What Causes Vibration When Applying Brakes? (9 Culprits)

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You often notice vibration whenever you apply your brake and you’re confused as to what causes vibration when applying brakes? Well, some of the few things that might cause vibration when applying brake include bad brake pad, bad alignment, etc.

It’s worth mentioning that there are many other issues that can cause vibrations when applying brakes in a car. And this can be a serious problem, which makes it unsafe to drive your vehicle, and we’re going to address these problems below.

You’re also going to learn how to fix each of the issues causing your car to vibrate when applying brake.

Let’s get started!

What Causes Vibration When Applying Brakes?

Below, we shall be looking at what causes vibration when applying brakes in your car. We will also discuss some of the effective tips on how to fix car vibrating when applying the brake in order to avoid further subsequent damage:

1. Worn Out Brake Pads

This is a major causal factor of vibrations during brake applications. If your brake pads come in contact with oil, dirt or other unwanted substances, that grip the rotor, it can cause the vibration.

Again, vibration can also occur if the pads have either twisted, damaged, or overly worn. Here, you will likely hear a high-pitched sound when braking.

How to Fix:

This is a common issue that can easily be fixed by replacing your brake pads. Trying to economize by managing can lead to worst damages in the nearby future. Hence, it’s best to get a good replacement for it immediately.

2. Bad Brake Rotor & Disc

As the rotor surfaces gradually diminish, over time they appear unmatched. This can cause your brake pads grab, either unevenly or without warning, thereby causing a vibration in the brake pedal and steering wheel.

This especially happens when you brake at highway speeds. Rotors worn out over time because of the heat generated from braking.

How to Fix:

Ensure you either replace or resurface your rotors. It’s essential to often replace or resurface both rotors (front set or rear set), without looking at the fact that only one of them is generating the issue.

Again, always try to replace the brake pads when replacing the rotors, because the worn surfaces of the pads will not make adequate contact with the new smooth rotors.

Failure to do this, will amount to undue wait for the surfaces of both parts to properly align, leading to rougher ride.

3. Alignment Problems

You’re very likely to observe pedal vibration whenever you set your foot on the brakes if your vehicle is out of alignment. Poor alignment also leads to other issues, like quick tire wear and damage to suspension components.

To verify if truly it’s an alignment issue, whenever you discover there’s no traffic close by, try to take your car up to 50-60 mph on a straightaway.

Leave the steering wheel for a little time, and observe if the car immediately want to go right or left. If it does, it certainly needs realignment.

How to Fix:

Get a 2- or 4-wheel alignment. Proper examination will make you figure out what kind of alignment is required. Most times, SUVs require a 4-wheel alignment, whereas cars require just a front 2-wheel alignment.

However, if either your rear axle or the car frame itself is damaged, we most likely recommend a 4-wheel alignment.

4. Worn Suspension Components Concerns

Certain parts like the ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, and other parts of your suspension system diminish over time, which is capable of causing brake issues.

Whenever your car happens to vibrate only when you are turning, then the likely causal factor is the suspension system. More so, if it vibrates when braking, then your pads or rotors should be the cause.

How to Fix:

Find a car suspension inspection or engineer to help diagnose the cause of the car vibrations.

Apart from the above factors, there’re other factors that might lead to car vibration during braking. They include;

  1. One of your tires could be badly “out of round”
  2. A wheel could be unbalanced having lost its counterweight
  3. Your car’s front-end alignment could be way out of shape
  4. Your car’s steering might suffer from a damaged knuckle or loose control arm
  5. Your axle shaft might be damaged and is acting up.
  6. Etc.


Hopefully, you now know what causes vibration when applying brakes. Whenever you notice a vibration when applying brakes, it is advisable you visit or employ the services of an experienced car mechanic with immediate effect.

He’ll be in the best position to diagnose the problem and fix whatever damages must have caused such issues. Failure to do this can incur further irreparable damage, not to talk of the risk of a highway accident.

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