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Warped Rotors


I have a 2007 Acura TSX with 117k miles. We had the rotors and pads replaced in July of 2014 at Midas (won’t go back there again!). Anyway, we are getting a pulsating in the steering wheel (shaking) when braking at times. Sometimes it is much more noticeable than others. This started shortly after having the pads/rotors installed. I took it back to Midas, and of course they couldn’t duplicate the issue.

So, here’s my question, can we continue to drive the car until it needs new pads (then I’ll change the pads and rotors)? I know that the steering vibration can be annoying at times (it’s not AWFUL, but you can tell that they’re warped). I really hate to have to replace both right now as money is pretty tight with buying a house.

What kind of major issues will I be dealing with?

Also, is there ANYONE in the Southeast Wisconsin/Northern Illinois area that would be interested in making some extra cash and taking off my or rotors for me? I heard Napa will turn them for $15/each. Problem is, I have NO idea how to remove/install them ): I will pay, just need some help!

Thanks all!

The problem w/waiting is the warping might be enough to adversely affect the braking performance. You might not be able to stop fast when you need to. Or you might not be able to maintain control of the car when stopping fast. If the only problem is the pulsation feeling, and the braking and control during braking is fine, including braking when turning, well, that would be your call to make, waiting or not.

One idea, little to no cost, ask your shop to remove the lug nuts, then tighten them again, by hand, with a torque wrench, torqueing them in the correct order, 1/3 the torque value each time, in 3 rounds.

If you decide to replace the pads, I wouldn’t go the turning-the-rotors method myself. If the rotors are warped and the above method doesn’t help, replace them with new ones. Parts cost for rotors isn’t usually super-expensive. Remember that brakes are more important than the engine. You need them to work reliably and too spec.

There are other things that can mimic a warped rotor. Loose wheel bearing, loose tie rod or tie rod end, loose ball joint or control arm bushing, etc, etc.

In some cases it’s possible for a flaky tire to mimic a brake issue. This could also be caused by a sticking caliper slide or caliper piston.
Many new rotors often come with a rust preventative substance on them. That is why all new rotors must be thoroughly cleaned before installation as that substance can gum up brake pads and cause problems. Most of the time that substance is not visible and sometimes it resembles Cosmoline although the latter is rare.

If rotors are suspected of being warped or having a parallelism issue that can be checked but it requires a dial indicator and micrometer. Sorry I can’t be more precise as to the cause.

You may have a residue transfer from the pads to the rotors which is pretty common wit new brakes. The simple solution is to do a couple of hard brakes from around 60 mph or so in a safe area. At around 60, hit the brakes hard, but not to the point of lockup, just rapid deceleration. Don’t come to a complete stop, just down to about 5 mph and then pick up speed and repeat.

Two of these usually cleans off the rotors for awhile. In about 5k miles, you may have to repeat this again but after that you shouldn’t have any trouble. If you do, then you got really cheap pads. In the future, use a quality pad like an OEM, Raybestoes or Wagner Thermoquiet.

There is a possibility there is a rust build up causing the variable vibrations you feel, the more you drive it the better it gets. If you can, drive it 25 miles a day stop and go for 4 days and if it goes away that is the problem. Some may want to do new pads and rotors, but since it was not evident for midas, as I have no reason to doubt them unless you say it was happening when you took it in I would start with the rust buildup on rotors. If that does not help, every midas should offer a free under warranty repair, and I would try another Midas free first