Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake? – How to Resolve

Driving on the highway to your holiday destination, and just when you hit the brakes to slow down, your car starts shaking? If you don’t know the reasons, then this is the right article for you! 

There are a couple of reasons that might cause this issue, and today, we’re going to talk about all of them in length so that all your doubts are cleared.

So, without further ado, let’s get into answering your question, “Why does my car shake when I brake?”

The Probable Reasons

There are a few culprits over here that could cause your car to shake. One that strikes most people is worn out tires, which results in vibrations. But in this case, since the shaking is directly linked to braking, it points that there is something not right in the braking system.

Why do People Brake Check

A braking system is composed of several components that simultaneously work to decrease your speed, so the problem could be in the whole system or just one single part.

1. Rotors Failing and Warping

Assuming you are a car owner, we will also assume that you know how your brakes function. If you feel the shaking mostly on your steering wheel and brake pedals, then there is a very high chance that it is your rotors that need some fixing. 

When you push on the brakes, the brake pads press on your rotors, which is also known as brake discs, to slow your car down.

Over the lifespan of a car, brake discs will gradually be thinned out even with normal braking. The friction between the pads and the rotors generates heat, and as the rotors become thinner and thinner, they can absorb less heat, and that is when the possibilities of damages shoot up.

Driving in a hilly area where you have to press the brake throughout the entire time causes overheating resulting in the warping of the rotors, ultimately leading to the shaking of your car.

If the rotors are out of balance, you might feel tremors as soon as you put your foot down on the brakes. Until and unless you are someone with a lot of experience in the automobile world, we would highly suggest you get your brakes checked by a professional mechanic.

2. Worn out Brake Pads

Along with the rotors failing, worn-out brake pads might be the root of your problem over here. Just like the brake discs, brake pads also are worn out throughout its lifetime usage. The reason for wearing out is also similar; it is the friction that causes the issue. 

And the vibrations could be a sign for you to get your brake pads replaced, and if you happen to hear an annoying high pitch noise upon pressing down on the brake pedals, you should be certain that this is an indicator for you to get the pads replaced immediately.

Generally, brake pads are used until only about a quarter of it is left behind, so they last you a while.

3. Sticking Brake Calipers

A brake caliper is a component that presses the pads down onto the rotors to slow down your car when you push the brake pedal. There is brake fluid that flows along the lines creating hydraulic pressure, which maintains the contact between the pads and rotors.

If you feel the shaking only on your steering wheel, then it is possible that your calipers are unable to push the pads against the brake discs and hence sticking.

The Issues You Might Face

If the rotors and pads are the roots of the issue, then your brake would still be able to work properly. However, the vibration can result in a great deal of discomfort to the driver and make driving an extremely unpleasant experience. 

We must also add that the shaking could affect the stability of your car, so it's better if you get your car checked as soon as you are face-to-face with this obstacle.

Another thing that needs to be mentioned is that if you keep on driving around with worn-out rotors, it will not help you in any way; it would just make things worse. For starters, your repairing bill would take a hit on your wallet.

How to Repair Your Rotors or Brake Discs?

When you get around to understanding that your rotors have gone bad,  it will then eventually come down to two options for you; the first one is completely replacing the rotor, and the second one would be to fix it. 

You can use a loathe to smoothen out the flat side of the rotor, creating an even surface that would make contact against the pads less wobbly. However, this is only a temporary fix. You will ultimately have to replace your rotor if they are worn out.

You can also try tightening the wheel lugs with a torque wrench, ensuring that you are applying an identical amount of tension on all the lug nuts. Tightening them too much will cause your rotors to warp again, so make sure you do not overdo it.

Watch - Does Your Car Shake When You Brake, Do This


After reading this article, we hope you have understood what the issue is in your braking system and how you can resolve it. 

Like we have said before, consulting with an automobile technician would be the best option for you in this situation as they can point out the smallest and intricate details of the problem that is causing your car to shake like so.

We have presented to you the possible factors that could lead to this odd shaking, and we have also dropped a few suggestions on how to fix it. So now, you should go to a certified technician and properly layout the problems you have been facing with your braking system.

We hope we have been able to answer your question, ‘Why does my car shake when I brake?’. If you still have any confusion, feel free to drop down your questions in the comments section below.


John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at brakeshub.com, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.

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