The braking system is one of the most important safety systems in your car. If your car shakes when you apply the brakes, then it is often an indication of a problem. There are numerous reasons why using the brakes causes shaking. It can be something simple like your tires, or involve something more complicated like your suspension. Most commonly, the reasons can be found in the braking system itself. So, if your car shakes when you apply the brakes, it is a good idea to check out your rotors, pads, and brake lines first.
Most Common Reasons Your Car Shakes
Do you feel the shaking in the steering wheel, in the brake pedal, or all over the whole car? Where you feel the shaking can help you narrow down the possible causes.
Worn or Faulty Braking Components
Since your brakes work by using friction, these components wear down with use. The more you use your brakes, the quicker they wear. The quicker they wear, the sooner they require replacement. Things like road conditions, driving style, and consistently hauling heavy loads, can wear out the braking components sooner than your owner’s manual may suggest.
Brake rotors are squeezed by the caliper & brake pads and can develop irregularities, warping, or uneven wear over time. If there is distortion or warping on the rotor, it can wobble as it rotates. This wobbling motion can make your car shake when the brake is in use.
When you use the brake pedal, it causes the brake pads to engage with the rotors via the calipers. This creates friction and heat on both the rotors and the brake pads. Over time, the brake pads wear down enough that they need to be replaced. If the pad has worn down unevenly, a pulsing or shaking can be felt when using the brakes.
The calipers are like clamps that engage the brake pads and rotors when you step on the brake pedal. The calipers can get stuck (either open or closed) and can cause shaking when you apply the brakes because uneven pressure is being used.
Occasionally, air gets trapped in the brake line. When this happens, gaps in pressure will occur across the calipers and pads, whenever you step on the brakes. These gaps can result in uneven braking and will feel like intermittent shaking while braking.
Worn or Faulty Suspension Components
Sometimes, worn out or broken suspension parts can make your car shake. This shaking is most often felt in the steering wheel and brake pedal. Components to check out include:
- Loose Wheel Bearings
- Strut Assembly: Rotor Mounts, Steering Knuckle, Strut
- Ball Joint
Wheels & Tires
Finally, your wheels and/or tires could be the cause of your car shaking. If it tends to happen when accelerating, driving at highway speeds, and when braking, then one (or more) of the following issues may be the cause:
- Out of Alignment
- Out of Balance
- Wheel/Rim is Out of Round
What Can I Do To Fix It?
Now that you have hopefully narrowed down the possibilities for your specific issue, what can you do? Well, you have a couple of options. If you are the Do-It-Yourselfer type and have a garage full of automotive tools and equipment, then you can do the work yourself. Just be prepared. Replacing brake or suspension components can be a dirty and potentially dangerous undertaking for the inexperienced. So, if you are at all unsure, or are the type of person who would rather leave it to the professionals, then I suggest you make a service appointment.
Who Should You Call?
When you are experiencing issues with your brakes, it is important to have your car serviced by an expert. At All A’s Automotive Repair, you can expect outstanding service from certified technicians at a reasonable and fair price. We are a local, family owned, independent service center located at 1300 S. Poseyville Rd., Midland, MI 48640.
Schedule Your Brake Service
Call us at (989) 631-4672 or visit us online to make an appointment today!