Is your car shaking when braking downhill? Or it shakes when braking downhill at high speeds? Are you asking yourself if this is normal or something you should be concerned about? If yes, this guide is for you.
Your car shakes when braking downhill due to warped brake rotors. You should have your brakes inspected and measured to see if your rotors need resurfacing or replacement to resolve the shakiness. It could also be due to worn-out suspension or steering joints, old tires, and out-of-alignment wheels.
The following guide provides you with everything you need to know about your car shaking when braking downhill, including all the likely causes and solutions.
Why does your car shake when braking downhill?
If your car is shaking when you hit the brakes when going downhill, that’s definitely a warning sign that you have a problematic part and you should set to find out what part it is.
The most likely reason for this issue is warped brake rotors which you’ll need to fix or replace to resolve the problem.
However, there are other possible issues such as worn suspension and steering joints, or tire-related issues such as unbalanced or out-of-alignment wheels or uneven wear patterns on the tires.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at each of these potential causes to help you understand how they influence the shaking problem when you hit the brakes on downhill roads.
One of the most common causes for your car shaking when going downhill is warped brake rotors. The rotors are known to warp as a result of excessive heat buildup with continued use.
When going downhill and you hit the brakes, your brakes become more stressed, and this makes the front brake rotors heat up more.
The produced heat may then cause the metal to expand, causing warpage which is a key culprit behind the car shaking as your car speed reduces. Warped rotors’ effect is felt more when going downhill and only gets worse until you start feeling it all the time.
However, note that warped rotors will also cause your car to shake when you’re going uphill and on level ground.
In this case, we advise you to get a mechanic to inspect your car brakes for issues and fix them so that you can start braking smoothly again.
If your car has tire problems, it could be another potential culprit behind the shaking when braking downhill. The problem is usually that your tires are out of balanced or they’re out of alignment.
Varying wear patterns on either side of your car’s front wheels can cause a “shimmy”, so you should have them checked as well. Or you could be having old tires that need replacement.
In that case, your suspension is forced to work harder to keep your car balanced.
And if you accidentally hit a pothole on the road, your car alignment will be shifted and you can feel the “shift” in the steering wheel.
Suspension and steering problems
If the suspension and steering systems of your car have any issues, then you may also feel shaking when you try to press the brakes as you drive downhill.
When you brake downhill, a lot of weight gets shifted to the front of your car. A suspension part that’s already worn and is waiting to fail will get affected by this extra weight as it gets stressed. And the result is your car shaking.
This could be a dangerous situation and you should have your car checked quickly to ensure various suspension parts including the tie rods, ball joints, wheel bearings, etc., are in good shape.
How to fix a car shaking when braking downhill?
A whole list of issues could be potential culprits causing your car to shake as you brake downhill. That said, the best way to fix this problem is by getting an experienced mechanic to inspect your car.
An expert mechanic should focus on the key areas we have discussed above. They should start by checking whether the tires are out of balance, out of alignment, and have uneven tread wear or are simply bad and need replacing.
Next, your mechanic ought to inspect your car braking system for any issues. If the rotor appears warped, they should get its thickness to determine if it’s ideal for resurfacing or needs to be replaced.
The suspension and steering are also worth looking into as they could be faulty and cause shaking as you hit the brakes on a downward road.
If necessary, your mechanic may take your car for a test drive to get a feel of the shaking effect and be in a better position to help with an effective diagnosis of your car and resolve the root cause of the shaking.
Why your car shakes when braking downhill at high speeds?
You may also notice your car vibrating when braking at high speeds like this redditor whose car shakes when braking downhill above 80mph! So, what is likely to have caused this problem?
This issue is also usually caused by brake issues such as warped rotors, but in this case, it wouldn’t only happen when traveling downhill but also when on level ground or when going uphill.
We suggest having your brakes checked by an experienced mechanic to see if they have any issues that need to be fixed.
The problem could also be caused by worn suspension components. This is usually the culprit if your vehicle was under extra load when you felt the shaking as you braked downhill.
Why does your steering wheel shake when braking downhill?
If you’re facing a situation where your steering wheel shakes when braking downhill, you may be dying to know why it does so.
Surprisingly, the same culprits behind your car shaking when braking downhill are the same reasons why your steering wheel shakes.
To start with, warped brake rotors could be the culprit behind the shaking. And if the rotors are worn or warped, chances are high that the brake pads have also deteriorated, making them another culprit.
Sticking brake calipers are another potential cause for the vibration.
If your vehicle is out of alignment, it could also make your steering wheel shake when traveling downward. if this is the case, you can get a mechanic to align your car and fix the shaking problem.
Don’t forget to inspect the suspension system for worn-out parts such as the wheel bearings, ball joints, tie rods, etc., which usually suffer day-to-day strain and get worn over time.
Is it dangerous if your car shakes when you apply brakes downhill?
Yes, it is dangerous if your car shakes every time you apply the brakes when driving downhill!
Problems with the braking system shouldn’t be taken lightly as they spell the line of doom for you and your family members as well as other road users.
Issues with warped rotors or drums could mean losing a significant amount of braking power or causing uneven braking power.
This increases the risk of an accident. Frozen calipers can also make you lose braking and result in an accident.
When you encounter this problem, it is best to have your car towed to an experienced mechanic for diagnosis. The mechanic should inspect its braking, suspension, and wheel bearings inspected.
While your car might not get into a dangerous situation the moment it starts shaking, ignoring this issue and continuing to drive your car will make the situation worse and even cause further damage to the involved parts of your car.If your car shakes when braking downhill, 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 after a tire rotation or when the car is cold. To learn more about these potential causes and what you can do to fix them, check out our articles on car shakes after tire rotation and car shakes when cold. 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.
No. Your car shouldn’t shake when braking downhill. If it does, then this signals an underlying problem that’s behind the shaking effect. Usually, this has something to do with warped brake rotors, though it could also be due to tire problems or suspension and steering joint problems.
Brake rotors. Usually, the warped rotors have already suffered damage, causing the shaking effect in the first place as you go down the hill. Luckily, you can get them fixed by any decent auto shop. But if they have become too thin, you may need to replace them with new ones which will cost you around $50 bucks.
When you’re traveling downhill and your vehicle shakes when you apply brakes, this is an indication of warped rotors. The problem could also be caused by worn suspension and steering systems, unbalanced tires, out-of-alignment wheels, or even bad tires. The same issues can also make your car steering wheel shake when driving downhill.
You shouldn’t ignore the issue of your car shaking when you brake downhill as it can turn into a dangerous situation with time and even cause more damage to your car parts. Just get a good mechanic to diagnose your car for the issues with its braking system, tires, and suspension and have it fixed as quickly as possible.