Why Does My Car Jerk When I Brake

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By Oluwaseun Bamisile


Do you experience a jerking sensation whenever you hit the brake on your car? Reading this article will be helpful to you.

Starting this article is a section that discusses several potential reasons your car may shudder when you brake. Then, I will offer various preventive measures.

This article also includes an FAQ section that answers common questions about this topic.

Reasons Your Car Shakes When You Brake

Reasons Your Car Jerk When You Brake

Your car shaking when you hit the brake can be caused by several factors. However, this section will explain five of the major reasons.

1. Busted ABS

The ABS (anti-lock braking system) is a safety feature in modern vehicles that prevents the wheels from locking up during brakes. It lets the driver maintain steering control while braking, especially on slippery surfaces.

The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) operates by constantly monitoring the speed of each wheel through sensors. Thus, whenever the system senses a wheel on the verge of locking up, it adjusts the brake pressure.

This prevents the wheel from skidding. However, according to mechical.com, when the ABS begins to malfunction, it causes the vehicle to jerk when you brake.

Thus, you must inspect your ABS regularly and replace it when necessary.

2. Damaged Brake Rotors

The brake rotors, also known as brake discs, play a critical role in a vehicle’s braking system. However, they can become warped over time due to excessive heat generated during braking, as hinted by cartreatments.com.

Sadly, damaged brake rotors lose their perfectly smooth and even surface. Therefore, when the brake pads contact the uneven rotor surface, it can cause a shaky sensation.

3. Low Or Dirty Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is an essential component of the hydraulic braking system in a vehicle. It helps transfers the force from the brake pedal to the wheel cylinders or brake clippers.

This allows the brake pads to contact the rotors for effective braking. However, when the brake fluid level is low, it can lead to inadequate hydraulic pressure in the brake lines.

It can also cause air to enter the brake lines. Besides, if the brake fluid is dirty, it might not work effectively.

As a result, when you hit the brake pedal, the force may not be transmitted evenly. According to way.com, this can cause the braking action to feel shaky.

4. Faulty Brake Pads

Brake pads are designed to provide friction against the brake rotors when you hit the brake. This friction helps slow down the vehicle.

However, brake pads can become damaged, worn out, or get filled with dirt and debris. When this happens, it reduces their frictional capabilities.

Due to this, the braking force may not be transmitted evenly or effectively. Therefore, it can cause the car to shudder during braking, as implied by kia.com.

5. Worn-out Tires

Tires are critical to your vehicle’s braking system and a vehicle in general. They provide the necessary traction and grip to slow down and stop the car.

However, as tires wear out, their tread depth decreases, as hinted by bridgestonetire.com. The tread pattern channel water away from the tire’s contact patch, maintaining traction and gripping the road surface.

So, when tires become worn, the reduced tread depth affects their ability to maintain optimal traction, especially in slippery conditions. Hence, the tires can lose grip during braking, causing the car to jerk.

How To Prevent Your Vehicle From Wobbling When You Slow Down

A car shaking when you brake can be frightening and dangerous. However, this section explains several ways to prevent this from happening.

1. Regular Brake Maintenance

Regular brake maintenance is essential to ensure optimal braking performance. This involves inspecting the brake pads, rotors, and calipers for signs of damage or wear.

Brake pads have wear indicators that help determine when to replace them, as indicated by brakemax.com. Meanwhile, warped brake rotors can be resurfaced or replaced if necessary.

However, damaged brake calipers should be repaired or replaced. Thus, regularly inspecting your brake system can prevent jerking caused by worn-out or damaged brake components.

2. Brake Fluid Flush And Refill

Brake fluid is critical in transmitting hydraulic pressure from the brake pedal to the brake calipers. Over time, brake fluid can be contaminated with moisture or debris due to excessive heat.

Also, the brake fluid level can become low over time. Thus, regularly flushing and refilling the brake fluid is vital to maintain optimal brake function.

3. Smooth Braking Technique

Topgear.com.ph suggests a smooth breaking technique helps prevent wobbling. Rather than applying the brakes with excessive force, gradually apply pressure to the brake pedal.

This allows the vehicle’s weight to shift gradually, preventing sudden weight transfers that may cause jerking.

Smooth braking can also help prevent the wheels from locking up. Doing this promotes better control and stability during braking.

4. Avoid Overloading

Overloading your vehicle beyond its recommended capacity places additional strain on the braking system. According to blog.autochek.africa, extra weight can increase braking distances and stress brake components excessively.

Furthermore, it can cause wear and tear on the brakes and tires. All these can result to increased friction and a jerking sensation when your car slows down.

Therefore, avoid overloading your vehicle and adhere to the recommended weight limits specified by your car’s manufacturer.

By doing that, you can ensure that the braking system works appropriately, reducing the chances of jerking during braking.

5. Drive Defensively

Trustedchoice.com implies defensive driving techniques promote safe and controlled braking. By maintaining a safe speed, you can reduce the need for sudden or aggressive braking.

Defensive driving also involves staying aware of your surroundings and anticipating potential hazards. Additionally, it involves maintaining a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead and being prepared to respond early.

By practicing defensive driving, you can minimize sudden braking situations that may cause wobbling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why Does My Car Jerk When Slowing Down?

There are several reasons your car jerk when slowing down. These include damaged brake rotors, worn-out tires, and faulty ABS.

2. Can Low Brake Fluid Cause A Car To Jerk?

A low brake fluid level can cause your car to jerk when braking.

3. How Can A Smooth Braking Technique Prevent Jerking?

Applying pressure to the brake pedal gradually and evenly promote controlled and consistent braking. This technique allows for a smooth weight transfer and helps avoid sudden weight shifts, ultimately preventing jerking.

4. Can Aggressive Braking Cause Jerking?

Yes, forceful braking can cause the wheels to lock up, leading to jerking.

5. Can Worn-out Brake Pads Cause My Car To Shudder When I Brake?

Yes, worn-out brake pads can contribute to jerking when you brake your vehicle.


Apparently, a wobbling car is quite dangerous, and it’s best to avoid such a situation. However, there are several potential reasons why your vehicle may shudder when you brake.

The common causes include faulty brake rotors, inadequate brake fluid level, and worn-out tires. Hence, it is crucial to address the issue promptly to ensure safe and smooth braking performance.

Gladly, this article discusses several preventive measures to avoid this problem. Nonetheless, if you experience persistent jerking during braking despite taking preventive measures, contacting a mechanic is recommended.

We hope you found this article informative and helpful. If it provided value, we kindly ask you to share it with your friends on social media.

Finally, we invite you to visit our Travel page if you want to read more articles on similar topics.

References And Further Reading

  1. mechanicalspecial.com – Why Does My Car Jerk When I Brake? (14 Reasons Why)
  2. kia.com – Why does my car shake when I brake?
  3. cartreatments.com – 14 Reasons Your Car Jerks When Braking, Slowing Down, or Stopped
  4. getjerry.com – Why does my car jerk when I brake?
  5. mechical.com – 15 Reasons Why Does My Car Jerks When I Brake & Solutions
  6. way.com – Why Your Car Jerks When Braking: Here’s What You Need to Know

About the Author

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Oluwaseun Bamisile

Oluwaseun is the Lead Content Editor at Ilifeguides.com. He holds a National Diploma in Computer Science (currently studying part-time for his Higher National Diploma). An internet geek with a love for automobiles, he writes relationship articles, travel guides, and general life hacks on the site.

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