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#4720141 - 04/08/18 03:52 AM On-Car Brake Lathe
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 19626
Loc: CA
2016 Acura RDX.

During a service visit late last year (at 44k miles) the front brakes were making a horrific screech despite plenty of material remaining. I found a service bulletin that was applicable to the condition (17-049) and after confirming the complaint, the dealer installed updated front brake pads and resurfaced the front rotors using an on-car brake lathe.

On-car brake lathes have always advertised being able to achieve <.001" of lateral runout every time. In my experience, cleaning the hub really well and installing premium rotors (and indexing, if possible) usually achieves .001"-.0015" in most cases, which is "ok."

The RDX was just here for regular maintenance (at 52k miles) and I decided to measure the lateral runout of the recently resurfaced front rotors. Each front rotor measured less than .0005". The less runout you have, the longer your brake job will last before developing DTV. I am not sure which brand of on-car lathe was used, but my guess is that it was a Pro-cut since that is the Honda approved unit.

This has really caused me to re-think how I should do brake jobs. We have two local service providers with on-car brake lathes and they charge between $80-$100 to machine rotors on-car. From the results that I saw, I think machining rotors on-car is really a better option than just hanging new rotors on the car and sending it out.


Edited by The Critic (04/08/18 04:00 AM)
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#4720148 - 04/08/18 04:04 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: The Critic]
Char Baby Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 9749
Loc: ROCHESTER, NY
$80-$100 each or for all 4?
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#4720156 - 04/08/18 04:19 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: Char Baby]
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 19626
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: Char Baby
$80-$100 each or for all 4?

$80-100/pair axle.

Or I guess I can spend $10-12K and buy a new one for myself.
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#4720163 - 04/08/18 04:47 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: The Critic]
Char Baby Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 9749
Loc: ROCHESTER, NY
I've never had good success with turned rotors although I've never had them turned on the vehicle.
However, any rotor that I have had turned, only lasted about 6-8 months and then, I had to replace them anyway.

I did install some cheap DURAGO rotors from RockAuto on my wife's '01 Lexus RX300 AWD prior to selling the RX to her sister in 2015 and they're still going strong. So, for myself and my personal experience, I'd just install new rotors and call it a day.
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#4720209 - 04/08/18 06:57 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: The Critic]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 18234
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
On car brake lathes work great but so do off the car lathes. The most problems with off the car lathes are caused by the operator, not keeping the machine clean or using damaged parts on the machine.
The best lathe in the world will turn wobbly parts if its not set up properly, has damaged parts and not clean, not prepping the rotors will also effect the accuracy.
The on the vehicle unit removes these variables.
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#4720321 - 04/08/18 09:04 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: The Critic]
Rolla07 Offline


Registered: 11/05/11
Posts: 4667
Loc: MTL, CANADA
I would only turn OEM rotors that are in good condition. I never had any issues just buying new and installing them as is. Do you get complaints about new rotors after they have been installed? How common is this run out issue on new untouched rotors? Ive never really checked run out on my rotors, just put them on and went.
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#4720332 - 04/08/18 09:13 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: The Critic]
JLawrence08648 Offline


Registered: 01/20/17
Posts: 161
Loc: NJ
Hondas and Acuras are turned on the car because if you pull them you will ruin the bearing.

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#4720341 - 04/08/18 09:20 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: The Critic]
dpaldino Offline


Registered: 06/29/16
Posts: 15
Loc: NJ
A shop that I use occasionally turns the rotors on the car. The last time he did a 4 wheel brake job for me on a Honda CR-V, it cost over $900.00 and the only parts he used were the pads, which cost less than $75.00. About $825.00 in labor! Ever since, I've done my own brake jobs and just change the pads and rotors each time. Saves me money and I can't tell the difference in both feel and stopping power.
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#4720376 - 04/08/18 10:03 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: The Critic]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 6161
Loc: MI
Is this a solution looking for a problem? Do Honda's have more sensitive brakes than other brands? I spend very little time in service garages, but I cannot recall ever seeing an on-car brake lathe being used. In fact, I don't recall ever seeing a tech. check runout and/or index a rotor.

I know there is the textbook method and then the method that almost everyone uses. I'm constantly reminded after I diy learn something on the net, and then the pros laugh at me and say nobody does that. Trav, what's the scoop in the your world of automotive repair regarding rotor mounting?

For me, I must be incredibly lucky or just have dumb luck with mounting rotors...knock on wood, LOL.

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#4720384 - 04/08/18 10:10 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: The Critic]
Richie Offline


Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 244
Loc: Valencia, CA
My friend owns an independent Honda/Acura repair facility in the area and he use the on-car brake lathe.

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#4720394 - 04/08/18 10:26 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: Richie]
4WD Offline


Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 5986
Loc: Texas/International
I’m normally a DIY … but found the rotors on my Canyon too much for my tools and had a shop change them …
(You pull out the entire sub assembly to change them) …
That might be a case for a skim in place job … but EBC pads really chewed up factory rotors.

14 months in my Callahan rotors and PowerStop pads have been a great upgrade …
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#4720498 - 04/08/18 11:57 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: JLawrence08648]
thrace Offline


Registered: 08/31/02
Posts: 400
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: JLawrence08648
Hondas and Acuras are turned on the car because if you pull them you will ruin the bearing.
I took this to mean removing brake rotors. Please explain. Maybe I am not understanding. As for front rotors, Honda front rotors are secured with screws. If screw is removed, rotor can be removed easily by hand with no forcing. No damage to anything. Maybe you meant to say something other than removing front rotors.

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#4720618 - 04/08/18 02:34 PM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: thrace]
bdcardinal Online   content


Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 10807
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
Originally Posted By: thrace
Originally Posted By: JLawrence08648
Hondas and Acuras are turned on the car because if you pull them you will ruin the bearing.
I took this to mean removing brake rotors. Please explain. Maybe I am not understanding. As for front rotors, Honda front rotors are secured with screws. If screw is removed, rotor can be removed easily by hand with no forcing. No damage to anything. Maybe you meant to say something other than removing front rotors.


Some of the older ones, think 90s Accords, you either had to press them out or use a slide hammer. Eventually Matco made a tool to remove them really fast.
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#4721080 - 04/08/18 11:46 PM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: thrace]
nthach Online   content


Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 3665
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: thrace
Originally Posted By: JLawrence08648
Hondas and Acuras are turned on the car because if you pull them you will ruin the bearing.
I took this to mean removing brake rotors. Please explain. Maybe I am not understanding. As for front rotors, Honda front rotors are secured with screws. If screw is removed, rotor can be removed easily by hand with no forcing. No damage to anything. Maybe you meant to say something other than removing front rotors.

Honda and strangely enough, Lexus uses screws to secure their rotors. I presume it's to keep the rotors fixed on the hub and to help index the rotor to hub, but the oddity with Lexus is that regular Toyotas don't use screws to keep the rotors on.

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#4721111 - 04/09/18 01:42 AM Re: On-Car Brake Lathe [Re: The Critic]
Silk Offline


Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 4372
Loc: New Zealand
Captive rotors went away a long time ago. Not worth going there, if it needs rotors, sell the car.
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