Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake?

The car shaking while driving is one of the worst conditions. Is your car shaking while braking? If your car shakes when you brake, it means there is something wrong with the brakes of your car. The damaged or warped rotor is one of the major causes of this shaking car while applying the brake.

Warping of the brake rotor may occur due to excessive use of the car. The rotor’s internal material gets worn out or damaged due to daily driving.

Car Shake When Braking

A shaking car when braking is a clear sign of something wrong. So, whenever you observe a shaking car, pay attention to that problem and take some radiant steps to fix it on time. By fixing it on time, you can avoid any harmful situation or incident.

Why is my Car Shaking When I apply the Brakes?

One of the common causes of the car shaking when applying brakes is damaged, rusty, or worn brake rotors. This car shaking can sometimes be due to unbalanced wheels, suspension issues, or bad wheel alignment.

Let’s discuss some of the major causes of the car shaking right after applying the brake:

  • Bad Wheel Alignment
  • Unbalanced Wheels
  • Warped or Damaged Brake Rotors
  • Bent Rims
  • Suspension Problems
  • Low Transmission Fluid
  • Sticking Brake Calipers
  • Worn Brake Pads

1) Bad Wheel Alignment

When the alignment of your car’s wheels is bad, your car starts car shaking or vibrating while braking. The proper alignment of the wheels makes the car move straight along a single path.

Sometimes, the car bends to a specific side while driving straight, and then it shakes. This is due to the bad wheel alignment that causes the wheel to bend to one side rather than move straight. So, the best method to avoid this situation is to get your wheels aligned as soon as possible.

A regular wheel alignment check is recommended to make your driving and the braking system smoother.

2) Unbalanced Wheels

Unbalanced wheels are the most common cause of car shaking while driving. Similarly, if the air pressure in the tires is not good (like your tires are underinflated or overinflated), then you may face wheel balancing issues.

Unbalanced wheels put more pressure on the suspension system of your car, and this results in the rapid wearing out of the tires. So, a regular check of the wheel balance is recommended to make your driving and the braking system smoother.

3) Warped or Damaged Brake Rotors

One of the most common reasons for the shaking of the car while braking is rusty, warped, worn out, or damaged brake rotors. The brake rotors play a big role in ensuring the efficient working of the brake system.

The brake rotor works just like a disc. It is placed in between the brake pads and attached to the hub assembly of the wheel. With the squeezing of the pads, the friction against the rotor increases, which slows down your car.

With time, the rotors wear out or are damaged. When they are damaged, they create excessive vibration while applying the brakes; sometimes, an unpleasant grinding noise is produced.

Sometimes driver feels the car steering wheel shaking while applying brakes, which may be due to the damaged front brake disc. However, if you feel the whole car shaking with no specific vibration in the steering wheel, then it may be due to the damaged or faulty rear brake disc.

4) Bent Rims

Your car wheel may be bent by hitting the curbs or potholes. Due to this bent, your car will shake or vibrate during the application of brakes or a normal drive.

You can also observe little vibration while driving at a slow speed or while braking. As you increase the speed, the vibration may also increase.

5) Suspension Problems

A faulty suspension is also one of the major causes of the car shaking during a drive or braking. The suspension system of your vehicle is one of the most important parts. It ensures the smooth running of your car.

Driving on potholes or uneven surfaces damages the suspension system.

The shaking or vibration may also cause due to problems in the CV joints or the axle of the wheel. The car starts shaking when these components get damaged or worn out.

6) Low Transmission Fluid

Low transmission fluids are easy to inspect, but most drivers ignore them and face serious consequences in the future. If the transmission fluid of the car becomes too low, it creates vibrations, and then your car shakes while braking.

So, the solution to this problem is to check the transmission fluid in your car regularly. If you do not pay heed to the low transmission fluid and continue driving the car, then you may face serious damage to the vehicle’s transmission system.

7) Sticking Brake Calipers

The main function of the brake caliper is to push the braking pads into the rotor. With each hit on the brake caliper, the caliper’s chamber gets filled with hydraulic fluid. The pressure of the brake fluid pushes the piston outward to the pads and then exerts pressure on the rotor. Increasing the pressure on the brake pedal pushes more fluid and increases the brake pressure.

In some cases, the brake caliper is stuck and acts as a hurdle when applying the brakes. In some other cases, the caliper stuck when it got engaged, so the pads don’t release from the rotor. In both cases, you will feel vibrations or some kind of burning smell even without applying the brakes.

8) Worn Brake Pads

The brake pads play a big role in ensuring quick braking as the driver pushes the brakes. The brake pad wears out with time.

When brake pads are worn out, the driver may easily feel the vibrations while applying the brakes. In this situation, you must get a proper brake system service for your car. Another symptom of the worn brake pad is the loud squealing noise coming from the braking system as you apply the brakes.  

Read More: Why is Car making Squeaking Noise While Driving?

How to Fix Car Shakes When Braking?

You need to inspect and repair the below-given parts if your car shakes when braking:

1) Inspect the Brake System

An issue with the brake system is one of the most usual causes of the car shaking when you apply brakes. That is why you should inspect the braking system of the car for any issues before doing anything else.

Check the brake pads and the brake rotors first. So, if you find any of them damaged or worn out, change or replace them as soon as possible. The average replacement cost of the brake pads per axle is from $110 to $310.

If your brake pads are worn, there is a high chance that the rotors are to blame.

2) Check Brake Fluid

The brake fluid plays a big role in ensuring the smooth performance of the brake system. Check your brake fluid and add more fluid if needed.

3) Check Wheel Alignment

If you feel that the braking system of your car is good, then you have to check the wheel alignment. Check the tire air pressure, as it is easy to fix and is sometimes the common cause of your car’s vibration. If you find any underinflated tires, go to the service station and fix them immediately.

If someone wants their tires to wear out evenly and be in proper shape, they have to get a regular wheel alignment for their car. It is recommended to align your car’s wheels after every 6,000 miles.

4) Perform Brake System Flush

Sometimes the air in the brake fluid or the filthy brake fluid may be the reason for shaking the car after applying the brake. In such a situation, call a mechanic and have the brake system flushed to ensure that the fluid is clean and air-free.

5) Check the Balancing of Wheels

If your car shakes after braking only at high speeds, then the culprit here might be the unbalanced wheels. As a solution, get your wheels balanced with the help of a mechanic.

6) Inspect the Suspension System

An issue with the suspension system is also a common cause of car shaking while driving. Detecting the suspension issues in your car is a tricky method that should be done by an experienced technician.

Do not forget to inspect the CV joints, axles, and some other suspension parts to know the exact reason for the car shaking or vibration.

7) Contact Mechanic

If you have tried every inspection and cannot find the cause of this car shaking, it is recommended that you visit the mechanic by visiting the nearest service center.

Is it safe to drive a car that shakes when braking?

It is not safe to drive a shaking car. Driving a shaky car can be annoying in some cases, and it may pose a threat to the driver’s safety. This shaking of the car while applying the brakes is simple for the car mechanic to resolve, but it is termed a severe car issue.

FAQ Section

How do I stop my car from shaking when I brake?

The car usually shakes when braking due to insufficient brake fluid, damaged rotor, stuck brake clipper, worn brake pads, imbalanced wheels or misaligned wheels.

The brake rotor is one of the major causes of vehicle shaking while applying brakes. Therefore, you have to adjust the rotor promptly to prevent uneven wear. You may fix the rotor, but usually, it is recommended to replace the rotor with a new one to resolve this shaking issue properly. More importantly, regularly check the rotors or the brake pads of your car.

How much does it cost to fix rotors?

The replacement cost of the brake rotors varies according to the vehicle model, labor cost, and type of brand. The average replacement cost of each brake rotor is from $25 to $70 while about $150 to $200 per axel. The replacement cost of the brake pads and the rotors is from $240 to $600.

Is it bad if my car shakes when I brake?

The vibration or shaking of the car after applying the brakes depends on the pattern of how the pads or the rotor are wearing out. So, if your vehicle shakes or makes an unpleasant squealing sound while applying the brakes, it’s time to fix the braking system.

What are the signs of low brake fluid?

  • Illuminating brake warning light
  • Filthy or low-quality brake fluid
  • Soft brake pedal
  • Delay in slowing down the car

Can I add brake fluid?

If the brake fluid level is above the minimum line, then there is no need to add any brake fluid. If it’s below the minimum line, gently remove the reservoir cover and add the fluid below the maximum line.

Can unbalanced tires cause vibrations when braking?

Yes, unbalanced tires cause vibration, and this vibration will be observed not only while braking but also while driving at high speeds.

What repairs can fix the car shaking while applying brakes?

  • Proper alignment of the wheels
  • Fixing the unbalanced wheels
  • Replacing the warped or damaged brake rotors
  • Replacing the bent rims
  • Fixing the suspension issues
  • Adding more transmission fluid if needed
  • Adding the brake fluid if needed
  • Replacing the worn brake pads

Leave a Comment