Blog Car Care Advice Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake? (7 Reasons + FAQs)
Car Care Advice

Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake? (7 Reasons + FAQs)

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When the smooth cruising for your car is replaced by a shaking sensation while braking, it could indicate a mechanical problem.

You’ll probably ask yourself: why is my car shaking when I brake? 
Is it the brake rotors? Or is it a suspension problem?

Worry not.
This article will cover 7 possible causes of a car shake when braking and the answers to some common questions about car shaking

This Article Contains 

Let’s hunt down that shake. 

7 Reasons Your Car Starts Shaking When You Brake

While many reasons could cause your car to shake while braking, the usual suspects are an unbalanced tire, faulty braking system component, or suspension issues. 

Let’s explore the seven common reasons for car shaking: 

1. Brake Rotor Issues 

Brake rotors are the large metal discs between the brake pads on each wheel. With the help of the caliper and brake fluid in the brake lines, the pads squeeze against the rotor when you push down on your brake pedal. This creates friction and slows down the car.

Through repeated use over time, a rotor surface could start to deform, causing the rotor to become ‘warped.’ A warped rotor can cause vibrations in the steering wheel and tie rod when braking.

2. Worn Brake Pads 

Like the rotors, your brake pads can also wear out over time. Worn brake pads are a common problem that most car owners will eventually experience. 

You should replace each worn brake pad every 10,000 to 20,000 miles. You’ll know the pads are the culprits in the brake system if a loud squealing accompanies the car shake. 

3. Brake Caliper is Sticking 

The brake caliper houses both the brake pads and pistons. With the help of brake fluid pressure delivered through the brake lines, the calipers’ purpose is to push the brake pads against the rotors to slow the vehicle down. 

Faulty brake caliper hardware, like a caliper guide pin, will prevent this brake system component from doing its job correctly. This can cause the caliper to get stuck while the brakes are engaged, often leading to the pads dragging along the rotors. 

This will likely produce brake shudder and car vibration. 

4. Brake Drums are Out of Round 

This issue will not apply to all vehicles as only some cars have drum brakes in their rear — particularly older or economy models. 

Brake drums help slow the car down when brake shoes are pressed against them to create friction. The brake shoes are contained within drums, and actuated by a wheel cylinder.

Like warped brake rotors, drum brakes can bend out of shape, creating a shaking sensation in the steering wheel when you push the brake pedal. 

5. Unaligned and Unbalanced Tires 

Vibrations and shaking while braking can also occur when a car has unaligned wheels or unbalanced tires. These two issues are connected as poor wheel alignment can cause tires to wear out and contain uneven pressure. 

Under-inflated tires and misaligned wheels are among the most common causes of a shaky car. 

If wheel alignment and tire balance are not corrected quickly, it could lead to notoriously expensive suspension issues. Visit a mechanic for a tire rotation or alignment fixes. Tire rotation counteracts uneven pressure for optimal wear performance.   

6. Suspension Problems 

The main job of a vehicle’s suspension is to absorb any bumps and shocks on the road while driving and keep the car as stable as possible. You may have a suspension issue if you notice a brake shudder when slowing down.

The suspension components most likely to become worn are the axles, the connected constant velocity joint (CV joint), as well as the ball joints. 

You will notice intense steering wheel and car shaking when these parts become worn out, or the CV joint and ball joints are filled with road debris. 

7. Loose Wheel Bearings 

Behind each wheel is a wheel bearing. The bearings are essential for a smooth ride, allowing each wheel hub to turn smoothly as a vehicle moves forward or backward. 

Wheel hubs also act as the mounting point for the disc brakes. A loose wheel bearing means the wheel hub isn’t correctly connected, leading to excessive side-to-side wheel shaking — so a shaking sensation while braking is the most likely result. 

Now that we’ve covered the causes of car shaking while braking, including warped brake rotors and worn brake pads, let’s go through some FAQs on the topic. 

3 FAQs About Car Shaking

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about brake-related car shaking:

1. With My Car Shaking When I Brake, Can I Still Drive?

Yes, but always remain cautious of the underlying brake issues. Although a car shake may not always indicate a severe problem, carrying on driving is not recommended as the issue may relate to your brakes. 

Driving with brake issues is extremely risky!

It’s far safer to contact a mechanic to diagnose the shaking problem than driving around as usual. 

2. What Causes a Car to Shake While Accelerating?

We know what causes a car to shake while braking, but what causes a vehicle to shake while gaining speed?

Here are a few issues that could cause vibration while accelerating or moving at high speed:

3. How Much Does it Cost to Repair My Brakes?

A complete repair that includes all brake components, including rotor, pad, and caliper fixing, can cost between $200 – $800. A simple brake service typically costs between $90 – $200. 

Wrapping Up 

Suppose you notice a shaking sensation when braking. It could indicate that your bearings are loose, that you have a suspension issue, an unbalanced tire, or that your braking system and brake components are malfunctioning. 

You should visit a mechanic to fix these issues as soon as possible.

But who do you call when your car is shaking when braking?
AutoNation Mobile Service!

AutoNation Mobile Service is a mobile mechanic service with professional technicians available seven days a week who come to you! We offer a 12-month | 12,000-mile warranty and upfront pricing for all repairs. 
Easily book a brake service for all the maintenance your vehicle might need.