Car Shakes When Braking (Causes & Solutions)

If you are driving and your car is shaking or vibrating when the brakes are applied, it can raise some concerns. Not only does this make for an unpleasant ride for yourself and any passengers, but it could also be a sign of something more serious with your vehicle’s braking system.

It is important to take care of this issue as quickly as possible in order to keep everyone on the roadway safe and stop any further harm from occurring.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the common causes of car shaking when braking and how to diagnose and fix the problem.

Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake?

Your car shaking while braking may have a few potential causes. Worn brake pads and rotors, loose or compromised calipers, tires or wheels that are not balanced correctly, or misaligned suspension can all contribute to the issue. There could also be a problem with a broken brake hose, an inappropriate fluid level in the brake system, as well as difficulties with the brake master cylinder.

Car Shakes When Braking: Causes

When your car is shaking while you apply the brakes, it could be a symptom of an underlying problem with either the braking system or part(s) related to it.

The following are some possibilities that may need to be taken into account before determining a definitive cause:

1. Worn Brake Pads or Rotors

One of the most common causes of car shaking when braking is worn brake pads or rotors. Brake pads have a pivotal role in the suspension system as they must endure contact with the rotors so that braking can occur.

If these components become dilapidated from time to time, they may not be able to generate sufficient traction which causes disruptions while coming to a stop.

Similarly, It is not uncommon for rotors to experience wear over time, diminishing the smoothness of the surface which interacts with brake pads.

When this occurs, braking at greater velocities may result in shaky or vibrating driving experiences. To remedy this, brand-new brake pads and rotors must be installed.

2. Unbalanced Tires

If your wheels or tires have an unequal weight distribution, it can result in a vibration or shaking sensation when applying the brakes.

This feeling may be due to uneven wear on the tires, or harm inflicted upon the rims. When some of your rubber is off balance and not symmetrical in terms of weight, it can throw off your braking as imbalanced force produces a shuddering sensation.

To fix this problem try doing regular balancing and rotating processes to improve tire equilibrium levels

3. Loose or Damaged Brake Calipers

The brake calipers are an integral element of the braking mechanism, tasked with compressing the pads to the rotors. If these components become loose or break down, it can cause a shaking or wobbling sensation when you apply your brakes.

This malfunction can be attributed to either natural wear and tear as time passes by or damage from any kind of vehicular collision.

To remedy this issue, you ought to either mend it back in place using appropriate tools and pieces; otherwise, just go ahead and get it changed for new ones altogether!

4. Misaligned Suspension

The suspension system in a vehicle is its key element when it comes to providing a hassle-free and comfy journey, as this component will absorb any of the bumps or unevenness on the road.

It unfortunately can become misaligned which may lead to shaking and vibration when you brake. This can typically be due to components being worn down from use, but an accident could also have resulted in such alteration requiring repair work.

Aligning your suspension correctly should resolve these issues.

5.Bent Wheel Rims

It’s not uncommon for car owners to think their cars’ shaking is due to worn tires or misaligned wheels—however, one of the main reasons your car shakes when braking is bent wheel rims. If you drive through potholes regularly, this could damage your wheel rims, and you might end up having bent wheel rims.

You might feel some light vibrations from your car’s wheels when driving at high speeds. The vibrations can become more severe as you speed up, and you might notice that, in turn, your steering wheel becomes harder to control as a result.

Vibrations can quickly get too intense to handle because of bent rims, so it’s important to have them changed before they cause further damage to the rest of your vehicle.

6. Loose or Damaged Brake Hose

One of the reasons why a vehicle may be shaking when braking is that the brake hose has become loose or damaged.

This component is responsible for carrying brake fluid from your foot pedal to the calipers so they can activate the brakes and if it’s not functioning properly, you will notice vibrating and trembling when braking.

To fix this issue, you’ll need to repair or change out your current brake hose.

7. Incorrect Brake Fluid Level

If your vehicle’s brake fluid level is inadequate, this can give rise to shaking or vibration when braking. Brake fluid is necessary for the proper functioning of the brakes, allowing for connection between the brake pads and rotors so as to reduce speed.

If levels are too low it can lead to a lack of pressure building in the system resulting in unusual vibrations or shakes while you press on them. To remedy this issue you’ll have to examine and supplement needed brake fluid if need be.

Also Read: P0300 – Meaning, Causes, and Symptoms & Fixes

How to Diagnose the Cause of Car Shaking When Braking

1. Visual Inspection of Brake Pads and Rotors

Examining the brake pads and rotors is a vital part of diagnosing why a car shakes when braking. If there is evidence that the brake pads have worn thin or that the rotors are not in optimal condition, with signs of damage or uneven surfaces, it could be causing vibrations while braking.

2. Checking for Loose or Damaged Brake Calipers

If your car begins to shake when you hit the brakes, it might be a sign of problems with the brake calipers. Take a look at the calipers and search for any visible signs of damage or lose components. If there is something wrong, they will have to be fixed or exchanged.

3. Balancing and Rotating Tires

If the wheels and tires are not properly balanced or have been wrongly aligned, this too could cause your car to shake when you brake. To diagnose this problem, you should take your car to a specialist for tire balancing and rotation.

4. Examining Suspension Alignment

It is possible that cars may shake when braking if their suspensions are out of alignment or damaged. To assess the situation, it would be necessary to observe the suspension and determine whether any damage has occurred.

If any issues were noticed with the way in which it has been set up, service or adjustments must be made accordingly in order to rectify them.

5. Examining the Brake Hose

In order to diagnose a loose or damaged brake hose, one should first visually inspect for signs of wear and tear along it’s length.

Additionally, the car’s brake pedal can be checked for slack in the system by pressing it with force multiple times to assess any changes in resistance.

In case further confirmation is needed, a mechanic may use specialized tools such as a vacuum test gauge or an air pressure bleeder tester to measure if there are leaks or excessive air inside the system.

6. Check for Incorrect Brake Fluid Level

In order to diagnose an incorrect brake fluid level, you will need to check the reservoir on your brakes. This can typically be found near the master cylinder and is often clearly labeled as ‘brake fluid’.

Check if the fluid level is within the manufacturer’s recommended range or falls below it; if so, you may need to top up your brake system with new brake fluid.

How To Fix Car Shakes When Braking Problem

If your car is shaking when braking, there are several potential solutions that can help resolve the issue. Here are some options to consider:

1. Replacing Worn Brake Pads and Rotors

If the brakes on your vehicle have suffered damage or wear and tear, you may start to feel it shuddering when coming to a stop. To remedy this issue a replacement of both brake pads and rotors is necessary.

The job can easily be accomplished with the proper instructions, but for best results, it is wise to get an experienced mechanic involved who can ensure that everything was properly installed again.

As part of the process, they will take off the old items and affix new ones exactly as required by the specifications of your car’s make/model. It’s important to change out both the brake pads and rotors simultaneously so that they can work together in an effective manner.

2. Repairing or Replacing Damaged Brake Calipers

If your brake calipers are cracked or otherwise compromised, it could be the source of a shaking feeling when you hit the brakes. In order to rectify this issue, repair or replacement of the calipers is necessary and should always be done by a qualified mechanic.

The brake calipers play an important role in slowing down your car – they squeeze against the rotors with two pads to bring things to a stop.

If these pieces have been damaged in some way then they might not provide adequate hold, causing vibrations when you come off of the gas pedal.

Upon inspection by an experienced mechanic, whatever needs doing – repairing or replacing them completely- will be carried out efficiently and properly so as not to further exacerbate any issues that may arise due to this kind of damage over time.

3. Balancing and Rotating Tires

If your tires are out of balance or show signs of uneven wear, you may experience a shaking sensation when braking in your car. In order to remedy this issue, both balancing and rotating the tires are necessary.

The process itself is relatively simple and can be carried out by either an auto mechanic shop as well as at home with appropriate tools.

Balancing entails attaching weights to the rim so that each tire has equal weight distribution while rotating involves switching up the position of each tire on the car which helps evenly spread around any existing wear and tear throughout all four wheels.

4. Adjusting Suspension Alignment

If your suspension is misaligned, it can be the contributing force to a shaking experience when braking. To rectify this issue, you’ll have to adjust the suspension’s angle in relation to the car body.

This might require expert attention as it’s not something easily handled by an inexperienced person; they will use suitable tools and devices that guarantee accurate angles in the alignment of your wheels.

Doing so should help stabilize and enhance handling; also decrease wear and tear on tires at once.

Here’s a video to show you what you have to do to fix car shakes when braking issues.

How To Avoid Brake Shudder

Braking shudder can be an annoying problem that causes your vehicle to vibrate or shake while braking.

This issue could originate from a few different sources, including worn brake pads and/or rotors, distorted calipers, misbalanced tires, and wheels, or degraded suspensions.

To avoid brake shudder, here are some steps you can take:

1. Follow Your Car’s Recommended Brake Maintenance Schedule

Having regularly scheduled maintenance for your braking system is a critical aspect of avoiding brake shudder.

Be sure to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendation on when it is best to replace both pads and rotors, in addition, be mindful of any faults that may arise by inspecting the input mechanisms frequently.

2. Use High-Quality Brake Pads and Rotors

If you want to ensure your vehicle stops with optimal performance, it’s important to choose the right brake pads and rotors. Low-cost parts may be less durable and lack sufficient friction.

This will lead to premature wear of the part as well as greater chances of experiencing brake shudder. Picking higher-quality components designed specifically for your car will give you better stopping power without sacrificing safety.

3. Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated and Rotated

Maintaining appropriate tire pressure is an excellent way to reduce brake shudder. Checking and adjusting your tires frequently can help ensure they remain at the manufacturer’s desired levels.

In addition, you should have them rotated and balanced regularly to guarantee there is even wear around your vehicle. Doing so will lead to the long-lasting performance of your car’s braking system as well as its tires.

4. Avoid Heavy Braking

It is clearly of the utmost importance that you are able to bring your car to a halt at high speed in an urgent situation, but if brakes are applied too aggressively this can lead to progressively weaker brake pads and rotors, resulting in an unpleasant shuddering while braking.

It’s wise therefore, whenever possible, to practice preventive strategies such as pre-emptively anticipating when you will need the brakes and applying a gentle yet consistent slowing down pressure.

With the application of these methods, you can help avert brake shudder and make sure your vehicle runs optimally and securely.

Also Read: Transmission Fluid Colors & What They Mean

Frequently Asked Questions

What could be causing my car to shake when I brake?

There are several potential causes for a car to shake when braking, including:

  1. Warped brake rotors
  2. Loose wheel bearings
  3. Worn-out brake pads or shoes
  4. The uneven tire tread or improperly balanced tires
  5. Malfunctioning suspension components

How can I tell which component is causing the issue?

At times, shaking problems can be tough to identify without thoroughly checking the vehicle. We highly suggest having your automobile looked at by a professional mechanic in order to determine what is causing the shake and to know what repairs need to take place.

Can driving with a car that shakes when braking be dangerous?

Yes, Having a car that vibrates while braking could put you and your passengers in harm’s way. In some cases, this may be an indication of a brake-related problem which could create an inability to properly stop the vehicle, raising the possibility of accidents. To guarantee secure travel for all occupants of your car it is necessary to address any shaking or rattling issues promptly.

How much does it typically cost to fix a car that shakes when braking?

Whenever a car is shaking when braking, the cost to fix it can vary per the source of the problem. Warped rotors and worn brake pads tend to be quite economical repairs while defective suspension pieces or unstable wheel bearings are typically more expensive. To pinpoint exactly how much it may cost for this type of repair, consulting with an auto mechanic is advised in order to receive an accurate assessment price.

Can I fix the issue myself, or do I need to take it to a mechanic?

It is very important to get a certified mechanic when it comes to troubleshooting and correcting any issues affecting your vehicle, most especially the car shaking when braking. Even if an adept individual may possess the know-how for making certain repairs, it is still essential to exercise utmost vigilance whenever addressing brake systems in order for them to perform effectively and keep you secure on the road.

Conclusion

To sum up, cars shaking when the brakes are engaged is a common issue with multiple potential causes. Those can include worn brake pads and rotors, loose or broken calipers, unbalanced wheels, and tires or misaligned suspension.

It is important to identify the exact cause of the difficulty so you know which remedy to use — this might entail doing a visual inspection as well as rotating and balancing tires in addition to rectifying any suspension alignment issues.

If the issue at hand is not addressed in a timely manner, it can result in further harm and enhance the chances of unfortunate events.

Knowing the basic causes and remedies for when a car shakes when braking gives you an opportunity to guarantee that your vehicle remains safe and dependable.

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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