Introduction: Get Rid of Steering Wheel Shake When Braking.

Picture of Get Rid of Steering Wheel Shake When Braking.

There are common problems that cause your steering wheel to shake when you apply the brakes. In order from least expensive to most, they are: dry guide pins, worn brake pads, and worn rotors.

It’s generally recommended if you replace the rotors, you replace the brakes, and grease the guide pins. Or if you’re just replacing the brakes, you also grease the guide pins. Now, if your brakes are still good, you could just grease the guide pins. Most of this can be done with a basic set of tools. Replacing rotors, however, is a little more involved. In either case, this if what it takes to get the job done.

Step 1: Collapse the Caliper

Picture of Collapse the Caliper

Start by engaging the emergency brake, jacking up the vehicle, and placing it safely on jack stands. Open the hood and remove the lid to the master cylinder reservoir. If you don’t do this you may rupture the reservoir when you collapse the calipers. Remove the tire. Place a pry bar in between the rotor and brake pad. With firm constant pressure the caliper pistons will press back into the caliper. If you are not replacing the break pads be careful not to damage them. You could also just use a C-clamp once its off.

Note: Only do one wheel at a time. You could completely expel a piston out of the caliper. Then you’d have to bleed the breaks after putting it back.

Step 2: Remove the Caliper

Picture of Remove the Caliper

Remove the upper and lower mounting bolts for the caliper. To avoid damage, hang the caliper up so it’s not dangling by the brake line. I used a Fish Bone Gear Tie for the job.

Step 3: Remove the Caliper Bracket

Picture of Remove the Caliper Bracket

The caliper bracket will have larger bolts then those that came off the caliper. They will also be set in place with thread locker. Thread locker is basically a glue that keeps bolts in place. If you don’t have an impact gun you’ll need a torch to release the bolts.

Now is a good time to spray the rotor, where it contacts the hub, with penetrating oil. 

Step 4: Remove the Rotor

Picture of Remove the Rotor

Often times the rotor will have a bolt securing it to the hub. If there is one there, remove it. If the rotor doesn't come right off you can press it off using the bolts that mounted the caliper. Simply tighten them into the rotor's threaded holes and wrench away.

Step 5: Install New Rotors and Breaks

Picture of Install New Rotors and Breaks

In a nut shell, a refitting is a reversal of the removal. Make sure the bolts are clean from any old thread locker. Apply new thread locker and re-install the caliper bracket with the manufacture’s torque specifications.

When placing the brakes, pay attention you’re using a left and a right brake. One will have a low pad indicator. That pad installs on the piston side on the caliper.

Step 6: Grease the Guide Pins

Picture of Grease the Guide Pins

In my experience, dry guide pins are the most common culprit to braking shake. Remove the guide pins, clean them off, apply wheel bearing grease, and replace them. That simple. 

Step 7: Replace the Caliper

Picture of Replace the Caliper

Place paper towels around the master cylinder. This will catch any break fluid that over flows from the reservoir. Use a C-clamp to completely retract the pistons into the caliper. Clean off the caliper where it will contact the adhesive backing on the brake pads (if they even have it).

Tighten the caliper bolts to the manufacture’s torque specifications.

Step 8: Finish Up

Picture of Finish Up

Ensure the master brake reservoir is filled to the proper level. Replace the cap. Use a pry bar to position and lift the tire back onto the lugs. Mount the tire back on.

Step 9: Pump the Brakes!

Picture of Pump the Brakes!

This step is extremely important! Before you start the vehicle, pump the breaks until they are firm. If you skip this, nothing will happen the first time you step on the brakes.

Included in this step are photos from doing the rear wheels. Because of the lack of room, I had to use a torch to remove the caliper bracket bolts. Use caution. You don’t want to burn up your anti-lock brake sensors.


wdexter (author)2013-07-18

It's been over a decade since I worked on cars professionally, but the trainers always were very clear that we should NOT push fluid out of the calipers back up into the master cylinder. Instead, it should be pushed out of the bleeders.

The idea was that the ABS system is pretty sensitive, and it might not like fluid being pushed that direction or the bits of gunk and grit that tend to accumulate in the caliper being pushed back into it and gumming up the little valves.

We usually just let the fluid go on the floor then thew down some oil dry (aka cat litter) but you can also use a tube and collect it up.

Kevanf1 (author)wdexter2013-07-18

In this case, I have to respectfully ask where does the fluid go when in normal driving the brakes are applied and then released? Unless I am wrong that fluid goes through all the ABS valves into the caliper to push the pistons out thus squeezing the brake pads against the brake disk. Then, upon release, that very same fluid has to travel backwards. I have always been taught that it is perfectly normal practise to push those pistons back when replacing brake pads. Unless I and millions of others have being doing wrong all these years? :) Oh, if your brake hydraulic fluid does have all those contaminants in it then I would suggest it be completely drained before even thinking about driving the car again.

Somebody else said about hydraulic fluid being hydrophillic or hydrofillic? The word I know is hygroscopic in that it is a fluid which absorbs water (moisture) from the atmosphere. If you use silicon hydraulic fluid this does not absorb water. You do need to replace all the seals in the system though if normal hydraulic fluid has been used.

Jimmeh30 (author)Kevanf12013-09-16

You may think this to be "normal practice" but I can tell you now it isn't. The previous reply is almost 100% correct (aside from the abs bit)

You may think it ok to push the fluid back to the master from the caliper pots but just wait until the day comes when you fire a bit of rust back up into the master and cut up the seals. Especially on say a twin turbo v8 land cruiser with a $11,000 ish master/ABS/TCS/stability module (that's right mate, trade price $9785.00 plus GST (ad on my 30% mark up for good measure) and 6 weeks from japan to AUS)

I'm a Brake specialist, people like you handing out info like this make me smile. Keeps me busy ;)

Kevanf1 (author)Jimmeh302013-09-17

Jimmeh30. It is pretty obvious that there is a different set of standards and practise in the US as there is in in the UK. I can't argue with what you are saying I just disagree in respect to what we do here.

I do have to ask again though. What happens when that brake pedal is pushed down? Fluid moves through the system. It pushes the brake cylinder out. As in, it pushes against the piston (whether it's drum or disk brakes). Now I admit I am more familiar with drum brakes so forgive me if I am missing something. But those pistons push against the shoes. They come part way out of the brake cylinder. Once the braking effort is no longer needed those same pistons go back inside the cylinder. In the meantime, what has happened to the brake fluid? What I will add is that if your brake system is so bad that it has bits of rust in it then what the hell is anybody doing driving that vehicle? It doesn't matter what country the vehicle is in a brake system that is so bad it has bits of rust in it is plain dangerous. Anyway, I take it then you do not have/use these tools in the US? Let me tell you, they are found in every single commercial garage here in the UK. Guess what they do? Push those pistons back into the cylinder :)

BooR3 (author)Kevanf12016-11-16

Existence of a brake caliper expander does not preclude the wisdom of bleeding the fluid through the bleed port over pushing it back into the system. The high temperatures near the wheel caused by braking friction can break down the fluid over time. Futhermore. it is likely that during the course of the pad life that fluid has been "topped off" at the master cylinder reservoir. This could cause it to to overflow during caliper expansion. I admit I am guilty of doing this many times over. I now bleed the calipers after pad installation with fresh fluid. Which is very simple and will add to the life of your braking system. Many vehicles still use hydrophilic fluid which means it absorbs water so periodic fluid replacement is recommended. Do not under any circumstances try to use a fluid that is not recommended for your vehicle because brake seals can swell or degrade if the wrong fluid is used. This could lead to brake system failure with catastrophic results.

Kevanf1 (author)BooR32016-11-16

It's standard practise here i the UK to do a complete brake fluid change every 2 years. That is if the vehicle is serviced properly. The exception to this would be if silicon brake fluid is used. Silicon is not hygroscopic so therefore does not absorb moisture from the atmosphere. It may not be a lot but a small amount of water does get absorbed over time into standard old fashioned(?) brake fluid. Most vehicle manufacturers deem 2 years to be the time when the fluid needs changing before the percentage of moisture (water) is at such a level to be dangerous. It boils from the heat caused by braking thus turning to steam in the lines and of course lessening the braking effect.

BooR3 (author)Kevanf12016-11-17

While seeming counterintuitive at first, some limited degree of water absorption is desirable. DOT
3/4/5.1 glycol-based fluids will readily absorb water. The helpful part of this is that every brake
system will contain some moisture, which cannot be avoided. Absorbing this moisture, while
reducing the fluid’s boiling point and increasing its compressibility, allows the corrosion inhibitors in
the better brake fluids to do their job and keep system components fresh. And, just like with
antifreeze, these inhibitors are gradually depleted in use, which is the primary reason brake fluid
needs to be changed periodically.
The one exception to this is the silicone-based DOT 5 specification fluid, which is not water miscible.
This fluid keeps water molecules together, sinking to the lowest point in the system as water is
heavier. It is at these water concentration sites where corrosion is first to attack.

DOT 5:
WARNING: DOT 5 has a silicone base and is purple in color. It is NOT hygroscopic, so it will not
absorb moisture. It has a minimum dry boiling point of 500°F (260°C) and a minimum wet boiling
point of 356° (180°C). It is compatible with the same rubber seal formulations as DOT 3/4/5.1 fluids.
Also, it will not damage paint. While this initially sounds like a winning combination, it is unsuitable
for racing or any type of hard use for three primary reasons:
1) When hot, air bubbles easily form, which are nearly impossible to remove and cause poor pedal
2) Since it does not absorb moisture, water in the fluid settles out, causing severe localized
corrosion, freezing or vapor lock.
3) It DOES NOT MIX with DOT 3, DOT 4, or DOT 5.1, so cross-contamination may occur if crew

tiger12506 (author)Kevanf12013-07-19

under normal driving conditions, the piston/pads move on the order of thousands of an inch. You're moving a lot more fluid when replacing the pads and pushing pistons back in.

I agree that the risk is minimal, however, as your fluid should be relatively clean in the first place.

glennmaggard (author)tiger125062013-09-05

Most manufactures now require a brake fluid flush at some interval. This helps remove the particles in question. I have always backed up the fluid when changing pads and always will. Follow the manufacturers interval for brake fluid flushing, or if it makes you feel better, be a little more conservative and shorten the intervals.

Kevanf1 (author)glennmaggard2013-09-05

Agreed. Most manufacturers specify 2 years with 3 years the absolute maximum for standard brake fluid. This is because at the end of 3 years there is a significant amount of water absorbed into the fluid. The exception is where silicon brake fluid has been used. That can be left for the life of the vehicle. Decades if that is the life of the car. Silicon brake fluid does not absorb atmospheric water/moisture. So, it doesn't create brake fluid boil and it also does not promote any corrosion in the brake mechanism. The only thing you must do if converting to silicon fluid from ordinary brake fluid is to remove and replace all the seals. They will be contaminated with the old brake fluid and it's a good time to change them anyway :)

Kevanf1 (author)tiger125062013-09-05

When it gets towards the end of the life of those brake pads they have actually moved a heck of a lot more than just a few thousands of an inch. Unless you are using very thin pad material? So, during the lifetime of the pads the fluid is steadily moving more and more into the pistons. It is quite normal and standard practice, at least here in the UK, to use a spreader tool to push the pistons back fully into their respective housings. If you don't you seriously risk having an airlock in the system.

Jimmeh30 (author)wdexter2013-09-16

you're right, it should never be pushed back up through the lines.

RogerC22 (author)2015-08-26

hub could be out, not inline with rotor. measure hub around outside of bolts. You can grind to have your hubs match rotor. OR Shims can be used for a quick fix.

JonnyH1 (author)2014-09-30

The correct way ...would be bleed off when resetting calliper pistons, passing old oil into bleed bottle., once all works completed follow with brake fluid change and bleed fully..

Main problem ,, ill informed diyer's and clock watching fast fit shops.

chrwei (author)2013-07-18

it's great to see auto repair featured! I first learned to do brakes when i was 16, and you give some excellent tips. anybody really can do this. I would only add that some cars have the rotor as part of the wheel hub, so replacing it will require a really large socket and re-greasing the bearings, which is a bit more involved and very messy without some expensive tools that shops have. most all 80's rear wheel drive Chevy's are an example that do this, and much to my disappointment, Geo Metro's too.

Esmagamus (author)chrwei2013-07-18


Who'd design that? I know, someone wanting to force people to go to dealherships. Intolerable.

chrwei (author)Esmagamus2013-07-18

I was still able to do it in my driveway, it's just messy pushing new grease into the roller bearings by hand :(
I'm guessing it was a manufacturing cost-cutting measure, less parts, less to assemble

static (author)chrwei2013-08-30

Here is why I think the disk is integral with hub. Withe a dick that's serviceable it would be good idea to use the brake lath to insure the dick surfaces are perpendicular to the axle The manfacture would have to machine serviceable disk anyway. Why not make it integral with the hub, so all mechanics have trouble free way to make a repair Anyway the time the disk goes bad it's probably time to service the wheel bearings Most professional mechanic have whell bearing packing to to save, but there no avoiding getting grease on the hand . The grgrease cleans off you know ;)

Esmagamus (author)static2013-08-31

A disk integrated into the hub is not a good idea from a DIY perspective for a very simple reason. Anyone has the basic tools to remove and replace a disk with a separate hub:
- the wheel lug nut wrench that comes with the vehicle;
- a strong screwdriver to press the caliper piston;
- wrenches to loosen the caliper carrier;
- a screwdriver to loosen the disk screws.

Messing with a hub requires a torque wrench to avoid damaging the bearings on reassembly. Often, hub nuts are extremely tight and significant force is required to free them. Hub nuts are frequently of single use. The same goes for axle nut covers.

On drum brakes it makes even more sense to have a separate hub.

static (author)Esmagamus2013-08-29

The fact that most if not all cars & light trucks AFAIK have the disk integral to the bub doesn't force anyone to go to the dealer My do the do that? My first guess if the rotor was replaceable part it would wise to put the hub with replacement disk in the brake late to insure the the surface are parallel & perpendicular to the axle The replacement part anyone can purchases can be assured that marching has been done

nate71173 (author)2013-08-02

Sschoemann, i hope nobodys around when you change your brakes without reintroducing pressure. Dwell on the piston position, you'll figure it out if you dwell on it.

Sonata85 (author)2013-08-01

i'll admit i didn't read any of the comments below, but THREAD LOCKER on caliper bolts?! no man! no! just torque em down tight!

darren1313 (author)2013-07-27

holy smokes you guys need to slow down before you hurt somebody or damage property. rotors have a discard specifications meaning when they get too thin they have to be throw away and new ones installed. if you're not out doing a lot of hard stopping stop and go or pulling a heavy trailer then this is a good indications that your rotors are getting too thin. check your rotor thickness using a micrometer checking in several places this will show if you truly have a rotor that is warped and yes there are specifications for that it is called lateral run out . the author is correct the guide pins could be binding causing the caliper not to release fully back on the slides keeping the brake pad in contact with the rotor causing it to overheat. also the little square rubber this in the round hole that the caliper piston fits in may have gone bad not pulling back the piston when the brake pedal is released keeping the pads in contact with the rotor causing an overheating therefore causing a warped rotor or it could be a bad brake hose. after inspecting your brake system and find that only one side is warped that's a good indicator that you have a bad caliper or bad hose. if you just recently did brakes and all the sudden you have a warped rotor you might want to check that you put your caliper on right and did not twist the hose. if your vehicle has high mileage on it above 60 thousand miles I recommend changing the hoses and the calipers. another good indicator of a bad hose or caliper the inside pad will be thinner than the inside pad on the other side. if the outer pad is thinner than the other pad on the other side that's a good indicator that your slides are binding if this is the case this will give you a low or spongy brake pedal. if those slides are binding it may be because some body put a petroleum based lubricant on those slides never ever put petroleum based lubricant on your brake parts such as bearing or axle grease as the author of this instructable suggests you to do. petroleum based lubricants on brake parts will cause the rubbers to swell and bind.. if the rotors is hard to come off because of rust what you get it off clean the hub where the rotor mounts with a wire brush and put a high temp never seize this is typically a silver in color ( read the label) on there not a copper and don't gobe it on a little bit goes a long way. if you have to use a torch to remove any of both of the brake caliper assembly or bracket assembly just go and buy a new one . when reinstalling the caliper bracket bolts use a blue loctite not a red. if your pads are worn evenly and you have overheating and your rotors or well above the discard specifications and can be resurfaced you need to start looking at your tires and suspension like your struts or shocks both your tires and your suspension system struts or shocks are a integral part of your braking system if any part of this system breaks down worn out this could cause you to apply your brakes harder to just too stop causing a overheating causing your brakes rotors to warp and pads to wear out prematurely also if you have rear drum brakes you need to ensure that those brakes adjusted properly this will also cause you to apply brake pedal harder therefore cause overheating causing warped rotors all this stuff occurs over time so if you have a high mileage vehicle you need to really start looking at all the parts involved in your braking system such as your tires your struts or your shocks your rear drum brakes if you have them and that they are properly adjusted if you have rear disc brakes check those calipers make sure they're working properly as well. when installing new pads apply pressure to the piston what's this pressure is applied go and crack open the bleeder screw the fluid should start dripping out then go ahead and slowly push back the piston until it's fully back once it is fully back keep pressure applied then close the bleeder screw. by doing it this way you are avoiding damaging your ABS system and or your master cylinder even if you don't have an ABS equipped vehicle is best if you do it this way especially with vehicles over 30,000 miles this way you avoid damaging the master cylinder. it is also recommended that you change your brake fluid every 30,000 miles because all brake fluid whether it is dot 3 4 or 5 . loves loves water. dot 4 and 5 withstand higher braking temps therfore dont break down as quickly as dot 3. by checking brake fluid levels in your master cylinder on a routine basis will also indicate a low pad situation which will give you a pretty good idea when you need to do your brakes but this is only a guide a thorough visual inspection of your braking system is required too actually determine when you need to replace your pads. as one commenter suggested that you re surface new rotors I disagree with that comment based on the fact if you have to re surface a new rotor you are throwing your money away and removing life from the rotor. a rotor that has been manufactured under strict quality control and has been handled and stored properly will not be warped straight out of the box. also the author of this instructable recommends that you pump the brake pedal after you do your brake pads. this is correct to a point you do not want to push your break pedal all the way to the floor because you can damage your master cylinder pushing the cups further than they normally travel. I could go on and on about brake systems if you're not sure about what you're doing have a professional do your brakes if you're not sure about what you're doing you're putting your life your family's life and everybody else's life at risk. there are a lot of good comments and a lot of wrong comments just be careful and ask if you dont know. go to your local parts house and ask about brake hardware lubricants they should be able to explain the diff if not find a diff parts house better yet go ask a tech at yor local shop he or she will be more than happy to help you out wih good advice. my knowledge comes from over 24 years as a certified ASE tech and 30 years of hands on in the shop from dealer shops to retail tire shops working on almost every make and model. just rember the simpe basic stuff will bite you in the buttocks if you dont pay attention. brake systems are pretty straightforward easy to work on but if you get the wrong advice or don't know what you're doing it can become a catastrophic nightmare so be careful.

dcalanchini (author)2013-07-22

From my experiences, the leading cause of braking vibration is failure to minimize rotor run-out when installing the rotor. To do this you need a cheap magnetic dial indicator you can get at harbor freight for about $ need for a nice one which can cost over $100. Be sure to clean both rotor-hub surfaces with a wire brush or emery paper before you begin to remove rust and ensure a smooth mating surface. Stick the dial indicator to the a-arm, install the rotor with all lugs torqued the same 40-50ft/lbs is enough. Position the probe at a right angle to the rotor surface and rotate the rotor by hand (the caliper should be off while you are doing this). Run-out for a full rotation should be between .000 and .007in. I usually test all 4-6 rotor positions (depending on the number of lugs) and note the run-out for each, then choose the position with the least run-out. You change the rotor position by removing the rotor and re installing in each of the possible lug positions. I have never seen a rotor with 0 run-out, but I have seen it is bad as .015in in the worst position. This procedure is particularly important on the fronts.

tiger12506 (author)2013-07-19

I would like to say that this is a great 'ible. It is great to see you mention lubricating the guide pins. It's probably more of a local thing, but it seems like the majority of brake shops, garages, and whatnot completely ignore that brake parts need lubrication. They'll change the pads and then *force* them into place. If you want smooth brakes, you *must* clean and lightly grease every surface that the edges of the pad plate backing contact. And definitely the guide pens. All this lubrication sometimes can get you in trouble, so I also advise using a cleaner on the surface of the brake disc to remove any overshot, or greasy fingerprints.

tiger12506 (author)tiger125062013-07-19

Also, depending on where your brakes have been done before, you might find everything torqued to an remarkably unnatural number of ft-lbs. I've done some brake jobs where the lug nuts, guide pins, and even the bleeder nut have been torqued so hard that they *must* be loosened with a torch (>300ft-lbs). Experience tells me that I can apply great amounts of torque much more easily with a longer lever arm, than I can with an impact gun. Because of that, before resorting to heating, you should try to extend your lever arm (safely) and use 6-sided sockets (rather than 12) to avoid stripping.

jeff96 (author)2013-07-19

When I change from winter to summer tires and vice versa, I lift the rubber boot for the guide pins and spray lithium grease in there. Adds 2 minutes to the job and I've never had the pins seize

oktex (author)2013-07-19

Great info!
When I was young I worked for a shop and back then proper procedure was to turn the rotors even when new to make sure they were true.

Question: (Being sarcastic)
Has manufacturing progressed so much that quality control has made this step obsolete? I really want some opinions...
A friend had to replace theirs 4 times because of this recently...makes me wonder if improper torque of the wheels had anything to do with it?

jz79 (author)2013-07-19

concerning the brake disc and its surface, normally there should be some brake pad material embedded in the surface of the steel brake rotor (that is why you see a bluish tint to it), if the vehicle has been driven very lightly, there is a chance of that material being unevenly distributed leaving patches of almost clean steel, and when brake pressure is applied, brake pads bite better on the patches that have embedded material on the steel surface than on the clean steel, this creates uneven braking effect, which sometimes is confused with steering shake

this, is some cases, (make sure you are alone on the road) can be remedied by accelerating the vehicle on the freeway to 120-140km/h (75-85mph) and applying hard braking UP TO but NOT reaching the point where ABS starts to kick in, and brake down to 40-60km/h (25-35mph), repeat this 4-5 times, the aim is to heat up brake rotors and pads and to cover the rotors surface with new brake pad material

this can same quite a big repair bill on unnecessary replacement of current brake rotors/pads and it should be done after new brake parts are put on the car as well (pads and rotors), after the initial brake in

if this doesn't help, inspect rotors for uneven wear or warp using a micrometer

jz79 (author)2013-07-19

1. when this job is done, normally, you would take the caliper completely off, pull cylinders out, inspect for damage (rust primarily), if there is any dirt stuck to the cylinders, pull them out completely, clean them, depending on the material they can either be lightly sanded (to remove rust and even the surface), or have to be replaced (in case rust has created deep craters or they are chrome plated and chrome has heeled off), when that is done, inspect the seal ring, inspect dust cover and its seat in the caliper, most of time that seat will have rust damage which creates a path for water to get behind the dust cover and start corroding the cylinder, this doesn't take long, but if you don't do it, chances are that a half-stuck cylinder will ruin your new brake disc/pads in couple months time
2. guide pins are very important part of the floating caliper, they should be inspected for rust damage AND wear, if there are signs of any, replace them (they are usually quite cheap), and concerning grease, don't use any normal grease, they tend to dry up and that leads again to uneven brake wear, instead you use special grease for those guide pins, I don't recall details, but the important thing is - it doesn't dry up, keeping the floating caliper free to slide on the pin

xperience (author)2013-07-18

This instructable is well written and the author is clearly very knowledgeable. First of all, the cup seals in the master cylinder are DESIGNED to allow brake fluid to flow backwards. Otherwise the brakes would remain applied after releasing the brake pedal. When you bleed the system and pump the brakes each pump allows the fluid past the seals, if this did not happen this level in the reservoir would not go down and new fluid could not replace the fluid lost out from the bleeder screw. Next, the only time a warped rotor or hub with lateral run-out will cause a car to shake is if the guide pins are stuck/dry or the car has fixed-style calipers. Rotors can cause a shake if there are slick spots on the rotor (oil or heat glazing) or from pad deposits that can create thickness variation. In any case, Mrballeng is right, a shake caused by the brake system (floating-style caliper) can be remedied by replacing/fixing the guide pins, pads, or rotors.

jdmeaux (author)2013-07-18

Mis-torqued lug nuts, bent wheel, out-of-balanced tire are all causes of shakes when braking

141bgardner (author)2013-07-18

Unless I missed it in your presentation and one of the most important tasks to prevent brake chatter or vibration would be to torque all the bolts including the wheel bolts. If the bolts holding the wheels to the hubs are not properly torqued they will cause vibration when you apply your brakes. You should contact your dealer who can advise you of the proper number of pounds required to tighten your wheels. This is extremely important if you have alloy wheels on your car.

totszwai (author)141bgardner2013-07-18

Exactly. Do it in a star pattern small increment at a time works like a charm. I never had brake shake problems with my cars. They are all caused by worn out rotor and pad.

ccotton1 (author)2013-07-18

sorry, should've typed " are caused by a rotor that isn't perfectly in the center of the caliper pads, due to having been overheated and warps."

ccotton1 (author)2013-07-18

NEVER, EVER push the fluid back up thru the reservoir! That's a rookie mistake and will KILL the seals in a brake master. Next, you have forgotten or don't know that there's a correct phase that exists between the rotor and the mating surface of the hub. Without a dial indicator to check lateral runout, the best you can hope to achieve is LUCK. Pulsating pedal, shaking when braking, pulling to either side, all need a rotor that stays directly in the center of the caliper pads, and without measuring, you're counting on "the force" to get it right... This is not a well thought out Instructable!

totszwai (author)2013-07-18

Actually, wheel shake when braking have nothing to do with your procedure described here. It has to do with the brake rotor and pad having uneven wear overtime. The rotor and pad would begin to have grooves on them and when those grooves gets deeper and deeper and more and more "misalign" between the rotor and pad, that's what causes the shake. "Dry" caliper pin would only cause the caliper to "stuck" and not releasing the pad properly.

In addition, you are suppose to open the valve on the caliper, hook a hose to it, then compress the piston, so that the fluid would come out form the valve and not get push back into the reservoir.

Anyway, if your hub is straight, your have new rotor and new pad, given that the user tighten everything properly, then it would not shake. Few reasons that could cause it to shake are:
- User did not tighten the bolts properly
- User did not tighten the bolts on the wheel properly, too tight could cause the rotor to wrap, causing shake. Recommend 80-90lbs/tq.
- Uneven rotor and/or pad wear
- Very old rotor with tons of rust build up, causing it to "push" the pad in and out a little bit while braking.

biomcanx (author)2013-07-15

Great 'ible! I have always used a turkey baster to suck up extra fluid out of the master cylinder for compression of the pistons. Works really well and you won't leak brake fluid all over.

ac-dc (author)biomcanx2013-07-18

You're definitely doing it wrong. With new pads the reservoir should be at the full line. Merely recompressing the pistons to fit new pads again should not cause an overflow in the reservoir so there is no reason to have, let alone suck out, "extra fluid". They are at the same position they were previously when it was full, not over full. Similarly the author is wrong that you need to remove the cover to safeguard against rupture. Again it is the same sealed system and same volume of fluid it was when the pads were new in a SEALED system.

I can only think of one mistake that could cause this problem, that someone mistakenly waited till the pads were worn out then topped off the reservoir when they shouldn't have.

Spokehedz (author)ac-dc2013-07-18

Never remove the cap on my brake fluid, never had it 'rupture' doing breaks. Then again I only do one wheel at a time, so that might contrribute to it as well.

Oh wait, yeah I do remove the cap: whenever I have to replace the calipers I drain the fluid and put in new. Have to remove the cap when I put in new fluid.

bombero126 (author)ac-dc2013-07-18

Or, since brake fluid is hydrophilic, it probably absorbed water and now has more volume than when originally filled and when the pistons are compressed the extra volume leaks out. It is always good practice to remove the master cylinder cap before compressing the cylinder.

jrm8069 (author)2013-07-18

Take the time to use a torque wrench on your lug nuts. Uneven torque on lug nuts is a major reason that rotors warp in the first place. It takes about 1500-2500 miles, but the thermal cycling with uneven clamping force, eventually contributes to the rotors getting out of shape. All major manufacturers have come to the same conclusion.

Esmagamus (author)2013-07-18

A few things I might add:

When replacing rotors, it's a good idea to sand down the rust on the hub flange.

A light smear of coppaslip on the hub flange will prevent the rotors from sticking to the hub again.

I find that a little layer of coppaslip on the guide pins lasts long if you don't want to buy special brake grease.

Not all rotors have those neat threaded holes to press the rotors out. A universal puller will remove them easily. A good hammering with a ball-peen hammer between the bolt holes will also shock them free.

dkeach (author)2013-07-15
Something like this

Mrballeng (author)dkeach2013-07-17

Cool. I never new that existed. Thanks for the link.

paganwonder (author)2013-07-15

Jeweler, auto mechanic , teaching dad...what is it that you don't do? Thanks for the 'ible!

Mrballeng (author)paganwonder2013-07-17

Why that's awfully nice of you=). Thank you.

dkeach (author)2013-07-15

Great ible again mr.b, I noticed something that might make life a little easier. Have you ever used a caliper compressor? It works almost like a caulk gun, and im sure u could probably fashion one up with your skills. You also may want to mention the importance of not keeping car on a jack incase a seal gives out. My grandfather told me once never put any part of yourself under a car on jacks that you dont wanna lose. Personally. Ive never used a torch or impact driver, ifs always been a wrench or homemade breaker bar for me

tmack0 (author)dkeach2013-07-16
the one I have is extremely simple: 2 metal plates and a bolt with a knob. Slide the plates between the brake pads and turn the knob. One plate is threaded to the bolt, the other spins freely, so turning in the proper direction forces the plates apart, spreading the pads.

As for jacks: absolutely! There are Jack Stands available that have mechanical ratchets on the support arm used specifically to avoid failing hydraulics. Any time you work under a vehicle that is raised, it needs to be supported properly. Jacks are for lifting, not for holding things up.

DollaBillionare (author)2013-07-14

Great 'ible, very informitive.

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