Let's Get a Straight Answer for Once!

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
edited March 2014 in General
Okay, the world needs to know this, once and for all.

Are warped rotors covered under a new car warranty or aren't they?

Please site the source of your info.

This isn't a quiz with right or wrong answers--I'm just very curious how the "warped rotor epidemic" is being handled out there by automakers, and I'd like to be able to tell people what to expect when this happens to their new car with only 5K-10K miles on it.

thanks for your input!

Shifty the Host


  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I see literally hundreds of brake cases and what I'm mostly seeing is that the dealer/manufacturer will easily cover replacement or machining of the rotors, and many times replacement of the pads, prior to the 12 month/12,000-mile adjustment period limit.

    GM covers many Grand Am, Malibu and Century/Regal rotors up to 30,000 miles on a case by case basis - the primary factor is usually the frequency of visits.

    I've seen folks with visits only 3-4K miles apart, and they get warranty coverage up to 40K.

    Of course, a lot of that has to do with how YOU act as a consumer, the service manager's relationship with the warranty rep and the dealer's relationship with the manufacturer.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    Service managers are rated by how well they save factory money. They have x amount "in the easy kitty" depending on the volume of new cars sold.

    When they start spending out of proportion to sales the dealership gets pressure.......and can suddenly have trouble getting the best selling colors or models, the factory can send auditors to check everything, it can get ugly! Probation, lengthening of reimbursement time. The zone Manager beats the GM up. The GM beats the service manager up to resist warranty work.

    If you are a nice customer and visit often and pay money for services, get your oil changed at dealership, made them some profit instead of beating them down every chance you get, you can get high on their list for bending over backwards.

    The warranty money is refreshed on a monthly basis so visit early instead of the end of the month. Bring some cookies, be a nice guy.

    Rotor warping is so variable with driver style and location. The engineers test this extensively[of course they know how to drive vs 95% of public]. It is expected that some owners will warp their rotors but not usually before 12,000 miles of use om brand new ones.
  • pluto5pluto5 Member Posts: 618
    I say no to bending over for the dealer. Go there for warranty work only and patronize a quality independent garage for paid repairs. My experience is you pay much less in the long run and avoid a lot of mostly useless services like engine flushes and fuel injector cleaning. If the manufacturer is going to treat you like a piece of crap unless you line their pockets I say the heck with them.

    As far as covering rotors they are a wear item so its going to be a gray area. If you are wearing out your rotors in 12K miles you probably drive like a maniac. Many rotors have been designed for quiet stops but as a result wear out as fast as the pads. I have had 5 vehicles with disk brakes and have never replaced a single set of rotors.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    Mr Shiftright,
    Direct from GM, see the bold print.

    Warranty Admin. - Brake Rotor Warranty Service Procedure #00-05-22-002B - (03/19/2003)
    Brake Rotor Warranty Service Procedure
    1995-2003 Passenger Cars and Light Duty Trucks

    2003 HUMMER H2

    This bulletin is being revised to add model years as well as the HUMMER model. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 00-05-22-002A (Section 05 - Brakes).

    This bulletin outlines GM's standard procedures and guidelines for brake rotor service and brake wear. Brake rotor service to correct scoring or pulsation is covered by the GM New Vehicle Limited Warranty unless there is evidence of the vehicle being subject to severe use.

    Certain conditions may apply to individual vehicles regarding specific repairs which differ from those outlined in this bulletin. For information regarding lateral runout correction, refer to Corporate Bulletin Number 01-05-23-001A, Brake Align System for Brake Rotor Lateral Runout Correction. For other conditions, refer to those specific repairs in applicable bulletins.

    Original equipment rotor surfaces are ground to ensure smooth finish and parallelism between mounting and friction surfaces. New rotors SHOULD NOT be resurfaced before installation. When rotor turning is necessary, it is essential that you use a high quality brake lathe. Rotors, when remounted on the hub, should have less than .055 mm (.002 in) lateral runout. Brake rotors should only be turned when one of the following rotor surface conditions exist:

    Severe scoring -- depth in excess of 1.5 mm (0.060 in).
    Pulsation concerns from:
    Lateral runout in excess of .055 mm (.002 in).
    Thickness variation in excess of 0.025 mm (0.001 in).
    Excessive corrosion on rotor braking surfaces.
    Rotors are not to be resurfaced in an attempt to correct the following conditions:

    Cosmetic corrosion
    Routine pad replacement
    Discoloration/hard spots
    Explanation of Brake Rotor Warranty Service Procedure
    Rotor refacing during normal pad replacement is not necessary.
    Rotor refacing for cosmetic corrosion is unnecessary. Clean up of braking surfaces can be accomplished by 10-15 moderate stops from 62-75 km/h (35-40 mph) with cooling time between stops.
    Rotor service is ineffective in correcting brake squeal and/or premature lining wear out and should not be used to address these conditions unless specifically directed by a service bulletin.
    When installing new rotors, DO NOT reface them. If a new rotor has more than .055 mm (.002 in) lateral runout when properly mounted on the hub, it may be machined using an approved on-car lathe or follow correction plate procedure found in Corporate Bulletin Number 01-05-23-001A.
    Ensure bearing flanges and rotor mounting surfaces are free of corrosion when installing rotors to prevent inducing lateral runout. Use Kent Moore tool J 42450A to clean the corrosion around the wheel studs.
    Always mark the position of the rotor on the hub before removal and reinstall the rotor in the same position. Rotors with perceived hard spots or discoloration should not be serviced. These conditions are normal. Installation of new rotors does not require pad replacement. Do not replace pads unless their condition requires it. It is not necessary to replace rotors in pairs. Rotors may be replaced individually. However, caution should be exercised, as a variance in surface finish may cause a brake pull condition.
    A torque limiting socket or torque wrench must be used to insure that the wheel nuts are tightened to specification. This should be done in 3 steps using the star pattern:
    Hand tighten all 5 lug nuts using the star pattern.
    Tighten all 5 nuts to approximately ½ spec. using the star pattern.
    Tighten all 5 nuts to full spec. using the star pattern.
    Never use lubricants or penetrating fluids on wheel studs, nuts or mounting surfaces. Wheel nuts, studs and mounting surfaces must be clean and dry.
    Brake Service Techniques
    Clean and lubricate all metal-to-metal contact points (i.e. caliper to knuckle, pad to knuckle, etc).
    Clean and lubricate slide pins, if applicable.
    Set correct clearances (i.e. caliper to knuckle, etc.), if applicable.
    Clean rotor and hub mounting surfaces. Use Kent Moore tool J 42450 to clean around the wheel studs.
    Verify lateral runout of the rotor with a dial indicator (rotor held on hub with 3 or more wheel nuts and washers).

    Refer to the appropriate Service Manual for more specific procedures.


    Brake pulsation is often caused by factors outside customer control. In these instances, the repair is covered under the GM New Vehicle Warranty.

    GM has approved a new technology for the correction of lateral runout on new or refinished rotors. This new method is called Brake Align®*. It will allow the technician to meet the .050 mm (.002 in) or less requirement for lateral runout by installing a specially selected, tapered correction plate between the rotor and the hub. The Brake Align® Correction system does NOT require the use of an on-vehicle brake lathe to correct for lateral runout.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    Go there for warranty work only and patronize a quality independent garage for paid repairs.
    I would agree with that, unless the dealer is reasonable and treats the person well.

    If you are wearing out your rotors in 12K miles you probably drive like a maniac.
    In tody's vehicles, that is not entirely true and that train of thought is what causes alot of problems, not to mention really irritates the customer. Because of the poor workmanship in certatin rotors, they are prone to warpage, regardless of how a person drives.
    Stamped rotors are notorious for warpage, regardless of how they are driven.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I had noticed that some extended warranties (Chrysler's for instance) specifically EXCLUDE warped rotors--but of course this isn't the same as the factory warranty.

    I like the GM phrasing---it makes sense, saying, in effect---"yes, we cover warped rotors unless there is EVIDENCE of abuse".

    Sure, burned blue rotors, globs of melted tire stuck to the wheel wheels, mud-packed suspension, or lots of chassis road damage....that sort of thing.

    But when I see some nice old couple complain about warped rotors at 8,000 miles and GET TURNED DOWN, this really bugs me...even IF the service manager can point to the part of the warranty that says "wear item---not covered".

    Getting your brakes fixed really shouldn't be granted on "merit" or how nice you are. Getting your car washed, yeah, sure, but not brakes.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    The thing I tell most folks when they have been denied warranty for rotors that are warped, is to ask that they show you the signs of "severe use".
    Bring a camera with you and take pictures. When they ask what the pictures are for, tell them that they are for when you talk to the customer service rep and court if need be.
    I am not saying or implying that all dealers fudge on the warranty, but you have to protect yourself. What is in your best interest is rarely their priority.
    You can see from the info that GM puts out, it is a dealer call. So if the dealer denies the warranty claim, then they need to provide proof, not just say because. Make them show you the indications fo severe use. Which unless the pads are completely worn out and the rotor is severely discolored, will be rather difficult for them to prove in a court.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    For Sears, we used to give a 25,000 mile warranty on pads and brake shoes. I had five full time brake guys who were good at their jobs. A lot of years of experience. From what I was told anyway, the materials we used were top quality.

    I remember, once the job was done, in most cases, we would never have a comeback. The brakes would last well beyond the warranty.

    Once in awhile, however, we would have a problem customer. They would be back after a couple of months with a problem. Usually, the pads and linings would be badly glazed from overheating. sometimes, the drums and rotors would show signs of extreme use/abuse. I can't remember warped rotors as a problem though.

    We would fix the problem, replace the pads and linings, grind out the hard spots in the drums etc. and hope we wouldn't have another problem.

    I can remember on several ocassions, I refunded whatever the customer had paid and sent them elsewhere. I knew that I was either doing something wrong or I had an abusive driver.

    I guess my point is...and I could be wrong...I honestly believe that driving habits are the main contributor to brake problems.

    We follow people like that every day, don't we?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You know, I used to take that stand completely---that if you bent your rotors you were doing something wrong. And I think that USED to be more true than now. But lately, even in my own case, I don't see it that way.

    My ladyfriend and I bought an '01 Jeep Wrangler with some paltry miles on it---6500 or something--the Jeep looked brand new, totally, top to bottom, factory fresh. And yet the rotors were bent like an old vinyl LP record sitting on a woodstove. Go figure.

    Interestingly (aha, NOW you know why I opened this topic!), I have yet to hear what the Jeep dealer will do about it, as the Jeep still has a few months of warranty left.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Just tell them who you are!

    Of course, my experience go's back a few years to a time when rotors were heavier and thicker to be sure.

    Still, I know I've never warped one but I guess that could change someday?

    Let us know what happens!
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    Nissan has a TSB for warped rotors for 2000/2001 Maximas. The TSB explicitly states warranty in effect up to 3 years/36K miles for this job.

    I had my car in for machining the front brakes but I didn't tell the dealer anything about the TSB. I was at about 20K miles on the ODO at the time. They called me and said they also recommend changing the pads when turning the rotors, even though the old ones were still good. I said sure - go ahead and do anything you see fit to fix the problem.

    When I got back to the dealer and was presented with the bill, I gave them a copy of the TSB and disputed the charge. It got escalated to the manager who accepted to pay for the whole bill under warranty.

    The point is - Nissan admits there is a problem with over-torquing the lug nuts at the factory, and further, Nissan issues a TSB stating the problem is covered under warranty for 3 years/36,000 miles - so the dealer should fix everything under warranty. If they think the pads need to be changed as well in order to fix things - this is fine by me - just don't charge me - after all they are fixing a problem not caused by me.

    I had to resort to this, somewhat underhanded tactic, only because my dealer really tries to dodge any warranty work, in principle.
  • roadrascalroadrascal Member Posts: 35
    on Ford products (like the Taurus and Windstar) are not the best quality. Over-torquing lug nuts will absolutely warp rotors- which is why you should always recheck the torque values if you let a shop rotate your tires. I've given up asking XYZ shop to hand torque the lugs because they always say 'we use calibrated torque sticks on our impact guns". Yeah, right.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    These work just fine providing they use the right one.

    Same thing applies to torque wrenches. a lot of shops use the same setting on all cars.

    Either one of these is a whole lot better than an impact gun.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I wonder if those big 30 X 9.5 tires and wheels can affect rotors?
    What do you think guys?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,523
    I don't think rotors were thin enough to warp back in the day when you were a manager at Sears! ;-) I think rotor-warping is a relatively new phenomenon, that started around the time that they came out with those 2-piece rotors. Easier and cheaper to replace when they do fail, but still more prone to failure.

    What about the few cars that still use drums on the rear...are they flimsier nowadays than they used to be, as well? For instance, I was kinda shocked when I found out that the Ford Taurus only uses 8.9" drums on the back. Heck, my '69 Dart had 9" drums, and with a V-8 you got 10". And a Taurus is going to weigh a lot more than a '69 slant six Dart!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    A lot of measures are being taken to reduce weight/costs and increase gas mileage.

    I just know that some drivers NEVER warp rotors. Some people can go 80,000 miles on a set of brake pads while others go through them in 20,000.

    I'm sure the thinner rotors contribute to the problem but I still say the DRIVER is the main factor.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I had my 1988 M6 I could drive it on the track all weekend and still have 50% of my pads left. I had a friend with another M6 and he used up one set of pads PER DAY-and while he was a little faster overall, he wasn't that much faster...
  • montanafanmontanafan Member Posts: 945
    What is missing from the GM Bulletin is the paragraph under pulsation. This says if the pulsation is reported between 3000 and 7000 and has got worse, it will be covered. In other situations ask the owner if they have had wheel service. If they had, it could be the result of runout, or improper torque of the lug nuts. If a dealer did the work, pay for it. If an outside source did the work, then it is not to be covered under warranty. So as far as GM, rotors are covered if it is GM or one of their dealers fault. Since almost everyone will have the tires off by 7,500, GM is off the hook in many cases.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    I wonder if those big 30 X 9.5 tires and wheels can affect rotors?
    What do you think guys?

    You mean on trucks?
    I run 35" tires on my 4x4 right now.
    I had 38" gumbos on for a while, but stepped down.
    I haven't seen warpage of rotors because of large tires and alot of the trucks I see are running tire sizes from 30"-44" tall.
    I see more wheel bearing problems than I do warped rotors.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yeah, I was thinking of the tires on the Wrangler.

    I've never warped a set of rotors either, but it justs seems unlikely that this warped rotor epidemic is due only to bad driving habits. Seems like we've always had bad driving habits.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    Yes - I've had all sorts of cars, including an M3 a few years ago that I used to drive pretty hard - never a problem with the rotors. Now, on my latest car (a 2001 Maxima) I am on my second set of front rotors, and need to resurface them again, badly.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    once they're warped, you aren't going to polish it out.
This discussion has been closed.