When you decelerate your car, do you feel as if you are trying to control a jackhammer instead? This can be a scary situation and will invariably get worse unless you take action to solve the problem. What could be causing this sensation and what can you do to get back to normal?
If you've noticed a significant vibration whenever you put your foot on the brakes, it's probably linked to faulty brake discs. In the beginning, the vibration may be rather innocuous, and you may only feel it through the ball of your foot as you depress the pedal. As things get worse, however, the vibration will migrate up the steering column, and in the worst-case scenario, you may find it difficult to hold onto the wheel.
How the Braking System Works
It pays to understand how the braking system works so that you can appreciate the problem.
When you depress the pedal, hydraulic fluid is pumped through the system and pushes two brake pads against the brake disc. The disc is attached to the wheel hub, and as the brake pads control the momentum of the disc, the car should begin to slow down.
Worn out Discs
At certain intervals, you will need to take the vehicle to a mechanic to replace those brake pads as they are made from degradable friction material. However, the discs themselves will wear down eventually as well, and when they do, they can begin to warp.
If the disc is warped when you activate those brake pads, it will resist, and this will cause the tell-tale vibration. The "high" point of the disc will touch the pads momentarily during each revolution, and this will create that rhythmic pulsing.
Sometimes, brake discs can warp if you drive through a large body of water when they are too hot. In this case, they may suddenly cool down, and this may be enough to throw them out of balance.
Unfortunately, a vibration like this may often cause other issues. For example, the tie rod end that connects the steering column to the wheel may become loose. As you can imagine, this is a potentially dangerous problem as well, and you will need to address it.
Don't delay any longer, as the problem will certainly affect the efficiency of the braking system. Take the car to a mechanic for brake repairs right away.