When a vehicle brakes, it is usually uneventful. Sometimes, however, pressing the brake pedal while the vehicle is in motion can cause the car to shake and vibrate, which can be unnerving. You’ll feel most of this vibration in the steering wheel and the brake pedal. Not to worry, as this is a fairly common problem.
Primary brake system parts and issues:
Brake rotors and or drums:
Depending on your car, and whether you’re looking at the front or rear brakes, you’ll have either brake rotors or brake drums. The rotors and drums are linked to the wheel, and when you depress the brake pedal, the brake pads apply pressure on the rotors and drums, which slows down the wheel. Over time the rotors and drums can get warped, especially if they have been exposed to lots of heat. This produces a wobbly effect when the pads come into contact with the rotors or drums: the pads will only come into contact with part of the rotor, which leads to a sporadic and pulsating effect.
Your vehicle relies on flush contact between the rotors or drums and the pads for a smooth braking experience. Just as warped rotors and drums stop this, warped pads do, too. If a brake pad is warped, it will create inconsistent contact with the brakes when you apply the pedal, and the braking will not be constant. Brake pads can also gather dirt, debris, and rust, which can lead to shaky braking.
Wheel bearings and lug nuts:
Wheel bearings and lug nuts work to make your vehicle’s wheels a tight and smooth running operation. They assist the wheel, tire, and hub work in unison for consistently smooth driving. When the bearings or lug nuts are loose, the wheels get wobbly. You may not observe this while you’re driving, as the momentum will assist the wheels move smoothly, but as soon as you stop, the wheels will start to wobble and the whole vehicle will shake.
Having your wheels aligned is a vital part of vehicle maintenance. When a vehicle leaves the factory, it is perfectly aligned: each wheel is at the exact right angle so that all four wheels share the work of the road, and help the vehicle drive straight. Over time – especially if you’ve had damage to the suspension of your vehicle – your wheels will fall out of alignment. The tires may angle either in or out, and they may be uneven. Just like with bearings and lug nuts, you may not notice this lack of alignment when you’re speeding or moving at a constant speed, but it will lead to uneven braking and premature tire wear.
How the repair is done:
The mechanic will take off the wheels and check your brakes. Usually there are visual signs on the pads, drums, or rotors that will let a mechanic to quickly say what is acting up. If it’s neither of those parts, they’ll inspect the wheel alignments and the suspension for loose ball joints or tie rod ends.
How important is this repairs?
consult a mechanic for an inspection as soon as you observe your brake pedal shaking or vibrating. Usually your car is still safe to drive, but it’s vital to correct the braking issue before it gets any worse.