Brake Juddering-What is it?

Foot pedal vibrations lead to the brake juddering experience

One of the first signs of brake juddering problems is when you can feel a vibration coming through your foot pedal, when you press it, to brake and stop your car. Some of our customers say that it was a long drawn out process, but eventually the brake began to get worse and the vibrations also started to come through the steering wheel.

brake juddering

Replacing warped discs and worn out pads

In fact some of our customers think that the vibration is a wheel balancing problem, and this is a problem that we may have to check out but when it comes from the brake pedal, then it is usually something to do with the brakes.

One of the main causes of this comes from elderly drivers that always cover the brake pedal with their right foot. This applies to manual gear changes or automatic, they what I call “ride the brake” some drivers also do this with the clutch but that’s a different article to cover. What happens if you ride the brake? Well one of the problems is that you are applying extra pressure onto the brake pads that are constantly in contact with the brake discs (brake rotors in the USA). These in turn over heat the discs, and the discs then warp and go out of shape.

Brake juddering is a bigger problem in hilly areas

In my opinion though, driver fault is not the main reason for warped brake discs. I think that the main cause is the terrain. We here in Halifax are in a hilly area and we get a high occurrence of warped brake discs and brake juddering faults from our customers.

In areas where there is very steep inclines, then drivers are more likely to keep their foot on the brakes. Some of the hills in the Hebden Bridge area are like alpine passes with 180 degree bends to contend with. When you come down these roads you have to keep the car in a low gear and be prepared for a vehicle coming up the hill, without braking all the time.

This constant braking is what overheats the discs and causes them to warp and vibrate giving Brake Juddering through your brake pedal. Some garages have a machine that will skim the brakes and stop the vibrating, but I think that once they have overheating then they do not work to their full potential and there for a new set of discs is the best option.

Over the years car manufacturers have brought in new technology to balance out the disc overheating problem and try to eliminate the Brake Juddering problems. This includes different metals that can stand more heat and also the disc parts

brake juddering

Perforated discs like this BMW disc are designed to dissipate the heat that is built up when braking hard

that now come out with holes drilled in the metal at calculated intervals, for heat dispersal. This can work very well; you can see brake discs actually glowing red hot on some motor sport cars when they have to brake very often at high speed, some can be seen to be glowing white hot in the dark.

This has the same effect as the regular car driven by a regular driver, try to avoid heavy braking especially at high speed, keep your distance and try not to brake heavily. When you are driving down a steep hill, use a low gear and use the car’s engine as a brake, try not to press the brake pedal constantly.

Have your brakes inspected at regular intervals when the car is serviced, any worn discs or pads will be picked up by the garage, and we can even spot a disc that has been overheated in the past, because the disc has a blue coloured sheen on it. Remember like many other things to do with a car, prevention is better than a cure.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and Car Brake Repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell tyres online from our website by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.



2 replies
  1. Lary Cook
    Lary Cook says:

    I think the only contributing factor to this problem is over heating. Also, there might be small and tiny pebbles getting stuck onto the disc brakes which act as a stubborn particle grinding against the plain surface. This effect is seen as juddering. We should precisely keep a look at clean disc brakes and that no other particle should get stuck in them.

  2. Richard Taylor
    Richard Taylor says:

    Many times we keep the pedal down even when we accelerate! This might just make the condition even worse. I prefer to take a moment when I release the brake pedal and then press the accelerator.

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