Identifying the Issue: Causes of Car Shaking when Braking
If you notice your car shaking or vibrating when braking, it can be a sign of many things. It can be a simple issue that requires minor adjustments, or it can be a serious problem that needs immediate attention. Identifying the cause of car shaking when braking is essential for ensuring your safety on the road. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes of car shaking when braking:
1. Worn-out or Uneven Brake Pads
One of the most common reasons why a car shakes when braking is due to problems with the brake pads. Over time and use, brake pads wear out and become thin, causing a vibration or shaking sensation. This is particularly true if the pads were not replaced in time, causing uneven wear. Uneven brake pad wear can cause the brakes to grab or pulsate, leading to the car shaking when braking.
If you suspect that the issue is with the brake pads, you need to have them inspected by a professional mechanic. They can look at the brake pads and determine whether they need to be replaced or just need to be balanced. If they need to be replaced, this is a job best left to the professionals. While you may be able to change your brake pads yourself, it’s dangerous if you don’t have enough mechanical expertise as it can be a tricky and dangerous task.
If you leave worn-out brake pads unattended, it can further damage your car’s braking system and put you at risk of a serious accident.
Getting the brake pads replaced on time will not only fix the shaking issue but can also restore your car’s braking performance and prevent hazardous situations on the road.
2. Warped Brake Rotor
Another leading cause of car shaking when braking is a problem with the brake rotor. The brake rotor is the circular metal part that the brake pads clamp onto when the brakes are applied. When you apply brakes, the rotor gets heated up due to friction, and over time, it can wear out and warp, causing shaking in the car when you apply brakes.
Like brake pads, a warped rotor can compromise your car’s braking performance, which is why it’s essential to take prompt action. Getting your car to a qualified technician to fix the brake rotor is crucial. A skilled professional would inspect the rotor and determine if it can be turned down to fix it, or it needs to be replaced. If it’s beyond repair, you’ll have to replace the brake rotor with a new one to fix brake shaking issues successfully.
3. Wheel Alignment
If your car is shaking or vibrating when braking, chances are the issue might lie with your wheel alignment. Driving through potholes, hitting curbs or speed bumps hard can knock your car’s wheel alignment out of the specification, causing shaking issues when the brakes are applied.
You might also notice wearing out of your tires than usual, making your car pull to one side, and decreased fuel efficiency. These signs can be due to poor wheel alignment, and it’s best to have a technician inspect it. Repairing the wheel alignment issue can restore smooth operation of the car’s brakes and help maintain its efficiency and safety on the road.
4. Low-quality Brake Components
Using low-quality brake components when replacing parts such as brake pads or rotors can cause significant problems like the car shaking when braking. Cheap, low-performing brake components do not provide adequate stopping power and can lead to skidding or vibrations in the car when the brakes are applied. That’s why it’s essential to install high-quality brake components from trusted brands to maintain consistent and reliable stopping power.
For drivers, the shaking car when braking can be a significant cause of concern and should not be ignored. It’s crucial to identify the underlying issue and take prompt action to address it to ensure your safety and others on the road. Consult an expert technician to assess your car’s braking system, diagnose the problem quickly and efficiently, and have it fixed by a skilled professional.
Proper maintenance and regular inspection of your car’s brake system can help detect issues early and avoid costly damages, replacements, or worse, accidents.
Inspecting the Brake System: Checking for Damage and Wear
If your car shakes when you apply the brakes, it can be a scary experience, especially if you’re driving at high speeds. In most cases, the problem lies with the brakes, and it is essential to inspect the brake system. Checking for damage and wear is the first step towards fixing a car that shakes when braking.
Damaged or worn brakes can cause vibration, shaking, and uneven braking. The cause of these problems can vary significantly depending on the brake’s design and the vehicle’s make and model. Therefore, inspecting the brake system requires a thorough understanding of the vehicle’s brake components and proper inspection techniques.
Inspecting the Brake Pads
One of the most common causes of car shaking when braking is worn brake pads. The brake pads are the primary components that press against the brake rotor to create friction and slow down the car. Over time, these pads lose their thickness and become less effective, causing vibration and uneven braking.
Inspecting the brake pads involves removing the wheels and looking at the pads attached to the brake caliper. The pads should have a consistent thickness and not be heavily worn. If the pads are less than four millimeters thick, they need to be replaced. Also, if the pads have any cracks, gouges or uneven wear, they need to be replaced as well.
Inspecting the Brake Rotors
The brake rotors are the large metal discs that the brake pads press against to slow down the car. These rotors can warp or develop grooves over time, leading to uneven braking and vibration.
Inspecting the brake rotors involves removing the wheels and checking the rotor’s surface for damage or wear. The rotor should have a smooth and flat surface. If there are any noticeable grooves, warping or discoloration on the rotor surface, they need to be replaced. Also, if the thickness of the rotor is less than the manufacturer’s recommended minimum thickness, they need to be replaced.
Inspecting the Brake Calipers and Hardware
The brake calipers are the components that house the brake pads and press them against the rotor. The calipers use hydraulic pressure to operate, and any leaks or damage can cause uneven braking and vibration.
Inspecting the brake calipers involves checking for leaks, cracks, and damage to the caliper housing and pistons. Also, inspect the brake hardware, including pins, bushings, and retaining clips for any damage or wear.
Inspecting Brake Fluid
Another common cause of car shaking when braking is contaminated or low brake fluid. The brake fluid is essential for operating the brake system, and low levels or contaminated fluid can cause the brake system to function incorrectly.
Inspecting the brake fluid involves checking the fluid level in the reservoir and looking for any signs of contamination or discoloration. Brake fluid should be clear and not discolored. Also, brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air over time, reducing its effectiveness. Therefore, it is recommended to replace the brake fluid every two years.
In conclusion, inspecting the brake system is essential if your car shakes when braking. Checking for damage and wear to the brake pads, rotors, calipers, and hardware, and inspecting the brake fluid can help pinpoint the cause of the problem. Regular maintenance of the brake system can help prevent these issues and ensure your brakes operate effectively, keeping you safe on the road.
Balancing Tires and Wheels for a Smoother Ride
If your car vibrates aggressively when you hit the brakes, chances are your tires or wheels may need balancing. Balancing tires and wheels is crucial in ensuring a smooth ride and preventing undue vibrations.
Tire and wheel balance issues can be caused by a variety of factors like uneven tire wear, tire separation, and rim damages. If the left front tire wears out unevenly while the other tires do not, for example, it can cause issues with the balance. Uneven wear happens when tires do not rotate properly and happens more often to the front wheel. This can happen if your front suspension is out of alignment, or if you are not taking good care of your wheels and tires.
Having your tires and wheels balanced regularly is essential to prevent the occurrence of shaking or vibrations when braking. It is recommended that you have your wheel balance checked every 6,000 miles or six months, whichever comes first. Make it a habit to take your car to a professional mechanic to check if your wheels and tires need balancing.
During the balancing process, the mechanic will use a computerized balancing machine to locate any heavy spots on the rims. They will also add weights to offset the heavy spots and ensure that the wheels and tires are perfectly balanced. Keep in mind that properly balanced wheels help you to drive more smoothly, save on fuel, and help your tires last longer.
In some cases, the wheel balance issue may also be caused by a problematic brake rotor. Brake rotors wear down over time and may develop a warped surface that can cause the wheel to wobble when the brakes are applied. Replacing the rotor can resolve the issue, but to avoid this, ensure proper brake system maintenance to prevent early rotor damage. If you happen to notice the vibration gradually intensifying with increased speed, it may be a sign of suspension problems.
Another important factor to consider when it comes to balancing your tires and wheels is tire pressure. Check your tires regularly, at least every month, to ensure they have the appropriate amount of pressure. Incorrect tire pressure can cause the car to shake when braking, and it can lead to reduced tire life, much like an unbalanced wheel. Refer to your car owner’s manual or the tire manufacturer’s instructions for recommended tire pressure values for your specific vehicle.
In conclusion, balancing tires and wheels regularly is an essential part of vehicle maintenance. The vibrations caused by imbalanced wheels or worn tires can pose safety risks, and can also be a major source of discomfort while driving. Take the safety of your vehicle seriously and have your tires and wheels balanced routinely. It can save you time and money, ensure a smoother ride, and prevent accidents caused by failed braking.
Servicing the Calipers and Rotors to Prevent Shaking
When a car shakes while braking, there could be a problem with the calipers and rotors. Servicing the calipers and rotors can help to resolve the issue of shaky brakes. The following are some steps that can be taken to service the calipers and rotors to prevent shaking:
- Inspect the caliper pins: The caliper pins are responsible for holding the brake pads in place. Inspecting the pins for wear and tear is crucial since worn pins can cause the brake pads to move out of place. When the brake pads are misaligned, the brake disc will warp resulting in shaky brakes. Replace the pins if necessary.
- Clean the calipers: Dirt and debris can accumulate in the calipers leading to the pads clamping down unevenly on the brake disc. This can cause the brake disc to warp leading to shaky brakes. Cleaning the calipers with a brake cleaner spray can help to remove any debris present in the calipers.
- Replace worn caliper boots: The caliper boots help to protect the caliper pins from dirt, debris, and water. Worn out boots can expose the pins to the elements causing them to rust and corrode. This can cause the brake pads to move out of place causing shaky brakes. Replace the boots if necessary.
- Resurface or replace the brake rotors: Brake rotors can become warped due to excessive heat or wear and tear. This can cause the brakes to shake. Resurfacing the brake rotors involves shaving off a thin layer of the rotor to create a flat surface. A flat surface ensures that the brake pads make even contact with the rotor. If the rotors are too thin to be resurfaced, they will need to be replaced.
Careful attention must be paid to the calipers and rotors since they are essential to the functioning of the braking system. Regular maintenance checks can help to identify any issues with the calipers and rotors before they lead to shaky brakes. Remember to service the calipers and rotors when the brake pads are being replaced to extend the lifespan of the braking system.
Replacing Brake Pads and Shoes to Promote Proper Braking Functionality
If your car is shaking when braking, it could be due to worn out brake pads or shoes. The brake pads and shoes are the components that make contact with the rotors or drums to slow the vehicle down. Over time, these components wear out and need replacement. Here are the steps to replace brake pads and shoes to promote proper braking functionality:
Gather the Necessary Tools and Equipment
Before starting the replacement process, make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment. You will need a lug wrench, a jack, jack stands, a C-clamp, a screwdriver, a wire brush, and new brake pads or shoes. It’s important to only use the manufacturer’s recommended parts for your vehicle to ensure proper fit and function.
Remove the Old Brake Pads or Shoes
Start by loosening the lug nuts before jacking up the vehicle. Once the car is securely raised with jack stands, remove the wheel and set it aside. If replacing brake pads, remove the caliper by removing the bolts holding it in place. Carefully remove the old pads and use a C-clamp to compress the piston back into the caliper. If replacing brake shoes, remove the drum and hardware, then remove the shoes.
Clean and Inspect the Braking System
With the old brake pads or shoes removed, take the time to clean and inspect the braking system. Use a wire brush to clean the rotors or drum, and inspect for any damage or wear. Check the brake caliper and hardware for signs of wear or damage, and replace if necessary. Ensure the brake system is clean and free of any debris or contaminants.
Install the New Brake Pads or Shoes
Begin by installing the new brake pads into the caliper or the new shoes onto the backing plate. Make sure the new pads or shoes are properly aligned and secure. Reinstall the caliper bolts or hardware, and tighten to the recommended torque specification. Reinstall the wheels and lug nuts, and lower the vehicle back to the ground.
Test the Brakes
Before driving your vehicle, it’s important to test the brakes for proper functionality. Pump the brake pedal a few times to establish pressure, then test the brakes at low speeds. Make sure the braking system is functioning properly and the car is no longer shaking when braking. If you notice any issues or irregularities, stop driving immediately and inspect the brakes again.
Replacing brake pads and shoes is an essential maintenance task for every vehicle owner. It’s important to take the time to properly replace these components to promote proper braking functionality and safety on the road. By following these steps and using the manufacturer’s recommended parts, you can restore your braking system and enjoy a smooth, safe ride.