9 Main Reasons Why Your Car Shakes When Braking

Automakers spend an exorbitant amount of money to achieve a safety standard that complies with thousands of different laws. This makes cars extremely safe, but if your car is shaking while braking at high speeds or downhill, these safety norm requirements are at risk, and you should fix your car as soon as possible.

Here are the common reasons why your car shakes while braking:

  • Unbalanced tires
  • Brake rotors are out of round
  • Brake caliper issues
  • Suspension issues
  • Wheel mechanism issues
  • Axle issues
  • Dry guide pins
  • Worn out brake pads
  • Damaged rim

Unbalanced tires

If your car shakes while driving at higher speeds, or slowing down from higher speeds, chances are that your tires are unbalanced. This happens regularly with older tires that need readjustment or even complete replacement.

Brake rotors are out of round

Out-of-round or warped brake rotors are a dead giveaway that your brake rotors are due for a complete replacement. The most common symptom of this issue is trembling through the steering wheel while slowing down from higher speeds.

Brake caliper issues

Brake calipers are also designed to last a certain amount of time, which means that you ought to replace them every 70-130k miles on average. Whenever you sense constant wheel shaking which increases when you press the brakes, your calipers are likely the culprit.   

Suspension issues

The entire suspension system is comprised out of several different components that all have to work in unison. However, as you drive your car and you start accumulating the miles, these components slowly go out of place, and they often cause shaking while braking because braking enhances these discrepancies.

Wheel mechanism issues

The most common wheel mechanism issues are due to a faulty wheel bearing or a faulty steering rack. In addition to shaking while slowing down, you may also encounter strange noises coming from the front of your vehicle. If this is the case, your wheel mechanism is likely to be causing it.

Axle issues

If your axles are bent or arched in any way, you will feel shaking while slowing the car down. This usually happens to cars that are often being driven on unpaved roads or roads with many aggressive potholes. These issues are often accompanied by steering wheel vibrations and clicking noises.

Dry guide pins

A fairly uncommon culprit, but a culprit nevertheless, a dirty guide pin can cause shaking if extremely dirty or dry. These caliper components can be easily taken off and cleaned if necessary, so if your pins are dirty, be sure to clean them up.

Worn out brake pads

Probably one of the most common issues that cause shaking while braking is a worn-out brake pad. Whenever your pads are less than 25% of their original size, it's time for an overdue replacement which usually solves the issue.

Damaged rim

Another fairly surprising, yet common issue with city-driven cars is a bent rim. This usually happens due to unpaved roads or roads with aggressive potholes and it results in the car shaking at a certain side. This shaking is usually increased while braking.


FAQ Section

How much does a new brake pad cost?

On average, new brake pads cost around $150 per axle, but these usually vary from $100 per axle, up to $300 per axle depending on the car in question.

Should I replace my brake pads all at once?

It's not necessary to replace all four brake pads at once, but it is necessary to replace both the front ones at the same time.

Are all car brakes the same?

No, they are not. Some brakes are larger and are gripped with more pistons per caliper to slow the car faster. The best brakes out there are built out of carbon-ceramic brake fade-resistant materials.

Is car shaking while braking dangerous?

As there are many potential reasons why this is happening, it's best to not drive the car before these issues are properly diagnosed.

How long do brake pads last?

On average, brake pads should last you at least 10k miles, but some of them can last 100k miles or even more.


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