Dear Car Talk:
My 2008 Mustang GT shakes at around 60-65 mph when braking. The Hurst 5-speed stick shakes as well. When this is happening, the steering wheel moves from side to side.
I've had the alignment checked and the tires balanced and rotated, and the brake wear looks even. Sometimes, when braking at slower speeds, the steering wheel will shake. Before taking the car to a shop, is there anything I can look for? -- Peter
You can look for the average price of two front brake rotors for a 2008 Mustang GT, Peter. And make sure you have at least that much in your checking account.
This is a classic case of warped disc rotors. The disc rotor is a key part of the brake system. The rotor is attached to the wheel, and when you step on the brake, you squeeze that rotor from both sides with the brake pads.
If the rotor is warped, every time that high spot comes around, it pushes back on the brake pads. When the warp is mild, you can feel it as a pulsing of the brake pedal. When it's more severe, it can make the steering wheel or even the whole car shake when you brake. And if it's really severe, it'll loosen up a filling or two.
Frankly, I'm kind of disappointed in your mechanic, Peter. This is something so obvious that even my late brother could've diagnosed it if we woke him up from his nap under one of the cars in the shop.
So, I'd ask some friends if they can recommend a mechanic they really like. Or go to www.mechanicsfiles.com and use your ZIP code to search for a highly recommended mechanic in your area. Explain that the steering wheel shakes when you brake from high speed. If he says right away "it's probably disc rotors," you've found your new mechanic, Peter.