Car Jerks When Braking At Low Speed

Car jerking when braking at low speeds? Many causes can be to blame. The braking system, transmission, or engine? Let us talk about these possibilities in detail—also, here are some tips to help you troubleshoot each one.

brake disc

Brake Pads

Pressing the brake pedal causes friction pads attached to the brake caliper to squeeze against the rotors. This friction and heat slow down your car. Over time, the pads wear down and need replacement. If your car jerks when braking at low speed, worn brake pads could be the cause.

Uneven surfaces on the rotors due to worn brake pads can give you a pulsing sensation when applying pressure. Loose components such as lug nuts and frame parts can also create uneven surfaces on the rotor when using force.

Some cars have ABS, which could lead to a jerking sensation if it malfunctions. This could be due to technical issues or dirt buildup in the valve assemblies of the system’s hydraulic or electronic components.

It’s essential to get your brakes inspected regularly by a professional. If worn brake pads are identified, promptly replace them for safe driving conditions.

Brake Rotors

Brake rotors, metal discs attached to wheel hubs, create friction when brakes are applied, slowing down your car. If something’s wrong – warping, rusting – braking can cause a jerky sensation.

Warping may result from

  • insufficient service,
  • improper bedding-in,
  • too much speed while braking,
  • using brakes too often while driving in hilly terrain, and
  • incorrect heat shielding.

Resurfacing and cleaning might solve the problem. But, if the damage is too severe, replacement may be necessary. Maintaining and servicing your brakes is essential to avoid further issues. Get it checked out by a professional for accurate diagnosis and repair!

Brake Calipers

Malfunctioning brake calipers could cause a car to jerk when braking at low speed. The pads rub too much, causing a vibration that transfers to the body and steering wheel. This makes driving uncomfortable.

A mechanic will check for any mechanical issues around the caliper. Worn mounting hardware or incorrect installation may need to be disassembled and inspected for faulty components. Internal valves can also be blocked or leaking, leading to the need for replacement.

Other components of the braking system are also checked:

  • Discs/rotors,
  • brake pads, and
  • hoses/lines

which could have excessive wear or corrosion, leading to vibrations.

Brake Lines

When your car jerks when braking at low speed, it’s time for a brake line inspection. Rubber or steel tubes carry brake fluid from the master cylinder to the wheels. Check for kinks, cracks, or leaks in the thin rubber tubes. Replace worn parts right away. This can help with adequate braking power.

Also, check for air trapped inside the brake system. Poorly maintained brakes may not release correctly. This causes uneven traction on each wheel and leads to jerky maneuvers. Bleed out any trapped air. After this, fill the brake locator reservoir with new brake fluid.

Regular maintenance checks are essential for optimal performance. Perform these checks more often if your car is jerking during low-speed braking.

Diagnosing the Problem

Does your car jerk when you brake at low speed? This could be a warning sign of a bigger problem. Let’s take a look at what could be causing this jerking. We’ll check out the brakes and also investigate the engine. This guide will help you determine what’s wrong and what steps to take to fix it.

We’ll investigate the following:

  • Brakes
  • Engine

Visually inspect the brake pads

Jerking when braking at low speed can be caused by brake pad problems. Check the brake pads and the area around them. Look for signs of wear, such as grooves or cracks. An uneven place or surface can signify warped rotors or inconsistent rotor contact.

Inspect the calipers. Make sure they are working and not sticking. Check clips and pins to make sure they’re secure. Also, check for mechanical problems like misaligned components or incorrect installation. If you have questions, consult a repair manual or contact a technician for help.

Check the brake rotors for warping.

Warped brake rotors can make the car jerk when stopping at low speeds. This happens when heat accumulates in the rotor due to poor brake design, incorrect assembly, or an unevenly worn brake pad. To check, you must raise the car and remove the wheels.

Signs of a warped rotor include:

  • Rust on one part of the rotor
  • Pitting or grooves on its surface
  • Uneven thickness
  • Vibration while spinning

If any of these are present, the rotors need to be replaced. Otherwise, you should check for other causes, such as a loose or binding caliper bracket. Check if the caliper piston is sticking or if there is corrosion in slides/pins/bushings.

Most modern cars have a combination system with disc or drum-type brakes. Get accurate measurements before attempting repairs. Lastly, if all else fails, get a professional opinion from your local mechanic.

Test the brake calipers for leaks

Once the brakes are adjusted, check for caliper leaks. Look for any moisture on the outside. If present, there could be a problem with seals or tubes.

Also, check the brake pads are seated correctly in the mount. Uneven wear can cause a partial blockage in the rear brake lines.

Finally, check for air bubbles in the brake system. Air bubbles can cause jerking when you press the brakes. Motor off each part of the brake line from the master cylinder or vacuum booster. If an air pump appears, flush the pipes with fresh fluid. Then do tests or repairs.

Check the brake lines for cracks

Inspect your brake hoses and lines regularly for cracks and bulging. If you find any damage, replace the part immediately. Check all related components, as they could be a near failure too. Perform a visual inspection before attempting repairs to diagnose which feature needs replacing. Clean off any corrosion or buildup before you start. Check the areas around where hoses connect to other parts, like wheel cylinders. Ensure all lines are securely fastened, which could cause leaking and damage when braking.

Inspecting and replacing worn parts will help prevent jerking issues at low speeds.


Is your car jerking when braking at low speeds? It could be multiple issues! Be aware and look into repairs. In this section, we’ll explore the different maintenance and their costs:

Replace the brake pads

Replacing brake pads is critical for a car that jerks when braking at low speed. They comprise three main components: caliper, rotor, and friction material. Their primary purpose is to create friction to slow or stop the vehicle. Over time, they wear down and must be replaced.

Check the thickness with a micrometer or caliper gauge and choose the correct type of pads for your vehicle. It’s usually best to stick with the original manufacturer’s recommendation.

Gather the necessary tools and parts: calipers, rotors, shims, wheel lugs, brake cleaner, torque wrench, and safety glasses. Follow all safety precautions.

Remove one wheel at a time and change each brake pad individually. You might need an Allen wrench and pliers. Remove rust from where the new place will come into contact. Check the rotors for warping with a dial indicator and surface smooth them with sandpaper. Install the new brakes with the attached hardware. Reinstall each wheel, making sure the torques are proper.

Replace the brake rotors.

Replacing the rotors on your vehicle is essential for safety and efficiency. If your car jerks when you brake at low speeds, it’s likely due to worn or damaged rotors. They create friction against the brake pads when you press down on the pedal.

It’s essential to use rotors made for your make and model. They must fit properly and provide the correct performance. They should also be compatible with your other braking components, like calipers and pads.

Before replacing your rotors, take a few steps:

  1. Inspect all components for signs of wear or damage.
  2. Loosen any rusted-on bolts.
  3. Remove all existing parts from the rotor, like bolts and fasteners.
  4. Mount your new brakes onto the rotor per the manufacturer’s instructions or dealer recommendations.

When done correctly, you should restore braking performance and no longer have issues with jerking at low speeds.

Replace the brake calipers.

Brake calipers must be replaced to fix car jerks when braking at low speed. They are clamp-like devices that hold the brake pads, which press against the rotor to slow or stop your car. Old, broken, or worn calipers can cause juddering at low speeds.

The type of brakes on your vehicle must match the caliper you get. Disc or drum brakes usually use a sliding pin or piston-style caliper. ABS brakes may have an electronically controlled unit on one side of the axle.

You need socket wrenches, screwdrivers, and new calipers to do the job. A brake Cleaner should be used to clean the area around any new parts.

The time this job takes depends on the car and its complexity. It could take one hour or several hours. When done, clean the area around your repaired brake assembly, and check the tension from both sides before driving.

Replace the brake lines.

Brake lines are the pipelines for brake fluid. They lead from the master cylinder to each of the four brakes. When a brake line is blocked or breaks, the brakes may not work correctly, like when a car jerks when braking at low speed. Replacing the brake lines is essential if signs of damage are found.

Replacing the brake lines is difficult, so getting an experienced mechanic is best. You’ll need to replace all four steel lines, bleed the brakes after installation, and check the ABS systems. It’s best to buy quality steel braided lines right away. You might need connectors, bleed screws, or washers. The repair time depends on knowledge, tools, and the car model. On average, it takes two hours with one person working.


Got a car that jolts when braking at low speeds? Here’s how to reduce it. Let’s take a look at the solutions:

  • Check and change the brake pads.
  • Check the rotors and make sure they’re lubricated.
  • Regular maintenance helps too.

Regularly inspect the brakes

Brakes are essential for cars. They’re often not given the attention they need. Regularly checking them is a must for safety.

Inspections can help spot minor issues before they get worse. It’s best to have a mechanic take a look twice a year or as per the car manufacturer’s service schedule. This includes:

  • Examining brake pads for wear.
  • Checking wheel cylinders for corrosion or leaks.
  • Looking at brake fluid levels and condition.
  • Making sure all brake components are working.
  • Confirming that all mechanical linkages are in good shape.

Also, watch out for possible issues between service appointments. Warning signs such as high pedal travel, uneven braking, vibration when braking, or sudden brake releases indicate something’s wrong. If you experience any of these, go to a professional for inspection ASAP. It’s much safer than driving with faulty brakes!

Change brake pads as needed

Inspecting your car for any issues that could cause jerking when braking at low speeds is vital. Disc brakes need new brake pads regularly to prevent this. The pads wear down over time, reducing friction, and causing the car to jerk. Inspect them every 40,000 miles and change them as needed.

You’ll need a car jack, floor mats, and a C-clamp to do this. Jack up the car, remove the tire and inspect the brake pads. Consider the size and weight of the new brake pad when replacing it. Heavier brakes usually last longer. When finished, test the parts to make sure they’re working correctly.

Following these steps will help you avoid expensive repairs. Smoother rides await!

Have the brakes serviced regularly

Having professional brake service is critical for safety, reliability, and performance. Most vehicles need regular maintenance on brakes for efficiency and longer life of components. All brake systems wear out, but proper care can extend their life.

It’s important to have brakes serviced regularly. This will prevent costly repairs and protect you from potential issues that could sting you. Technicians will check for signs of deterioration, such as brake pad wear, leaking fluids, or damage to parts like hoses and calipers. If problems are detected, they’ll repair them right away to avoid further damage or accidents.

Whether it’s time for regular maintenance or unexpected repairs, a qualified technician should examine your vehicle. This is essential for maximum safety and performance on the road.

Keep brakes clean and lubricated.

Keeping brakes clean and lubricated is essential for a safe and smooth ride. Over time, components can corrode, causing the car to jerk when braking at low speeds. Particles and brake fluid residue can also create a squealing sound.

To avoid this, brakes should be cleaned at least once a year. Start by taking off the wheel covers. Use a dry rag to wipe away dirt, debris, and compressed air/water pressure to loosen anything stuck on the rotor.

Once the sludge is gone, scrub both sides of the rotors/drums with a lint-free cloth and rubbing alcohol. Finally, apply good-quality silicone-based brake grease to moving parts, such as wheel hubs, calipers, and slides. This will reduce noise and prevent rusting/corrosion. Replace wheel covers and tighten them into place.

Frequently Asked Questions

What could cause my car to jerk when braking at low speed?

Jerking when a few different issues could cause braking at low speed. It could be due to a worn-out brake pad, an issue with the brake caliper, or a problem with the brake rotors. It is best to have a qualified technician check out your car to diagnose the issue properly.

Is driving a car that jerks when braking at low speed dangerous?

Driving a car that jerks when braking at low speed is not recommended. Depending on the underlying cause, it could be unsafe to drive your vehicle until the issue is diagnosed correctly and fixed.

How can I fix a car that jerks when braking at low speed?

The most accurate way to fix a car that jerks when braking at low speed is to have a qualified technician properly diagnose and cure the issue. They can adequately inspect and replace worn-out brake components that could be causing the problem.