Why Does My Car Shake When Braking? +Video & Tips

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Written By Will S.

If your car vibrates when braking, it can be extremely frustrating and even dangerous. After all, you rely on your brakes to stop your vehicle safely, so any problem with them needs to be addressed as soon as possible. So, why does your car shake when braking?

If your car shakes when braking, it could be due to warped or damaged rotors, using the wrong drums, worn-out brake pads, damaged brake callipers or guide pins, or misaligned tires. A surefire fix is taking the car to a qualified mechanic for inspection and diagnosis.

This post will explore each of these potential causes in more detail. Stay tuned for more insights into these and why it’s crucial to take your vehicle to a mechanic to get them sorted out.

Check this guide if you find your car shaking when accelerating.

Things that cause a vehicle to vibrate when braking

Here’s a roundup of some potential causes for your car shaking when braking:

The rotor is warped or damaged

One of the most common reasons a car can shake when braking is warped or damaged rotors. Rotors are an essential component of your car’s brake system, so if they’re not in good condition, they can hurt your braking performance.

If your rotors are warped, you’ll probably feel pulsing in the pedal when you press down on the brakes. In some cases, damaged rotors can also cause a squeaking noise when braking.

Using the wrong drums in cars with drum brakes

Another potential cause of vibration when braking is using the wrong drums (if your car uses drum brakes). Every vehicle has specific requirements for what type of drums should be used. If you’re not using the right drums for your car, it can cause problems like vibration when braking.

Besides, if the drums are too small, they can cause the shoes to wear out prematurely. On the other hand, if the drums are too large, they can make it difficult to stop the car, in addition to causing premature wear on the brake shoes.

The brake pads or discs are worn out

Worn-out brake pads are another common cause of vibration when braking. Over time, brake pads wear down, and they need to be replaced.

If you don’t replace the brake pads, they’ll eventually get so thin that they won’t be able to effectively stop your car anymore. That will not only cause a vibration when braking, but it will also make stopping distances longer and increase the chances of getting into an accident.

Usually, it’s good practice to replace both the pads and discs. The reason being is that your pads can spread the damage to the discs and even with new pads, you may still get shaking. Learn more about preventing brake disc corrosion.

Calliper or guide pins are damaged

The calliper is what houses your brake pads and helps to apply pressure to the rotor when you press down on the brake pedal.

There are also guide pins that help keep the calliper in place as it moves back and forth. If either of these components is damaged, it can cause a vibration when braking. Therefore, it’s important to have any damage to these parts repaired as soon as possible.

The wheels are out of alignment

If your wheels are out of alignment, it can cause all sorts of problems – including vibration when braking. When wheels are properly aligned, they point straight ahead and spin evenly without wobbling or shaking.

However, over time they can become misaligned due to things like hitting curbs or potholes. That can cause them to point in different directions and spin unevenly, which often leads to shaking or vibrations while driving – especially when braking at high speeds.

You can go to a tire place and get your wheels aligned or checked.

The suspension components are worn out

Your suspension system has several components that work together to keep your ride smooth and comfortable. These include things like shock absorbers, springs, and control arms.

Over time, suspension components can wear out and stop functioning properly. When this happens, it can often lead to vibrations while driving – especially when going over bumps or braking at high speeds. 

What to do if your car is vibrating when braking

If your car is vibrating when braking, the best thing to do is take it to a mechanic and have them diagnose the problem. Many of the potential causes of this problem – like warped rotors or worn-out brake pads – require repairs that are best done by a professional.

Additionally, even if you’re fairly confident that you know what’s causing the problem, it’s always a good idea to have a mechanic take a look. They can confirm your diagnosis and ensure that there aren’t any other issues that need to be addressed.


If your car shakes when braking, get it checked out as soon as possible, as there could be a serious problem with one (or more) of its components. Some common causes of vibrations when braking includes:

  • Warped or damaged rotors
  • Using the wrong drums
  • Worn-out brake pads
  • Calliper or guide pins that are damaged
  • Misaligned tires
  • Worn-out suspension components

If ignored, these problems could eventually lead to more serious issues – so don’t put off getting your car checked out if you’re experiencing any unusual vibrations.

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