Car Doctor: Why does the brake pedal shudder before Tucson comes to a complete stop?

·4 min read

Q: I own a 2017 Hyundai Tucson with 94,000 miles on it. Lately, when cruising to a stop, just before coming to a complete stop, I hear a noise and feel a slight shudder in the brake pedal. It sounds very similar to the noise I hear in the winter when the ABS system kicks in going down a steep hill covered in ice and snow.

I brought the car to a garage and was told the rotors and pads were grooved, and it was caused by the calipers needing to be lubed. That did not cure the problem, so I took it to the dealer. After running diagnostics on the brakes, they recommended returning to the garage and having both the pads and rotors replaced. I did.

That did not cure the noise in the brakes. The noise does not happen all the time, usually just when light pressure is applied.

A: Since the car was at the dealer, I’m assuming that the two possible brake recalls were completed.

I have seen other Hyundai models that have a similar noise and brake feel. The problem with those cars was a faulty ABS brake modulator.

I would return to the Hyundai dealer and ask them to look for the issue again. Perhaps this time you can demonstrate it to the technician.

Q: I own a 2008 Toyota RAV4 that is starting to use oil at 60,000 miles. I understand that Toyota incorrectly installed piston rings on this generation of RAV4s. Is there anything I can do to get Toyota to fix this issue?

A: In some cases, these models will use more than a quart of oil in 1,000 miles. Toyota covered any necessary repairs for the first six years or 60,000 miles, whichever came first. In a 14-year-old car, even with only 60,000 miles, it is unlikely Toyota will do anything to help pay for necessary repairs.

If this were my car, I would change the oil as required and check the oil each month and add more as necessary.

Q: My daughter is looking for a new car. She had a terrible experience with a 2020 Toyota Corolla. It had seven flat tires in just under three years.

She is considering a Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson. Do you have any idea why the directional lights are located low down in the bumper? Is this a new idea? Do you think this is a safety hazard? The Jeep Grand Cherokee has directional lights in the "regular" spot, so she’s thinking it’s safer. What do you think?

A: To me, it’s a styling issue.

The federal motor vehicle law requires the turn signals to be the brightest light. The placement really doesn't have much impact on the visibility of the lights.

The Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson are essentially twins, so it would be a personal choice which car, dealer and deal she likes best.

The Grand Cherokee is a bigger vehicle — more mid-sized — while the others are compact SUVs.

The Corolla is a very good car. I'm not sure why she is having all the tire issues. Personally, I wouldn’t get rid of the car because of the tires. I would buy a good-quality set of four tires and get the road hazard insurance.

Q: I have a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback that I bought brand new, and it's been problem-free until recently. The problem stems from an ongoing issue with the oxygen sensor, which prompts the "check engine" light to go on, triggeringthe OnStar alert. The problem is getting so bad that I have been to the dealership twice in five weeks.

Is something I am doing (local driving or the fuel I am using) contributing to this? The dealership has been very accommodating, changing out sensors, clearing codes, but honestly, enough is enough!

A: Well, certainly this is not caused by something you are doing. The engine should perform properly at all times.

The only possible issue could be if you are buying gas from some station that may have some cross-contaminated fuel (diesel and gas mixed together). Switching stations would be a place to start.

The oxygen sensor is obviously not the problem if they've replaced it more than once. The issue could be a very slight leak in the exhaust system, a fuel injector issue, or a faulty EGR valve. All of these will cause a lean condition that the oxygen sensor is trying to compensate for.

At this point, more diagnostic time needs to be used to find the actual problem.

Q: My 2000 BMW 740iL has an antifreeze leak at the rear of the motor, in front of the transmission. Are there coolant pipes in that area? How difficult is it to access for repair?

A: In some models, there are three coolant crossover tubes that can leak. The repair, according to the BMW flat rate time book, will take about eight hours.

According to the shop manual, the transmission needs to be removed to repair the issue.

I have seen some online shortcuts, but still, it is a time-consuming and fairly expensive repair.

AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul

John Paul is the AAA Northeast Car Doctor. He has more than 40 years of experience in the automobile industry and is an ASE-Certified Master Technician. Write to John Paul, The Car Doctor, at 110 Royal Little Drive, Providence, RI 02904. Or email and put “Car Doctor” in the subject field. Follow him on Twitter @johnfpaul or on Facebook.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Car Doctor: Why does Hyundai Tucson's brake pedal shudder?