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Discussion Starter #1
I recently had my pads, rotors, calipers, and pins replaced all the way around on my 2008 Volkswagen Jetta 2.5 SEL. Prior to getting all that fixed I had a vibration in the steering wheel due to what I believed was warped rotors. After getting all that fixed, I still have the vibration in the steering wheel going down the road. It is really bad when the car is cold and hasn't been running for a while, and lessens the more its driven. After spending the amount of money I just did replacing all of these components, I can't help but be a little frustrated at the fact it didn't resolve the problem. Anyone help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

1,745 Posts
If the vibration occurs, with wheel shake when you BRAKE, then it's usually
warped rotors, or hard spots on the rotors. Warped rotors won't have
the vibration all the time, only when you brake. SO, if it was happening
all the time, then it was not the B&Rs.

Bad calipers won't reveal anything, but dragging brakes, but a collapsed hose can
do that too. Bad slide pins, would only make the warped rotor shaking worse...
Generally, you don't know if the slide pins are bad, unless there is so much play
in them, you hear a "click" every time you brake.

If it happens when driving, and you're NOT on the brake, then it's either a
tire is out of balance or wheel bearing. Seeing as it starts when the car
is warmed up, then that may eliminate the tires, but still leaves the wheel
bearing. They can be checked for play when hot. A bad tire can also
show a flaw when it heats up, like a thrown belt, or side-wall failure, or
it just gets sloppy when hot, but this isn't all that common...

IF the rotors are new, and it is still vibrating on braking, then you check
bushings and ball joints; tie rod ends, or lower ball joints on the lower
control arms. When COLD these are all tight, and as they warm up,
the metal expands to reveal their worn-out condition. You also have
two bushings on the lower control arm. When the bushings heat up,
they'll also reveal their worn state. After all that, then you have the
inner tie rods, they also have a ball-joint where they attach to the
rack, power or electric.

To check?

First, inspect the ball joints for boot deterioration on both the tie rod ends, and
lower ball joints. Any grease leaking out, they're bad. Ripped, torn deteriorating
boots, they are bad. That does not mean they're mechanically bad, but they will be.
I have a 2006 Silverado, and the boots on the tie rod ends? RH side, there was
no boot, and LH side it was half gone, and it STILL passed inspection because
there was no movement. This was the way it was when I bought it, and it was only
2 months after the inspection sticker date, so they SURELY passed that way.
I replaced them anyway, and also, one inner tie rod passed, and it was BAD, there
was side to side play...

When hot, put the wheels up, and grab the wheel at 3 and 9 o'clock, and
shake the tire side to side by pushing in on one side, and pulling on the other side,
and rapidly alternating that action. If you have movement, then it's the inner tie
rod, or tie rod end. Look at the tie-rod end ball-joint while doing it to see if
it's moving. If you have play and it is not moving, then it's the inner tie rod.
Sometimes, the rack can move, but this generally not the issue...

No movement here, move on...

Next, grab the wheel at 12 and 6 o'clock, and rock the tire by pushing at the top,
and pulling at the bottom, and alternate; if you have movement, then it's a wheel
bearing. When they get REAL bad, they will start to growl, and be more prominent
when coming to a stop. There can be a TAD of play, but not excessive. Rotate the
wheel and listen for any unusual noise and feel for any roughness as it rotates, which
may indicate that the bearing is bad.

To check the lower ball joint, you get the tire about a half-inch off the
ground, put a pry bar under the tire, and push the tire up with the pry
bar, and look for any lift at the lower ball joint. If you see the knuckle
pull away from the ball joint before the control arm moves up with the
tire, any length, that ball joint is bad.

Lots of items to check, which really, should have been done before doing
the brake job, but, you got all new brakes & calipers...
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