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I recently bought a used Honda Civic. When i bought the vehicle, the tyres were literally bald, the steering used to wobble a lot when driving at higher speeds and braking.

Due to this, I got the tyres changed and the wheels inspected for bends. There were none and the problem still persisted only while braking.

I took the vehicle to a mechanic, he suggested me to replace the rotors, wheel bearings and the disc pads(the disc setup completely). I was a little reluctant on this since this is kind of heavy on the pocket, but i still asked him to do the job.

Got the vehicle delivered today, but i still see that the problem persists but only on light braking, if i brake firmly this issue isn't there. Now the mechanic says the issue could be with the steering rack. Is this correct, i feel that this guy is just shooting in the dark? what could be the exact cause for this ? if not exact what other things should i check ?

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  • Honda cars are extremely picky on rotor runout, most reputable shops resurface the rotor on the car, New rotors do not always solve the problem. – Moab Sep 18 '20 at 17:48
  • Not torquing the wheel nuts / studs evenly can cause sufficient distortion as well. – Solar Mike Sep 18 '20 at 18:31
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Once you have had the wheels balanced, and eliminated warped rotors, any remaining wobbles in the front end can usually be attributed to bushings, and there are a fair number of them:

  • Tie Rod bushings, Balljoints, these are the ends of the steering rack that attach to the wheel spindle/knuckle.
  • Steering Rack Bushings (holding the steering rack to the body)
  • Engine Mounts
  • Control Arm bushings, these hold the steering knuckles in place and connect the knuckle to the body of the car.
  • Suspension bushings such as the strut top mounts

Most bushings are rubber and you can inspect them for worn and brittle rubber that is visible and possibly crumbling. Some bushings are brass and as such these are usually much harder to inspect. The most basic test is to jack up the car and hold the front wheels with hands at 3 & 9 o'clock and rock back and forth to check for noise & movement, and then hold at 12 and 6 o'clock and do the same rocking to test for noise & movement.

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I'd pick a different mechanic to start with - wheel bearings could normally be diagnosed if they were the issue. From what you've said so far, chances of them being bad are very low and there's no reason to have them replaced this early in this process. Before replacing the steering rack, I'd have the tie rods checked first, they are a lot cheaper to replace than the steering rack. I'd also recommend inspecting the calipers for uneven movement as that could cause vibration during light braking even with new rotors.

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