Do you always feel some noticeable shake when braking your car at high speeds? Or is it your brake or steering wheel that gets shaky at high speeds? If yes, you may have been wondering what the problem could be and whether to take your car in for a checkup.
Your car shakes when braking at high speeds is caused by warped or damaged rotors. Warpage in rotors occurs due to normal wear and can be fixed through resurfacing to restore their trueness. Other potential causes for the shaking include unbalanced tires, worn-out tie rod joints, worn-out brake pads, and stuck brake calipers.
In this article, we discuss more in-depth information on why your car shakes when braking at highway speeds. You’ll discover all the potential culprits behind this problem, how to resolve the shaking, and other helpful information.
Why your car shakes when braking at high speeds
Under normal circumstances, your car shouldn’t shake when braking at high speeds.
If you however find yourself in this frustrating experience, then the most likely culprit is warped motors.
But there are also other potential reasons such as worn-out brake pads, stuck brake calipers, loose wheel nuts, bad tie rods, etc.
Let’s discuss each of these causes below and how they make your car rumble or shake at high speeds:
1. Warped rotors
The primary cause for your car-shakes-when-braking-at-high-speeds is rotor problems. The rotors’ work is to clamp down brake pads when applying the brakes.
When they wear down with time, they may develop surface imperfections. They may also change their shape over time due to warping.
Warping isn’t uncommon in rotors and is related to the thickness of the rotors.
Normal braking “eats away” some material from the rotors, making them grow thinner with continued use. Thinner rotors are then unable to absorb the produced heat and end up warping.
2. Out-of-balance tires
If your car vibrates when braking from higher speeds, around 50 to 70 mph, unbalanced tires could be the problem.
Tires with uneven wear patterns will also cause brake shudder at high speeds. You should have your tires assessed for balance and fixed accordingly.
Professional mechanics will use computerized wheel balances to determine the level of imbalance and then decide the number of weights they need to install on the wheels to balance them and stop the shaking.
3. Out-of-alignment wheels
If your car has out-of-balance wheels or simply misaligned wheels, it could lead to problems like uneven tire wear and damage to other crucial suspension components.
If you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should take your car to a mechanic for an alignment inspection to solve the vibration problem.
Your car will undergo a front-wheel or four-wheel alignment depending on its make or model. The professional will employ a wheel alignment machine to align your car wheels.
4. Faulty brake system
Besides the brake discs (rotors), other brake system components getting faulty could also make your car shake at high speeds.
These components include the brake pads and calipers which are unable to get a perfect grip, risking warped rotors over time.
Vibration caused by stuck brake calipers usually becomes noticeable from speeds of around 45 and 50 mph and gets worse as you go faster.
This may be accompanied by burning odors when you hit the brakes.
5. Worn car parts
Other parts of your car may also wear out and cause shaking when you’re braking at high speeds. These parts include the upper strut, shocks, ball joints, bearings, and tie rod ends.
Wear on any of these parts can be easily discovered during a wheel alignment. And they ought to be rectified as soon as they’re spotted.
Worn wheel bearings are notorious for producing high-pitched sound while worn tie rod ends make your car wheels oscillate.
How to fix car shaking when braking at high speeds?
If you want to fix your car shaking when braking at high speeds, then you must fix the part of your car causing this issue.
Now, pinpointing the exact part of your car causing this problem is the challenging part. If you’re an experienced mechanic, you do your car inspection on your own.
Start by inspecting the tires for even tread patterns and proper inflation. Also, check when you last had your tires rotated and balanced. Inspect the brake pads and rotors for wear.
If you don’t have vehicle inspection skills, it is best to visit a trusted mechanic to do the inspection for you. The good thing about visiting a mechanic, even for skilled car owners, is that they have tools that make diagnosis easy and time-saving for you.
When you take your car to an auto mechanic shop for inspection, they’ll most probably start by inspecting the condition of the rotors. The professional can visually detect if they’re fine by just looking at them but they may also utilize tools to get even more info.
They may also test drive your car to get a firsthand experience of the shaking as part of a diagnosis to find out the culprit.
Once your mechanic pinpoints the culprit, they’ll then go ahead and make the necessary repairs or parts replacement to fix the source of the problem.
PRO TIP: Taking your car to a professional mechanic for regular servicing and maintenance can significantly reduce the chances of your car’s vibration when braking at high speeds.
Why your car shakes when braking at high speeds, not rotors?
If your car shakes when braking at high speeds and it’s not due to problems with the rotors, this is your part.
If you have recently installed new rotors, don’t overlook the fact that they may have been wrongly installed—causing the shaking you’re experiencing when braking at high speeds.
Incorrectly installed rotors make it hard for the brake pads to clamp together, triggering shakiness in your car.
Have a mechanic check if your car rotors are fine or if they need turning readjustment, or replacement.
If the mechanic suggests that the rotors are fine and in good working condition, then you may want to look at other possible causes of shaking.
These include out-of-alignment wheels, unbalanced tires, uneven tire wear, problem with the brake pads, sticking brake calipers, failing ball joints, worn or missing bushings, wheel bearing failures, and so on.
Our advice is to take your car to a mechanic who will do a more effective diagnosis and easily point out what is causing the shakiness in your car.
Why does your car shake between 60 and 80mph?
If you’ve observed a pattern where your car shakes between 60 and 80mph, you’re not alone.
We’ve come across many other car owners posting the same question “why does my car shake between 60 and 80mph” on various car forums.
This particular scenario can be caused by various problems, including worn-out parts, malfunctioning brakes, uneven tire wear, etc.
However, the most common cause is usually misaligned or worn tires. Your car tires typically ought to grip the road well to keep your car from losing control.
If the tires become worn or underinflated, their grip-ability is affected, and your car shakes when braking at high speeds between 60 and 80mph.
You’re likely to feel the vibration not just in your seat but also on the steering wheel and the floor of your car. If you can also feel some rattling noise in addition to the shaking, then you could be dealing with misaligned wheels.
A bent/arched axle shaft is another possible cause of this issue. This could be a result of a bad CV axle shaft, an overworked power train, or tear and wear on steering rack components.
In case the calipers and rotors are out of alignment, you may also feel the vibration on the brake pedal and steering wheel.
If you suspect your car is shaking when braking at high speeds due to a mechanical failure, we advise you to have an auto mechanic inspect it.
If you’re an experienced mechanic, you can do the inspection on your own to find out the culprit.
Why your car steering wheel shakes when braking at high speeds?
If your car steering wheel shakes when braking at high speeds, it is mainly due to your warped rotors. Your mechanic will be able to inspect rotors by simply spinning them by hand and feel if they have any imperfections.
If a rotor is in good shape, it should move freely and make complete revolutions without any resistance areas or bumps. If the mechanic notices any issues when testing the rotor, then they may suggest resurfacing it or simply replacing it.
If the steering wheel starts shaking at around 55 mph and gets worse as you brake at higher speeds of up to 60mph, then the likely cause is unbalanced tires.
Note that issues with control arm bushings aren’t the likely culprit here because they usually make the steering wheel shimmy at all times, not just when braking at high speeds.
Take your vehicle to your mechanic for an inspection of the rotors to see if they’re fine or need to be resurfaced or even replaced. They should also inspect the tire for any problems that could lead to shakiness.
Is car shakes when braking at high speeds dangerous?
The short is Yes! You shouldn’t drive your car if it shakes at high speeds when braking.
As we have already discussed above, shaking mostly occurs due to an issue with the rotors, which are part of the braking system.
And a properly functioning braking system is crucial for your safety and that of other road users. This means that if the issue isn’t addressed as soon as possible, it could turn out to be dangerous.
In a worst-case scenario, ignoring this shaking may lead to loss of control over your car at high speeds and damage to other car components.
An accident will likely occur if you’re unable to regain control of your vehicle.If your car shakes when braking at high speed, it could be a sign of a problem with the brakes, tires, or suspension system. However, this issue could also be associated with other common problems, such as car shakes when stopped or when decelerating. To learn more about these potential causes and what you can do to fix them, check out our articles on car shakes when stopped and car shakes when decelerating. These articles provide helpful tips and insights on how to troubleshoot and solve these issues, so you can ensure the safety and comfort of your vehicle and prevent any potential accidents or damages.
If your car shakes at high speeds, it is mostly due to rotor issues. The roots could be warped or damaged, in which case they need to be resurfaced to regain their true flatness. But if the rotor is too thin to be resurfaced, it will likely warp again, so replacing it with a new one is the best option.
The most common cause for your car to shake when you brake at 70mph is due to out-of-balance tires. Uneven tire wire or a damaged tire with a cord problem can result in your car shaking at 70mph. When you experience this issue, it usually indicted a faulty car part, and you should have an experienced mechanic check out your car for possible causes.
Brake pedal shaking when braking at high speeds is caused by rear wheel warped rotors. Book an appointment with your mechanic so that they can inspect your rotors for damage or warping and fix/replace them for you to resolve this shakiness.
In summary, the primary reason why your car shakes when braking at high speeds is due to damaged or warped rotors. There are also other potential causes for this problem and they include unbalanced tires, out-of-alignment wheels, uneven tire wear, sticking brake calipers, worn-out brake pads, loose wheel nuts, and worn-out car parts like bad tie rods, upper strut, and ball bearings.
If you experience this shaking syndrome, you should take your car in for inspection and diagnosis by your mechanic. You should treat your car shaking at high speeds as a safety concern that you can’t ignore, otherwise, you risk endangering your life and that of other drivers on the road. Have your car checked by your mechanic and the issue fixed as soon as possible for your own safety!