When I Hit My Brakes The Car Shakes – What's The Issue?

By Julia Freeman

If you experience a shaking or vibration when you press the brake pedal, not only is it annoying, but if it happens at high speed or if you don’t get it attended to, it could prove serious. There are a number of reasons why this problem might occur, so let’s have a look at some of the most common ones.

brake light

One of the top reasons for your car to be shaking when you’re braking is a problem with the tyres. It could be that one or more of the wheels has become unbalanced, perhaps due to losing a balance weight. Or it could be that one of the tyres is damaged or that the tread is unevenly worn. At Protyre, our qualified fitters can perform a wheel balance for you and if you need new rubber then we have a choice of Pirelli and Falken and other popular brands to suit a whole range of needs and pockets.

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Sometimes it’s the brakes themselves that are at the root of the problem. This can be down to the discs or to the pads. Brake pads are designed to wear, so if you hear a screeching or scraping noise when you brake then it’s a sure sign that they need replacing. Pads should be checked when your car is serviced so that you don’t get caught out. Shaking can also be caused by pads that have become dirty or contaminated with oil.
 
Brake discs too can lead to vibration if they are worn or damaged. When a car is stood for a few days without being used, surface rust forms on the discs. This is normal and gets cleaned off by the pads when the car is next used, you may notice the first couple of brake applications being noisier as a result. This can be a particular issue on cars that have disc brakes at the rear as well as the front, as the rear discs often don’t get worked hard enough to fully clear the corrosion, thus over time the rust eats into the rear discs. This is especially true on vehicles that cover a low mileage.
 
Conversely, on cars that spend a lot of time on fast roads and do a higher mileage, while corrosion is less of a problem, discs can become distorted. After a hard stop from speed, the discs will become hot. Holding your foot on the brake pedal while stationary prevents the discs from cooling evenly and can lead to them warping. You should therefore always take your foot off the pedal and apply the handbrake after coming to a stop.
 
Other issues that can lead to vibration under braking include poor wheel alignment, as well as worn components in the suspension such as ball joints, wheel bearings and track rods.
 
At Protyre we’re experts in identifying and solving this type of issue. So, if you have a shaky car and are looking for someone to diagnose and fix it, please contact your local Protyre garage either by phone or via our website and arrange for a free vehicle check.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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