It is always startling when your car shakes, especially whenever it shakes while braking. You may be wondering if the brakes are failing and if you are in danger, which makes the experience all the more frightening. But, as with most car issues, there is a straightforward way to determine what’s wrong and an equally straightforward way to fix the problem. Reacting when your car shakes when braking is thus all about approaching the issue rationally to figure out how you can fix the problem.
Causes of shaking car brakes
The brake system on a car use friction to slow down the vehicle. On a system that uses drums, shoes inside the drums press against the drums to slow the vehicle down. On a disc brake system, brake pads grab the rotor on the wheels, again slowing the vehicle down.
Step 1: Check for uneven or disfigured rotors. In this case, the rotors have an uneven shape where one part is thinner than another, or they have some sort of deformity.
A deformity could be caused by rust or dirt or perhaps by some other form of stress. The possibilities are many, but driving in extreme environments could be the cause of the deformity. The shaking you experience is caused when the rotors move from side to side.
Step 2: Check for properly installed rotors. Another common issue has to do with how tight the rotors are.
Sometimes, after a service, your rotors are not fully tightened to the proper level. In this situation, the rotors wobble while you brake, giving rise to the shaking feeling.
Step 3: Check for sticking calipers. A final possibility to consider has to deal with the calipers.
A case of sticky calipers really causes your vehicle to shake all the time. Basically, whenever you press the brake pedal, the calipers apply the brake pads to the rotor, and the friction that is caused by this interaction slows the vehicle down. This process goes wrong, however, when one of the calipers fails to retract the brake pad from the rotor.
You’d experience shaking because it is like having the brakes constantly applied to one of the tires while the rest are going a full speed.
How to resolve your brake problems
Step 1: Go to your local mechanic. Unless you are particularly savvy when it comes to cars, the best course of action is going to be a trip to your local mechanic–or have them come to you.
These sorts of problems involve disassembling the brakes to get a good look at what is going wrong, so you need the mechanical expertise not only to disassemble them, but you also need to know what exactly to look for when diagnosing the problem.
If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Mechanics undergo extensive training to be able to identify these issues for you and propose reasonable steps to fixing them. Your mechanic will be able to diagnose the precise reason why your car is shaking and the best course of action for getting it fixed.
Step 2: Stay on top of routine maintenance. Cars require lots of care to keep them in optimal working condition, and a major part of this is routine maintenance.
When you go in for an oil change, have your brakes inspected, and be sure to have all components looked at. You can ward off any issues like shaking in the future, and you can also prevent more serious problems.
Brakes are a vital part of your car and your safety. If you are experiencing shaking when you brake, then you have a major issue that needs to be fixed before you cause any more damage to your vehicle or yourself.