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Q: My car is vibrating and shaking; is this related to the brakes and rotors?

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I have a 2001 Dodge Intrepid that is vibrating and shaking while I'm driving at speeds up to about 25 to 30 miles per hour and when braking. Pretty much feels like the tires are going to come flying off while I'm driving would this be in relation to the brakes and rotors or whatever

My car has 141000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: What you're describing may be a sign of...

What you're describing may be a sign of warped brake rotors. As you may know, when you press on your brake pedal, this activates a hydraulic pressure that forces small pistons inside your brake calipers to push the brake pads against the brake rotors, which is what causes the stopping power you are familiar with. When this happens, an enormous amount of heat is generated due to the friction between the brake pads and rotors. The brake rotors eventually cool down and then heat up again the next time you press on the brakes, and over time this can cause them to warp slightly resulting in very small low spots on the surface of the brake rotors. When this happens and the brake pads are applied again to the rotors, the uneven surface on the rotor is applied to the flat surface of the brake pad, which is what causes the shaking or vibrating you have described. This may be related to worn or failing wheel bearings as well. Bearing noise can sound a lot like a brake pad dragging or grinding. It can also sound like whirring, whining, or humming depending on how much sound deadening material your vehicle has in it. Bearing noise will always be dependent on vehicle speed, meaning that as you speed up or slow down, the noise should change frequency or loudness. Cornering may affect the noise from a damaged front wheel bearing, and so this type of bearing noise is usually more pronounced as you make turns. I would suggest having a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, take a look at your car to diagnose your shaking and vibration problem.

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