The primary cause of pulsating brakes is warped rotors. The main cause why rotors tend to warp is overheating. Your brakes might overheat generally because either your cooling fins are rotting from the inside, or you have a sticking brake condition. Both of these conditions cause your rotors to not dissipate heat in the right way.

However, beside the technical malfunctions, pulsating brakes could also just easily come from excessive braking during when you are driving in traffic. This is because you are applying too much stress on the brakes and causing them to overheat. Other situations why you may feel this pulsation is when you are driving down a steep hill and pressing down on the brakes.

Brake Surfaces

The surface of your rotor is very important to how your brakes are going to function. When you apply your brakes, your brake pads are suppose to press up against the brake rotor, apply friction, and create heat to stop the vehicle. If your rotor braking surface has plenty of rot and debris, you will feel the brake pulsation, or shaking of the steering wheel as you hit the brakes.

The Runout

A warped rotor may not always be the most apparent thing to look at and you might actually need a dial indicator to monitor the runout. The runout refers to the amount of movement that comes from your brake rotor surface going side to side.

Most manufacturers recommend less than two thousandths of runout on your brake rotor. It is important to remember is that the rotor that is showing the issue may not actually be the cause of the problem. There are instead many other reasons that can lead to overheating.

Check Your Brake Calipers and Pistons

If the piston is not functioning the way it should, it will not be able to release the pads from the rotor. This means that you will have an overheat condition. You also need to check the sliders if the brake is pulsating. This is the part where the caliper connects on to the bracket.

These sliders need to be able to move in and out easily. If they are not lubricated or seizing up in size, then you will have to encounter an issue with surging brakes. You may also notice that your brake pads are stuck inside the caliper brackets.

If the brake pad is stuck, this may be because of excessive rust buildup in between the caliper brackets and brakes. This makes it difficult for the pads to go against the rotor and release them. This means that they are pressing up on the rotors and causing constant pressure in the form of friction and heat. This leads to the pulsating sensation.

As you can see, there are many causes to a pulsating brake. This is why there is also many fixes to it corresponding to the causes. Make sure to take your car for professional checkup if you indicate signs of shuddering and shaking.