When you're pulling up to a stoplight and your car begins to shudder and it feels like your brakes are not operating as smoothly as before it can be rather nerve-wracking and leave you wondering what the problem could be and how serious it is. Would you have to pull over to the side of the road and get to the service center as quickly as possible? The answer would be yes, as faulty brakes could lead to accidents.
The most likely cause of your car vibrating and shuddering like a jelly in an earthquake could be due to one of several factors.
Perhaps your wheels are unbalanced or your car's alignment could be out of sync, or the most logical explanation is that the brake 'shoes' (brake discs) are worn down. There are obviously other potential causes that could be more serious issues, such as your steering itself having a loose control arm for some reason or a damaged axle shaft, or even loosened nuts in the wheel drums that could cause the wheel to wobble as you slow down and apply brakes.
If you have had any work done on the car recently or changed tires, the vibration could be directly related to the work that was done on your car. However, the most likely scenario would be something to do with the braking system itself.
Most brake systems consist of a metal disk called a rotor, with each rotor fitted to a clamping device called a caliper. This combination of parts allows the wheels to rotate freely until the driver pushes the brake pedal. The pressure applied allows a hydraulic system to move the brake pad to come in contact with the rotor disc, thus slowing the motion of the wheels. The more pressure applied on the brake pedal the more pressure in the hydraulic system thus the brake pad clamps onto the rotor more tightly.
So, if your car is shuddering and you rule out recent work on the wheels or any accidents that may have occurred and damaged parts such as the axle, the best thing to do is to visit our brake specialists and have the braking system checked to give you complete confidence and peace of mind.