Why Does my Car Shake When I Brake?
Have you driven on a highway, pressed the brakes and feel a pulse? Did you feel your car shake when you had to stop at a red light? Here are some possibilities to what that means.
Most frequently, this is due to an issue with the brake rotors being either warped, or out of balance. Rotors are the metal discs that the brake pads close against to cause friction when you press the brake pedal, and make your car slow down. Over time, the heating and cooling of the rotors can cause it to warp, which leaves an uneven braking surface. As the brake pads move against the bowed part of the rotor, this causes the shaking, or vibrating that you feel.
If the rotors are the root cause of shaking, the most likely outcome is to get them replaced. Often, rotors may be “machined,” or have the braking surface refinished as a lesser costly option for braking maintenance. When rotors are warped, it is beyond the kind of repair that refinishing the surface can help with, and full replacement is needed to remove the vehicle shaking, and restore the full performance of your brakes.
Another possibility is your tires may have a flat spot. In this instance, the shaking won’t be exclusive to when you are braking, but you will feel it every time the flat spot rotates toward the ground. Another tire related problem is if the tires are out of balance. Again, this would be something you would feel all the time, and not only while braking.
Most often, it is the front rotors that cause the majority of the shaking in most vehicles, especially those that are front-wheel drive. If you are mechanically inclined, replacing brake pads and rotors are one of the easier kinds of repairs that can be performed on a vehicle, and parts are readily available at your local dealership, or parts store, such as NAPA, or AutoZone. If you are experience vehicle shaking due to braking, and need rotors replaced, it is best to start with the front axle, as these are generally going to be the ones causing the shaking or vibration, assuming the age of all the brakes are the same.