2018 pulsating brakes - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
Highlander 3rd Generation (2014-2019) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 3rd generation Toyota Highlanders.

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post #1 of 14 Old 05-18-2019, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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2018 pulsating brakes

My 2018 with 18,000 miles has some really bad pulsating brakes as if the rotors are warped or something. Seems way to early for this kind of feeling when braking. Anyone else have this issue this early?


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post #2 of 14 Old 05-18-2019, 09:45 PM
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Pulsating brakes is definitely a sign of warped rotors. Sometimes this can happen by not torqueing the lug nuts properly when mounting the wheels, or extreme usage of the brakes that causes them to heat up and warp. Occasionally it happens with rust build up on the rotors.

Is there anything you can recall that might be related to the above situations (such as remounting the wheels, etc).
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post #3 of 14 Old 05-18-2019, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Pulsating brakes is definitely a sign of warped rotors. Sometimes this can happen by not torqueing the lug nuts properly when mounting the wheels, or extreme usage of the brakes that causes them to heat up and warp. Occasionally it happens with rust build up on the rotors.

Is there anything you can recall that might be related to the above situations (such as remounting the wheels, etc).
At 5k miles the dealer rotated the tires so who knows on their proper torque. I put my winter tires on and torqued to specs at 10k. And took the winters off myself and torqued to specs at 15k so over torquing shouldn’t be an issue. I don’t daily drive it as it’s my wife’s daily so who knows with braking lol but most of her driving is basic a few miles to work and back it major hills to really heat up the brakes. But I drove it today for the first time in a while on a road trip and it was REAL rough braking. My Camry with 110k on it brakes butter smooth comparing.


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post #4 of 14 Old 05-18-2019, 10:32 PM
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Pulsating brakes are not ALWAYS a sign of warped rotors. Often the “pulsating” feel is due to brake pad material transfer onto the rotor. The can happen after high speed/high heat stops and when sitting at a stop light. One thing to try is a procedure known as “bedding” in the pads. This is often done when the pads are new, but it can often be a helpful way to remove transferred pad material. Do this: 1) Find a safe area with no traffic. You will want to get the vehicle up to 55(or faster if possible), then slam on the brakes down to about 10 mph....speed up again and do it again. Do this about 5 or 6 times...you will smell the heated brake pads and you should notice the brakes start to work better. When done...keep driving the car to let the rotors cool...DO NOT stop completely until the rotors have cooled down, else you risk more pad material transfer happening again. Once cooled, they should be noticeably smoother.


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post #5 of 14 Old 05-18-2019, 10:40 PM
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post #6 of 14 Old 05-18-2019, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Jdsmitty10 View Post
At 5k miles the dealer rotated the tires so who knows on their proper torque. I put my winter tires on and torqued to specs at 10k. And took the winters off myself and torqued to specs at 15k so over torquing shouldn’t be an issue. I don’t daily drive it as it’s my wife’s daily so who knows with braking lol but most of her driving is basic a few miles to work and back it major hills to really heat up the brakes. But I drove it today for the first time in a while on a road trip and it was REAL rough braking. My Camry with 110k on it brakes butter smooth comparing.
It's not just the torque specs, but also torqueing them in the right order (crisscross pattern).

I would try to rotate your fronts to rears, carefully remounting the wheels, and see if that helps. While swapping tires, see if there is any rust or other buildup on the pads or rotors.

If you did not drive the vehicle much after the dealer rotated the tires, and therefore would not have noticed it until recently, I would not be at all surprised if it was the dealer's fault. I never let a dealer rotate tires, or mount tires on rims, etc. I want someone who does that 8 hours a day to do it at a shop like Discount Tires or Costco Tires, who are both known for their quality of service.
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post #7 of 14 Old 05-18-2019, 11:22 PM
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Looks like they are covered under warranty. I would print out the TSB's and take it to a dealer and hand them the TSB's.
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post #8 of 14 Old 05-18-2019, 11:32 PM
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- does your wife brake like a cop?
- if you brake like a cop and stab the brakes each time you will warp the rotors (microscopic washboard)
- ask your wife about her braking habbits...........








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post #9 of 14 Old 05-19-2019, 08:48 PM
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Pulsating brakes is definitely a sign of warped rotors.

There are several reasons that can cause pulsating brakes.


. Warped rotors.
. Anti-Lock Brakes. Faulty sensor can cause the brake pedal to pulse which you mainly feel in pedal, but also the steering-wheel.
. Multi-Piston calipers. If one of the pistons is stuck then when you press the pedal you get un-even braking and this can feel exactly like a warped rotor. My 05 4runner was notorious for this problem.
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post #10 of 14 Old 05-19-2019, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tsb’s. Will bring it up to the dealer at my 20k service coming up. Also saw in that thread the power back door squeak tsb. Def have that issue as well.


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post #11 of 14 Old 05-19-2019, 09:06 PM
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Another superseded superior PN for superior OE pads.

And is why I use Wagner Raybestos EBC... Off the dozen Toyotas in the driveway over the past couple decades, pretty sure all had brake pad bulletins with updated PNs along with newer fancy brake greases

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post #12 of 14 Old 05-19-2019, 10:42 PM
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You can also warp the rotors if you go in a nice big puddle of water after the rotors are hot.

On a bit of a different brake pulsing reason, my rear brakes do this rarely when I'm at a steep decline .
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post #13 of 14 Old 05-19-2019, 11:36 PM
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It's funny that I experienced the exact same thing last Thursday. My left rear wheel and suspension parts are replaced due to a collision. The autobody shop repaired it, and I took it home. On the highway, the brake pulsated like I going over rumble strip. I took it right back. Apparently, the shop only test drive it on the local street, which is heavily pock marked. I will let them figure out what's wrong. From the look of things, they didn't replace rotor and caliper. Initially, GEICO estimate the repair cost to be under $9K and 15 days. It ballooned to under $17K and 45 days. All these high tech features I ordered wasn't cheap or easy to repair.

Just a note, the pulsation gets a little better on the test drive I took with the shop mechanic.

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post #14 of 14 Old 05-20-2019, 10:02 AM
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And is why I use Wagner Raybestos EBC

I've been using Wagner brakes for over 40 years. Never a problem. Excellent brakes.
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