Why Does My Steering Wheel Shake When I Brake?

QuestionsCategory: Ask An ExpertWhy Does My Steering Wheel Shake When I Brake?
Mary Wilson asked 6 months ago
Recently, I've noticed that my steering wheel starts to shake whenever I apply the brakes. This issue has been persistent and seems to worsen under braking. I'm looking for some insight into what might be causing this problem and how to address it. I've received various suggestions ranging from issues with brake rotors to potential tire problems, but I'm not sure which direction to pursue. Could you provide detailed advice on diagnosing and fixing this issue?
1 Answers
Zack Norman Staff answered 6 months ago
Hi there, Mary! Thank you for reaching out with your concern about the steering wheel shaking when braking. This is a common (and dangerous) issue that can have a few different causes. Let's break down the possibilities, based on what I've been able to gather from your descriptions):
  1. Warped Brake Rotors:
    • This is often the most cited reason for a shaking steering wheel. Brake rotors can warp due to excessive heat from heavy braking or uneven tightening of the wheel bolts.
    • You might feel the shaking more prominently when braking at higher speeds.
  2. Pad Deposits:
    • Uneven pad deposits on the rotors can cause a similar shaking effect. This happens when the brake pads leave material on the rotor, creating an uneven surface.
  3. Tire Issues:
    • Problems with tires, such as a broken cord or uneven wear, can also lead to shaking. This might be the case especially if you don't feel any pedal vibration.
  4. Suspension and Steering Components:
    • Worn or damaged suspension parts, like bushings or linkages, might cause shaking under braking. This is less common but worth checking.
  5. Caliper Problems:
    • A stuck brake caliper can lead to uneven braking pressure, causing the car to shake. Ensure the caliper pins are clean and well-lubricated.
Diagnosis Steps:
  1. Inspect the brake rotors for any signs of warping or uneven wear.
  2. Check the brake pads for uneven wear or excessive wear.
  3. Examine tires for any damage, uneven wear, or issues with the tread.
  4. Look over the suspension components for any noticeable damage or wear.
  5. Ensure that the brake calipers are functioning correctly and not sticking.
Note: It's crucial to address this issue promptly as it affects the safety and handling of your vehicle. If you're not comfortable doing these checks yourself, it's advisable to visit a professional mechanic. Zack - Motor Verso Mechanics Team