Car Shakes When Braking (Why & How To Fix)

When it comes to stopping your vehicle, you know that things can get pretty intense. You want to come to a safe and complete stop every time. 

Are you noticing that your car keeps shaking or vibrating every time you step on the brakes and want to find out why and how to fix it? Worry no more because we have the answers you need. 

There’s a variety of reasons you may be experiencing shaking when braking, such as parts becoming worn out, the wrong kind of pad being installed, or even an issue with the rotor itself. 

Here are the most common reasons your car shakes when braking and how to fix them.

Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake?

If your car shakes when braking or you feel vibrations in your steering wheel and your brake pedal, it is probably caused by faulty rotors.

A rotor is a disc usually attached to the wheel hubs of most automobiles, and it is made from steel or aluminum. 

For a vehicle to successfully stop when the brake pedal is pressed, the pedal presses firmly on the brake rotors. This causes friction, which makes your wheels slow down. 

If your rotors are not balanced correctly, you will indeed feel vibrations in the steering wheel and pedals when you attempt to brake.

There are several other reasons why your car can sh)))ake when braking. It could be caused by something as simple as worn tires, or perhaps you have some sort of internal problem with the brakes themselves. 

In this case, one can experience symptoms that seem to indicate that your car needs new brakes!

Your braking system consists of several components, each of which is important to the overall brake performance of your car. 

You have to find out the specific component that is damaged and is causing your car to shake when braking; otherwise, you may be wasting time fixing other parts when they aren’t even the source of the problem.

Car Shakes When Braking: Causes

In detail, here are some reasons your car shakes when breaking:

1. Faulty Brake Pads And Rotors

Suppose Your car shakes when braking, the problem could be your rotors. Your car rotors are responsible for the vibration or shaking you experience in your steering wheel or brake pedal when you try to stop your vehicle.

The brake pads in your car are what applies pressure on the wheels’ disc whenever you press down on your brake pedal. The wheels slow down to stop moving when the braking force exerted by these pads is strong enough.

Brake pads can accumulate oil, dirt, and other substances over time. These substances can cause hindrances and vibrations when the brake pads are pressed.

Brake pads can accumulate a variety of substances over time, such as oil, dirt, or other contaminants. These substances might affect the performance of the brake pads themselves, causing your car to shake when braking.

Rotors are also affected by wear and tear. Over time they become thinner than they used to be, making them more susceptible to damages. Unrestrained heat brought about when braking can cause rotors to deteriorate over time.

Slipping brake pads can be avoided by getting your brakes checked around the 70,000-mile mark. Depending on several factors, like how heavy your vehicle is or your driving style, you might need to get your rotors replaced even earlier than that.

2. Unbalanced Tires

Your tires are also another reason your car shakes when braking. If your vehicle’s suspension system is under a lot of stress, it may be because the tires are not properly inflated or balanced in some areas. You may also have steering problems if the steering wheel shakes.

Take your vehicle to a tire center when you notice this. The technician should inspect your tires properly when you bring in your vehicle for a tire rotation. A tire rotation should be done every 5,000-7,000 miles. However, you should check the mileage on your vehicle’s manual to confirm. Your car’s manual will list the miles at which tire rotation and inspection must be done.

3. Dry Guide Pins

If your car shakes when you brake, a dry guide pin in your brake adapter may be the cause. A guide pin is small and cylindrical and is one of many components that make up the brake calipers that are responsible for braking. The guide pins need to be clean and stay properly lubricated; otherwise, they can corrode or build up with dirt and grit, causing the brakes not to work properly, causing your car to shake when braking.

To test if your guide pins are dry, you should visit your mechanic or a local professional service that can take care of your car. They’ll first have to remove the brake caliper and clean it first to diagnose the problem. Then they can lubricate it. This problem can be fixed by inspecting the caliper housing and using high-temperature grease to treat it.


4. Alignment Issues

If you notice your car shaking while braking at speeds greater than 50 miles per hour, it could be an alignment problem. If you are driving your car and there are no other cars around, take your hands off the steering wheel for a few seconds. However, keep them close by in case of emergency. 

Determine if the car is drifting slightly to the right or left. Your vehicle should move straight if it doesn’t have any alignment problems. If your vehicle moves in one direction or the other, you will need to inspect it thoroughly to determine any alignment 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. Suspension problems

You might be experiencing shaking when your car is being driven and not just when you brake; with this, you may be experiencing some problems with your suspension. Small rocks and potholes can cause damage to your suspension over time. If your car shakes when braking, it could be a sign of a suspension problem.

Your car can also shake when you are driving and not just when you try to brake. If you notice this, you may be experiencing some problems with your vehicle’s suspension. Small rocks and potholes can cause damage to your suspension over time. If you find that your car continues to shake whenever you come to a quick stop, then it could be a sign of a suspension problem.

7. Power Steering Issues

Your vehicle’s power steering system has many parts. Each one must be in top condition to allow you to make smooth turns. It is possible that sometimes you feel the steering wheel turning in one direction more than the other. You might also feel a shaking sensation while turning the steering wheel. This could indicate a problem with your power steering.

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

How To Fix Car Shakes When Braking Problem

A technician with a thorough understanding of your vehicle should inspect all of the braking components and let you know whether it’s time for new brake pads, brake rotors, or an alignment to stop the vibrations and shakes when braking.

The best way to fix your car’s brake shudder is to get new brake pads. However, you may need to replace your brake rotors in some cases, and it is recommended that you replace the brake pads if you replace brake rotors.

Fixing brake shudder is usually as simple as replacing your brake rotors. If you have to replace your rotors, it is recommended that you just replace your brake pads too because it will prevent any brake shudder that you might experience soon because of faulty brake pads.

If your car has new rotors but uses old brake pads, you could face serious safety issues. The worn pads won’t be able to properly catch on the smooth new rotors, meaning that your brakes will not work as they should and may lead to brake shudder.

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

How To Avoid Brake Shudder

Brakes create a lot of heat due to friction when your vehicle comes to a stop, and this heat can affect the brake system’s effectiveness in the long run. Excessive heat which can damage your brakes and cause the car to shake when braking can be avoided by practicing good driving habits and minimizing the overuse of brakes altogether.

People who tend to feel more comfortable going from speed limit to speed limit and stopping suddenly are likely to cause damage to the brakes on their vehicle faster than the average driver. Brakes are designed to withstand high temperatures, but when brakes are constantly used, they don’t get the time to cool off, which could cause them to overheat, leading to brake fade, affecting the vehicle’s performance and braking capabilities.

To avoid brake shudder in your vehicle, try as much as possible to minimize the use of your brakes. Also, be sure to always apply your brakes slowly before coming to a stop. Stoping your car harshly can damage the brakes and should be avoided.

Finally, when you need to replace your brake pads or rotors, do not purchase inferior parts that might seem cheaper as they could get damaged easily, and the brake shudder will continue. Always buy high-quality parts when you need to perform a replacement for your brake pads or rotors.

Also Read: Transmission Fluid Colors & What They Mean

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Bad If My Car Shakes When I Brake?

Yes. A brake shudder can indicate that you don’t have adequate or equal braking pressure, which could affect your stopping distance. Any problem with a vehicle’s brake system is a safety concern.

Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake At High Speeds?

Brake shudder or car shaking while braking refers to a vibration felt through the steering wheel and brake pedal when brakes are applied at high speed. Brake shudder can be caused by a variety of things, including damaged rotors, malfunctioning calipers, or new brake pads that are not properly broken in after replacement. There are many reasons why brake shudder could occur, including broken rotors and malfunctioning calipers.

Is It Safe To Drive When Your Car Shakes When Braking?

Car vibrations may occur at certain speeds, or it can happen all the time. Don’t ignore a vibration or shaking sensation in your vehicle. Nonetheless, You should immediately address any brake problems in your vehicle.

Can Unbalanced Tires Cause A Car To Shake When Braking?

Alignment problems can cause cars to share when braking and vibrations as well as uneven tire wear. However, tire imbalance and warped brake discs can also lead to similar symptoms.

Can Bad Shocks Cause a Car to Shake When Breaking?

Even if it isn’t obvious, passengers might complain about the bumpy ride. If the shocks or struts have worn, you may feel unusual vibrations or hear strange clunks as your brake or steer your vehicle.

Can A Bad Ball Joint Cause Your Car To Shake When Braking?

Yes, a bad ball join cab can cause vibrations at high speeds, particularly if the ball joint is worn. The effect would not be as obvious as those caused by brake problems. You probably don’t have a bad joint if you feel heavy vibrations.

Can Wheel Alignment Cause Car To Shake When Braking?

Yes! Bad wheel alignment can cause the car to shake when braking. This can cause your car to be unstable and unevenly wear.
Also, Unbalanced tires can cause uneven wear and steering vibrations. However, unlike the brake problems above, you will feel the uneven wearing and poor alignment of your tires at all times, not just when you are braking.

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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