Steering Wheel Shakes When Braking

Steering Wheel Shakes When Braking

I just put on a new wheel bearing on the driver side of my car. While coming off the freeway and putting on the brakes my steering wheel shakes, do you think I need alignment?


Hi there,

Shaking in the steering wheel WHILE braking is usually caused by “warped brake rotors” meaning the brake rotor is not evenly worn and the brake pads are moving in and out of the caliper causing the shake.

If you did not have this issue prior to the wheel bearing installation I would make sure you installed the bearing correctly, and put the wheel on the vehicle in a star pattern. Installing a wheel improperly can cause the brake rotor to not sit centered in the caliper.

Using a star pattern to install the wheel is how it should be done.  If the wheel and brake rotor is not seated properly against the spindle it will be cock-eyed and could through off the balance, causing a shimmy.

If you are not familiar with what the brake rotor looks like, check out the image at the top left of this post. The round metal part is the rotor, the part to the left attached to the rotor is the brake caliper. Inside the caliper are the brake pads.

You can replace the brake rotors (which are usually pretty cheap at your local auto parts store) or you can have your current rotors machined (trued) at your local auto parts store. I would replace the brake pads at this time so they wear evenly with the new rotors or newly machined rotors.

Check out my Youtube video for more information about warped brake rotors, which causes the steering wheel to shake when you step on the brake

Please share this with your friends,
Austin Davis

Posted in: Brakes

3 Comments on "Steering Wheel Shakes When Braking"

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  1. Serena says:

    I paid $400 for new struts because I thought that was what was causing my steering wheel to shake when I braked. I should have found you sooner. Never heard about brake rotors being warped.

    • Austin Davis says:

      Ahhhh, yes brake rotors can warp easily and cause the problem. You can replace them or have then resurfaced (trued) but honestly the cost of new rotors has dropped so much the last few years it would probably be more beneficial long term to just replace them now. I would replace the brake pads too at the same time.

  2. David says:

    Cool, so I am not crazy! That steering wheel shakes no matter what I do. I’ll check out your suggestions now. Thank you.

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