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Bad rotors on 1999 Oldsmobile Alero



  • bronxitebronxite Posts: 1
    I have had the same pulsation/vibration problem with my brakes for the last month. My 99 Alero has 16,000 miles on it. Took it to one dealer who said everything looked fine. Took it to a second dealer who knew the exact problem We are now waiting for the back ordered rotors.

    Has anyone had problems with the service engine soon light suddenly coming on in the car? It seems to be coming and going. Any chance that there is something wrong with the sensors or computer?

    Other than these two things, I have loved my car.
  • i own a 1999 0lds gls with 24 k miles. i have developed warped rotors and they have been resurfaced times without charge by dealer. i remarked to dealer do they cover repairs after warranty expires and an employee states there will be coverage if there is history for the problem. do i get this in writing/ I have not seen any service bulletins on this and just seen complaints on the govt database.
  • newzgrl74newzgrl74 Posts: 3
    Bhung I have the same problem with my car. As soon as I start...say within 5 minutes my temp. gauge is in the middle and if I'm in bumper to bumper it moves slightly pass the middle. Should I worry? Who knows...
  • newzgrl74newzgrl74 Posts: 3
    ...Me again! The steering wheel on my 2000 GLS ever so slightly shakes while I hit the brakes at @ 70mph. Should I take my car into the dealership?
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Didn't you read all the other posts where they got the rotors and pads replaced free of charge?
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    In the middle is normal. Bumper to bumper traffic is not normal. Therefore being above normal is OK for bumper to bumper traffic.
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Brake shudder above 70mph is the most common symptom of the Alero/Grandam brake problem. It starts there and then gets worse until you feel brake pulsing at lower speeds too. Olds is replacing rotors and pads with different parts free of charge.
  • stormerstormer Posts: 1
    You can try using a sight called ALLDATA.COM, they list both safety and service bulletins. if you are looking for the full bulletin you can order it or purchase a CD with all the ones that concern you.
  • merichmerich Posts: 3
    I have a '99 Alero sedan and I've had the rotors turned twice since I've had the car. I've looked around for performance brake packages from companies like Brembo and Baer and no one seems to have an OEM replacement package for this car. Recently, I've had the front rotors and pads replaced at a local brake shop with Raybestos parts. The mechanic told me he is familiar with warping rotors on GM cars, and even the Olds dealer told me that he's seen many of his cars come back for replacement -- not just the Alero, but rotors on all the Olds'. The Raybestos pads and brakes seem to be working well, but I've only had them for a few weeks. Time will tell.

    On another matter, has anyone had problems with wind noise? particularly from the rear door windows?

    Finally, does anyone know of performance parts or accessories for this car? I'm at a loss for finding such items.
  • grebsgrebs Posts: 2
    A few days ago I bought a '99 Alero but now notice the brake vibration. I took it back to the dealer (Nissan) who said they will send it to Oldsmobile since it's a warranty issue. Does anyone know what recourse I have if the dealer refuses to replace, and only "repairs" the rotors?
  • The pads and rotors should be replaced without any problem if the car is still under warranty. There seems to be some sort of bulletin from GM about the warping rotors problem and the redesigned rotors but it has not been made into a formal service update yet. Even if it is not under warranty, try contacting the olds customer service department through the web page or over the phone. Unfortunately I don't have that number with me but I think I saw it on the main alero posting. In any case, good luck with the repair, you chose a great car.
  • louie_jlouie_j Posts: 11
    From reading some of the other postings, there seems to be a bit or confusion on whether it's the front or rear brakes causing the vibration. I'm starting to think it's both.
    I read somewhere that the rear disc brakes are adjusted every time you apply the parking brake (similar to driving backwards and stopping with drum brakes).
    The vibration in my Alero comes and goes. One day when I felt it, I decided to try something. With my finger on the release button, I pumped the parking brake up and down about 10 times (yes, with the car stopped). I noticed the vibration lessened. The next light I stopped at, I pumped it 10 more times. Now the vibration is a lot less than it was.
    I'm starting to think that maybe the front brakes are working too hard and overheating. The overheating causes the rotors to warp.
    Does this make any sense or an I crazy?
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Just have the rotors and pads replaced free of charge. Its not clear if pumping the parking brake sets any adjusters on the rear brakes. But you said it did have an effect. Anyone know if there is an adjusting mechanism in the rear disk brakes?
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Yes, the rear discs are mechanically adjusted.
  • brad256brad256 Posts: 11
    This past Saturday I went in for my oil change (waited 5000 miles and still no alert) and mentioned the vibrations I felt whenever I braked. I only expected to be put on the backorder list.

    They immediately mentioned that a service bulletin had been issued, and they could replace the front rotors and pads with a newly design set. At first they stated that I would need to make another appointment to have them replaced, but then the senior service tech said a shipment had just arrived on Friday and because they did not have many appointments they could do the work today. That certainly sounded good to me.

    I started feeling the warped rotor several thousand miles ago...I'll have to hope that I'm not asking for the same work to be done again before my warranty runs out.
  • I own a 99 Alero and absolutely love the car... no complaints until this "rotor" problem was uncovered. I brought my car in for 9,000 mile service and mentioned the pulsing I felt when breaking the car. They told me the parts were on order, etc. They will be replacing the rotors and breakpads next week - by the way, the service personnel just casually mentioned the "bulletin" on this topic was just posted at their facility - What I'm trying to get at here is this... the replacement is covered now... is this going to happen another 9,000 miles from now?? And so on??

    Has anyone seen this bulletin? I'd love to get a glance at it!!
  • brad256brad256 Posts: 11
    That's a good question whether the rotors will be replaced multiple times, even after the warranty expires. My guess is no. My service department confirmed that the parts were redesigned, and not the same as the standard equipment. When I asked them what they changed, they said they weren't sure...that perhaps GM made them thicker or something.

    jjfalero, let us know if you get any different information from your dealer. And I hope people will post if they feel pulsing after replacing the brakes.
  • I read all of these e-mails with a combination of amusement and dismay. I have a 1990 Olds Cutlass Supreme with 154,000 miles on it. I've loved it and it's been a great car but (unlike me) it's getting older and not better. So, as I began thinking about a new car this fall and visited to start gathering info, what do I find? GM is still having the same problems with its new cars as it did with mine 10 years ago! The only major, recurring problem I've had with my Cutlass Supreme has been the rear brakes -- especially the rotors. Warped rotors have become a way of life for me. Even though I use the parking brake every time I park the car (which supposedly manually adjusts the rear brakes), I still get sticking calipers, warped rotors, etc. on a regular basis. I had heard that GM improved its rear disc brake design starting with the 1995 models, so it's amazing and distressing to find out that the brakes on a new car that I'm considering are still junk. And yes, you will have to replace them over and over again throughout the car's life, and no, GM won't help you. I've spent about $900 ($300 in brake work every two years) since mine came off the original warranty.
    I'm a GM person. As I've said, my Cutlass Supreme has been great overall. I love the looks of the Alero and I'm sure it's a great car. But come on, GM, get you act together.
    By the way -- my wife just turned 60,000 miles on her 1995 Grand Am (which features good old fashioned rear drum brakes) and we've had no such problems.
  • To clarify:

    - '88-'93 W-body (Grand Prix, Lumina, Regal, Cutlass Supreme) the rear brakes stick because the caliper slider is made of dissimilar metals. Either the pins weld themselves together and/or to the caliper body, and with water, road salt, etc., the pins lock-up and stop sliding. As pointed out in a previous post, this results in rapid outer pad wear and if not caught, disc rotor wear too. A solution? There are kits available that replace the factory pins with stainless steel pins.

    BTW, GM rear disc pads are mechanically adjusted by applying the parking brake. The piston is actuated via a thread rod via a lever that is connected to the cable. If you don't use your parking brake, the pads will not adjust. If you don't typically use the parking brake, I'd recommend using it once or twice per month, which should be sufficient. At replacement time, in order to install new pads, a keyed socket is needed to turn the piston on rod to make it retract into the piston bore.
  • Rear brakes that are not periodically adjusted will cause more work from the front brakes to stop the vehicle. This inevitably leads to warped/overheated rotors in the front, prematur brake pad wear, and it will be worse if the front rotors have been cut, as stated previously.
  • grebsgrebs Posts: 2
    My front rotors were resurfaced -needed very little machining- and now my Alero drives perfectly. Should I be concerned about rust appearing on the rotors. The wheels look sharp but who needs unsightly rust behind them. BTW, with the wider tires and sport suspension, does any other car in the same price range handle as well?
  • rene2rene2 Posts: 3
    To all that are having problems with their rotors...I heard there was a bulletin out for the bad rotors. When I took my car in for the rotor problem the servicemen told me they knew about it. They replaced my front rotors and brake pads (under warranty of course). The only thing i told them was that my sterring wheel shook while braking. They knew instantly what the problem was. The rotors were on back order for 2 weeks so the sooner you let them know there is a problem the sooner it can be repaired. BTW..I have a '99 Alero GLS sedan, has anyone had problems with their driver side mirror vibrating either when the radio is up or you drive over a bumpy road?
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Yup - Other posts show the problem is common. Mine shakes at highway speeds but is very slight. Not enough to bother me.

    Other posts show the mirror will be fixed under warranty.
  • darmiedarmie Posts: 1
    Hi all. I was aware of the problems that owners were having with their alero brakes but I did not know there were that many owners with this problem until I stumbled across this forum. It's good to see that most of the dealers are not fixing the problem. Thanks to donnak3, I now have the TSP that can be used. I have approx. 10K on my alero and have yet to experience this problem but when I get back to the states, I sure will have a dealer replace the rotors with the new and improved version. I have been living in Puerto Rico for about 3 yr. and will be moving back to the states the first of the year.

    I notices a post asking some question about some after market parts for this car and I wanted to offer some info. I believe this was merich.
    What I would like to do is invite everyone to take a look at our growing site full of members and information about the Oldsmobile Alero at

    For merich, I wanted to show you a few things that I did on my alero which you can see on my Mod site,
    On you will find a nice selection of links to also include a nice selection of performance parts links that may offer you some more info on what can be purchased.
    Also check out and what Brian has in stock for the Alero. He has been working on setting us up with some good items. Send him some email if you have any questions on what you are looking for. You will even see that I did have a chance to take the car to the track and I was able to offer some numbers with all the mods that have been done, which is located on my mod page. Word of caution though, it was my first time ever at the track but if you minus the reaction
    time, it's impressive.

    Thanks to all of you and most of the information that I have seen here, I will be updating the web site to include the TSP's and a few other
    things that I have seen to helps all our visitors at

    Darmie Rudisill
    Ceiba, Puerto Rico
  • After a national two-week backorder of the parts needed... my '99 Alero has new front rotors and pads and is off an running. The dealer made the replacement/repair (under warranty, as we all know.) and I asked questions regarding the new parts. They told me the parts were a new design and that "we" should not be having this problem again!! Let's hope that's the case.

    Also, I read some other messages regarding the mirrors shaking... haven't had that problem. Mine seem to be fine. Hopefully that's an easy fix for all of you!!

    Take care and happy driving!!
  • lareslares Posts: 4
    I have a 99 Alero sedan. When the car was new, I sprayed Armor All on the sidewalls to make them look "wet". After that, I thought that my rotors were warping. At highway speeds, there was noticeable shuddering in the steering wheel while applying the brakes. This was very bad at first and I was quite concerned. However, as the Armor All wore off, so did the shuddering. Now, I don't apply anything to the wheels and the brakes are fine. I have over 20,000 miles on the car without any brake problems.
  • lareslares Posts: 4
    Recently, my battery cracked open at the + terminal. I didn't notice it until battery acid started to drip out of the bottom. I could not tell what was dripping at first because of the foam wrapping around the battery (I discovered it when I had to replace the battery because the car wouldn't start). Fortunately, there is a drain from the battery pan leading to the ground so, as far as I can tell, there is no damage to the underpart of the car.

    Moral of the story, check to make sure that the lugs on the side posts of the battery are not too tight on original factory batteries.
  • While I don't use Armor All, period, I must add the Armor All overspray that you got on the rotors is what would cause the temporary shudder you felt. Since Armor All is silicone-based, once it got on the rotors from your spraying the tires, it created slick spots on the rotor face, which caused the pads to grab-and-slide as the rotor rotated. The pads would have become saturated in spots with the Armor All, as well, which would eventually become worn off in time.
  • lareslares Posts: 4
    Yes, that is exactly what probably happened to the brake rotors. However, I live in a hot climate and use Armor all on other plastic and rubber parts to keep them from cracking and aging. I had a Chevy for 10 years and when I sold it (for the Alero) there were no cracked rubber parts inside or out. But, as you have pointed out, no longer will I use it on the tires of any car. It seems that you are against Armor All..I am curious as to why.
  • mfuller1mfuller1 Posts: 17
    If you want to keep those tires nice and shiny but are worried about silicone getting on the brake rotors, there are a few non-silicone vinyl and rubber dressings on the market that work very well. My personal favorite is from Griot's garage It does not contain any silicone, and holds up better in the rain than anything else I've tried, including Armor All.
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