Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes

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9,850
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OH
This seems to be the norm on both my Corolla and my daughter's Cube. It doesn't seem to matter which pads or rotors I use, about once a year (long before either the pads or rotors are worn out) I have to replace them on both vehicles due to the brakes causing the steering wheel to shake. Is it cheap rotor materials, cheap pad materials, or something else? Neither of us brake hard, so I don't think the issue is being caused by aggressive driving styles. And why is it only happening with these two vehicles? This doesn't happen with my wife's Sienna, or my other daughter's Yaris. I don't get it...
 
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753
Location
Wisconsin
Try doing a few very aggressive braking events with the vehicle. But dont come to a complete stop. Then keep rolling and get back up to speed and cool the brakes down. Do this a few times. What happens is people get brake pad material build up on their rotors. Even if they stop moderately. You come up to a stop sign, with the brakes applied, and stop completely. The pads and rotors are hot and material transfers to the rotor. Once you stop, slowly roll a little to get your pads to not sit in the same area on the rotors. If they cant sit in the same spot, they cant transfer material to one spot. Less build up in that one spot, less braking vibrations and shaking. IMO, people change rotors way to much. If that doesnt help, then Id look elsewhere like suspension. I used to race cars. I never had any shaking in the brakes, until the rotor actually would crack or break because of the heat. The rotors would glow red during almost every race. Pads would have to be replaced often, but rotors didnt stay in the same spot long enough to build up pad material. And if they did at the end of a race, the build up would be gone at the first application of the brakes during the next race. The brakes in any vehicle my wife drives always shake. Because she wont slowly rotate the rotors at a stop. I have actually gotten it through her head now, but she doesnt always do it. I got take whatever she's driving and beat the heck outta the brakes for a bit and its all good until she does it again.
 

grampi

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OH
I forgot to mention that after installing the new parts, the brakes are smooth as glass...the steering wheel shaking starts coming on slowly over time, so I don't think it's caused by the hub flanges not being clean enough, or the lug nuts not being properly torqued. Seems like these two things would causing shaking right away. Never heard of worn suspension parts causing shaky brakes before...
 
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grampi

Thread starter
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9,850
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OH
Originally Posted by Srt20
What happens is people get brake pad material build up on their rotors. Even if they stop moderately. You come up to a stop sign, with the brakes applied, and stop completely. The pads and rotors are hot and material transfers to the rotor.
Not saying that this isn't what's happening, but why does it only occur on the same two vehicles, and not on the other two? We all have pretty much the same driving styles...
 
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4,482
Location
Los Gatos, CA
As was posted. check rotor to hub flange. You can buy a cheap brush that attaches to your cordless drill to clean. Check rotor runout. Look at you pads... I had this problem on a 97 Accord and the warped rotors wore the pads unevenly; slanted when viewed. Good luck.
 
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California
Originally Posted by NGRhodes
Another potential is sticking caliper
Yep - make sure the slide pins are clean, the little bushing isn't swollen and the pin boots are in good shape. Lube them with silicone grease/Sil-Glyde or Toyota's rubber grease. That Permatex or CRC brake grease will ruin rubber. What brand of pads and rotors are you using? OEM is best, but there is good aftermarket like Akebono/Centric/Raybestos. I avoid Wagner or parts store pads on Japanese cars.
 
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753
Location
Wisconsin
Originally Posted by grampi
Originally Posted by Srt20
What happens is people get brake pad material build up on their rotors. Even if they stop moderately. You come up to a stop sign, with the brakes applied, and stop completely. The pads and rotors are hot and material transfers to the rotor.
Not saying that this isn't what's happening, but why does it only occur on the same two vehicles, and not on the other two? We all have pretty much the same driving styles...
Could be many reason... Maybe those vehicles dont have as good of natural cooling to the brakes. Maybe the brakes are a little undersized for the vehicle. Maybe the calipers are a little hung up do to rust or corrosion, though if you are having them apart all the timing this may not be the case.
 
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753
Location
Wisconsin
Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
As was posted. check rotor to hub flange. You can buy a cheap brush that attaches to your cordless drill to clean. Check rotor runout. Look at you pads... I had this problem on a 97 Accord and the warped rotors wore the pads unevenly; slanted when viewed. Good luck.
This cannot possibly happen. Warped rotors cannot wear pads so they are slanted when viewed. But one caliper pin hung up can. Or if mulitple piston calipers, one piston not working correctly can as well.
 
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USA
Could be overtorqued wheels. Shops often gun it down with the air gun and use way too much torque, several times what is needed, and it is often uneven as well. Try taking the wheels off then putting them back on, with the correct torque smile
 
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Upstate NY
Some cars seem to more prone to this than others. My Jeep would, my Dodge Ram 2500 would not. I think brakes close to being substandard in size are more prone.
 
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NC
Originally Posted by NGRhodes
Another potential is sticking caliper
Yes that will definitely cause it.
 
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Location
Western Canada
I think brake shudder is just an eventual part of owning many cars, especially an automatic. You slam on your brakes for a red light, then you sit there with your foot on the brake pedal for a minute or so ... creating localized hot spots on the rotor, which leads to uneven pad material transfer and hard spots on the rotor. The pad transfer leads to slight brake shudder, and the hard spots wear differently, leading to high spots on the rotor. After a while, the slight shudder becomes a noticeable shake ... And yes, some cars seem more prone to it than others. Some brakes are apparently smaller, thinner or lower quality metal.
 
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10,000
Location
Waco, TX
Originally Posted by Srt20
Try doing a few very aggressive braking events with the vehicle. But dont come to a complete stop. Then keep rolling and get back up to speed and cool the brakes down. Do this a few times. Once you stop, slowly roll a little to get your pads to not sit in the same area on the rotors. Less build up in that one spot, less braking vibrations and shaking. .
This is 100% true.... though I never once thought "pad material was transferring".... but it DOES help to prevent rotor warp
 
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1,648
Location
California
Originally Posted by DGXR
Worn suspension / bushings / shocks can lead to these kinds of braking problems.
I agree. I had an 87 Aerostar that had that problem - I don't remember why but I replaced all the wheel bearings. Never shook again. The 95 Aerostar would start to shake about every 1 1/2 - 2 yrs. Turning the rotors was a very short term fix - usually ended up replacing the rotors every two years (fortunately they were cheap.) About 4 years before I quit driving it, I replaced the calipers and didn't have anymore shaking problems. I should mention these were the only two vehicles I ever had severe shaking problems. I also drive very conservatively (most of the time) since they were minivans and usually had my kids and others in it.
 
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Messages
4,482
Location
Los Gatos, CA
Originally Posted by Srt20
Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
As was posted. check rotor to hub flange. You can buy a cheap brush that attaches to your cordless drill to clean. Check rotor runout. Look at you pads... I had this problem on a 97 Accord and the warped rotors wore the pads unevenly; slanted when viewed. Good luck.
This cannot possibly happen. Warped rotors cannot wear pads so they are slanted when viewed. But one caliper pin hung up can. Or if mulitple piston calipers, one piston not working correctly can as well.
I was listing possibilities.
 
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