Why Your Car Shakes When Braking?

It’s pretty easy to overlook a shaking steering wheel, especially if you are fully engrossed in the road. But at some point, the shaking will get so bad to where it’s impossible not to smell a rat. In this case, that rat would be a problem in your steering system. 

While there are many different kinds of problems that cause car shakes when braking, like worn-out tires or pulleys, there are also many other miscellaneous problems that could be shaking up your steering. However, you’re still questioning why does my car shake when I brake?

Our experts provide insights on why your car shakes when braking.

Your tires are worn out.

Steering wheel vibration isn’t always due to a single unbalanced tire—worn-out tires could generally cause it. As the tread wears down over time, it becomes less capable of gripping the road securely,  which is why your steering wheel shakes when braking at high speeds.

Additionally, worn-out tires may not be able to respond quickly enough to directional changes you make with the steering wheel—causing them to pull your car left or right instead of responding smoothly.

Worn out or warped brake rotors

Most likely, your car shakes when braking because your brake rotors are worn out or warped. This is a reasonably common issue, especially for those who drive vehicles fitted with disc brakes. Over time and with regular use, the friction and heat generated by pressing your brakes against the rotor can cause the rotor to warp.

 If you don’t replace it, the vibration will continue to worsen until it no longer dissipates once you’ve stopped driving.

Suspension and alignment issues 

While problems with the tires and brake rotors can cause shaking, it’s also possible for suspension and alignment issues to do so. Your car shakes when braking due to a worn ball joint or tie rod is more common in older vehicles than newer ones. 

That’s why if you’ve been driving the same car for a while, you should consider some extra consideration if vibrations have been happening at 45 mph or more. If that sounds like what has happened to your car, stop driving it and get it into a shop as soon as possible.

Loose lug nuts

Lug nuts attach wheels to your vehicle’s axles. They also hold the brake assembly on vehicles fitted with disc brakes. If one or more lug nuts become loose or fall off entirely, nothing keeps the brake assembly from rattling around as you drive. 

The result is a rather annoying shaking sensation that becomes more pronounced as you slow down and stop.

How to discover why the car shakes when braking?

If you’re wondering ‘why is my steering wheel shaking?’ The first thing that you should do is check your tires. If you notice uneven wear on one or more tires, this could be the cause of your car shaking while driving. It could also mean that your tire pressure is low, so it’s a good idea to check that as well.

If your tires are wearing evenly and seem to be correctly inflated, this isn’t likely to be the cause of your steering wheel shake. You should still have them checked out by a mechanic just in case, but if they look fine and you’re still having the same problem, then it’s time to move on to other potential causes.

Common Questions:

Why does my steering wheel tremble when I apply the brakes quickly?

There are several reasons why your steering wheel shakes at high speeds.

The first is a warped rotor. Warped rotors occur because of uneven cooling after driving at high speeds for long periods, such as on the highway. The rotors can also warp from being overheated from constant hard braking and not allowing the rotors to cool down.

Another reason could be that your rotors have not been installed correctly. This can happen if the vehicle was accidentally replaced incorrectly or the hubs were over-torqued when installing the tires. This can cause excessive heat and vibration in the steering wheel upon braking.

Why does my car shake when slowing down?

When a car shakes when braking, it can mean a few different things; it could be something as simple as your wheels being out of balance. It could also be as severe as warped rotors, which are the discs that slow and stop your vehicle when the brakes are applied.

The first thing to do is to have your wheels balanced. It will take care of shakes caused by misaligned wheels. If this doesn’t fix the problem, it may be time to check your rotors.

Rotors can become warped if they’re overheated. When this happens, they’re no longer perfectly round or smooth, causing them to shake when the brakes are applied. You’ll need to have them resurfaced or replaced, depending on how bad the damage is. So this will save you from calling the mechanic with the same apparent questions like ‘why is my car shaking? ‘

How do I stop my car shaking when I brake?

The most common cause is a small amount of rust that forms on your rotors. This usually occurs when you don’t drive your vehicle for an extended time, like winter.

Rust can form on your rotors and will generally kick up as you’re driving and make contact with the brake pads. It’s common to feel the brakes shudder as you’re going, and then the shudder stops once the rust wears off.

If it seems like only one side of your car shakes when braking, or if it only happens at certain speeds, there may be something else going on. If this is the case, it’s recommended to have a professional mechanic inspect your vehicle as soon as possible to ensure there isn’t anything seriously wrong with your brakes.

Why does my steering wheel shake?

A Steering wheel shakes because of a severe problem, such as a flat tire or a ruptured brake line, turning the car off immediately and pulling over somewhere safe. Do not allow the situation to continue while you drive to get help—this could cause further damage or even an accident.

The final word 

It is important to remember that even simple car shakes when braking can be symptoms of underlying problems, so don’t let them go unchecked for too long. If you do have any specific concerns about steering wheel shakes, be sure to take your car in for an inspection at your local mechanic as soon as possible. 

By dealing with these problems early, you remove the risk of complications that may take additional time and money to fix.

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