Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake?

This sensation can often be explained by your brake rotors. Rotors are metal discs that are attached to each wheel of a vehicle and are flanked by two brake pads, one on each side of the rotor. When applying your brakes, the brake pads become pressed against the rotor causing the wheels to spin more slowly and thus bringing the vehicle to a halt.

The friction between the brake pads and the rotors produces heat, which in turn can warp the rotor. If the rotor becomes warped, the brake pad can no longer press evenly against the rotor, thus causing that shaking feeling when you brake. A warped rotor can also decrease the life of the brake pad which will experience more wear as a result of being pressed against the uneven surface of the rotor.

Depending on the thickness of your rotor, a repair technician may recommend “resurfacing” your rotors, which is the process of using a machine to smoothen the warped surface of the rotor. However, if the rotor does not meet minimum thickness requirements, the technician will advise you to replace the rotors.

If you experience shaking when you brake, schedule an appointment with a qualified technician to assess your rotors and make a recommendation on the best course of action to ensure you get the most out of your brakes!

Written by Wilton Auto & Tire Center