Do You Need Brake Repair When Your Brake Pedal Vibrates?
That’s the first question that comes to mind. The answer is; not necessarily! Let me explain.
You must first differentiate between an ABS (anti-lock brake system) activation and a vibration or pulsation which poses a legitimate safety concern. Most drivers have felt the ABS activate while stopping and experienced the quick pulsations that it produces. That’s absolutely normal provided the road conditions are wet or icey and caused the ABS to activate. ABS systems are dormant until you need them in situations were your tires don’t get traction and begin to skid. If you experience a similar pulsation during normal braking on dry pavement, that would suggest a problem that may require diagnosis and repair.Most non-ABS pulsations you feel are due to rotor or drum surface irregularities. Rotors and drums continue to turn while the brakes are applied. The rotor and drum surface where the brake pads meet must be straight and what we call parallel. The majority of the pulsation problems felt in the pedal while stopping are due from the brake rotors not being “straight” any more. The disc has become warped or uneven somehow.
There are several factors that can cause this to happen and it’s sometimes difficult to pin point the root cause. A common problem we see is when the brake caliper doesn’t fully release or is dragging. It’s the equivalent to riding the brakes all the time. Heat is a major contributor to rotor warp as is the original manufacturers specification. The thinner the rotor, the easier it is to warp. And let’s not forget about rust. From are experience we are certain that car manufacturers have made brake rotors “disposal” these days. To save weight they make them thinner and to save money, they use a lower grade of metal. We have seen cars only 3 or 4 years old needing brake rotors due to severe surface rust. Of course, this is more prevalent in the snowbelt states like where our business operates. Pulsations don’t necessarily mean the brakes are unsafe but it is a condition that should be inspected by a professional technician to see exactly what is causing it. With a simple call, Wise Auto Clinic can inspect your brake system and provide you with an estimate on any brake repairs that may be necessary.