Steering Wheel Shakes When Braking At 50 Mph (Cause & Solution)

For many car drivers, when driving their cars the steering wheel shakes when braking at 50 mph. But it happens that the driver feels the vibration in the hands even during low-speed movement.

Steering Wheel Shakes When Braking At 50 Mph (Cause & Solution)

is it safe to drive with a shaking steering wheel?

This problem is quite dangerous because, during braking, the driver loses control of the car due to shaking in the steering wheel, in some cases the vibration is so strong that it almost knocks the steering wheel out of his hands.

what causes steering wheel to shake when braking?

It is noteworthy that the problem of the steering wheel shaking when braking can appear in any car model of any brand.

Whenever steering wheel shaking occurs while braking, you need to fix the problem urgently, and you need to look for its sources in:

  • brake system (disc and calipers);
  • steering;
  • suspension;
  • wheels.

Often, car owners have to completely sort out the above elements of the car in order to fix the problem.

The appearance of a shaking in the steering wheel during braking can occur for various reasons, for example, wear or damage to the components of the chassis, for example, a bent disk.

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Problem in braking system:

Most often it hits the steering wheel when braking due to problems with the system of the same name. And this can happen due to:

  • BRAKE DISC DEFORMATION. This is one of the most common reasons. As a result of friction with the pads, the brake disc heats up quite strongly during braking, and if it is cooled sharply (for example, water from a puddle immediately got on it), then it will warp (its geometric shape is violated). The curvature of the working surfaces of the disc leads to a shaking in the pads, which is transmitted to the caliper, and from it, in turn, to the hub and tie rods. But the warping of the rear brake discs or drums will turn into a strong vibration of the body. You can fix the problem either by turning the brake discs (a method that allows you to carry out work without removing the element from the car) or by replacing them;
  • IRREGULAR WEAR OF THE PADS AND THEIR DAMAGE. In this case, the shaking will give an uneven surface of the friction linings. Since the pads run into the working surfaces of the brake discs when replacing or turning the latter, they must be changed without fail;
  • PITTING THE CALIPER. Often, caliper guides stick in their mounting holes. Because of this, when braking, the caliper will press the pads unevenly and the driver will feel a shaking in the steering wheel. Everything is “treated” by disassembling the assembly, cleaning, and lubricating its guides and their seats.

Note that often problems with the brake system are manifested not only by shaking in the steering wheel but also in the brake pedal.

Also, in the case of a wedged caliper, the car may brake unevenly (in jerks).

Knowing additional symptoms can significantly narrow the search for the causes of a malfunction.

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Fault in steering System:

Here, hitting the steering wheel during braking can be due to worn or unadjusted steering elements.

At the same time, many believe that with backlash in the steering, the beat will be constant when driving, and we consider the appearance of shocks only when braking.

But this is not entirely true, and in order to understand how the wear of the steering mechanism can affect the processes that occur during the braking of the car, one should consider a little theory.

The wheel always moves along the path of least resistance, and the higher the speed, the more difficult it is for it to change the trajectory.

When braking, the wheel slows down greatly, which can affect the trajectory of the latter.

If the steering mechanism is in good condition, then it will keep the wheel in a given trajectory.

But if, as a result of wear, there is even a slight gap (1 mm), for example, between the rack and gear of the mechanism, then on the wheel it will provide a lateral play of 3-4 mm.

That is, the wheel will no longer be rigidly held, and it will be able to arbitrarily change the trajectory in the range of the existing backlash, and this change has a vibrational character.

And already from the wheel, this vibration is transmitted to the mechanism and then to the steering wheel.

Therefore, when shaking occurs in the steering wheel during braking, it is imperative to check for backlash in the:

  • Pair “rack-gear”;
  • steering tips;
  • Steering column driveline.

Also be sure to check the condition of the fastening of the steering rods to the rack.

Fault in suspension and wheels:

Approximately the same result gives the wear of some components of the suspension.

Silent blocks, ball bearings, and thrust bearings that have exhausted their resources will cause the wheel to have a lateral play, which will be the source of the problem.

It should be noted here that knocks when driving over bumps become an additional sign of wear on the suspension units.

It is not difficult to check the condition of the suspension, it is enough to swing the levers with the mount, and if the silent blocks and the ball joint are worn out, then this will be immediately noticeable during the check. But before that, check whether the disc is well screwed in, loosening even one of the bolts can lead to vibration of the entire car.

Although rare, the hub and its bearing become the cause of vibration. As a result of the strong development of the bearing seat, play appears in this assembly, which will manifest itself as blows to the steering wheel.

Hitting the steering wheel when braking can also be due to the wheels, so you need to check:

  • Disk damage or imbalance;
  • Loose bolts. They simply forget to tighten the bolts;
  • Tire defects;
  • Violation of the camber/convergence angles.

As you can see, there are two main causes of the problem: backlash in the chassis and damage to the elements of the brake system.

That is, the brake discs led due to overheating, the suspension and steering gear have not been serviced for a long time, new wheels have been installed on the car that have not been balanced, and as a result, the driver gets quite unpleasant and dangerous consequences.

identification of steering wheel shakes when braking Problem

Since there are a lot of elements that can create the indicated problem, in order to identify exactly what exactly caused the shaking in the steering wheel, the search should be carried out progressively.

First of all, at the tire shop, check the wheel balance, and then contact the specialists to adjust the camber/toe angles.

These works should be done first because they require specialized equipment and cannot be done in a garage.

wheels rolling disks, and balancing:

As for the wheels, you can do it a little differently if there is another set of them. To make sure that the reason lies precisely in them, you need to put a second set on the car and check the behavior of the car on the track.

If the shaking in the driver’s hands during braking disappears or decreases, it means that the wheels that stood earlier require maintenance rolling disks, and balancing. In extreme cases, they can be swapped, front to rear, and vice versa.

condition of the brake discs:

Next, you should check the condition of the brake discs, since they are the cause of failure most often. To do this, remove the front wheels from the car and visually assess the condition of the discs and calipers.

If defects are noticeable on their working surfaces cracks, stripes, a change in the color of the metal (when overheated, the surface acquires a blue tint), or bumps are felt to the touch, then it is highly likely that it is because of them that it hits the steering wheel.

Check the tires for various bulges such as “ghouls”, etc.

If the brake discs are in order and their working surface is mirrored and smooth, we remove the calipers from the car to assess the condition of the pads and guides.

condition of the wheel bearing:

In the process of checking the brake system, the condition of the wheel bearing should be assessed. To do this, grab the brake disc from above and below with your hands and swing it with force.

Play in hub:

Play in the hub is not allowed, and if it is found, the bearing must be replaced, and in the case of the development of the seat, the hub is also replaced.

After checking the condition of the elements of the brake mechanisms, we proceed to the suspension.

Here you should check for backlash in silent blocks, ball bearings, and thrust bearings.

By swinging the levers with a mount and handing the shock absorber itself, backlashes can be identified and eliminated by replacing worn elements.

condition of the steering mechanism:

Finally, the condition of the steering mechanism is checked. Be sure to evaluate the condition of the steering tips, as well as adjust the engagement of the rack-and-pinion pair. Do not forget about the Cardan steering column.

By checking all the components of the chassis, you can find the cause of the shaking in the steering wheel when braking and eliminate it.

But as indicated, the reason may lie at several points at once, then you may have to carry out comprehensive car maintenance with the replacement of consumables and worn components.

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