Are your brake pedals and steering wheel vibrating or wobbling when you try to brake, particularly at high speeds? Your rotors may be warped.

Your rotor is the round disc visible through the openings in your rim. The brake pad comes into contact with the rotor when you apply the brake, bringing your vehicle to a halt. Rotors are typically flat and smooth, but several factors can cause warpage, which can compromise the braking ability of your vehicle.

Excessive heating is the most common cause of warped rotors. But what is causing this excessive heating? A technician would have to perform some tests to diagnose the root cause, but it could be due to several reasons:

Brake system problems

If your back brakes are not functioning correctly, your front brakes will have to work harder, causing your rotors to heat up. Alternatively, you may have a sticky caliper, which is the mechanism that houses and operates your brake pads.

Note: Rotor warpage can also be caused by shocks not performing as intended, as excessive weight shifts to the front during braking.

Driving habits

If you frequently use your breaks because you drive in cities with heavy traffic or a hilly area, your brake system’s performance may suffer.


Improperly torquing your wheels when installing them can put pressure on your rotor.
Any of these issues can lead to excessive heating that causes your rotor to warp. In addition, the heat generated by braking can release the casting’s stress in the rotor, which is made of cast metal. This is particularly true if the rotor is thin from wear and tear.

You may not be able to see that your rotors are warped, but you will likely be able to feel it.

How to Identify Warped Rotors

Rotors are typically flat and smooth; your wheels stop when the brake pads grip them. However, when they are warped, it becomes more difficult for your brake pads to grip the rotor, resulting in a shaking sensation when you try to stop in the brake pedal, especially so when your rotors are spinning faster at high speeds.

You may also notice a vibration in the steering wheel, particularly if your front rotors are warped. The more your rotor is warped, the more pronounced the shaking will be in your hands or feet.

If You Have Warped Rotors, What Can You Do?

You have two options: replace them or machine them. If your warped rotors are thick enough, they
can be smoothed through a machining process that turns them on a lathe. However, your rotor may return to its previous warped shape since it is a stressed metal.