Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Hard braking causes steering wheel to shake

asked by on

It started when I was descending a mountain through some windy roads that meant hard braking into sharp curves. When I press the brake hard, the steering wheel starts to "shake". What I mean by shake is that it rotates back and forth (about 5-10 degrees each direction) very quickly. It is too strong for me to hold the steering wheel in place. The phenomenon only happens when I brake. It does not happen at lower speeds (<40mph). I only feel it in the steering wheel, there is no sound associated with it, and I don't smell anything.

I think my brake rotors are warped, can you confirm?

My car has 26000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

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.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Exhaust System

Hello, thank you for writing in. The choice you make when deciding on an exhaust system upgrade are going to completely depend on what you are looking to achieve with it. You are correct that there are a choices in...

Q: How to check for power steering leak

The easiest way is using the UV leak dye. I've got a video "finding and fixing car oil leaks." You get a little UV leak dye and put maybe a tablespoon in the power steering, drive it around for about...

Q: Whining noise, parts keep going out

Hello. If the air compressor is faulty this will cause the engine to work harder and that may result in lower mpg. The whining noise could be caused by a bad serpentine belt, pulley, or a bad serpentine belt tensioner....

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...