car shakes when braking
Vehicle maintenance

8 Reason Why Car Shakes When Braking: Complete Guide

If you’ve ever been in a car that shakes when braking, you know how unsettling it can be. You may feel like you’re going to lose control of the car. It’s important to understand the cause of this problem so that you can get it fixed as soon as possible. 

If your car shakes when braking, don’t worry – you’re not alone. This is a common problem that every vehicle owner experiences. In this post, we’ll discuss a few of the issues that cause your car to shake when you apply the brake and some potential solutions.

Car Shakes When Braking: Common Causes

There are a few reasons why car vibrates or your car shakes when braking – from worn tires to problems with your braking system. These are all parts that work together to slow or stop your car. If one part is not working well, it can throw the whole system off balance and might need to be replaced.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common reasons your car shakes when braking:

Your Tires Might Be The Issue

If your car shakes when the brakes are applied, it could be due to a problem with your tires. When they are in poor condition or your car tires are not properly inflated can cause the car to shake when braking. Your wheels may be misaligned, or you could have unbalanced tires.

If you think that a bad tire might be the cause of your braking issues, you should take your car to a mechanic for inspection. They will be able to tell you if your tires are behind the problem, and if they are, they can recommend tires or the best course of action.

You will probably need some new tires, but your mechanic may also recommend front-end realignment. A front-end realignment can correct alignment problems and help to reduce shaking when braking.

Warped Brake Rotors

A brake rotor is a piece of metal attached to your car’s wheels. It is the part of the brake system that stops the car. The brake pads rub against the brake rotors to stop the car when you brake.

If your car is shaking when braking, it may be because of damaged or warped rotors. When this happens, your brake pads are not able to make proper contact with the rotors, which causes the shaking. This can be a very dangerous problem if not fixed immediately.

Brake rotor issues can be caused by excessive heat. This can happen if you ride your brakes too much or drive in stop-and-go traffic. Damaged brake rotors can also be caused by hitting a pothole or curb. If your car’s shaking when braking due to warped or damaged brake rotors, you should take your car to a mechanic for inspection.

Worn Brake Pad

Brake pads are crucial brake components of your car’s braking system. They are the part of the brake system that actually comes into contact with the brake rotors to stop the car. The brake pads rub against the brake rotors to slow the car down when you brake.

If your car is shaking when braking, it may be because your brake pads are worn out. When your brake pads get too thin, they cannot make proper contact with the brake rotors, which causes shaking.

One way to fix this problem is brake pad replacement. You can do this yourself if you’re mechanically inclined, or you can take your car to expert technicians and have them fix the brake pad issues for you.

Issues With Your Brake Lines

car shakes when braking

If your car is shaking when braking, it may be because your brake lines are damaged. When this happens, the brake fluid cannot travel to the brakes properly, which causes the shaking.

Your brake lines can also leak fluid. If that happens, it can damage the rotors and cause the car to shake when braking. An experienced auto shop can fix the brake issues easily.

Issues With Brake Calipers 

The brake calipers are what push the brake pads against the rotors. When you hit the brakes, hydraulic brake fluid goes into chambers in the caliper. This makes the caliper piston(s) go out and push on the brake pads, making the car slow down. The harder you brake, the more pressure there is in the calipers and on the brake pads and rotors.

If you have a stuck brake caliper, it won’t be able to squeeze the brake pads against the rotors properly. This might cause some vibrations when you hit the brakes. The calipers might also get stuck while they are engaged, which will stop the brake pad from releasing from the rotor.

This may also be because your brake calipers are sticking. When this happens, the brake calipers will not release properly, which causes shaking. You may experience different symptoms like difficulty accelerating, the car pulling to one side, or unusual sounds. You might also smell a burning odor if the brake pads and rotors get too hot.

Leaking or Low Brake Fluid

Another potential cause of your car shaking when braking is a brake fluid leak. When your brake fluid level gets low, it can cause your car to shake when braking. A brake fluid leak can also cause your brakes to feel spongy when you press down on the pedal.

If your brake fluid levels are low, it can be hard to stop your car quickly. If you’re braking while the fluid is low, your car may shake. Check the brake fluid levels and refill them if they get too low.

Damaged CV Joints

CV joints are the components in your car that allow it to turn. They are located in the front and rear axles, and they allow the car to swivel when you make a turn.

If your car is shaking when braking, it may be because your CV joints are damaged. When this happens, the joint can’t move properly, which causes shaking.

Loose Lug Nuts

Lug nuts are the small, threaded pieces that hold the wheel to the car. They can be tightened or loosened with a lug wrench to keep the wheel in place.

The shaking of a car when braking may also be because your lug nuts are loose. When this happens, the lug nuts can come off of the wheel, which causes shaking. It’s important to have your wheels checked for any loose lugs or missing hubcaps every once in a while. 

Can a Bad Axle Cause Vibration When Braking?

Almost all cars have two axles. One axle shaft connects the front wheels, while the other axle connects the back wheels. If either of the axles gets bent or dented, then the car will experience vibration issues, and if you don’t fix the axle soon, the intensity of the shaking will worsen when you brake or accelerate.

We want to pay special attention to this issue because it often gets overlooked when it comes to this specific problem. 

So can a bad axle cause vibration when braking? The short answer is yes – axle issues can make your car shake when braking. Let’s get into the details.

What Causes an Axle to Become Damaged

The axle allows the wheels to rotate and supports the vehicle’s weight. Over time, axles can become worn or damaged due to excessive wear. This is a common issue that most drivers experience at some point.

Several things can cause an axle to become damaged. One common cause is improper maintenance. If you don’t regularly inspect your vehicle’s axles and replace them when they become worn, they will eventually fail. Another common cause of axle damage is hitting a curb or pothole. This can cause severe damage to the axle itself or the bearings that support it.

How to Prevent Axle Damage

Preventing axle damage is relatively simple. First, make sure to regularly inspect your vehicle’s axles and replace them when they become worn. Second, avoid hitting curbs or potholes. If you do hit something big, have a proper inspection of your vehicle as soon as possible. You can help prevent excess vibration when braking caused by a damaged axle by following these tips.

Signs of Axle Damage

If you’re experiencing engine vibrations when you press a brake pedal, there are a few things you can do to determine if a bad axle causes the problem. One of the easiest ways to tell is to check the wheel alignments. If the tires are out of alignment, it could be a sign that the axle is damaged.

You can also test the axle by jacking up the car and checking for any play in the steering wheel. If there is excessive play, the axle is likely damaged.

If your car makes a loud noise when you put it into gear, or it seems like it’s struggling to get power, there might be axle-joint damage. This usually means that the transmission can’t transfer power to the wheels properly because of slack in the joints.

If you see grease leaking under your car or on the inside edge of one of your tires, it might mean that the axle boot is leaking. Even if the axle boot isn’t currently damaged, not having enough axle grease due to the leak can cause problems in the future.

car shakes when braking

How to Fix a Bad Axle

If you suspect that your axle is damaged, the best thing to do is take your car to a mechanic. They will be able to inspect the axle and determine if it needs to be replaced. In some cases, simply replacing the bearings can solve the problem. However, if the damage is severe, you may need to replace the entire axle.

A broken car axle can cause a number of problems, including decreased braking performance and increased wear on the tires. In some cases, a bad car axle can even cause brake failure. That’s why it is important to have it repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

The average cost of repairing an axle can vary depending on the type of car and the extent of the damage. Most mechanics will be able to fix an axle for around $400-600. However, if the axle is severely damaged, it may need to be replaced, which can cost anywhere from $800-1000.

Car Shakes When Accelerating: Could it be the Same Issue?

Maybe your issue is that your car shakes when accelerating. Or maybe your car shakes both when you brake and when you accelerate. Sometimes one faulty part can cause multiple problems. Let’s take a closer look at common issues that cause your car to shake when accelerating.

Engine Mounts are Damaged

One of the most common causes of shaking when accelerating is a problem with the engine mounts. Engine mounts are what keep your engine attached to your car’s frame. If they are damaged or worn out, they can cause the engine to vibrate, which will make your car shake.

It Could Be Your Tires

The same issue that causes your car to shake when braking can cause it to shake when accelerating – a problem with the tires. If you have misaligned tires or a flat tire, it can cause the car to shake. 

Bad CV Joints

The CV joints, or constant velocity joints, are a part of your car’s axles. They usually last a long time, but if one of the inner CV joints is damaged, your car will vibrate when you accelerate hard. Replacing the damaged CV joint can fix this problem.

Loose Lug Nuts

If one of your car’s wheels has loose lug nuts, it could cause the car to shake when you accelerate. If you don’t fix this problem, it could worsen, and the wheel might come off while driving. Use a torque wrench to make sure each lug nut is tight, so the wheel doesn’t fall off.

The Spark Plugs are Worn or Dirty

If your car is shaking when you stop or when you try to accelerate, it might be because the spark plugs are worn or dirty. To fix this, remove the spark plugs and clean or replace them.

Issues With the Vacuum Hose

If the vacuum hose in your car is disconnected or torn, your car will shake when you try to accelerate. You need to fix this by checking for any small tears or disconnections in the hose. If there are any, you can reconnect them using small clamps. If the hose is too damaged, you can replace it with a stronger silicone vacuum hose.

Car Shakes When Braking: Frequently Ask Questions

Is it Safe to Drive When Your Car is Shaking?

No, even if your tire is just out of balance, it can make driving more difficult and risky. This will increase the risk of an accident because you’ll have a harder time controlling how fast or slow your car goes. 

Find out what’s causing your vibration in the first place and fix it before you start driving. It’s not worth risking an accident just because you don’t want to make an appointment with a mechanic.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Shaky Car?

The cost of fixing a shaky car can vary depending on the cause of the problem. It may be as simple as getting a new set of tires in some cases. In other cases, it may require more extensive repairs. It is best to consult with a mechanic to get an accurate estimate of repair cost.

Can Axle Damage Cause Vibration When Accelerating?

Yes, a bad axle shaft can definitely cause a vibration when accelerating. If you feel vibrations when you are accelerating on the highway, it could be due to a bad CV Axles. This is more common in front-wheel-drive cars. 

Can I Fix the Problem by Myself?

It depends on the cause of the shaking and how handy you are. If it’s something simple, like a tire being out of balance, you may be able to fix it yourself. However, if it’s a more complex problem, you may need to take your car to a mechanic.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this post has helped you understand why your car shakes when braking. As you can see, many things that cause your car to shake when braking can also cause it to shake when accelerating.

When it comes to vehicle maintainance once you know the root of the problem, you can start working on the solution. If it’s something like worn-out brakes or tires, then replacing them should take care of the issue. But if it’s something more serious, like a bad engine mount, you may need to bring your car to an auto mechanic for repairs. 

If you are ever unsure about what is causing your car to shake, it’s always best to take it to auto repair shops for a diagnosis.