Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake?

  • Nov 26, 2021
image of a boot pressing on a brake pedal image of a boot pressing on a brake pedal

Is a shaking car giving you nervous shakes? Vibrations in your vehicle and steering wheel can be a bit jarring, especially when performing something as crucial as braking. If you feel vibrations when using the brakes, then you know it’s time to head to your nearest Tires Plus for brake service

But first, let’s brake down what could be going on with your vehicle.

Why Does My Car Vibrate When I Apply the Brakes? 

It’s a troublesome feeling when your car shakes when you brake. If the shaking only occurs when you’re braking while driving, particularly on a vehicle with front or all-wheel disc brakes, this may be caused by a series of issues, including those listed below.

Brake Rotor Issues

Your brake rotors are large metal discs attached to the vehicle's wheel hub assemblyor axle, and they are positioned between the two brake pads. These pads squeeze against the rotor to slow and stop your vehicle by means of the brake caliper. This caliper utilizes hydraulic fluid pressure from the master cylinder, which is actuated by the brake pedal.

If one or more of your brake rotors becomes 'warped,' you might experience that dreaded vibration when you brake. In which case, consider having your brakes inspected at your local Tires Plus.

Worn Brake Pads

Brake pads wear over time — there’s no avoiding it. And depending on how either the pads or rotor wears, you may feel vibrations. If your vehicle vibrates when you apply the brakes and is accompanied by an annoying squealing sound, it’s likely time to get your brake serviced at Tires Plus.

Brake Calipers are Sticking

Your brake calipers are responsible for pushing the brake pads against the rotors. When you hit the brakes, hydraulic brake fluid fills chambers in the caliper, which forces the caliper piston(s)  outward and against the pads, slowing the rotor. The harder you brake, the more fluid pressure builds in the calipers, and the more pressure is applied to the brake pads and rotors. 

If the caliper or caliper pistons become stuck, it is unable to properly squeeze the brake pads against the rotors, which may cause you to feel some vibrations when you hit the brakes. Calipers may also get stuck while engaged, which won’t allow the brake pad to let off the rotor. 

If your brake caliper is sticking, you may experience a few symptoms. Your brake pedal may become less responsive, you may experience acceleration difficulty, and/or your car might pull to one side. You may also hear unusual sounds while braking or even smell a burning odor from excessively hot pads and rotors being squeezed together for too long.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to get your brakes serviced at Tires Plus immediately to ensure you maintain brake safety on the road.

When I Hit the Brakes, My Steering Wheel Shakes!

A shaky steering wheel or vehicle while braking is certainly unnerving. Unfortunately, there can be many causes for a shaking steering wheel, and not all of them pertain to your brakes! ‘Warped’ rotors, a stuck brake caliper, tire balance or tire issues, and even suspension problems can all cause you to feel vibrations in your steering wheel or vehicle. 

Have your shaky steering wheel diagnosed at your local Tires Plus, and our technicians will work to pinpoint the exact issue and provide you with the right service for your vehicle.

My Car Idles Rough When Braking

Many brake symptoms can crop up when you’re attempting to bring your vehicle to a stop. But if your car is vibrating when you're braking and idling — meaning your foot is on the brake, your engine is running, and your vehicle is not in motion — the problem may be related to the power brake booster assembly. 

My Car Vibrates When I Let Off the Gas!

Does your vehicle vibrate when you let off the gas? Shaking while coasting down the highway can be a bit more than a nuisance and should not be ignored. This symptom could be due to several issues. If your vehicle shakes when you let off the gas, schedule your visit to Tires Plus as soon as possible to diagnose and resolve the underlying cause.

Can’t Shake That Vibration? Tires Plus Has Your Back!

Shaking and vibrating while you brake is more than annoying — it can be a sign of serious wear you don’t want to ignore! Schedule a brake service at your nearest Tires Plus or a Complete Vehicle Inspection if you feel your vehicle is showing other worrying symptoms. Our expert technicians will diagnose the cause of your car’s shakes and give you all the details before starting any repairs.

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