Our editors pick the products & services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Learn more.

Brake Pedal Pulsation ABS System: Why? How?

A brake pedal pulsation is usually described as a vibration in the car or steering wheel that motorists may experience when applying brakes. That is, the brake pedal releases a pulse.

What Causes Brake Pedal Pulsation?

Brake pedal pulsation is usually caused by a warped motor or an out-of-round drum.
The brake of car

Brake pedal pulsation is usually caused by a warped motor or an out-of-round drum. It may also be caused by loose brake parts, a bent axle shaft, or even loose wheel bearings. When a brake pedal pulsates, it’s usually accompanied by a jerky or even shuddering stop when the brakes are applied.

Some of the reasons why brake pedals pulsate also happen are why it seems the problem never gets fixed. These reasons include improperly installed wheels, rotors, calipers, and even brakes. If not correctly repaired, these factors may even lead to the problem getting worsening— and yes, that’s even after it has been “fixed.”

Is ABS A Cause Of Brake Pedals Pulsation?

The anti-lock braking system is a safety system used by drivers to prevent skidding on wet roads. The system works by stopping wheels from locking up during brakes, thus maintaining tractive contact with the road’s surface.

If you have an ABS installed in your car, you’d probably experience a certain level of brake pedal pulsation. But do not be scared. Feeling brake pedal propulsion while applying the brakes in a car equipped with ABS is pretty standard.

When the ABS engages with the brake pedal, you may feel a little pulse. So if you have an ABS and feel a brake pedal pulsation, it’s likely the ABS effect.

Is It Safe To Drive With Brake Pedal Pulsation When ABS Is On?

brake pedal pulsation is perfectly safe to drive if ABS is on.
It’s perfectly safe to drive with “brake pedal pulsation” when ABS is on.

If your brake pedal is pulsating and you have an ABS, you shouldn’t worry. The pulsation is most likely a result of the ABS engaging. So it’s perfectly safe to drive with “brake pedal pulsation” when ABS is on.

What To Do If You Have Brake Pedal Pulsation?

Most times, a pulsating brake pedal is as a result of a warped brake rotor. If you don’t know what a warped brake motor is, here’s a quick definition.

A warped brake rotor is any brake rotor that isn’t completely flat and parallel to the plane rotation. A  common cause of a warped brake rotor is the improper installation of the wheel. Because modern-day rotors are thinner than at the friction surface, they are more vulnerable to warping. This is because of heat and improper lug nut torque. There’s an easy solution to this. All you need to do is tighten the lug nuts in the right sequence with a Torque Wrench.

However, if we assume that everything— including the wheels, brakes, and rotors are correctly installed, there’s another reason for pulsating brake pedals. This reason is the uneven transfer of friction from the pad to the rotor.

In any case, how do we fix brake pedal pulsation once we discover the problem? The first thing to do is to isolate the problem. If the pulse is felt through the steering wheel, this is a pretty good indication that it’s the front rotors that have got an issue. If the vibration is felt through the brake pedals, it’s a pretty good indication that the rear brake rotors need attention.

If a brake disc develops disc thickness variation, it either has to be replaced entirely or has its flat spots ironed out.

Brake calipers that are broken can also lead to brake pedal pulsation. For example, a caliper holding the pad against the disc can lead to the disc getting work out prematurely even when the brake isn’t engaged. If this is the cause of the pulsation, all you need to do is to take out the seized slide pins in the calipers and simply regrease them.

If the brake pulsation doesn’t stop after these steps, it may be caused by an uneven mounting surface on the hub’s face. Rust and scale can build up over a long time, creating a rough surface for the disc to be placed on. If this is the problem, all you need to do is wipe some sandpaper over it till the surface is even and the rust is gone. This surface must be wiped regularly, too, regardless of whether you have pulsating brake pedals or not. Wiping it regularly will help prevent a future occurrence.

There are other ways you can prevent a future occurrence too. For example, when installing a new set of brake pads, you must bed them incorrectly. If you don’t bed them correctly first, you may expose them to extreme thermal shock. This shock could, in turn, lead to uneven wear.

People Also Ask

Are Pulsating Brakes Dangerous?

It depends on the severity. For most people, the pulse is mild and is thus merely annoying. However, even gentle pulsation can affect braking performance and increase braking distance during an abrupt stop.

In extreme cases, pulsating brakes may lead to uneven braking, making the car difficult to control. Sure, pulsating brakes may not let your brakes fail or cause certain death— but they may stop you from having full control of your car at all times. That’s one reason you should try to get them fixed.

How Do You Check If ABS Is Working?

If you’ve just had ABS installed, you may want to test it to see if it’s working. Here’s how to.

First off, start the car and drive around for a few minutes. Make sure you reach speeds of about thirty miles per hour and then slam on the brakes. If you get a push back from the pedal or hear a mild growling noise, the ABS works.

Why Does My Bake Pedal Kick Back?

Most times, this problem is caused by over-torqued wheel lug nuts. These nuts warp the discs in the braking system, causing the brake pedal kickback. If you’ve experienced this, there are only two solutions. The first is to iron out the disc, and the second is to change it. Afterward, You should tune the wheel lug nuts correctly with a torque wrench.

If you have a mechanic reinstall your wheel, make sure they tighten the wheel lug nuts correctly.

Now, it’s not all pedal kickback that is caused by over-torqued wheel lug nuts. Sometimes the kickback you feel is due to your car’s computer system engaging your braking mechanism. This system is usually called the ABS, and it works by releasing and reapplying the brakes several times a second. This way, it can prevent the wheels from skidding off and losing control.

So if you have an ABS, a kickback from the pedal is no problem. It’s the way your car is supposed to work.

Why Does The Pedal Vibrate When I Hit The Brakes?

The reason why is you feel vibrations when you hit the brakes is related to the brake rotor. The brake rotor is a disc that plays a vital role in the functioning of the brake system. These discs are what eventually slows the car down. When these discs are unevenly worn, they are called warped.

Warped discs are usually a result of a manufacturing defect rather than actual use. However, constant use can lead to thinner and thinner sections in the disc, which may eventually affect warping.

Why Does The Front End Of My Car Shake When I Brake?

Most of the car problems we deal with have to do with getting the car to start. There are some times, though, that we have to deal with getting the vehicle to stop.

If you notice that your car’s front end shakes when you brake, the cause is probably a brake pad in need of cleaning. It could also be alignment issues. You can check if your car’s alignment is in proper condition by taking your hands off the steering wheel for a bit and seeing whether it attempts to drift to the left or right.

Asides from these, it could also be a problem with brake rotors or unbalanced tires. It could even be engine issues or a clogged transmission filler. The best way to deal with this problem is to take your car to a competent repair shop and have them look at it.


If you have an ABS in place and feel your brake pedal pulsating, you shouldn’t worry. The pulse is mostly from your car, engaging the ABS. However, if you don’t have that system in place, you should probably take your vehicle to a repair shop. There may be something wrong with it, and you may not be able to fix that something yourself.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top