Why Does My Car Shake When I Press the Brakes?

Why Does my Car Shake When I Press the Brakes

There’s no more unsettling sensation behind the wheel than feeling your vehicle shaking. Whether it be at idle, under acceleration, or when braking, you know there’s something off with your car. 

There are many reasons this could be happening under braking, some being more serious issues than others. While you should always bring your car to a technician if your car feels even remotely unsafe, there are a few common reasons that your vehicle may be behaving like this:

Warped or faulty brake rotors

When you press on the brake pedal in your car, the brake pads are pressed with force against your brake rotors to create friction, and in turn, slow down your car. These rotors come from the factory as near-perfectly flat disks, but as they’re exposed to the elements and temperature changes, these disks can warp slightly or become uneven. When this happens, the brake pads will “jump” on these valleys on the rotor, and can cause heavy vibrations. 

Silver wheel with blue brake caliper

Wheel or Tire Problems

Oftentimes the vibrations in your vehicle can be explained by something as simple as an unevenly worn or unbalanced tire. If your alignment is off, certain tires may wear faster than others and this uneven wear can lead to the vehicle vibrating or shaking slightly when braking. Although less common, this problem can also be caused by a warped wheel, which can be a product of an accident or hitting a large pothole.

Loose/Bad Wheel Bearings

Wheel bearings are small ball bearings contained within two rings. They help your wheels spin freely and with the least friction possible. When these bearings become worn over time, they can cause the wheel to vibrate under braking. These problems are often accompanied by a grinding or rubbing noise.

Worn Brake Pads

Brake pads are abrasive pieces squeezed by the caliper against the rotor. With use, brake pads will wear down and can become uneven, which can lead to the pad not pressing squarely against the rotors. This can cause a result similar to a warped rotor, where the pad will jump and vibrate, causing the car to vibrate. 

Worn Suspension Components

Suspension is what keeps your car gliding smoothly over uneven roads and pavement, but what happens when it’s not working properly? Sometimes these components get so beat up and worn from use or have large bumps/potholes that they may become slightly bent or shifted. The suspension is connected to the steering components and wheel, so a shaking sensation can be felt if something is off.

Underside of a car

Brake Service at Scott’s U-Save

Are your brakes feeling uneasy? Scott’s U-Save is the place for that in Chicago’s Southland. Our shops in New Lenox, Schererville, and Steger will take care of your vehicle with our ASE-certified technicians with years of experience, and have your car feeling good again in no time. Call or schedule an appointment with us today!

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