod, tie rod end, control arm bushing, etc. This can cause the brakes to shudder.
With new rotors or freshly machined rotors the problem may be masked to some extent. Once a few thousandths warp develops in the rotor it is magnified by the loose wheel bearing or suspension part and made to feel worse than it is.
So it’s possible your mechanic is barking up the wrong tree by blaming the shudder on the brakes when it may be something else.