Why My Car Shakes When Braking Downhill

October 20, 2023

Unless you have a new car with little miles on it, or keep your car properly serviced, there is a good chance that your steering wheel will shake when braking downhill. This can be a very dangerous issue that you need to have fixed as soon as possible. It’s important to understand that it isn’t a simple fix. Depending on the cause of the shaking, you may need to have parts replaced or repaired.

The most common problem that causes a car to shake when going downhill is warped brake rotors. The rotors are the large circular plates that are attached to each wheel, and they are what the brake pads compress when you press on the brake pedal. Over time, rotors can develop heat due to repeated friction that causes them to become warped. When a vehicle is traveling downhill, the brakes are put under much more pressure than when driving straight ahead, so this causes even more heat to be applied to the rotors and can cause them to become warped.

Another cause of a car shaking when going downhill is worn brake pads. This is a very common reason for cars to shake, and most drivers will hear a high-pitched noise when the brake pads are getting close to needing to be replaced. Brake pads usually only have a few thousand miles before they need to be replaced, and it’s important that you replace them as soon as the wear indicator starts emitting a warning squeal.


Traffic Dave is on a mission to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.
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