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Brake Shake - 2015 Acura TLX SH-AWD Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,037
edited February 2016 in Acura
imageBrake Shake - 2015 Acura TLX SH-AWD Long-Term Road Test

Our long-term 2015 Acura TLX has covered just 17,000 miles and change, but a bit of brake judder has crept into the driving experience. Warped rotors already? Hopefully it ain't so.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • Honda's are good at almost everything except starting and conking out while still wearing a temp tag (2015 Honda Fit had to be towed back to the dealer in just two weeks when it failed to start).
  • Old, old story. Honda appears to place a premium on low unsprung weight, which gives much of the Honda ride/handling proficiency compromise, and they do this largely by specifying rotors that don't have a lot of diameter or mass to them. So they heat up and warp.

    The other things Honda does with brakes is design a funky slide-pin configuration that doesn't slide that well, and also they use these little tiny Philips-head screws to temporarily hold the rotors to the hubs for assembly purposes...they're not needed once the calipers and wheels are attached, but by the time the car is ready for its first brake job, or rotor machining or replacement (see above...), the screws are rusted in place, and the shallow little Philips heads strip out when the tech goes to remove them. Then he is in there with a drill bit, and a bolt extractor, etc. trying to get the rotor off.

    The Honda techs I know just remove these screws the first time the car comes in for a tire rotation, or even at the pre-delivery inspection. They don't want to deal with them later.
  • The brakes in my 2007 TL Type S are both hideously expensive and wear quick (even with normal driving). Honda/Acura is low on my list for a replacement car.
  • notfast said:

    The brakes in my 2007 TL Type S are both hideously expensive and wear quick (even with normal driving). Honda/Acura is low on my list for a replacement car.

    There was a class-action lawsuit regarding the rear brakes for my Accord. Between that, oil burning, and their inability to engineer a new part or fix the VTC actuator after 8 years, I think they will be very low on my list as well.
  • cjasiscjasis Posts: 274
    Not a Honda fanboy but I have owned a lot of Honda products including: an NSX, two S2000's, a CRV, a Civic, a Legend Coupe, an Integra GS-R, and now an Odyssey van. I've had very good luck with all my Hondas but I agree.. for the most part, their brakes stink. We've got less than 40,000 miles on our 2012 Ody Touring Elite, we've never towed anything nor have we done hill driving yet we've dealt with warped rotors already. Disappointing but not unexpected.
  • I have a TSX Wagon which shares a large amount of running gear/parts with the 2008-2012 Accord. This was clearly not a great era for Honda. I am not sure if they have improved, but I am likely going to Lexus/Toyota next time as well. Hearing a loud grinding sound every morning because they can't engineer a VTC actuator after all this time is rather disconcerting. Supposedly a VTC fix is finally coming out this month, but with all of their new airbag drama, I am not holding my breath...
  • djd352djd352 Posts: 31
    +longtimelurker My 2008 Honda Accord also warped its rotors quite quickly. I was able to deal with them until 35k and then I ordered aftermarket rotors and pads. The difference was amazing, much better stopping power and they never warped again. Though as you eluded, these aftermarket rotors were heavier and in combination with new wider tires my fuel economy dropped 1 - 2 mpg on average and 3-4 mpg on the Highway! But the tradeoff in performance was worth it.
  • nagantnagant Posts: 176
    djd352 said:

    +longtimelurker My 2008 Honda Accord also warped its rotors quite quickly. I was able to deal with them until 35k and then I ordered aftermarket rotors and pads. The difference was amazing, much better stopping power and they never warped again. Though as you eluded, these aftermarket rotors were heavier and in combination with new wider tires my fuel economy dropped 1 - 2 mpg on average and 3-4 mpg on the Highway! But the tradeoff in performance was worth it.


    You seem to experience drastic shifts in MPGs for the strangest reasons. You said you get 3-4 better MPGs when using higher octane and then you think because of wider tires and heavier rotors you lose 3-4 on the highway?
  • My TSX also had the crappy Honda brakes. I also got rid of the problem by installing after market pads and got 50,000 miles out of them. That and changing every door speaker (some twice) are the only problems in 155,000 miles. Concerning the VTC actuator, my TSX is in the era and years ago my service adviser said that Acura advised switching to 0w20 full synthetic instead of the recommended 5W20 regular oil to improve cold start performance. Don't know if it made the difference but I've never had the VTC problem.
  • djd352djd352 Posts: 31
    edited February 2016
    +nagant yes, little things such as unsprung weight, tires, regional differences in fuel, altitude and weather can have drastic effects on your fuel economy. Perhaps you haven't experienced this? There is a reason why Honda uses overly light rotors on their cars and manufactures like to put eco -low rolling resistance- tires on their cars.
  • An old mechanic once told me that the rotors don't actually warp, but the brake pedal shudder is a result of the brake rotors getting hot from friction with the pad during stopping and when you fully stop part of the brake pads "melt" (for lack of a better term) to the rotor and over time it builds up and the deposits cause high and low spots on the rotor that the pad rides over and causes the pulsing feeling.

    Does anyone know if that is accurate? Logically it makes sense, but wasn't quite sure.
  • nagantnagant Posts: 176
    djd352 said:

    +nagant yes, little things such as unsprung weight, tires, regional differences in fuel, altitude and weather can have drastic effects on your fuel economy. Perhaps you haven't experienced this? There is a reason why Honda uses overly light rotors on their cars and manufactures like to put eco -low rolling resistance- tires on their cars.

    Ummm, no. I have been buying, driving and working on cars for 35 years and the massive % that you talk about are simply unheard of....especially the 3-4 mountain MPGs increase simply by using 91 octane in a car designed for 87. Automakers strive for years to gain a 1-3% increase by changing several items on a car. Unless your rotors weigh 20lbs more each and your tires are eight inches wider and even then, no way that would cause a 3-4 MPG decrease in hwy MPG. Dont you think that if going to higher octane would give one a 10% in hwy MPGs, ALL car makers would be talking about it?
  • schen72schen72 Posts: 433
    My 99 Acura TL also suffers from crappy brakes. The rotors seem to only last 30-40k miles before they warp. I drive pretty gently and don't brake hard. My 2008 Acura RDX and 2006 Acura RL both have not yet warped their rotors, so maybe they have better parts.
  • I had a 2007 TSX that I absolutely loved! However, the thing always needed brakes! I was replacing front rotors every 40,000 miles. I always thought it was because of how I drove the car, and I'm sure that was part of the reason, but what kind of "sports sedan" can't stop? This is unacceptable, although I can't say that I won't be a Honda driver again in the future...
  • My 04 Arctic Blue TSX has only had rotors replaced once in 154k of driving. I did replace recently the front pads that were glazed, when I thought the rotors were warped.
  • cotakcotak Posts: 89

    An old mechanic once told me that the rotors don't actually warp, but the brake pedal shudder is a result of the brake rotors getting hot from friction with the pad during stopping and when you fully stop part of the brake pads "melt" (for lack of a better term) to the rotor and over time it builds up and the deposits cause high and low spots on the rotor that the pad rides over and causes the pulsing feeling.

    Does anyone know if that is accurate? Logically it makes sense, but wasn't quite sure.

    It's accurate. The rotors don't warp in reality.


  • klunkmanklunkman Harrisburg, PAPosts: 77
    Sorry I missed this thread earlier. Recently, I test drove a 2016 TLX SH-AWD. During the test drive, I got serious brake shake, to the point of me looking at the salesman next to me to see if he felt it. He said he did, and tried to gloss over it by saying that it was probably the result of "sitting around too long". The car had 90 miles on the odometer. (!) When we came back in, I expressed reservations about TLXs in general. He stated that it wasn't a big deal. If he would have at least said he'd look into it and let me know if the car was defective, or there was some other explanation, it may have put my mind at ease. But I never heard back, and at this point I have to say this car is off my list. And maybe future Hondas in general.
  • cube1uscube1us Posts: 5
    cotak said:

    An old mechanic once told me that the rotors don't actually warp, but the brake pedal shudder is a result of the brake rotors getting hot from friction with the pad during stopping and when you fully stop part of the brake pads "melt" (for lack of a better term) to the rotor and over time it builds up and the deposits cause high and low spots on the rotor that the pad rides over and causes the pulsing feeling.

    Does anyone know if that is accurate? Logically it makes sense, but wasn't quite sure.

    It's accurate. The rotors don't warp in reality.


    I have this issue on my 2009 TSX, and the explanation of the "build up" matches my experience. If, after a while, shudder develops when braking, then the next time I am on the Interstate, and well clear of any traffic, and at full speed, I brake reasonably hard (not so hard as to engage the ABS, of course), and repeat once or twice. The shudder then goes away for a couple of thousand miles. BTW, aside from the lawsuit induced replaces of its rear brake pads at around 30K, I am on my ORIGINAL brake pads, with 109K on the car.
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