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Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes

Posted By: grampi

Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 06:35 PM

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...
Posted By: csandste

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 06:46 PM

Had repeated warped rotors on an old Dodge Colt many years ago. Once it started it continued, but that was more than thirty years ago. Think I eventually got rotors that worked.
Posted By: mehullica

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 06:51 PM

Hub flange is clean before rotor install? Are you bedding in the brakes before normal use? Wheels are properly torqued?
Posted By: DGXR

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 07:02 PM

Worn suspension / bushings / shocks can lead to these kinds of braking problems.
Posted By: Srt20

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 07:30 PM

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.
Posted By: grampi

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 07:33 PM

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...
Posted By: grampi

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 07:39 PM

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...
Posted By: JeffKeryk

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 07:52 PM

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.
Posted By: NGRhodes

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 07:58 PM

Another potential is sticking caliper
Posted By: nthach

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 08:02 PM

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.
Posted By: Srt20

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 08:23 PM

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.
Posted By: Srt20

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 08:25 PM

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.
Posted By: slacktide_bitog

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 09:41 PM

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
Posted By: hallstevenson

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 09:50 PM

Who rotates your tires ?
Posted By: Donald

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 09:51 PM

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.
Posted By: BigD1

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 10:00 PM

Originally Posted by NGRhodes
Another potential is sticking caliper


Yes that will definitely cause it.
Posted By: geeman789

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 10:51 PM

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.
Posted By: Linctex

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 10:54 PM

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
Posted By: oldmaninsc

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 11:04 PM

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.
Posted By: JeffKeryk

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 11:32 PM

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.
Posted By: Srt20

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/18/19 11:34 PM

Originally Posted by Linctex
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

I can understand that people think rotors warp easy. But, have you ever had a rotor on a lathe and checked for straightness or warping?
I have alot of times. Look at the way a rotor is built. It just cant warp one spot and not crack or break or warp another area.
Posted By: marine65

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/19/19 12:35 AM

I'll bet a good polish job with Nufinish would cure the problem.
The cars might be feeling a little neglected.
Posted By: LeakySeals

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/19/19 05:46 AM

Originally Posted by geeman789
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.


Conditions like this may be the reason why two vehicles in the family exhibit this problem over time, one doesn't. The Sienna goes in a different direction most of the time.
Posted By: SteveSRT8

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/19/19 10:20 AM

Originally Posted by Srt20
But, have you ever had a rotor on a lathe and checked for straightness or warping?
I have alot of times. Look at the way a rotor is built. It just cant warp one spot and not crack or break or warp another area.




Totally true. A ventilated rotor cannot warp significantly due to its construction. My BIL used to have a contract with the local Sherriff's office and cut dozens of rotors every week for years. They just don't seem to warp.


And for years here I've been noting that many folks here have confused a PAD problem with a ROTOR issue...
Posted By: grampi

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/19/19 11:56 AM

Either myself or Discount Tire does the rotations, and we both use torque wrenches on the lugs. I'll clean the flange and guide pins on the calipers and lube. I'm going to try Autozone's gold rotors, supposed to be high carbon. 3 year warranty. This will be the second time I've done the brakes on this car, so I've never done a run out on the rotors, I just replace them. To the to the comment about the pad material transferring to the rotor surface to keep them from warping, the outcome is the same. Both will create the steering wheel shake. To the Nufinish comment, LOL!!
Posted By: grampi

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/19/19 11:58 AM

Originally Posted by LeakySeals
Originally Posted by geeman789
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.


Conditions like this may be the reason why two vehicles in the family exhibit this problem over time, one doesn't. The Sienna goes in a different direction most of the time.


The Sienna goes in a different direction?
Posted By: LeakySeals

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/19/19 12:05 PM

Originally Posted by grampi
Originally Posted by LeakySeals
Originally Posted by geeman789
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.


Conditions like this may be the reason why two vehicles in the family exhibit this problem over time, one doesn't. The Sienna goes in a different direction most of the time.


The Sienna goes in a different direction?

You said two cars do it one doesn't. So I'm thinking maybe it's conditions based. The one vehicle that does not exhibit this problem goes in a different direction every day. Does not drive the same roads. Does not have the same drivers smashing on the gas and then stomping on the brakes in traffic LOL
Posted By: supton

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/19/19 12:26 PM

My Saturn liked to "warp" rotors -- if not warp then whatever it suffered from. I moved apartments and then replaced that car. I don't recall my VW ever having a problem. When I got my Camry (used) it definitely had a "warped" rotor. Finally did a brake job, had nice smooth brakes... for a month. Yep, it's back. Zero idea why. Maybe it's the type of car, dunno. The VW and Camry had the same driving habits, conditions, route. The Saturn was a stick, the VW was a stick, but this Camry is an automatic. I rarely have to ride the brakes hard to come to a stop, so they are never more than lukewarm.
Posted By: Backstache

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/19/19 03:20 PM

I've been having the exact same problem with my 2011 Malibu. I used OEM AC Delco parts for the past two sets of pads/rotors.

New wheel bearing hubs last time, suspension good, cleaned the calipers, lubed the slide pins, wheels torqued to spec. The vibrations get worse as the rotors heat up, especially when its warmer out. 90% of the miles I log are highway miles too, so it's not like I'm always on the brakes.

Not really sure what to do about it. I can either live with it, or replace the brakes every year...
Posted By: supton

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/19/19 04:12 PM

Originally Posted by Backstache
I've been having the exact same problem with my 2011 Malibu. I used OEM AC Delco parts for the past two sets of pads/rotors.

New wheel bearing hubs last time, suspension good, cleaned the calipers, lubed the slide pins, wheels torqued to spec. The vibrations get worse as the rotors heat up, especially when its warmer out. 90% of the miles I log are highway miles too, so it's not like I'm always on the brakes.

Not really sure what to do about it. I can either live with it, or replace the brakes every year...

Have you tried sanding the rotors? I wonder if pulling it apart, running some 80 grit on the surfaces, making sure the rotor sits flat on the hub, and making sure all the brake pad ears are nice and lubed, if that might avoid the cost of replacing anything.
Posted By: grampi

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/19/19 05:59 PM

Originally Posted by LeakySeals
Originally Posted by grampi
Originally Posted by LeakySeals
Originally Posted by geeman789
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.


Conditions like this may be the reason why two vehicles in the family exhibit this problem over time, one doesn't. The Sienna goes in a different direction most of the time.


The Sienna goes in a different direction?

You said two cars do it one doesn't. So I'm thinking maybe it's conditions based. The one vehicle that does not exhibit this problem goes in a different direction every day. Does not drive the same roads. Does not have the same drivers smashing on the gas and then stomping on the brakes in traffic LOL


Actually two of our vehicles don't do this, the Sienna and a Yaris. My Corolla and my daughter's Cube both do it...
Posted By: grampi

Re: Apply brakes, steering wheel shakes - 04/19/19 06:02 PM

Personally I think it's cheap rotor materials, cheap pad materials, or both...
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