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September 26, 2018

Why Do My Brakes Pulse?

Car Brakes with Thunderbird Automotive

You’re driving down the road, and you press down on the brake pedal only to find that the pedal is pulsing beneath your foot. What does that mean? When your brakes pulse, it’s easy to worry about a warped brake rotor. However, the culprit could be something totally different. What are the most common reasons why brakes pulse, and how can you tell what the issue with your car or truck is?

Ideal Brake Conditions

Before you can understand why warping occurs, you need to know how brakes are designed to work. All car and truck brakes are made to function best in a specific temperature range. As a result, all of the friction materials used are designed with that range of temperatures in mind. During normal use of brakes, friction material will go from the brake pad to the rotor and create a thin layer of friction material on the rotor itself. If the brake pads are overheated, the friction material will not evenly transfer from pad to rotor. Uneven deposits can lead to warping on the brake rotor.

Warped Brake Rotor

Warped brake rotors are any rotors that are not completely flat and totally parallel with the plane rotation. Anything from improper installation of the wheel to an uneven transfer from friction from the pad to the rotor can cause a brake rotor to warp. Modern brake rotors are designed with less material, particularly at the friction service. As a result, they are much more susceptible to warping as a result of high heat and too much lug nut torque. If your lug nuts were over tightened, or your brake rotor has undergone a great deal of wear and tear, it might be time to replace what you have.

Anti-Lock Brakes

Does your car have anti-lock brakes? If it has anti-lock brakes installed, it’s entirely normal to feel a pulsing underfoot when you are braking from a high speed. When are your anti-lock brakes likely to kick in? If you are stopping suddenly, if you rapidly slam the brake pedal down and if you are driving in wet or snowy conditions. There should be no lasting damage to your car or your brakes, and you can resume driving normally. If you are concerned that the problem is not your anti-lock brakes activating but something else, you should take your car in to be serviced.

Do Your Brakes Pulse? Work with Thunderbird Automotive

Thunderbird Automotive is a leader in auto repair and maintenance in Phoenix, AZ thanks to our awesome customer service, broad range of repair services and expertise. To learn more about our services and get your vehicle checked out, please contact us at (602) 938-3631.

September 26, 2018