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Can brake issues cause tires to go out of balance?

jeff336jeff336 Member Posts: 4
I'm hoping a good mechanic can help me out. I've been fighting with the dealership for warranty repair and would like some good advice. Here's the story...

I bought a 2010 Honda Accord 4 cylinder with 10,000 miles on it about six months ago. Of course, on the test drive all seemed right with the car. Then we drove it off the lot and got it up to 75 Mph on the highway and it was easy to notice something wasn't right. The steering wheel shook noticeably. The next day we took it back and they did an alignment and road force balanced all the tires.

After that, it drove well until about a month ago (at this point we had about 16,000 miles on it). It seemed to gradually start to shake again at highway speeds, but this time it also started to shake real bad when you would apply the brakes. I took it back to the dealership again and, at first, they wanted to charge me to change the front pads and re-surface the rotors claiming that they only warranty the brakes for 12,000 miles from when the car was new. After some complaining (I found a service bulletin about the front brakes while waiting for the car- which helped change their mind), they ended up doing it for free. The issue with the steering wheel shaking while braking went away and all seemed well.

Then, we got the car up to highway speeds again. It is now shaking without applying the brakes like it did when we bought it. I think the wheels are out of balance again and I'll bet they aren't going to re-balance them for free. My question is:

Can bad rotors/worn pads (general brake issues) cause tires to go out of balance a lot faster than they should?

I understand that tires will go out of balance over time... but with every other car I've owned, I've only had to balance the tires every 15,000 - 20,000 miles or so. Actually, now that I really think about it, I've had some cars where I never had to balance the tires for years (I had a Camry about ten years ago- and owned if for 5 years- and never balanced the tires once, and it always drove great without any steering wheel shake at any speed).

Thanks in advance for any knowledgeable advice.


  • capriracercapriracer Member Posts: 906
    I think you have 2 unrelated issues - the brakes and the alignment. The clue? The vibration at speed redates the brake issue.

    You've had the brakes addressed, so now you need to deal with the alignment. The alignment is causing the tires to wear irregularly. The causes a vibration. When you fix the alignment, you'll still have the vibration because the tires are still irregularly worn.

    It's possible to wear a new pattern into tires, but that is a slow process if the alignment is good. The only other way to deal with irregularly worn tires is to replace them.

    So I would suggest you rotate tire and see if the problem changes - move from front to rear, change intensity, etc. If so, then get an alignment.
  • jeff336jeff336 Member Posts: 4
    I undertstand, but they had road force balanced all the tires and did an alignment about 6 months ago the day after I bought the car.

    Here is the info from the service bulletin that made them address the front brakes last month:

    Service Bulletin 09-096

    Front Brakes Judder and/or Squeal

    When the brakes are applied normally, the driver feels
    a juddering vibration through the steering wheel or
    brake pedal, and/or hears a squealing noise.

    Refinish the front brake discs, and install new brake
    pads with V-springs.

    So obviously, the pads were defective when I bought the car. I would think the balance and alignment they did then would still be good though.

    Can defective pads, which led to the warped rotors, put a tire out of balance or cause the alignment to go out of whack in less than six months?
  • capriracercapriracer Member Posts: 906
    Perhaps I didn't make myself clear, but once tires develop an irregular wear pattern, they tend to continue to wear that way. It can't be fixed by road forcing the tires.

    Besides, the tire problem occurred before the brake issue. It is unrelated.
  • jeff336jeff336 Member Posts: 4
    So, basically, what you are saying is that the tires probably had an uneven wear pattern when we bought the car (that we hadn't noticed) and the fact that it drove fine after they balanced them and did an alignment was an illusion.

    I think they should have informed me of any tire issues when I took the car back the day after I bought it instead of doing, what was essentially, a band-aid fix.

    I understand that companies have to watch their bottom line, but when I buy a certified car with 10,000 miles on it, I expect to not have any issues with anything for a good amount of time. I also understand that these types of issues can be caused by factors outside the dealers control, such as what types of roads the car is driven on, how it is driven, etc... But, in my case, the car is never driven off pavement, we've never hit a curb, and generally take care of our vehicles. Geez, my wife drives the car and she drives like an old lady.

    In case anyone wants to know the dealership that sold me the car and has done all the work:

    Honda of Ocala

    I guess I'll have the tires checked out at my expense and replace if necessary.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,135
    I can understand the irritation, but it might have been hard to detect if the wear was slightly uneven - the alignment probably made it better, but over time, the uneven wear is going to get worse.

    In any case, of those are the factory tires, you're probably going to be happier after they're replaced. Manufacturers don't usually use very good quality tires to begin with, and an investment in good tires that are rated for 50-60K miles that suit the weather conditions and your driving style preferences will make for a much better driving experience.

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  • jeff336jeff336 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for all the help. I hope these posts help others that have similar issues.

    The disheartening part is that we love the car and would buy it again if given the chance to do it all over again. Except next time, we would pay to have it thoroughly checked out before hand. I guess when they call a car "Certified" it really doesn't mean anything these days. Or should I say when Honda calls a car certified it doesn't mean anything.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,135
    It isn't just Honda. We see complaints regularly on Certified vehicles from various manufacturers - that the whatever-number point inspection, which always sounds like a massive number of points, didn't catch something that seems like a fairly obvious item that would be an issue to the purchaser. Or, a component fails shortly after purchase, and it turns out it's not covered by the CPO warranty (The exception to this rule seems to be BMW CPO vehicles - either they are very well inspected, or they resolve issues well.)

    You really gave yourself the best advice - have any potential used car purchase inspected by an independent mechanic. Also, thoroughly read what is covered in the inspection, and what is covered in the warranty.

    I hope that after the tire issue is resolved, you can enjoy many trouble-free miles!

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  • elroy5elroy5 Member Posts: 3,735
    I suppose there could be a bad suspension component, and that has effected the tires. Whatever it is, I would keep bringing it back (and complaining) until they fix it.

    People have all kinds of problems, even with brand new vehicles. My neighbor bought a new $40k truck, and the motor burned up 3 weeks later. Hyundai had to give one friend another car, when they couldn't find the problem with their Elantra. Stuff happens.
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