Weird braking sensation, possible warped rotors? (2015 Passat)

In the last few days I have been noticing a feeling when braking at slow speeds that can only be described as “pulsing”. I know (and it even makes sense) that this is usually an indicator of warped rotors. But when I research it I am coming up with a few situations. I read that warped rotors usually don’t cause much “feel” when cold. My car brakes like this right away. Second supposedly the steering wheel should shake, especially at highway speeds. Among other symptoms. I only noticed this surging feeling at extremely low speeds. Like just before stopping at a light or braking very lightly when traffic creeps forward. Is there something else going on? Could a worn or damaged pad cause this? I would just take it somewhere but I am very broke atm. The last quote I got was 700 an axle. Thanks.

The “pulsing” is likely caused by the ABS system that engages the anti-lock system. My wife’s Mazda does the same thing during mountain driving conditions.

Warped rotors will vibrate rather than pulse.

But, by all means get the car to a good brake shop and determine the cause. Yu are not in danger at this time.

That is so odd, I am at about 58k miles now (original owner) and have never had this issue before. I hope my ABS system isn’t broke… =(

But ya I thought warped rotors exhibited much more drastic symptoms, I guess that’s a good thing. Although I am being told by several (reputable) shops that my car needs to have new rotors when the brakes are changed.


Very true considering your problem description.

Pulsation from the brake rotors at low speeds will be relatively slow - 3-6 pulses per second depending on speed. Any ABS activation will be at a higher frequency and be accompanied by the noise of the ABS pump motor running.

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Thanks! So do you think my issue might simply be a “lightly” warped rotor due to the symptoms being mild? I don’t notice my ABS light coming on either. The pulse feeling is very slow, probably coinciding with a full rotation. I am going to take my car into the shop this week. I am hoping it’s just one axle and that I can get by a bit longer until the second. I wonder if the car could be driven just at low speeds around town for a few days? That way I can leave it for my wife (only will drive it a few miles a day) and buy myself some time?

Not necessarily true…

Yes, it can. Warped rotors are annoying, and they might cause a slight decrease in braking ability, but the car is safe to drive.

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Thanks for helping guys! Maybe I can make it another week or so. Seems like they are done for anyways.

You can drive it for years with slightly warped rotors.

Agree totally. Annoying but not dangerous - within reason of course!