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Warped Rotors

I have a 2007 Toyota Camry I bought brand new in 2007; 4 months ago, maybe longer, I was informed by my mechanic of 20yrs. that I have Warped Rotors. I told him my steering wheel vibrates when I reach 60 or higher and when I decrease speed, whether it be by taking my foot off the accelerator or using the brake. How long can I drive on these Warped Rotors, and how does this happen?? I have been a Camry owner since 1987 and never had this problem. Thanks for your help and your time, and I sure hope the answer is from Tom and Ray.

Tom and Ray never reply to anything on here, so that hope will not be answered.

Generally, warped rotors will only produce symptoms when the brakes are applied. They will present a shake, pulsation, or shimmy in the steering wheel when braking for front rotors, or in the seat for rear rotors. If you have this vibration whether you are on the brakes or not, it could be something else, like a bad tire or a wheel out of balance. Has your mechanic done a runout test to verify it is rotor warp?

Many of the people on this discussion board are much better mechanics than Tom & Ray.

What mark9207 said is correct. You should also know that, even if you want to think there is something special about Toyota it will not apply to basic front end issues or brakes. Toyotas use the same basic stuff as everybody else.

Many of the people on this discussion board are much better mechanics than Tom & Ray.

And how could you POSSIBLY know that?? Have they ever worked on your car???

Sorry - shall I just rephrase to be more specific ???

“Based on what I hear come out of the brothers’ mouths in comparison to what I read from many of the mechanics on this site, many people here seem to be much smarter about car problems and solutions than Tom and Ray”

That’s my rephrase. Don’t you have anything better to do Mike?

Yes, my Mechanic did take it out on the road, and that’s how he analyzed. Is that what you mean by runout test? Thanks so much for your help.

No, I have never worked on my car - I’m a Senior Citizen and a Greenhorn on Autos. Thanks so much for your time and help.

No. A runout test is when the wheels are removed, the rotor secured to the hub, and a runout gauge attached to measure the amount of warp in a rotor. If there is very little to no runout, the problem is not warped rotors. A spec book will show maximum allowable runout, and your mechanic should have one if he services brakes. I can usually take a vehicle for a drive and say with confidence what the problem is, but I still use tests like this to verify my instincts. This prevents unnecessary repairs and angry customers.

No - checking runout is done with a very sensitive little gauge. It measures the tiniest of variations in the rotor’s surface - b/c it only takes the tiniest of variations to create a problem.

Basically the idea is that if your steering wheel is shaking but your foot is not on the brake then its just unlikely that the brake rotors are the problem. The mechanic should be checking wheel balance, wheel bearings, tie rods - things of that nature. But a runout gauge can confirm whether or not the rotors need work.

I know that what I have heard from CigRoller, OK45 and Shadowfax and CommonSenseAnswer and others far outshine the things Tom and Ray say on the show. I have been working on cars over 20 Years and I know what I am talking about for sure…Its hard for us sometimes bec we are only as affective as the info we are given…if we were in front of the affected auto we would be MUCH more accurate in our responses.

I can tell from the answers listed on here that these guys know what they are talking about because I for one agree with what they say most of the time and if not we incrementally add to the answers…and all of us together usually OVER cover peoples issues… If we are not individually better than click and clack…we sure are close…and together we are certainly the better mechanic. Nothing against click or clack…at all

I also agree with Mark in his comment above…we arent trying to be Better mechanics than Tom and Ray…we are just being good mechanics…and like Mark said if we screw up an answer the next guy will set it straight…so we have the advantage of chipping away at an issue where Tom and Ray just blurt out ONE answer and just run with it when several other answers would be more prudent. We on the other hand will beat a question to death and beyond ALL with good answers

As for this issue…you can drive with warped rotors to your hearts content…I for one cant STAND this… The rotors warp over time due to being heated and cooled soooo many times with the material loss also added in. The brake pads actually wear the iron rotor down over time…this makes them more suseptible to warpage. It is normal…just replace them with OEM rotors or other HIGH QUALITY rotors and this will go away. HOWEVER as others have stated if you are getting a vibration with your foot off the brake, then this may be pointing to wheel balance or suspension issues… Brake rotor warpage is most evident when you have your foot on the brakes…squeezing the rotor…

Sorry, Alwaystrue2011, but Mike and cigroller are having a debate which does not involve you and has nothing to do with your questions. The debate started with cigroller’s comment that many of the regulars on this forum are better mechanics than Tom and Ray. My opinion of this is that I have listened to their radio show off and on for the last 10-15 years or so and read their newspaper column since it started appearing in my local paper. I have also been contributing to this forum myself for the last four years or so. I have found faulty logic and poor or incorrect advice in Tom and Ray’s newspaper column and heard the same on their talk show, but they are mechanically sharp and do own a repair shop. I would guess that they are on par with most other mechanics, knowledge wise, but there is a huge advantage to posting on this board compared with getting an opinion from Tom and Ray. Here, you will get opinions from a lot of different people, some of whom have been turning wrenches longer than the brothers have been, and if someone gives poor advice, another contributor will call them out on it in short order. The brothers generally agree with one another, whether most other mechanics would agree with it or not.

This problem could also be due to tire balance or a loose suspension component, wheel bearing, etc. Warped rotors are not a guessing game. That’s the purpose of micrometers, dial indicators, etc.; to remove all doubt.

Cigroller is correct about many on this forum being better mechanics than T and R.
I used to listen to their radio show and read their columns and eventually much of that bogus advice, some of which is downright laughable, wore pretty thin and I gave it up.

For the non or very mildly mechanically inclined people they may come across as mechanically astute. The more mechanically minded set won’t give as much credence to that advice.

Tom and Ray have a radio show. Folks here usually do a lot of work on cars. You could have other issues with your suspension. Wheel balance. Bad arm bushings. Tie rod or ball joint issues. Possibly even bad struts. Even wheel bearings are a good possibility. Other ideas are an out of balance drive shaft or bad cv joints. The issue is that ANY thing you feel through the steering wheel at highway speed needs to be found. If the vibration leads to a breakdown at highway speed or a loss of control you and all around you have a problem that can be fatal.

Their car show is a SHOW…for entertainment. I wouldn’t base their car knowledge on their show. Tom still owns and runs the garage…and from what I understand he still gets his knuckles dirty. And lets not forget their education.

That’s my rephrase. Don’t you have anything better to do Mike?

I could actually say the same thing.

. I have found faulty logic and poor or incorrect advice in Tom and Ray’s newspaper column and heard the same on their talk show, but they are mechanically sharp and do own a repair shop.

Again…I wonder if that’s more of the entertainment part of their show and newspaper articles…Faulty Logic??? I think it’s very very difficult to get accepted to and graduate from MIT if you don’t have a logical mind. That is one trait that is pretty much REQUIRED at MIT. So my only conclusion is if there is faulty logic…it’s for entertainment.

Thank you so much, Mark9207; you sound like a very knowledgeable and honest person; someone I would take my car to in the event I lost my own Mechanic of 20yrs and also recommend you to all my family members and friends. Thank you for your time and info.

This is one of their archived newspaper column answers, and what I had in mind when I mentioned that not all of their advice seems entirely logical. I have never seen rear brakes cause a brake pull. On a truck like that, they will lock up before they have any chance of creating a pull. I suppose their answer is witty and humorous, good for entertainment, but is not likely to solve any problems the person writing them is having with their truck.

By the way, the correct solution for that brake pull is most likely to replace the brake hoses. Chevy trucks are notorious for this, and hoses are often overlooked by many mechanics, until one of them ruptures.

I’m not bashing on Tom and Ray, just saying that they are human like all of us. Nobody is the perfect source of knowledge, not them or anyone on this forum, but we all have something to contribute.

I really DO appreciate your time and knowledge. This has helped me a lot. I really can’t stand the vibration either, but I have noticed the past couple weeks that the vibration isn’t as bad as it used to be - does that mean I might have another problem? At least now I have some questions to ask my mechanic and not sound like an idiot. Thank you so much again.

Peggy (Alwaystrue2011)

[i]" Don’t you have anything better to do Mike?

I could actually say the same thing. "[/i]

I was actually trying to help the OP. You were posting a completely irrelevant comment in your characteristically caustic and cranky sort of a way.

And, you know what Mike? We all know its a show. And we all know how to tell the difference between the entertainment and the actual car info.

I would say to get your tires re-balanced (as a first step) I’m almost certain that you havent gotten them rebalanced since they were newly installed and tires DO require a re-bal during their lifetimes on the vehicle. This is quick, easy and not expensive…see what you get after that. We would all be interested in the outcome and it is a good idea regardless…if you still have vibrations after that we will move on to the next suspects in line… You may find that the re-bal solves the issue with no further actions required…that’d be great.

I too have heard some pretty preposterous theories given by T and R…sometimes they just blurt out an answer where if they stopped cracking up and listened a little harder, thought a bit longer or talked to the person more in depth they might not give the same answer…and I often notice that they give one single solution…they DO need to move the show along however so I understand to a point. Most of their advice has merit…sometimes they miss the mark…they’re human and they mean well. Sometimes they can give a better response than they do though…no matter, the show is fun and I enjoy it on many levels.

Get those tires rebalanced and tell us what you get… We will move on at that point…