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Jimmy Rogers

Jimmy ... 8/24/2011

2006 Pontiac Torrent Base 6 Cyl 3.4L


why does my steering wheel and front end shake when brakes are applied moderately?

Vehicle has approximately72,000 miles. The brakes front have been replaced twice by the local dealer. Now they want to again. at $400 per job. This is my wife's car and she is a very good gentle safe driver.. The rotors have supposedly been turned . This shaking starts about 2 to 3 months after the brake job.
I replaced the brake pads on the front myself and the problem started again in about 2 months.
I had a local independent shop check the vehicle. He felt like it was in the left front wheel. He swapped the front rotors no change! Then swapped tire and wheel assemblies. No change. He said there was no play in the tie rods or other front end parts.

1 Answer

Spoon Sports

Spoon Sports 8/24/2011

To determine if the brake vibration is from the front or rear of the car there is an easy check. If you experience steering wheel shakes it is obviously the front rotors that are at issue. If the brake vibration can be felt through the brake pedal or the seat/bodywork of the vehicle then it is a rear brake rotor issue. Obviously you only need to solve the problem on the rotors that are causing brake vibration and NOT the other brakes on the vehicle or you could be back to square one with bed in times etc.

There are also other reasons for steering wheel shakes.

There is what is known as a SNUB BRAKE EFFECT which happens when brakes are applied sharply on a system equipped with a tall profile pad such as many European cars. These taller profile pads obviously see different rubbing speeds at the outer edge of the brake rotor compared to the inside and this exhibits itself as a steering wheel shake at speed. As the car slows down from such as 80-100 mph to 60 as traffic slows for example the shake starts but gradually stops as the speed decreases. Inspection would show no rotor runout or distortion at cold. This can only be solved by using a pad with a high thermal transfer coefficient such as EBC Redstuff or EBC yellowstuff, cheap pads often have very low thermal capabilities and EBC Brakes are extremely good at adding conductor elements and removing insulator elements that improve this condition.


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