Do your steering wheel shake when braking? Then, it indicates that your braking system is struggling to perform as it used to. From warped brake rotors to worn-out pads, numerous factors can disrupt that smooth drive. Grasping the causes, effective solutions, and potential costs associated with this issue is vital. So, go through our comprehensive guide to understand and rectify the problem, ensuring your drives are both comfortable and safe!
Why Does My Steering Wheel Shake When Braking?
The primary reason your steering wheel shakes when braking is due to imperfections within the braking system, particularly involving warped brake rotors or worn-out brake components.
Below-mentioned points will explain the causes in detail.
- Warped Brake Rotors: Rotors, vital components of your braking system, can become warped from excessive heat or prolonged wear and tear. When they no longer offer a smooth surface for the brake pads to grip during braking, every rotation can introduce a vibration felt directly through the steering column. Whenever this misalignment takes place in the braking system, you will feel a noticeable shake in the steering wheel.
- Degraded Brake Pads: Brake pads play a pivotal role because they squeeze against the rotors to stop the vehicle. However, as they wear down over time, particularly when there’s uneven wear, the grip they provide can lead to inconsistencies. These inconsistencies result in the steering wheel vibrating upon braking, especially if the wear has caused a lack of synchronization between the brake pad and rotor surface.
- Stuck Brake Caliper: A brake caliper’s role is to house the brake pads and ensure they squeeze the rotor effectively. When a caliper sticks or doesn’t release properly due to wear, corrosion, or debris, it can cause excessive heat and irregularities in the braking pressure. As a result, your steering wheel can shake as the uneven force is applied during the braking process.
- Loose Wheel Bearings: Although not directly a component of the braking system, wheel bearings play a critical role in the smooth rotation of the wheels. When these bearings become loose or worn out, the misalignment can amplify any existing vibrations in the braking system, making the steering wheel shake even more noticeably when brakes are applied.
- Tire Imbalances or Damages: While the focus is often on the braking system, we can’t underestimate the role of tires. However, you should know that an improperly balanced tire or one that’s sustained damage can easily lead to vibrations, more pronounced when combined with braking.
- Suspension Issues: Your car’s suspension system helps to keep the ride smooth. If there are hitches in the suspension, perhaps a worn-out strut or damaged component can be felt directly through the steering, especially when it’s coupled with the act of braking.
How Do I Stop My Steering Wheel from Shaking When I Brake?
To stop your steering wheel from shaking when you brake, you have to address the underlying issues within your braking system, primarily focusing on checking and servicing the brake rotors and pads.
Here is our brief but complete guide to ensure your steering wheel is not shaking.
- Inspect Brake Rotors: First of all, you should examine your brake rotors. If they have become warped or show signs of wear, consider having them resurfaced or replaced. Smooth and even rotors are crucial for vibration-free braking.
- Check Brake Pads: As we discussed above, worn or unevenly degraded brake pads can lead to shaking. So, check whether they are in good condition, and go for a replacement if they’re worn beyond the recommended thickness or show irregular wear patterns.
- Examine the Brake Calipers: Sometimes, brake calipers can stick or not release properly. Ensure they move freely and are free from debris or corrosion. If they malfunction even after cleaning, you are advised to replace the calipers.
- Look into Wheel Bearings: While not directly related to braking, loose or worn-out wheel bearings can amplify any existing vibrations. Ensure they’re in good condition and replace them if necessary.
If you adhere to this procedure, the exact cause can be diagnosed easily. And remember, regular maintenance is a must to reduce such issues and ensure smooth driving!
How Much does It Cost to Fix a Shaking Steering Wheel?
Addressing the cost to fix a shaking steering wheel, the price typically ranges from $100 to $500, depending on the underlying issue and labor rates in your area.
According to different components that can cause a shaking steering wheel, the average costs vary as follows:
- Brake Rotors: If they’re warped, replacing them might cost between $200 and $400, including labor.
- Brake Pads: Generally, a replacement, including labor, ranges from $100 to $300.
- Wheel Bearings: If these are the culprit, expect a cost of $150 to $500.
Keep in mind prices fluctuate based on the vehicle model, parts brand, and regional labor costs. It’s advisable to get multiple quotes to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.
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