A week ago I changed the pads & rotors on my front tires. Everything was mostly normal. On the driver's side the calpier was very rusted, but I put it back on figuring the piston still looked ok.

I drove around town a few times with the car, going on the highway once, and had no issues. Yesterday I drove to an off-site location for work 75 miles away. It's 99% highway & interstate, and I was going ~75 mph most of the way there without issue.

On the way home, about 50 miles from work & 25 miles from home, the driver side wheel started to vibrate when I was going over 60-65 mph. The vibrating wasn't constant, it seemed like it would buzz quickly a few times a second (maybe 2-4). If I had to guess, it sounded like the vibration was b/c of something on the tire/wheel/rotor rubbing against something while spinning around. The problem wasn't consistent either. I could often go up to 70 without issue, but then it seemed like randomly the vibrations would start and I just coasted down to 60 and it went away. I didn't think to brake while it was going, so I'm not sure if that is the problem.

Does anyone have any ideas what the problem is? The caliper looked a little suspect when I made the change, but I would guess it has to do with something that's spinning since it's not a constant vibration, but periodic (if that's the right word).

  • 1
    Did you knock a wheel weight off when you removed or installed the wheels? Are the lug nuts properly torqued? Is there snow packed in your wheels? A buzz at high speed might also be a random heat shield. I had that recently as they've started to rust off of my truck. Only at certain rpm and loads would it vibrate or buzz.
    – cory
    Nov 17, 2016 at 16:33
  • I did not pay attention, but I did not see any wheel weights anywhere in the garage - it's possible one fell while I drove. Would a missing weight cause a constant or irregular vibration? Also, all the bolts were torqued using a calibrated torque wrench & there's no snow were I live, so I feel good ruling those out. What is a heat shield? Is that the metal/plastic between the engine & wheel?
    – Charles L.
    Nov 17, 2016 at 17:45
  • Heat shield is just tin along the exhaust system to prevent fires in case you drive over some dry grass and protect sensitive things under the vehicle from heat. It wouldn't cause a vibration you can feel though, just a vibrating or buzzing noise.
    – cory
    Nov 17, 2016 at 18:19
  • I should mention it was about a little quieter than going on the rumble strip. I could really only feel the vibration at my feet. I'll check out the heat shield next chance I get too.
    – Charles L.
    Nov 17, 2016 at 18:28
  • Double check your lug nuts are still torqued properly. Nov 18, 2016 at 20:25

2 Answers 2


A few things to check

  • is your caliper bolted on tight?
  • were the pads snapped in place and seemed good
  • if the rotor is floating was it reasonably tight or could it flop around on the hub possibly a little too much
  • if the rotor was bolted to the hub did all the bolts go in nicely
  • is the tire and wheel bolted on or was it tweaked a little and now could be loose
  • if this happens again does it go away when hitting the brakes
  • does it tend to start after hitting a bump, letting off the brakes, hitting the brakes, at specific speeds
  • 1
    Can you elaborate on what caliper tight means? The pads seemed good, the rotor is tight, and all the bolts are good. I took it apart this weekend & put it back together. I haven't noticed a pattern yet.
    – Charles L.
    Nov 22, 2016 at 1:16
  • @CharlesL. bolted on tight and nothing was loose
    – Cc Dd
    Nov 22, 2016 at 6:23

Does the caliper have excessive movement? Are all mounting points tightened up accordingly for the load? If you can feel vibration through the pedal, the contact surface of the pads and rotors might not be sufficient enough. A run out test is recommended, If runout is beyond manufacturers' suggested max then you will need to replace both rotors And the pads once again. If runout test proves negative then it will more then likely be unbalanced wheels. hope this helps

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .