Empire Mechanics

Common Causes of a Car Shaking When Braking

It can be a devastating and harrowing experience when your car shakes or vibrates anytime you apply your brakes. It can also be frustrating when you are unsure what causes it, b, but you are not alone in this; several drivers have experienced this issue as to what causes a car to shake when braking. In this article, we shall be shedding some light and discussing some of the most common causes of car shaking when braking.

8 Reasons Why Your Car Could Be Shaking When You Apply Brake

Here are 8 common reasons cars could shake while braking;

1. Worn Brake Pads

As the brake pads wear out, they can no longer grip the rotor as effectively. This definitely leads to vibration and shaking when the brakes are applied.

This shaking can occur because the brakes are no longer able to apply an even amount of pressure on the rotor, causing the wheel to vibrate. Besides shaking, you may also notice other signs that your brake pads need to be replaced, such as squeaking or grinding sounds when braking or a decrease in stopping power.

In order to prevent your car from shaking when braking due to worn brake pads, you just have to make sure to have your brakes inspected and maintained regularly.

2. Warped Brake Rotors

Warped brake rotors are another common cause of shaking when braking. When the rotors become warped, the brake pads cannot make even contact with the rotor, leading to uneven braking and the car shaking when braking. 

This can be caused by prolonged braking, especially when driving down steep hills or carrying heavy loads, or by sudden cooling of the rotors, such as driving through deep water or snow. Over time, the heat can cause the metal of the rotors to warp or become uneven. 

One way to prevent warped brake rotors is to allow for proper cooling time between prolonged braking sessions. When driving down a hill, control your speed with the lower gear and not rely on the brakes alone. Also, avoid driving through deep water or snow, unless it’s necessary.

Anytime you suspect your brake rotors are warped, you should have them inspected and replaced if necessary. When you continually use your warped rotors, you risk further and serious damage to your car’s brake system. This is potentially risky when you try braking at high speeds.

3. Uneven Tire Wear

One other cause of shaking when braking is uneven tire wear. This happens when your tires are worn in a way that causes them to have unequal tread depths. This can cause the car to shake as the tires try to maintain contact with the road when braking. 

Uneven tire wear can be caused by various factors, such as misaligned wheels, driving with incorrect tire pressure, or neglecting to rotate your tires regularly. It can also be a sign of more serious problems with the suspension or steering system. 

It is a good idea to inspect your tires for any signs of uneven wear. Look for areas of the tread that are significantly more worn down than others or any noticeable bulges or cracks. 

If an uneven tire is the culprit, the first step is to have your wheels aligned and your tires balanced. This will help ensure that the tires are making even contact with the road, which can reduce shaking. If the problem persists, it may be necessary to replace the affected tires altogether. 

You should address issues with uneven tire wear as soon as possible, as driving on worn tires can be dangerous and put you at risk of a blowout or other tire-related accident.

4. Suspension Problems

Another common cause of car shaking when braking is suspension problems. When the suspension components are worn or damaged, the wheels may move independently. This can also happen when the shock absorbers are worn out or leaky. In addition, worn bushings, ball joints, or tie rod ends can contribute to this issue. Therefore, if you notice that when braking, the car shakes and feels unstable, you should have your suspension checked as soon as possible. Neglecting suspension issues can not only affect your braking performance, but also compromise your safety.

5. Loose or Damaged Wheel Bearings

The next common cause is loose or damaged wheel bearings. The wheel bearings play a crucial role in allowing the wheels to rotate smoothly on their axles. However, if they become loose or damaged, the wheels may wobble or shake.

Loose wheel bearings can also lead to uneven tire wear, which can further worsen the shaking problem. Ignoring this issue can cause the wheel bearings to fail, which can result in a dangerous driving situation. Other components of your car’s suspension system could also be damaged and that might cost you expensive repairs.

6. Brake Calliper Issues

Yet another likely cause of car shaking is a problem with the brake callipers. These are the parts responsible for pushing the brake pads against the rotor to slow down the car. This can lead to vibrations and a car shake when braking.

Some signs of brake calliper issues include the car pulling to one side when braking, a burning smell coming from the brakes, or a soft or spongy brake pedal. In some cases, the calliper may be sticking or not releasing properly, causing the brakes to remain partially engaged even when you are not pressing the pedal. Sticking callipers can be caused by rust, debris, or a lack of lubrication. This can cause excessive wear on your brake pads and rotors and lead to costly repairs if not addressed promptly. Do not ignore any warning signs of brake calliper issues, such as shaking or pulling when braking. When you maintain your brake components and regularly inspect your brake fluid levels, you ensure optimal braking performance and vehicle safety.

7. Steering Wheel

Steering wheel shakes can indicate several potential issues with your vehicle. They could range from uneven tire wear, which can also create vibrations in the steering wheel when the brakes are applied, to suspension problems or loose or damaged wheel bearings. These can also contribute to shaking in the steering wheel when braking. It’s important to have these issues diagnosed and addressed promptly, as driving with a shaking steering wheel can be both uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.

8. Poor Alignment

Poor alignment is another common culprit for car shaking when braking. This occurs when your car’s wheels are not properly aligned with each other or the road. Your car’s suspension system will try to compensate for the misalignment whenever this happens. This, in turn, results in vibration once you apply the brakes. In addition to shaking when braking, you may also notice your car pulling to one side while driving or uneven tire wear.

The good news is that poor alignment is usually an easy fix for a qualified mechanic. They will use special equipment to adjust your car’s wheel alignment back to the manufacturer’s specifications. You have to address alignment issues as soon as you notice them because they can lead to premature tire wear and probably affect how you handle your car and safety on the road.


A car shaking when braking can be caused by various factors, including worn brake rotors, uneven brake pad wear, sticking brake calipers, worn suspension components, and tire issues, among others. It’s crucial to tackle these problems right away because they can worsen over time and pose safety risks. By staying proactive with regular maintenance and inspections, you can prevent many of these issues from arising. Make sure to prioritize the upkeep of your car so that you are taking responsibility for your safety and the safety of others on the road. Do not wait for accidents to happen; take actions and book a car brake repair service now.

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