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Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake? Here’s What Might Be Wrong

Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake

If your entire car shakes almost every time that you push down on your brake pedal, it can be a very scary experience. You might feel like you’re on the verge of losing control of your car each time you try to slow it down and bring it to a halt. If you’ve been wondering, “Why does my car shake when I brake?”, lately, the truth is that there could be any number of reasons for it. It’s going to be up to you to figure out why it’s shaking so that you can get it to stop. Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why you might find that your car shakes when you brake below.

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Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake?

Your car’s braking system consists of a handful of different parts. From your brake pads to your brake rotors, they all need to work together in order to slow your car down when you press on your brake pedal. If they aren’t able to do it for one reason or another, it could inevitably lead to you asking, “Why does my car shake when I brake?”


So, why does your car shake when you brake? This is what you’re going to need to try and figure out the next time you notice it happening. The sooner you’re able to diagnose the exact issue that you’re having, the sooner you’ll be able to get it fixed so that your car stops shaking from now on. Here are some of the reasons why your car might be shaking when you use your brakes.

1. Your Brake Pads Are Worn Down

The brake pads in your car’s braking system are some of the most important parts in it. When you push down on your brake pedal, your brake pads come into contact with your brake rotors to slow your car down. At least, that’s what they’re supposed to do. But over time, your brake pads can begin to wear down on you, and eventually, they’re going to wear down so much that they won’t press up against your brake rotors evenly anymore when you’re pushing down on your brake pedal.


All brake pads wear down at different rates. There are some that will only last for about 25,000 miles and others that will last for well over 60,000 miles or more. There are also some people who will cause their brakes to wear down sooner than they should by pushing down on their brake pedals too hard all the time or braking more often than they should. And by doing this, they can stop their brake pads from working in the way that they’re supposed to.


If you ever allow your car’s brake pads to wear down too much, it’s not going to be too long before you’re asking, “Why does my car shake when I brake?” Since the brake pads aren’t going to come in direct contact with your brake rotors, it’s often going to cause your whole car to shake. The only way to get around this particular problem is going to be by having your brake pads replaced as soon as possible.

2. Your Wheel Bearings Are Loose

Each of your car’s wheels has a wheel bearing situated behind it. The wheel bearing is designed to let your wheel hub, which is the point at which your wheel and tire are mounted, to turn while your car is in motion. Your wheel hub is also the point at which your disc brake is mounted to your wheel and tire. It makes your wheel bearing very important since it’s in charge of holding all of these things together.


If one of your wheel bearings ever becomes loose, it could result in you asking, “Why does my car shake when I brake?” You’re most likely going to feel your car shaking because of your loose wheel bearing. And the problem could escalate from there if you’re not careful. Your wheel bearing is probably going to get looser and looser if you don’t do anything about it, which could cause your car to shake even more violently than it already is.


A loose wheel bearing is something that you don’t want to let linger for any longer than you absolutely have to. You could find yourself asking more than just, “Why does my car shake when I brake?”, if you don’t take care of a loose wheel bearing. You should arrange to have your car looked at ASAP if you suspect that a loose wheel bearing might be to blame for your car shaking when you brake.

3. Your Brake Rotors Are Faulty

A few moments ago, we talked about the importance of having fully-functioning brake pads in your braking system. But we want to point out that it’s just as important for you to have brake rotors that are in good condition since they could potentially cause problems if they’re not able to work in tandem with your brake pads to slow your car down. They could leave you wondering, “Why does my car shake when I brake?”, as well.


Over time, it’s not all that uncommon for brake pads to develop certain irregularities that could prevent them from matching up with your brake pads. For instance, they might become distorted, which could result in them wobbling from side to side when they rotate while your car is moving down the road. They might also experience what is called thickness variation, which will leave some parts of your rotors thicker than others. Both of these issues can lead to your brake pads being unable to press up against your rotors.


When this first starts to happen, you might find that your car will only shake a little. But as your rotors start to get worse and worse, you’re going to find yourself asking the question, “Why does my car shake when I brake?”, a whole lot more often. You’ll usually feel a lot of the shaking right at your fingertips since vibrations will come up through your car and into your steering wheel. You’ll need to get your brake rotors looked at to see if they’re the cause of all the shaking that’s going on.

4. Your Brake Drums Are Bad

First things first: Not all cars have brake drums on them. If you have a car that’s on the newer side, you probably won’t have to worry about problems with brake drums. But some older cars do have brake drums. If your car has them, they’re going to be situated in the rear of your car. There will be brake shoes that push up against these brake drums to create the friction necessary to slow your car down when you step on the brake pedal.


Just like brake pads and brake rotors, the brake drums on older cars can begin to wear down over the years. And when they do, they’re likely going to have you wondering, “Why does my car shake when I brake?” Your car shaking is going to indicate that your brake drums have worn down too much. You’ll need to have them replaced to get the shaking to stop for good.

5. Your Suspension Components Are Worn Out

Most people automatically think that there is something wrong with their brakes when they step on their brake pedal and feel their car shake. They have every reason to believe this since the shaking usually does have something to do with the parts in their braking system. But when you’re wondering, “Why does my car shake when I brake?”, it could also be caused by issues within your suspension.


If your car has a strut-style suspension in it, your brake rotors are probably going to be mounted to what is called a steering knuckle. This knuckle is going to be mounted on your car’s strut, and if there are any problems with this strut, it could result in your car shaking when you try to brake. You might initially be under the impression that the shaking is being caused by your braking system, but just a little bit of investigative work will prove that it’s your suspension and not your brakes causing the shaking.


If you make all kinds of alterations to your car’s braking system in an effort to stop any shaking that’s going on and you find that your car still shakes when you try to brake it, ask your mechanic if there could be a problem with your suspension. That could be the culprit that you’re looking for.

Should You Drive a Car That Shakes When You Brake?

When your car first starts shaking when you step on the brake pedal, it can be very scary. You might be tempted to pull right off the road and stop driving altogether. More often than not, you don’t need to do this right away. But you should ask, “Why does my car shake when I brake?”, and get to the bottom of it as quickly as you can.


If you continue to drive a car that shakes when you push down on the brake pedal, you could eventually put yourself into a dangerous position. Your car might not slow down as fast as you would like it to, and this could lead to you getting into an automobile accident. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to your car’s braking system.

What Should You Do If Your Car Shakes When You Brake?

If your car won’t stop shaking every time you hit the brake pedal, it’s going to be a clear-cut sign that you need to take your car to a mechanic. Preferably, you should look for an auto repair shop that specializes in doing brake work. They’ll be able to check out your braking system and your suspension system to see what seems to be the problem with your car. They’ll be able to answer the question, “Why does my car shake when I brake?”

Should You Attempt to Fix a Car That Shakes When You Brake Yourself?

In an attempt to save a little money, you might consider trying to fix your braking system on your own when your car starts shaking while you’re braking. If you have a lot of experience working on cars, you might be able to get away with doing it. But generally speaking, it’s usually not a great idea for you to start messing around with your brakes.


If you make one tiny mistake while tinkering with your brakes, it could render them useless once you get back behind the wheel. You could cause an accident simply because you didn’t know what you were doing while working on your brakes. It’s a better idea to leave the brake work to the professional so that they can answer the question, “Why does my car shake when I brake?”, for you and address the issue at hand.

How Much Will It Cost to Get Your Brakes to Stop Making Your Car Shake?

If your car constantly shakes when you push down on your brake pedal, you might be concerned about what it’s going to cost to fix it. The price that you’ll have to pay to fix your car is all going to depend on what exactly is wrong with it.


If you need new brake pads installed in your car, that’s going to run you somewhere between $275 and $300 on average. If you need new brake rotors, you could be looking at more like $320 to $430 on average. Your auto repair shop should be able to give you a much better idea of what your brake job will cost you after diagnosing the issue.

Can You Sell a Car With Bad Brakes?

If you own an older car, repairing bad brakes might not be worth the hassle to you. When you’re wondering, “Why does my car shake when I brake?”, you might also be wondering if you should sell your car. This is an option that will be available to you if you would like to take it.


In spite of your bad brakes, Cash Cars Buyer will still pay you top dollar for your old car. We’ll even come to your home or business and haul it away for you so that you don’t have to put your life and car at risk by getting behind the wheel of it when it has bad brakes. We make it so easy for people to sell their old cars, bad brakes and all. Contact us today to discover what your car could be worth.

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