Car Jerks When Braking

Car jerks when braking. If you are wondering why your car jerks when braking, you are in the right place. Vehicles with warped or unbalanced brake rotors might cause unexpected shaking while stopping or quick vibrations when driving. Also, if the brake pads are old or packed with dirt and debris, they might gather on the rotor, causing the vehicle to pulse while braking.

car jerks when braking

Why Your Car Jerks When Braking?

Causes Explanation
Bad tires This sensation worsens fast driving since the shaking transfers to the steering wheel.
Rotors problems If the brake rotors are deformed or out of balance, the car may jolt to a halt or shake.
Bad brakes If the brake pads are old or full of dirt and debris, they might gather on the rotor, causing the vehicle to pulse while braking.
callipers Insufficient pad pressure might cause steering wheel shaking. Dust, wear, or corrosion may cause brake callipers to fail.

Assume that you just felt a jolt when applying the brakes. As you approached a red light, the driver used the brakes, but instead of a smooth stop, there was an unpleasant pause, jolt, or lurch.

First, eliminate potential causes that are not directly connected to the braking system. Then, if the problem remains unexplained and unsolved, you might consider other possible explanations.

Automatic Transmissions

If the vehicle has a manual gearbox, braking may seem rather jerky, mainly if a new driver uses the clutch.

The vehicle may shudder if the driver fails to change gears appropriately during decelerating and braking. A manual gearbox driver must coordinate the clutch pedal, brake pedal, and gear lever for accurate downshifting.

If they’re not very good at it or are still learning, this lack of coordination might cause a lurch while using the brakes.

The driver likely requires more experience with a manual clutch to get a more controlled braking effect. Or the grip itself might be deteriorating.

Floor Mats

Sometimes, floor mats might shift out of position and impede the brake pedal’s functioning. If this occurs, the pedal may not depress smoothly, and the vehicle may jerks.

This problem is quickly resolved by adjusting the area rug or floor mat. Consider removing it or purchasing a new one if it is folded, bunched, or occurs often. As a fast remedy, you may be able to exchange it with the mat from the passenger side.

Used Tires

Worn tires lack enough tread to retain traction on the road surface. When tires are worn or their uneven track, the car may jolt, mainly when the conditions are wet, icy, or snowy. Before assuming you have a brake issue, you should check the tread depth of your tires, which is simple and crucial for safety.

Crooked Rotor

Age would make brake rotors prone to warping, mainly if previously produced on a brake lathe. When the brake pedal is depressed, a rotor that has shrunk due to overheating or quick cooling might cause a jolting feeling.

If you have checked out the most elementary causes of jerking, there is probably a problem with your vehicle’s braking system.

Mechanical Braking Difficulties

The brakes on a vehicle have a lengthy to-do list. First, they employ friction to slow down the vehicle. Modern cars with disc brakes feature pads that clamp down on the rotors when the brake pedal actuates the calliper pistons.

Drum brakes are used on older vehicles; the procedure is similar, but the internal brake shoes push against the drum lining. Drum brakes are becoming less prevalent on passenger cars, while some more significant and heavier trucks, particularly on the rear axles, still use them.

When there is a mechanical problem with the brakes, the most probable suspects are the brake pads or shoes. At the end of their useful life, they must be replaced. Likewise, you may need new places if you experience a jolt while using the brakes.

Occasionally, the rotors also get worn. In certain instances, it is feasible to resurface them such that they aid in the smooth stopping of the vehicle. However, if they are severely degraded or twisted, they must also be replaced.

Brake Power Assist Malfunctions

Modern automobile braking systems usually include a booster to aid with braking force. For example, most passenger vehicles employ a vacuum brake booster connected to the engine to raise the pressure, while more giant trucks use pressure from the power steering system instead.

When functioning correctly, the power assist technology makes braking simpler for the driver by increasing their brake pedal input to stop the car smoothly and safely.

During these components malfunction, a vehicle may experience jerking when braking. Then, they must be replaced.

Hydraulics Issues

Most automobiles rely on a closed hydraulic loop for their braking systems. A master cylinder serves as the system’s “heart,” reacting to the driver’s use of the brake pedal.

The hydraulic fluid in the master cylinder pushes through the brake lines leading to the individual callipers (disc brakes) or cylinders (drum brakes) like how blood rushes from our blood arteries to our extremities.

Because hydraulic fluid does not compress under pressure, the brakes are activated when the pedal is depressed, and the liquid is forced toward the mechanical braking components.

Sometimes air may enter the hydraulic system, causing the brake pedal to feel spongy. This might result in a vehicle with uneven braking.

Bleeding the air from the brakes is a two-person task, so do not attempt to perform it yourself unless you have experience and a willing assistant.

Electrical and ABS Difficulties

Almost all modern automobiles are equipped with Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS). ABS is an electrical control system that prevents brake lockup in the case of loss of traction.

For example, if you are sliding on ice pavement while pressing the brake pedal, the ABS will rapidly release the hydraulic pressure to remove and reapply the brakes. This will allow you to keep steering control and slow the car without pushing the brake pedal.

If this occurs, you can sense a vibration in the brake pedal. Otherwise, the brakes would lock, the tires would cease spinning, and the steering control would be lost.

If your ABS is malfunctioning and you experience jerking while braking, you’ll need to see a professional since the system is difficult to fix.


Unpredictable jerking upon braking is fundamentally harmful. Therefore, you should attentively evaluate the situation and drive with extreme caution. If your vehicle jerks when braking, it’s generally time to see a repair after you’ve ruled out the obvious causes.

Why Your Car Jerks When Braking at High Speed?

Most of the reasons your vehicle jerks while braking at high or low speeds are the same. They all begin with common automobile problems, such as a clogged fuel injector or a flat tire. No matter how little these issues may seem, they must be disregarded. It is already tough to control a vehicle that shudders while braking. It will be considerably more difficult if this causes more damage to other car components.

There are other reasons to understand your car’s system and why it shudders while braking at high speeds. However, here are some things you should keep an eye out for.

  • This is an obvious choice. However, accumulating grime in your car’s fuel injector and air filter might result in strange behavior.

  • Residue in the gasoline is a typical issue with simple fixes, such as cleaning the fuel tank and injector. Because leaving your automobile in the rain may cause the inside to get wet, you should avoid doing so.

  • A wet climate encourages the development of germs and mildew, which may contaminate automotive components such as fuel and air filters.

  • An engine misfire is one of the causes of automobile responses like jerking and jolting. Therefore, this vehicle issue demands prompt attention from an auto professional.

  • Additionally, examining your car for cylinder leaks would be beneficial. If so, this may impact your vehicle’s functionality in the long term.

  • Replace or replace broken cylinders so you are not bothered when your vehicle shudders while braking at high speeds.

  • The gas lines of your vehicle play a crucial part in the circulation of energy and pressure that propels the car forward.

  • Check for holes in the gas lines since these components are often delicate. In addition to being the source of your vehicle’s uneven braking, broken gas lines may also catch fire and cause an engine fire.

Why Your Car Jerks when Slow Down?

Contradictory forces inside the engine are one of the primary causes of your vehicle jerking while braking or even slowing down. However, this merely indicates that your car is suffering an imbalance between fuel and air.

Various vehicle components and variables may cause power and air imbalance inside the engine. Examine your vehicle’s details to determine the source of the issue. This list will assist you in deciding where to look and how to repair problems.

Clogged Gasoline Filter

It may not be immediately apparent, but sediments may accumulate in your gasoline tank and clog your fuel filter. Therefore, before every gasoline refill, you must examine this compartment and clean the tank. Typically, cleaning the tank is sufficient to prevent contamination of the gasoline.

Poor Belt Separation

You may already be aware that your car’s serpentine belt is connected to the brakes, which affects the steering. A poor bet separation can sometimes cause your vehicle to vibrate or jerks, even if you are travelling as slowly as possible once you see that your vehicle skids upon braking, you must inspect the brakes and tires for alignment. Confirm that the belt separation is the source of the issue and contact a technician.

Chilly Engine

CA Typically, a cold engine occurs in the morning when the engine is not warm enough to convert gasoline into energy. This causes jolts in your vehicle at constant speed and jerks while stopping. You may resolve this problem by changing your car’s spark plugs, which are part of the car’s ignition system.

The Downshift of Transmission

Be aware that your vehicle’s computer may detect deceleration under normal circumstances and send a signal to the gearbox to downshift. This implies that your car will change gears automatically, culminating in a halt. There is no need for concern if you are experiencing this in your vehicle since it is pretty natural.

Inadequate Tire Inflation

This is another problem that requires immediate attention. First, ensure that all tires have the same air pressure. If a single tire is underinflated or overinflated, there will be a problem with the alignment, which is why your vehicle jerks while braking and slowing down.


Anything about your vehicle’s brakes is often frightening. If your car jerks, you may be prompted to investigate the reasons when braking. When a car jerks for whatever cause, it is an unpleasant feeling. There may be an imbalance in the vehicle’s fuel flow. Regardless of the reason, the best first step is to safely pull over to the side of the road and examine the situation.

How to Stop Car Jerks When Braking?

First, examine your tires to ensure no worn spots on them. If your tires have significant wear and tear, it is time to replace them.

If the brake rotors and pads on your vehicle have worn down to the point of causing the car to vibrate, you should take the vehicle to a professional repair shop so that the components may be replaced or repaired.

If you roughly drive your car, such as suddenly depressing the brake or excessively accelerating, this could also cause wear and tear on the components of your brakes; therefore, you should try to drive smoothly and have a reliable professional inspect your car regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs related to car jerks when braking:

1. How can I prevent my vehicle from shaking when I use the brakes?

If you experience a jolt while using the brakes, you may need new pads. Occasionally, the rotors also get worn. In certain instances, it is feasible to resurface them such that they aid in the smooth stopping of the vehicle. However, if they are severely degraded or twisted, they must also be replaced.

2. What causes an automobile to shudder when braking?

When a car jerks when decelerating, the most common reason is an imbalance between the air and gasoline entering the engine.

3. Why does my vehicle jerks when I use the brakes?

This refers to the uneven deterioration of braking discs caused by rotor runout. If your brake discs are worn unevenly, the brake pads will touch the flat places on the rotor’s surface, resulting in a brake shudder.

4. Can a vehicle’s gearbox induce jerking?

Regular transmissions provide for a smooth ride throughout gear changes. However, automatic transmissions that shift abruptly, jerks, or shake during gear changes may need transmission fluid replacement or have a low fluid level.

5. Why does my automobile shudder when I stop and accelerate?

The most prevalent causes of such problems are old or fouled spark plugs, broken plug wires, and coil packs that are externally arcing.

6. What is the most frequent reason for brake judder?

The most prevalent cause of judder is the development of disc thickness variation (DTV) in the brake disc over time. Disc thickness variation occurs when the disc has worn unevenly, leading its two frictional surfaces to no longer be parallel. This is often mistaken for disc warping.

7. What is a brake vibration?

Brake shudder (also known as brake judder) is the tremor felt via the steering wheel and suspension while applying the brakes at certain speeds and pressures. It might range from a barely perceptible vibration to a strong judder felt in the brake pedal or steering wheel.

8. What does it signify if your vehicle shudders?

When your vehicle jerks or stutters during acceleration, something is likely interfering with the distribution and transmission of power. This is the most benign interpretation if you’re driving a car with a manual gearbox and haven’t yet acquired the feel for shifting.

9. What does transmission shudder feel like?

Typically, you notice your automobile trembling because it vibrates. Your vehicle will vibrate even while travelling at a moderate speed. The trembling causes the car to lag and is highly obvious. In addition, some automobiles are equipped with a transmission temperature indicator that alerts the driver when the transmission is overheating.

10. Is it safe to drive a vehicle that jerks?

A vehicle that surges or jerks at high speed is potentially hazardous, particularly in heavy traffic or adverse weather conditions. If your car shakes at high speeds, you should pull over and have a professional examine it.


There are many causes for your car’s jerky braking behavior. To determine what is causing the issue, it is necessary to conduct a series of tests in a garage outfitted with the required tools. As it is often associated with difficulties with braking discs and brake pads, it cannot be determined by observation alone. This problem will not only be an annoyance, but it may also pose a severe threat on the road.

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