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Service Shaking Problems: My Car Shakes When Braking
Posted by carsandtrucks on Tuesday, December 11 @ 06:45:55 EST

You are traveling at 60-mph hour when you enter the off ramp of the interstate. To be able to negotiate the off ramp you have to slow down and this requires some pretty heavy braking. As you apply the brake pedal, the steering wheel begins to shake violently and the brake pedal is pulsating against your foot. You may fear that the wheels are about to fall off your automobile, but the likely cause is your disc brake rotors are warped. The brake rotors are the discs referred to in disc brake systems. When you apply the pressure to

the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid forces the brake pads to grab the rotor/disc and slow the vehicle down. If the brake rotor has warped, this will cause a vibration that is transmitted from the rotors throughout the vehicle causing the steering wheel to shake. The greater the runout of the warped rotor, the more violent the vibration. So what caused the rotors to warp in the first place? Most often the rotors warped due to the heat generated by the braking process. It takes a lot of friction to stop a 5000 lb. pickup truck traveling at 60mph and the heat generated can easily exceed 500 degrees. Over time the brake rotor surface distorts (warps) from the heat. Another cause of brake rotors warping is over torque of the lug nuts. This happens when someone installs the lug nuts using a pneumatic wrench. If you recently had some sort of tire service and the brake pulsation started right after that, it is possible the lug nuts were over tightened. Now that you know what the problem is, what do you do to fix it? There are two choices. You can replace the brake rotors with new ones. On average you can expect to spend between $60.00 and $80.00 per rotor. If you have tackled brake work on your own, you should be able to handle this task yourself. But remember, we are talking brakes here, so if you aren't sure of yourself have a professional service technician do it. The second choice is to have the rotors "trued." This means the rotors will be turned on a brake lathe and the warped portion of the rotor will be cut out. This process requires special equipment and should only be completed by a competent machine shop or service center.

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