TOM: Brian, you’ve checked everything except the one thing that is most likely to be causing the problem.
RAY: Do you think he considers that good news or bad news? On the one hand, he’s about to get the answer. But on the other hand, he’s about to realize he just wasted several months and a bunch of money looking in all the wrong places.
TOM: I’m pretty sure he knows that already!
RAY: You almost certainly have warped brake discs, Brian. Your brake pads “grab” the disc from either side when you step on the brake. And if the disc is not perfectly smooth, the uneven spots will push back against the pads and make the brake pedal pulse, and/or make the steering wheel wobble.
TOM: And if we’re right, it’s not dangerous in the sense that a wheel is going to fall off soon. But it is dangerous in that it extends your stopping distance. And that can be serious.
RAY: So it should be fixed. Another thing to check is your control-arm bushings. If you had a slightly warped disc and worn-out control-arm bushings, that slight pulsation you got from the disc could get magnified by a weak bushing and cause this kind of wobbling, too.
TOM: So now you know what to do, Brian: Replace the discs (I would not recommend trying to resurface them) and check those bushings.
RAY: If that doesn’t solve the problem, don’t write back, because we’ll be out of ideas, too.
Got a question about cars? Email Click and Clack by visiting the Car Talk website at cartalk.com.