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Old 07-05-2010   #1  
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Warping rotors-help!

Since I have owned hondas I have ALWAYS had to have my stupid damn rotors machined every 15-20K miles. Now my new Civic after 24,000 miles needed the front rotors turned. I don't understand how all the people posting here rave about the cheap *** OEM rotors and how theirs never warp. I don't drive through water after braking, I don't ride my brakes like Grandma, I try NOT to use the stupid brakes because my rotors always warp. I mostly drive on the highway, very little city driving and almost NO stop and go driving. I would appreciate feedback on the following:

1. Been told by some mechanics that the calipers on Hondas are slow to release, thus the increased wear and tear. True?

2. A friend who is a former mechanic told me to buy high performance or racing rotors because they never warp. I will gladly pay the $220/pair for them if it means my warping issue goes away. I am concerned though that it may change the braking dynamics i.e. increased stopping distance. Is it safe to do this? My buddy said the ones the dealer puts on and charges $100 for cost $25.

3. The same friend also told me to flush the brake fluid and replace it with the more expensive racing brake fluid because it won't boil and turn sticky which could make the calipers slower to retract when braking. Any thoughts on that? He said that just doing this might fix the warping rotor issue if it's related to the calipers dragging.

Sorry for the long post but my last honda was an Accord that went 250K miles and it always needed the rotors turned too. I thought that my new Honda might be different....
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Old 07-05-2010   #2  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

How hard do you drive the car.
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Old 07-05-2010   #3  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

^ this.

Multiple rotor sets over more than one vehicle... sounds like you're riding the brakes too hard.
*shrug
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Old 07-05-2010   #4  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

I've only had the rotors on my car turned twice.. They've seen 115K miles, too..
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Old 07-05-2010   #5  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

Sounds like someone is not torquing down your lug nuts properly. Have you been taking the car to the same shop for a long time?
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Old 07-05-2010   #6  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

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Originally Posted by tbohar View Post
Sounds like someone is not torquing down your lug nuts properly. Have you been taking the car to the same shop for a long time?
The Accord I took to the same dealer the whole time I owned it and the new Civic just the dealer where I bought it. Every shop seems to use those speed sticks but who knows how accurate they are. I do have a bit of a leadfoot when it comes to driving but I try to downshift before I brake and I don't make panic stops or ride the brakes for long because I am always afraid the damn rotors are gonna warp.
I am not as concerned about why they warp as I am about fixing the problem so I don't have to worry about it again.
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Old 07-05-2010   #7  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

Try a new shop or do the work yourself. Remember to torque to 90ft/lbs ( I think, it might be 80, in a cross pattern ).
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Old 07-05-2010   #8  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

1. make sure all lug nuts and torqued to exactly 80 ft/lbs in star pattern. most shops DO NOT torque lugnuts. they use an impact and put them on so hard you will either break a stud next time or obviously have warped rotors since each nut is a different tightness.

2. try your best not to use the brakes over 40mph. try to anticipate stops, even use the e-brake to slow down a bit since it uses the rear shoes only, and not the fronts. rear shoes are cheap and last forever, so put them to use. dont ride the e-brake tho. just few seconds at a time to slow down 5-10 mph, then use regular brakes.

3. when making a hi speed stop over 40mph, try to use the brakes in increments. like press the brake several seconds, let it go several seconds, press again several seconds, til you stop. when you stop after a hi speed brake, do not keep your foot on the pedal. release if possible and use the ebrake while waiting at a light.

4. racing parts will not really help you, because in order for many of those hi performance parts to work effectively, they need to warm up first. they are mostly for the track, or if you do serious braking that would normally overheat and cause brake fade (or if you live in the mountains and have to constantly brake going downhill).

ive followed these rules on my 02 civic and never had warped rotors. and i usually stick with oem or oem style parts.
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Old 07-06-2010   #9  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

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Originally Posted by loudgreek518 View Post
I am not as concerned about why they warp as I am about fixing the problem so I don't have to worry about it again.
But the problem keeps happening, correct?

I think, rather than just fixing the problem and hoping for the best until it happens again, you'd be better served figuring out WHY this keeps happening to you. Once you know why it's happening, you know what to correct and it automatically won't happen again.
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Old 07-07-2010   #10  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

Sounds like your hard on them.
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Old 07-08-2010   #11  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

Thanks for the tips Gearbox, I actually do use the brakes as you say, I never keep my foot on them. I appreciate the info about braking at speeds over 40 mph. Thanks for the other comments about the torquing and on the high perf rotors...was really hoping that would be a permanent solution! I guess the only way to save those cheap *** rotors from warping is for me to drive like an old lady!
I was wondering what you guys thought about the Honda calipers being slow to release and whether or not using the high perf brake fluid would help?

Thanks!

Last edited by loudgreek518; 07-08-2010 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 07-08-2010   #12  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

The rotors on my 05 ES1 are original & at 115k miles. No scoring or warping at all. I plan on replacing the rotors next brake job.

IMO if a rotor is warped and you have it turned it will pretty quickly warp again. I replace them with new ones.
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Old 07-10-2010   #13  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

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The rotors on my 05 ES1 are original & at 115k miles. No scoring or warping at all. I plan on replacing the rotors next brake job.

IMO if a rotor is warped and you have it turned it will pretty quickly warp again. I replace them with new ones.
Thanks Craig. I was told by a mechanic friend that once the rotors are turned they do warp quicker. Obviously since most of the people that have replied DON'T have the same issues with rotors as I do it must be the way I drive/brake. Even though as I said I do tend to drive a bit aggressively I swear I hardly even use the darn brakes, I am afraid I am going to warp them. I always take my foot off the gas when I know I am going to have to stop and coast then I downshift and THEN I brake, but I never leave my foot on the pedal for more than 3-5 seconds at a time. And 80% or more of my driving is highway driving...guess I am doomed to suffer with this annoying issue.
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Old 07-10-2010   #14  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

may want to try a slightly better pad upgrade like hawk hps. you get a bit more dust, but they work better at higher temps. it might help enough that you wont have the problem. remember its not that the rotors are actually warping, they are solid metal and would need to be glowing red hot to warp. it mostly a result of the pads unevenly wearing them down in certain places. so a harder pad may keep the rotor surface in a better round.
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Old 08-09-2010   #15  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

I've been there! Back in the 80's, I had a Honca Civic. When I first serviced it, I ended up changing rotors every 2 months. I would go down the local machine shop and have the rotors turned as I was used to with my other cars. However, Honda was different. Whether I changed the rotors to a new one or had them machined, they turned out to warp prematurely. Then I discussed the issue with the dealership and learned that the disks must be grinded mounted on the car. The procedure is as follows: The caliper is unmounted and an electric grinder is mounted directly on the brake mounts. Then the car is started and put on drive so the wheel turns. The grinder is turned on and grinds a true surface over the brake rotor. Any effect of a possible misalignment between the mating surface of the rotor and wheel hub is eliminated. After I had my rotors grinded this way, I did not have brake problems anymore.

My opinion on Honda brake design? I consider their brakes to be of inferior and poor design. I have owned several General Motor cars and a Nissan over several years and done brake jobs on them. It is a simple matter of changing brake pads and sending the rotors to be machined by an independent shop for a few dollars. The fact that Honda requires you to machine their rotors while mounted on the car speaks for itself. No do-it-yourselfer can afford the tooling required not to mention the higher cost of having it done at a Honda dealership. I now own a 1998 Honda Odyssey. Hoping that the brake design had since improved, I did my own brake service and sent my rotors to be turned at a machine shop. Sure enough, after driving a month, my rotors are already showing signs of warping. Turning to the OEM Honda repair manual, it clearly states that the rotors are to be machined mounted on the car.

My advice is to have the Honda dealership grind your rotors. I have discovered that some Honda dealership have not invested in the special equipment required to grind the rotors. You should specificaly indicate to them that you want the rotors grinded mounted on the car.

Last edited by Jan616; 08-09-2010 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Capitalization
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Old 08-09-2010   #16  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

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Originally Posted by Jan616 View Post
I've been there! Back in the 80's, I had a Honca Civic. When I first serviced it, I ended up changing rotors every 2 months. I would go down the local machine shop and have the rotors turned as I was used to with my other cars. However, Honda was different. Whether I changed the rotors to a new one or had them machined, they turned out to warp prematurely. Then I discussed the issue with the dealership and learned that the disks must be grinded mounted on the car. The procedure is as follows: The caliper is unmounted and an electric grinder is mounted directly on the brake mounts. Then the car is started and put on drive so the wheel turns. The grinder is turned on and grinds a true surface over the brake rotor. Any effect of a possible misalignment between the mating surface of the rotor and wheel hub is eliminated. After I had my rotors grinded this way, I did not have brake problems anymore.

My opinion on Honda brake design? I consider their brakes to be of inferior and poor design. I have owned several General Motor cars and a Nissan over several years and done brake jobs on them. It is a simple matter of changing brake pads and sending the rotors to be machined by an independent shop for a few dollars. The fact that Honda requires you to machine their rotors while mounted on the car speaks for itself. No do-it-yourselfer can afford the tooling required not to mention the higher cost of having it done at a Honda dealership. I now own a 1998 Honda Odyssey. Hoping that the brake design had since improved, I did my own brake service and sent my rotors to be turned at a machine shop. Sure enough, after driving a month, my rotors are already showing signs of warping. Turning to the OEM Honda repair manual, it clearly states that the rotors are to be machined mounted on the car.

My advice is to have the Honda dealership grind your rotors. I have discovered that some Honda dealership have not invested in the special equipment required to grind the rotors. You should specificaly indicate to them that you want the rotors grinded mounted on the car.
Hate to tell ya but, your a little behind the times. The trend in the industry is on-car brake lathes. You can now take your car to virtually any shop around here and have 'em turned on the car. The whole idea of the on-car brake lathe is you are turning the rotor to that spindle not the lathe spindle. And it saves time.
When I was getting my tires today I watched a guy take the wheel off, turn the rotor on the car, then put the wheel back on. Notice I never mentioned pads-wtf!?
btw- I got a set of Yokohamas with 70% tread for $150. I love these tires!
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Old 08-10-2010   #17  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

Thanks lazlong for your input. I left the States several years ago and now live and work in Denmark. Here, when a brake rotor is warped or under tolerance, it is either machined off-car or swapped with a new one without subsequent grinding. In the case of my Honda Odyssey, last week I called most of the Honda dealerships around the country. All either swap the rotors with a new or have it sent to a machine shop. Of all the Honda dealerships, I have only found one that has invested in the required equipment to turn the rotors on the car and one has to specifically request it. The reason given is that it takes longer time to do a brake job with an on-car brake grinder.
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Old 08-10-2010   #18  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

That sucks. Dare I say it...you may get better service and support from a European make.

On a side note: do they drive like idiots over there too?
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Old 08-12-2010   #19  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

Here they drive more aggressive.

In case you would like to know what it costs over here to have the rotors turned while mounted on the car. The Honda dealership I mentioned earlier charges:

Front wheels only: $ 433.00 (US Dollars)

This does not include a brake job - just grinding of the rotors.

To do the rear wheels costs about the same amount.
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Old 08-12-2010   #20  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

Torque the lug nuts properly. If you don't drive hard you are obviously not boiling your brake fluid. What is the point of higher temperature pads if you aren't tracking the car?

Rotors don't warp. There is an uneven deposit of pad material built up on your rotors. My rotors have been turned twice since I have had the car in 95k miles. My braking is silky smooth and I am quite hard on my brakes. If your wheel is shaking when you are slowing down try a couple high speed stops without completely stopping. Works for me.
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Old 08-15-2010   #21  
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Re: Warping rotors-help!

When disc brakes first came onto the market it was known they run hotter than the older drum brake systems. Having rotors cut only adds to the problem of heat because they become thinner and don't disapate the heat quickly. When the rotors start to look bad you are better off buying new parts.

Over time brake fluid has a tendency to hold moisture which can cause rust in your calipers preventing them from moving properly. A regular flush with OEM fluid for your car is all you need to do which the dealer can perform. This flush will also prevent premature brake line failure because most lines rust from the inside out.
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