Before I begin explaining my issue, I want you to know that I am definitely planning on taking my car to the mechanic. I just want to know what I am getting myself into so I don't get ripped off.
I am a car noob and not a mechanic by any chance. I am a pretty handy person, but definitely not a guy who can just look at a video and be able to figure it out easily.
I drive a 2007 Toyota Camry Sports Edition. I purchased it used in 2015 April. It had 72,000 miles when I bought it and now it has 137,000.
- I had a minor wreck back in 2015 when I rear-ended a car in front of me. My front bumper got pushed in to the car a little bit. To the point that, when I finally had the money to change my tires, the guy said he had to push the bumper out a bit because the new tire is thicker than my old worn out one (that was how bad my old tire was!)
- When I took it to the insurance inspector, he said that (and I am definitely not using the right terms here) "a metal beam thingie that is in the front of the car is bent and needs to be straightened out". I could swear he said "front axle" but my uncle, who is really good at fixing cars (just the old ones), doesn't know what that even means. So maybe I am wrong about it.
- In late 2016, I drove over a median. The median was one of those short medians, about .5 to 1 foot high. That scraped the bottom of my car.
- There was a period then where I couldn't afford to get the brake pads changed in time, so I drove around with a pretty much metal brake. That caused the entire caliper assembly to fall out and get stuck in the tire. I had scraped the all-metal on my rotor that it made a deep hole in the rotor! I had the rotors on the front two tires and all 4 brake pads changed then.
- Continuation on Point 4, the rotor and caliper rubbing each other caused a bunch of metal to get scraped off of either parts and get deposited on my rims. So my rims are practically rusty brown in color now.
When I brake, my Camry vibrates a LOT! Like, it doesn't just feel like a normal vibrate. It feels like my front half of the car body is just going to get unscrewed and fly away somewhere. If you have a drink in the car, it will empty the cup for you. It is HORRIBLY bad. This happens more so when I brake from going at around 50 or over. If I am driving 30-35 and brake to 0-5, it doesn't vibrate. But if I come from 50 to even 49, as in, if I brake at all when I am at 50 or over, it does this.
Things I've tried:
- I read that the rotors get hot and get warped and that will cause the car to vibrate like this. So I bought 2 new rotors and 4 new brake pads, took it over to my uncle's house, and had him teach me how to change the rotors. I changed 1 rotor and 3 brake pads myself. This was no longer than 4-5 months ago. It drove fine for a month, and then it went back to the "a jet taking off" vibration.
- I thought maybe since I got my 4 tires changed in all different times, my front two tires are better at coming to a halt/slowing down than my back 2 are (I know it sounds crazy, but I am not that smart with cars). So I had all 4 of my tires changed in a one month window.
- Checked the brake fluid, which scares me a lot. Because, it has been about 2 years since I ever added any brake fluid in this vehicle. But the brake fluid levels were at close to maximum.
- Checked under the car to see if something is sticking outside/sticking inside/sticking into the tire area of the car. There is a small plastic piece hanging down, but I doubt that piece has the power to shake my car like this.
- Is it normal for the brake fluid to not get used at all over a period of 2 years?
- The rotors I originally got were the cheapest rotors I could get. Is that a bad choice?
- Can anyone think of anything that is possibly wrong with this? I am hoping to see any possible issue with my car so I go in with an expectation of what is wrong.
- If the forums are right about rotors overheating, are there any suggestions for the kind of rotors I can get to reduce the amount of heat the rotor retains? Any rotor brand/style that would actually resolve this issue for me.
Thank you and sorry for the really long post. Just wanted to be complete.
Based on comments, removed some of the unimportant questions so as to be in agreement with the site's standards.