2015 Acura TLX: Brake Shake
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on February 11, 2016
I've driven a lot of Hondas. Let's go down the list, just for giggles.
When I was in college, my parents had a '95 Accord EX sedan, which refused to quit but ultimately got replaced by a '98 Accord LX sedan that my dad drives to this day with 270k-plus miles on the clock.
My own second car (after an '85 300ZX with a broken odometer liberated its timing belt) was a '94 Integra LS, which was too turquoise. I sold it and bought a '93 Prelude Si. That saw me through to grad school, when I manned up and got a '95 Integra GS-R coupe. That one failed smog when I moved to California, so I shipped it home to my mom in Maine (who was still driving it until it rusted out last year) and bought a 2001 Prelude.
I don't have a Honda anymore, but suffice it to say that I know them well.
So when I felt some vibration in our long-term 2015 Acura TLX's brake pedal on my way down a lengthy high-speed grade, a series of traumatic Honda flashbacks ensued.
If there's one thing Honda has done a less than bang-up job with over the years, it's brakes. Folks like to say that Hondas are "good at everything." Almost, but not quite. Let me tell you how many of the above Honda specimens did not develop warped rotors with uncommon frequency: Two.
The '94 Integra, which was in my possession for all of a few weeks (look at that paint; what was I thinking?) and the '01 Prelude. The rest seemed like they had brake shake more often than they didn't. I actually had a Honda mechanic tell me once that it was the pulsing of the antilock brake system. Maybe he'd heard so many complaints over the years that it was easier (and cheaper for the customer) to blame the ABS instead.
I'm not saying our TLX is threatening to shake itself to pieces. It's not nearly that bad. But I submit to you that 17,000 miles and change is rather early for a $45,720 luxury sport sedan's brakes to be palpably degrading, even if it's subtle. I would also draw your attention to our track test of this particular TLX, at 2,265 miles, in which our driver noted that "by the time we finished our acceleration runs, we were getting noticeable brake judder."
Now we're getting it in the real world, too. Is Honda simply up to its old tricks here? I'm hoping there's another explanation.
Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor @ 17,734 miles