Overtightened Lug Nuts and Brake Rotors

Mechanic tightening lug nuts with an air tool.

Over-torquing a wheel can result in a warped brake rotor and possible hub flange damage. Rotors get extremely hot and improper, and over-torquing a wheel can result in warpage as the rotor heats up and cools back down in service.

Symptoms: Automotive technicians find themselves diagnosing brake rotors all the time. At high speeds and sometimes low speeds, a warped rotor produces a noticeable vibration in both the brake pedal, the seat, and the steering wheel. As the pads squeeze against the rotating rotor, any variations or warpage in the rotor result in a vibration.

Rotor being resurfaced on a brake lathe.

Thickness variation is common and often correctable. If within specs, thickness variation can be repaired by machining (turning) the rotor on a brake lathe. Check the thickness of the rotor before and after machining; a thin rotor will overheat and warp, ending in a return.

Warped front rotors result in a vibration that's felt most in the steering wheel. Warped rear rotors result in a vibration felt most in the seat and brake pedal.