Steering wheel shakes when braking

The steering wheel shakes when braking, and it has warped rotors.
Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hi there. If the steering wheel shakes when hitting the brakes, then you are right, it does have warped rotors. If the rotors on this large of a vehicle are that warped then the rotors should be replaced to keep the problem from occurring again. If you do not want to replace them then you need to have a shop measure them and then cut them if they are not undersized. Keep in mind that cutting them makes the metal thinner which causes more heat. This will cause the same problem to return, so I would recommend new rotors.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

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If your steering wheel shakes a lot while you`re braking, that could mean that your rotors are out of round. In other words, the rotors have started to wear out, lose their shape, and become warped.
The most common reasons a Honda Pilot shakes when braking are bad brake rotors, bad brake pads, or a bad wheel bearing. Search our network of RepairPal Certified shops near you to speak with a technician about your issue.
When you press on the brakes, your brake pads clamp down on your brake discs, also known as rotors. In an ideal world, the rotors are perfectly smooth. If your steering wheel shakes as you brake, this indicates your rotor is either warped or, more likely, has worn unevenly over time.
A new set of brake pads may be the easiest way to address your vehicle`s brake shudder. However, in some cases replacing your brake rotors or having them resurfaced will fix the brake shudder. If you`re replacing brake rotors, it is recommended you also consider replacing the brake pads as well.
An auto mechanic may be able to adjust, shim or resurface the rotors to compensate for the unevenness, but replacing them is a surer bet, and a relatively easy DIY job for those comfortable under the hood, too. And, some mechanics recommend that you always replace rotors and brake pads at the same time.
If you feel the shaking or vibration in your steering wheel and your brake pedal, it could be your rotors. The rotors get pressed by the brake pad to help slow your vehicle down, and if the rotors are out of balance, this could be causing the vibrating tremors that you feel in the pedal and steering wheel.
Issues that can result in the tell-tale jerk can be rotors or brake pads that are worn, the hydraulic fluid is low or has air pockets, ABS having faulty wiring, issues with the transmission, or a deeper problem with the brake system.
Misaligned Wheels:

Misaligned wheels can cause uneven tire wear and lead to vibrations while driving at low speeds. A wheel alignment service by a professional mechanic will correct misaligned wheels and eliminate shaking.

Can A Bad Ball Joint Cause Shaking When Braking? A. Yes, it can. A bad ball joint would cause slight vibrations, especially if you`re braking from high speeds.
A stuck brake caliper can also cause brake vibration. The caliper is the device that the brake pads are attached to, and a caliper pushes the brake pads to take hold of the rotors when you apply the brakes. Calipers can get stuck and when they do, you`ll experience shaking or a powerful pull to one side or the other.
It could be the wheel bearings on a wheel — or possibly just a wheel that needs to be rebalanced. Other problem areas on the wheels include the tie rods or ball joints. Any part of the wheel that is worn out can cause the wheel to wobble, which will give the car a vibration.
The most probable cause of the shaking most often occurs in the vicinity of your vehicle`s tires and rims. The tires and rims connect your vehicle to the road, and if anything is out of place, will notice. More seriously, it might be a broken transmission mount or a broken control arm.
The brake disc developing disc thickness variation (DTV) over time, is the most common cause of judder. Disc thickness variation is when the disc has worn unevenly, causing the two friction surfaces of the disc to no longer be parallel with each other. This is often confused with disc warping.
This is actually fairly common, because brake pads are supposed to wear down and get replaced when they`ve worn down until there`s only ¼ of it left. The vibration that you`re feeling could be the brake pad`s wear indicator, which emits a high pitch squeal for when it`s time to replace it.
A bad transmission: Your car is not shifting gears smoothly while decelerating, which causes a jerking motion. Dirty fuel injectors or a blocked air intake: These will both impact the mix of air and fuel in your engine. However, these issues are more likely to be present during acceleration.
The biggest reason for this shaking problem is the condition of your rotors – the disc your brake pad clamps down on when you apply your brakes. Most commonly, the vibration happens because the rotors have some kind of imperfection on their surface or they have changed shape (warped) over time.
Why does my steering wheel shake when driving at low speeds? If you`re noticing significant vibrations when driving at lower speeds, then it could be related to brake, wheel, suspension or tyre issues (although imbalanced tyres are more likely to cause problems at higher speeds).

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Hard braking causes steering wheel to shake
ANSWER : It seems that you may be correct. I am here to help and hopefully find your issue. Find a road where you can get up to around 30-40 miles per hour and lightly press on the brakes. Press on them enough to where you will stop within 100 yards, so not too hard. Hold steady pressure and see if at some point you feel the brakes let off and come back again. If this happens the you will know you have warped rotors. I would suggest replacing your pads and rotors at this point. However, don’t stop there. Let’s look under your hood. Is your brake fluid low? If so, fill it. Let’s look at your power steering fluid and fill it up if it is low. Make sure you use the correct fluid. You probably want to jack your car up for these next steps. Let’s look at your steering components, do you see any torn boots on your upper or lower balljoints? Look at your tie rod ends and see if they are dry or torn, and then we want to look at the rotors now. Do you see any excessive wear on your rotors? Run your finger nail across them, did your finger stop at some point or do they look excessively rough? If so, I would again replace the rotors and pads on the front. I hope these few things will help you find your problem and get your car back to where you feel a little more safe again. If you need help replacing the rotors, I recommend having a certified mechanic from YourMechanic come to your home or office.

Steering wheel shakes when braking
ANSWER : Since you have already replaced the front and rear rotors, I suspect the problem is in the steering or suspension. The first thing that comes to mind is a worn wheel bearing/hub assembly, but other parts of the steering/suspension could be the cause as well. I have also seen brand new rotors warp due to hard braking and excessive heat. So, it’s possible the new set of rotors you installed has already become warped.

Since the dealer couldn’t fix your problem the first time, I suggest having it looked at by a certified mechanic to fix your shaking problem. They will be able come to your location to diagnose your vehicle firsthand.

My car steering wheel shakes when I apply brakes. How can I determine if it is the front or rear brake issue?
ANSWER : The rule of thumb is: if you feel it in the steering wheel and the steering shaking back and forth when braking, then the front rotors are warped. If you feel the vibration more in your seat he seat of your pants, then the rears rotors are warped. It’s not out of the question for all four to be warped. If you need to have this repaired, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the steering shake and replace the rotors as necessary.

What’s causing steering wheel vibration?
ANSWER : Hello. If you suspect a rotor is warped or has thickness variation, you can quickly determine this by using a dial indicator to measure the runout of the rotor as installed on the car. The run out should only be a couple or several thousandths of an inch.

If the suspension is not "tight", you can get vibrations of all sorts when you apply the brakes. So you have to check the tie rod ends, ball joints, wheel bearings, strut mounts, and so forth for play that is beyond specification.

If the issue is a defect in the rotors, one way to avoid defects is do not buy rotors made in China (see Federal Mogul press release in last 5 years warning consumers about this). The best rotors will be those supplied by Nissan. Otherwise, buy name brand rotors from a reputable parts store.

Also, if you do not carefully torque the wheel lug nuts with a torque wrench in SEQUENCE, and to the exact value specified in the shop manual, you will distort the rotor mount area of your new rotors thus setting the conditions for the symptom you are describing.

If you would like to have this all looked at for you, have a qualified professional, like one from YourMechanic, inspect the steering vibration to ensure the correct repairs are made.

Low brake pedal and anti-lock brakes are not kicking in.
ANSWER : The brake pedal is working to stop the vehicle, but there may be air in the controller unit causing the ABS brakes to not function. I recommend bleeding the brake system from the farthest location from the master cylinder to the master cylinder including the ABS unit. If the brakes are still spongy after a full bleed, then the controller will need to be replaced. If you need further assistance with your brake pedal being spongy, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

Steering wheel shakes when applying brakes
ANSWER : The rotors and pads should be replaced as a set. If not, then you will not have even wear and diminished brake stopping power until the two components are seated to one another.

Sometimes cutting a rotor will not fix the problem of a pulsation unless an on car lathe is used, and even then, they do not always work. I suggest new rotors and pads, and to use high quality parts (may cost more) to ensure satisfaction with the job.

Steering wheel does not center
ANSWER : The problem to me sounds like you have worn out bushings that hold the power steering rack and pinion assembly. This is why your steering wheel gets off center in the direction of the turn. Have the steering inspected and the bushings replaced if they are bad. You should have no problems then.

Steering wheel shakes, light came on power steering assist failure 2010 Ford Escape
ANSWER : Hi there – this behavior, sometimes called "phantom steering shake" is often due to a steering torque sensor in the steering column. This device sense how much effort is being put into the steering wheel to make a turn. This determines how much "power assist" the electronic steering adds to your own effort to turn the steering wheel. If you are getting the "shake" while idling and still, this can be the beginnings of failure of this sensor. I would first go back to Ford to discuss the Recall (#14V284000), because this appears to be precisely the problem you are having. Escalate to Ford Customer Service. If this is unsuccessful, I recommend a steering wheel shakes inspection performed by a mobile, professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who will come to your location, confirm this diagnosis, and give you an accurate assessment of damage and cost estimate for repairs.