Car Shakes When Braking

Reader Question
I had my front rotors and brake pads replaced and my tires rotated, balanced and my car shakes more…do you have any more suggestions…HELP


Hi there,

If the shaking is ONLY there when you step on the brake, I can only assume you still have a problem with the front brake rotors…either they are warped and need to be resurfaced of the mechanic could have installed the wheel improperly causing the warp.

This can happen when the lug nuts are not installed in a star pattern and the wheel is not properly seated to the spindle on the vehicle. The wheel is basically slightly cockeyed.  Make sense?

I have seen brand new rotors out of the box warped and need to be resurfaced, either they were dropped in transit or just a defect. So do not just assume that they are new and can not have issues, then can.

If the shaking is felt without stepping on the brake, I would assume you still have a tire balance problem and they need to be rebalanced or you could have a bad tire causing the shimmy…..but the mechanic should know that when they balance them (if they are paying attention) :)

Again, if you feel the steering wheel shaking and in some cases SEE the steering wheel shaking then your front brake rotors are usually the culprit.

To check the rear brake rotors for being warped. I would take the car to an abandoned parking lot and do this.

1. Drive 20MPH or so

2. Slowly apply the emergency brake (make sure you ALSO apply the emergency brake release cable so the emergency brake does not lock in to place) you want to use the emergency brake because it only uses the rear brakes.  So, pull the release cable AS you slowly apply the emergency brake.

If you do this and feel the car surge back and forth then the rear rotors are the culprit of the warpage and need to be resurfaced or replaced.

The rear rotors will not cause the steering wheel to shake, but CAN make the brake pedal pulsate up and down.

Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Austin Davis

    yes, thanks to China, the price of brake rotors are just too cheap NOT to go ahead and replace them instead of machining them down like we used to do.

  • Jan

    We replaced the rotors on our truck and that was the cause of our shaking. Although my husband and dad didn’t have the rear rotor check tip then. They ended up pulling all four wheels to figure it out. They replaced the four then because they had it all ripped apart. I’ll let them know and it may save them some time;)