Warped Rotors and Overtightened Lug Nuts

Mechanic tightening lug nuts with an air tool.

People who end up having to change a flat, tire installers and technicians alike can over-torque a wheel. This can result in a warped rotor and possible hub flange damage. Rotors get real hot and improper and over-torquing a wheel can result in warpage as the rotor heats up and cools back down in service. This heating up and cooling down of the rotor can warp it if the wheel has been improperly installed.

Symptoms: Automotive technicians find themselves diagnosing brake rotors all the time. At high speeds and sometimes low speeds a warped rotor will produce a noticeable vibration in both the brake pedal and the steering wheel. This is because as the brakes are applied and the pads squeeze against the rotating rotor any variations or warpage caused by the rotor is transferred to these other areas.

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. Always check the thickness of the rotor and compare the reading to specifications before and after cutting the rotor. A thin rotor will overheat and warp ending in a return.