Everyday, driving a car brings in new experiences. Some are good, but others make you question why you decided to drive that car in the first place. Have you ever been in a situation where everything is fine up to that point where you applied brakes and noticed that the car vibrates as it comes to a stop? You do not need to worry anymore, today I have set out to answer the question as to why your car vibrates when braking. There are many possibilities to look for but if you have no idea what is going on, what you need to be sure of is that there is something wrong with your car.
What is Brake Vibration
This is the shaking that occurs when you slam on the brakes of your car. The shaking can vary from shuddering to a slight wobble. This vibration can also be referred to as rotor shimmying or brake pulsation.
What Causes Brake Vibration
1. Misaligned Brake Rotors
The number one cause of this vibration is the placement of the brake rotors. If the displacement is more than 0.05mm, it will force the brake rotors to move from side, hence the vibration that can sometimes be felt on the steering wheel. The gap can be present due to rusts or dirt that have stuck on the face of brake disks. The constant motion of the brake rotors and pads may cause an imperfect contact when braking, and this will also lead to vibrations.
To rectify this problem, you need to check if the rotor problems affect all tires or just some of them. If the steering wheel is also shaking, then it is likely to be caused by the front rotors. If the shaking is felt in the whole body of the car, then the most likely place to look at are the rear rotors. You can skim the offending rotors to give them a smooth finish to eliminate the problem altogether. If you can see a worn out spot, you will have to replace the rotors with new ones.
2. Tires Out of Balance
The steering wheel will shake when the tires are out of balance. This will be noticed when doing speeds of between 50 -60 miles per hour. The shaking will be more pronounced when hitting higher speeds. Another reason as to why you are likely to have tires that are out of balance is because of the cupping phenomena. Cupping is where the face of the tires seem to have wave-like features, causing uneven feel when you run your hands around or across its face. Misalignment of the rear car tires will run your car out of balance.
To solve the vehicle tire and cupping issue, first of all, make sure that all the tires are properly fit and aligned. You can also eliminate this problem by using tires with straight groove type of threads. Check the tires for flat spots that are caused sliding as a result of locking the breaks.
3. Brake Caliper Problem
When the brake calipers are stuck on the brake pads, you will experience a vibration that goes through the steering wheel. A strong burning smell will be felt when this happens. Tires that wear more on one side than the other is a sign that your car’s brake calipers are getting stuck.
The brake caliper problem is sorted out by ensuring that you have the scheduled service regularly. Make sure that your mechanic checks and confirm that all calipers are in place. The brakes are the most vital part of your car, and they should regularly be monitored to avoid accidents and unwarranted vibrations.
NOTE: When you have decided to replace the tires, brake pads, or the calipers, make sure that you do the same for all the others. This is a good practice as it maintains stability while you are on the road.
Now that we already know what causes your car to violently vibrate when braking. If you are still not sure to go to a trusted mechanic who will tell you the exact reason why your vehicle vibrates when braking. Please, note that some of the solutions listed alongside their causes sound very easy to diagnose and sort out. Only attempt to diagnose or rectify if you know what you are doing. Some tasks such as realigning wheels or turning the brake pads need the hand of a professional.
To have your brakes working should be your number one priority because the safety of others depends on you. I hope the article has been intensive on this matter and you have found a sense of relief knowing why your car vibrates when braking. Why don’t you share with us your experience through the comment section?