Does Your Car Shake when you hit the brakes! It probably needs brake service.
At Milito’s, we do all kinds of different repairs and maintenance – often when people don’t know what’s wrong with their vehicles! We regularly get worried phone calls and emails, and one of the most common is “I don’t know why my car is shaking!”
Feeling your vehicle shake and rumble is always a bit disconcerting, especially when it involves your brakes. When you’re coming to a stop, even in the safest conditions, you want to know that your car or truck’s systems are working properly – and any indication that something’s wrong your brakes is a reason to investigate!
Brake shudder can happen for a variety of reasons, each stemming from a different part of your vehicle’s braking system. If your car vibrates or shakes when you press the brake pedal, one of several things might be happening.
Brake Pad Replacement
Many brake pads include indicators for when they need to be replaced. As normal braking wears down the pads, the pad’s wear indicator (usually a built in metal tab) may squeal and cause some light vibration. You’ll likely notice the noise first, but if there’s some minor shaking when you brake, it could be as simple as replacing your pads!
Rotor Damage and Warping
A more common cause for brake shudder (and usually the culprit when the shaking is severe), damaged or warped rotors can cause vibrations that you feel all the way through the pedals and steering wheel. When you apply pressure to the pedal, the rotors ultimately receive the pressure to your brake pads, where the friction involved can sometimes cause rotors to heat and warp. A warped rotor means uneven pressure, which leads directly to the shaking and shuddering you experience.
Rotors damaged in other ways can cause similar issues, and left unchecked, can lead to larger system failures and damage to your vehicle.
Your brake calipers are what press your pads against the rotors using hydraulic pressure from your brake lines. If portions of this mechanism aren’t working properly, your calipers can stick. When the calipers are sticking, they aren’t applying uniform pressure (or may not be applying enough pressure), and the result can be felt in a shaking steering wheel.
How Milito’s Can Help
While these are the most common reasons for your car shaking when you brake, this isn’t an exhaustive list. The lesson to take away is that brake shudder is an indication of a problem – sometimes as simple as pads, sometimes something more involved.