As you are pulling up to an intersection, the traffic light turns yellow, then red just after applying pressure to the brake pedal. The next moment, your vehicle jerks slightly before coming to a full stop. This is hugely concerning! If your car jerks when braking, you need to determine the cause and find the correct solution. So we at Advanced Auto Care – Bo Bahn complied these three steps will get you started.
1. Rule Out the Obvious
Suppose you’re part of the small group of car owners with a manual transmission (and getting smaller all the time). The occasional jerk while shifting isn’t uncommon. Sometimes, the driver doesn’t time the clutch’s release with each shift, causing the vehicle to jerk. Or you accidentally shift into the wrong gear.
2. Check Your Brakes
Unsurprisingly, a car jerks when braking if there is a problem with the brakes. Usually you will hear your brakes squeal, squeak or grind, particularly with warped rotors. Or you’ll feel some vibration as you apply the brakes, causing a slight jerk to the vehicle as you come to a stop.
The problem may only be air in the brake lines. If that’s the case, use a brake bleeder kit to bleed the brakes. You may also need to replace brake pads and replace or resurface worn rotors. While you’re at it, check the tires to ensure sufficient tread remains, then rotate them as needed. Lastly, inspect the spare tire to ensure it has sufficient air.
3. Inspect the ABS
Today’s vehicles have antilock brake systems (ABS), which help your car come to a safe stop, especially in slippery conditions. Specifically, the system includes sensors, an electronic control module, and a hydraulic control unit.
Usually, when the ABS is malfunctioning, a warning light switches on in the instrument panel. Faulty sensor wiring or metal shavings, or other debris may be contributing problems — the latter causing false feedback. Use an ABS scan tool to check for fault codes, which will identify the problem. Finally, when the work is done, the fault code should disappear, or you can clear it with your diagnostic tool.
Always follow your owner’s manual to schedule due to maintenance items at the proper intervals. Handling simple tasks early on can help you avoid broader issues later, including brake problems.