Vibration When Braking at High Speed: Reasons and Solutions

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Vibration when braking at high speed often occurs when something is wrong with your car brake system. If you are experiencing this troubling issue, you don’t have to worry.

Vibration When Braking at High Speed

In this article, we’ll examine how to get to the root of this problem and fix it. Keep on reading this piece to discover how to fix brake vibrations!

What Are the Reasons Why Your Brake Vibrates at High Speed?

The reasons why your brakes vibrate at high-speed range from brake system problems to engine problems. Your brake pads might have gone bad or your engine might need fixing. The issue can also arise from the suspension, wheel hub bearings, drivetrain, or rotors.

– Old or Worn-out Brake Pads

Warped or worn-out braking pads are one of the most common reasons why your brake vibrates at top speed. The pads wear and tear over time, reducing their ability to firmly grip the rotor and bringing your car to a halt whenever you apply the brakes. Instead, these pads vibrate, causing the brake pedal or steering wheel to shake, especially at higher speeds.

Another way this problem can cause vibrations is when the pads wear unevenly. Uneven wear causes an imbalance that creates shudders or vibrations in your car’s braking system.

One way to know that worn brake pads are responsible for your vibration problem is when you hear a high screeching or grinding sound when applying your brakes at top speed. If you let your braking pads wear too much, they may damage your car’s brake rotors (also called brake discs).

– Alignment Issues

Alignment problems can also be the reason why your brakes vibrate at top speed. Usually, certain components in the front part of your car may shift slightly when you go over bumps or cut corners at full speed. Most times, it’s the wheels of your vehicle that get affected.

If your car’s wheel alignment (angle and direction) with the road is off, it causes the tires to make excess/unbalanced contact with the road surface. As a result, you’ll notice uneven wear on your tires, and your car will vibrate or shake, especially when you apply the brakes. You can tell your car has alignment problems if your steering wheel seems off-center when driving or if one side of the car bounces more than the other when going over bumps or potholes.

– Imbalanced Brake Discs/Rotors

Imbalanced brake discs/rotors can also be responsible for shaking or vibration in your car while driving. Whenever you apply your brakes, the rotors come in contact with the pads to cause friction and bring your car to a halt.

Why Car Vibrates When Braking at High Speed

Heat always accompanies this friction, which causes uneven wearing of the rotor’s exterior, creating an imbalance in the brake system. As a result, car vibrations will occur when you engage the brakes.

– Stuck Calipers

Stuck calipers can also cause your brakes to vibrate at top speed. The brake calipers have the role of pushing the pads against the rotors when you apply the brakes.

If the caliper gets stuck, it becomes weak and unable to push the pads against the rotors properly. Thus, you may feel some vibrations in your car when you hit the brakes. Sometimes, calipers also get stuck after engaging. In this case, it won’t release the braking pad from the rotor.

One tell-tale sign that always follows stuck calipers is a burning smell from your brakes. In some cases, you’ll also experience difficulty accelerating.

– Warped or Damaged Brake Discs

Warped or damaged brake discs can also be responsible for your car shaking when you apply the brakes. The brake discs are essential to your brake system as they collaborate with the pads to slow down and halt your vehicle. However, if you’re fond of engaging brakes while driving fast, you may end up with warped brake rotors.

This warping arises due to the intense heat that is generated when you forcefully engage brakes at higher speeds. Asides from warping, rotors can also get damaged or worn out. Any of these issues can cause a car shaking problem when you use the brakes while speeding.

– Irregular Tire Wear

Irregular or uneven tire wear is another common cause of car vibrations while braking. Tires wear out over time, but it becomes a problem when they don’t wear evenly (one side wears more than the other).

Unevenly worn tires cause your car to shake when you apply brakes at higher speeds. Other factors like poor wheel alignment, improper tire inflation, and worn suspension components can also cause uneven tire wear.

– Car Suspension Issues

Suspension problems can also cause shaking and vibrations when you apply your brakes. The role of the suspension system is to support the vehicle’s weight and absorb shocks from bumps on the road. If certain key components of your car suspension, such as ball joints or shock absorbers, get worn or damaged, it can cause a misalignment of your wheels. This further leads to vibrations or shaking, especially at higher speeds.
In addition to vibrations, you may also hear clunking noises while driving. That’s another sign of a bad suspension.

– Insufficient Brake Fluid

Insufficient brake/hydraulic fluid can also make your car shudder when you apply the brakes. The role of this fluid is to transmit force from the brake pedal to the calipers, which then push the pads against the rotors.
If there is little to no hydraulic fluid in your car, the hydraulic pressure in your car’s brake system will be low and the pedals will be weak or soft, causing your car to vibrate when you apply brakes.

– Faults With the ABS System

Issues or faults with your car’s ABS (anti-lock brake system) can cause brake vibrations. The ABS is a default safety measure installed by car manufacturers. Its role is to prevent your car’s wheels from locking up whenever you go hard on the brakes. Certain faults can arise with the ABS, such as malfunctioning sensors, bad ABS modules or pumps, or even damaged brake lines.

If the ABS malfunctions, your brake pedals will vibrate when you go hard on the brakes, and this vibration will be transferred to the entire car.

– Old/Loose Wheel Hub Bearings

Old or loose wheel hub bearings can also cause car vibrations when braking. Wheel hub bearings help your car wheels rotate smoothly and reduce friction. Over time, these bearings become old and worn out (or simply loose), which causes the wheels to wobble occasionally.

This wobbling is usually more intense when you apply the brakes, translating to vibrations in your car. Another sign you can use to tell you have worn wheel bearings is when a humming noise comes from your car’s wheels.

– Faulty Engine

A faulty engine can also be the reason your car shakes immediately you step on the brakes. If your engine misfires or the mounts are loose, your car will vibrate or shake, especially when idling or braking.

Car Faulty Engine

If you notice your car shaking and the check engine light blinking simultaneously, it’s a strong sign that a faulty engine is responsible for your problem. Sometimes, you’ll find that even the steering wheel shakes when you’re driving at top speed.

– Drivetrain Problems

Drivetrain problems can be equally responsible for vibrations while driving or braking. Drivetrain is the collective name given to the various car parts that work with the engine to force the car into motion. The drivetrain consists of parts like the driveshaft, CV joints, and key items like spark plugs.

If any major component of the drivetrain gets damaged or worn out, your car may vibrate and shake when you press the brakes. Some other signs that can prove you have drivetrain issues include clunking or rattling noises and difficulty shifting gears.

– Too Much Brake Dust/Debris

Excess brake dust can make your car vibrate upon applying the brakes at top speeds. The brake dust is the dark residue that forms or accumulates on your wheels as you drive and apply the brakes over time. It is a byproduct of the friction/wear and tear that takes place between the pads and the rotors. Too much brake dust causes an imbalance in your wheels that can result in shaking or vibration every time you apply the brakes.

What Are Common Ways To Stop Your Brake Vibrating at High Speeds?

Common ways to stop your brake vibrating at high speeds may include replacing your vehicle braking pads or changing the hydraulic fluid. You can also try aligning the vehicle wheels and replacing bad rotors. Make sure to carry out regular vehicle checks and replacements when necessary.

– Check and Replace Vehicle Brake Pads

Check whether your pads are worn out, cracked, or damaged. These can all lead to brake shuddering. To replace your brake pad, you’ll first have to detach the caliper and remove the slider bolt, then slide out the old pad and slide in the new one. Note that car braking pads tend to wear out fast, so changing them regularly is a good practice.

– Replace Bad or Worn Rotors

Replacing bad or warped rotors is one sure way to stop vehicle vibrations. You can do this at home once you’ve verified your rotors are old/bad. For most cars, you’ll have to take out the caliper, sliding bolts, and braking pads before accessing the rotor in your car wheels. However, consult your manufacturer’s manual well, as different cars have unique ways of detaching the calipers.

– Check the Brake/Hydraulic Fluid Level

Topping up your car’s brakes/hydraulic fluid level will solve the vibration problems, especially if your car has low hydraulic pressure. To check the brake/hydraulic fluid level, open up the hood of your car and inspect the reservoir/container for the fluid.

Solutions of Vibration When Braking at High Speed

Most reservoirs have two lines: maximum and minimum. If your car’s fluid level is lower than the minimum line, top it up with the right fluid and test-drive your car.

– Align Vehicle Wheels

Aligning the wheels of your vehicle can solve your vibration problem if imbalanced tires or misaligned wheels cause the problem. The process of aligning wheels is quite complicated, so it’s advisable that you see a mechanic for proper fixing.

– Carry Out Regular Vehicle Checks And Replacements

Carrying out regular checks and replacements on your vehicle is one way to fix some of the problems that lead to shaky brakes before they happen. You should ideally check these components every few months: your engine, drivetrain, hydraulic fluid level, and core brake components (pads and rotors). Durinvg these check-ups, proper fixing or replacements should be carried out.

FAQs

– Is It Safe To Drive With Vibrating Brakes?

No, it is not safe to drive with vibrating brakes. Aside from the vibrations and poor driving experience you get while driving, you’re also putting yourself at risk. Your brakes may fail to engage at top speeds, causing you to end up in an accident.

– Why Does Your Car’s Front Part Shake When You Brake at Top Speeds?

Your car’s front part shakes when you brake at top speeds because one or more components in the front wheel assembly are bad or misaligned. The problem could be from the rotors (warped or imbalanced rotors) or the wheels (misaligned wheels).

Vibration When Braking at High Speed Solved

Conclusion

Driving with shaking/vibrating brakes can be inconvenient and risky at the same time. Now you know what causes this problem and how to fix it if it occurs.

Let’s go over the major points once again:

  • Shaking/vibrating brakes are usually caused by warped or defective brake discs, pads, and calipers.
  • The problem can also stem from the drivetrain, ABS, engine, wheel hub bearings, or tire alignment.
  • Check and replace pads and rotors, or top up the hydraulic fluid to fix this issue.
  • See a mechanic to fix problems with the engine, drivetrain, or alignment.

By following the directions of our auto team in this guide, you can quickly detect the cause of your vibrating brakes and fix it yourself!

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