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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2020 Highlander Limited. Leased. 29k miles and rotors are warped again.
I’ll preface this by saying this is my 3rd Highlander. I’ve had a 16, an 18, and now a 2020. I’ve never had this issue with before. I also own a 2018 M3 and a 2020 M5. Before you say I’m driving aggressively, just know that I have vehicles made for that. The Highlander is my around town, road trip, tailgate champion.
The first set of rotors were replaced at 7k miles. Toyota tried to give me crap and say it was aggressive driving, but I quickly pointed out that my pads were still basically brand new. If I was driving aggressively, both rotors and pads would be shot. They agreed and replaced them under warranty. The 2nd time was around 17k miles. Same story. Pads were still fine yet the rotors were warped. The tech took it for a drive and immediately came back and agreed. He tried to resurface but he drove it after and replaced them. The 3rd time they were replaced was around 25k. This time they tried to tell me they see “hard braking” under the computer print out. I tell them it’s likely the annoying cross traffic braking system. They can’t discern if that’s correct or not, so I go to my tried and true argument, the brake pads. They again agree to replace them. I’m now at 29k miles and the warp is back. It shakes and pulsates while braking on the highway. I’m about to make my appointment but I’m wondering - at what point do we determine that there is something else at play here. It’s a lease, and I’ll be turning it in in a year. But there will be a point where I’m over my miles and the warranty will have expired. And I’ll be on the hook for replacing tue rotors. I know it’s not that hard, and I’ve done them before in the past. But I’d prefer not to and I’d prefer to know what is causing this issue so frequently?? Again, im not driving aggressively. I drove around town and long road trips (300 miles or so). This is definitely unusual behavior. Should I look into the lemon law??
 

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Have you ever had the pads replaced at any of the rotor swaps ?
 

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No I have not. I’ve read the service note every time and they only state rotors. They list the part numbers and if I goggle them, it’s front left and front right rotors.
I would start there ... they should have done the pads with the 1st set of rotors and started fresh.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would start there ... they should have done the pads with the 1st set of rotors and started fresh.
I’ll mention that. Thank you! I’m also wondering if the adaptive cruise control has anything to do with it. I’ve read in some other posts that that system can potentially write some weird logs to the computer about gas and brake being pushed at the same time. I don’t have those logs, but I do use the cruise control fairly often.
 

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buy some stoptech rotors and performance pads and you'll never replace them again before lease is up. however, there is definitely an issue here as rotors should last a long, long time (~75-100k)
 

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Adaptive cruise isn't going to wear out the brakes prematurely. Whether or not that writes any strange messages to the driving log is another story.

I still think a possible cause of the problem is lug nuts being overtightened when they put the wheels back on the car. They're probably blasting them on with an impact wrench. If you keep going to the same dealer, they may be using the same wrench! After they do the job yet again, as soon as you get the car home, loosen up all of the lug nuts and tighten them yourself by hand. Ideally you should use a torque wrench so you can adjust it correctly, but in lieu of that you could use the emergency wrench supplied with the car. The emergency wrench is so short that it would be very difficult to over-torque by hand no matter how hard you try.

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2021 HiHy Platinum AWD
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Around town driving wears out brakes faster than long road trips.

It could also be the metallurgy of the rotors, it may be a high carbon rotor, which is great for noise reduction, but usually a tad softer than usual G3000 grey iron.

Are they actually warped? Or is it really uneven pad deposits? See article below.


Carroll Smith is considered to be a "God" of Formula SAE, has his book series "...to Win" are considered to be bibles of college engineering students in Formula SAE when they design their race cars. So, the author of the white paper has a high degree of credibility.
 

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Over-tightening the wheels is a cause of warping - all 5 bolts should be first moderately tightened and then torque each bolt.

There's a chance the front brake calipers are not fully retracting, so the discs rub and heat up the rotors, which will eventually cause warping. There could be a fault in the cruise control where the front brakes are always slightly applied even when not braking, this will also cause heat up and warping. After driving a while it would be good to try to check the temperature of the rotors - don't touch them but spray a few drop of water to see if it sizzles, or use an IR thermometer.

But be the OP owns two M cars and now a Highlander - that raises a flag. M cars have much larger discs and rotors, and can hold up to hard braking. I have 2 normal BMWs, Audi, old Saab, and the brakes on the Highlander are scary at times, so I simply avoid those situations where our other cars would have no issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Over-tightening the wheels is a cause of warping - all 5 bolts should be first moderately tightened and then torque each bolt.

There's a chance the front brake calipers are not fully retracting, so the discs rub and heat up the rotors, which will eventually cause warping. There could be a fault in the cruise control where the front brakes are always slightly applied even when not braking, this will also cause heat up and warping. After driving a while it would be good to try to check the temperature of the rotors - don't touch them but spray a few drop of water to see if it sizzles, or use an IR thermometer.

But be the OP owns two M cars and now a Highlander - that raises a flag. M cars have much larger discs and rotors, and can hold up to hard braking. I have 2 normal BMWs, Audi, old Saab, and the brakes on the Highlander are scary at times, so I simply avoid those situations where our other cars would have no issues.
I would agree that there may be an issue with the rotors. Last week there was a slight wobbling while braking at highway speeds. I went on a 300 mile road trip last Thursday and returned on Saturday. Yesterday (Tuesday) I am now experiencing moderate wobble and pulsating while braking. As far as the M cars, I don’t track them, I just drive them how they were made to be drivin. On ramps, off ramps, I enjoy waiting for red lights to turn green. They both have under 15k miles and have had zero brake issues. Which isn’t saying much, but at 15k I was about to have my third set of rotors installed on the highlander. I don’t drive it aggressively. I have no need to. I putt around in the middle lane on the highway and take my son to/from practice. The current set of rotors have approx 4k miles on them and are experiencing moderate wobble. Even if I drove it like dale eardheart jr I don’t think they would wobble with 4k miles on them.
I think you’re on to something with the calipers though. I’m making an appointment after the holidays and will push them to find the source of the issue.
 
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