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Warped Brake Rotors? Are You Sure?

Published by Mark Link
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Before you replace brake rotors that have been classified as “Warped” you should measure the run out. You may find that the run out is within factory specifications. If this is the case then why is the steering wheel shaking?

In high performance or heavy use vehicles we sometimes run in to this situation. The problem is usually not the brake rotors, it’s the brake pads. When the brake system is used to its limit and you heat your brake pads beyond their operational temperature limit they will deposit brake pad material unevenly on the brake rotor. (See Photo) Pad material build up creates uneven rotor thickness which gives you the sensation of a “warped” brake rotor.

Please review this information below to help diagnose and fix pad transfer problems.

Vehicle Symptoms:

  1. The brakes pulsate after driving down a step grade or after a heavy use but they don’t pulsate when driving under normal conditions.
  2. The brake rotor run out is within factory specifications but the steering wheel is shaking under braking.
  3. Their are blue or black streaks on the rotor at the pad to rotor interface area.

Repair Advice:

  1. Turn/resurface the rotors to remove pad material build up. Take off as little as possible (.002″ max per cut)
  2. Install brake pads that are designed for the vehicles service duty (proper heat range). Consult your brake specialist.
  3. Check caliper operation to make sure a caliper is not dragging. Sticking calipers will over heat brake pads. Install new calipers if necessary.

At Frozen Rotors (Diversified Cryogenics, Inc.) we get the opportunity to see the worst of brake rotor abuse. We get called when people have brake problems and we can solve most braking issue’s with our Frozen Rotors and carbon-metallic brake pads. Sometimes we need to go a step further by helping our customers diagnose brake systems problems. If you are having any braking concern’s please call to speak to one of our brake specialists. We can be reached at 888-323-8456.


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