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Lumpy brakes and shaking steering wheel

My emergency brake was “frozen” on. I managed to get them released, but ever since when applying brakes at low speed with even/equal pressure, they feel lumpy like they have a divet that wont’ round. Also, at high speeds when the brakes are applied (not all the time), the steering wheel shakes violently. When I let off the pedal and reapply, usually the shake is gone. Anyone with ideas?

the wheel shakes because you have warped rotors. chances are you need to have brakes done all the way around with new drums and rotors.


It does sound like you have warped rotors. Rather than having the rotors machined, just have them replaced. This costs slightly more but will produce a more satisfactory result.

Once you have your new rotors, make sure that nobody ever puts your wheels on with an impact wrench.
By using a torque wrench with the correct amount of torque you can prevent warping of the rotors.

While I believe it is most likely a warped rotor or rotors, and I agree that with modern (thin) rotors you would be best served by replacing them, but it is possible that it is just the surface rust problem. It is hard for any one to describe how something on a car “feels.”

Thank you. Would the rotor problem also solve the “lumpy” feeling of braking at slow speeds?

Yes, more than likely.
However, the overall condition of your entire braking system needs to be evaluated.
You may need new pads on the front, or rear, or both. It is even possible that the calipers are in need of replacement on this vehicle of undisclosed age and unknown odometer mileage.

If you do need new pads and or calipers, make sure that the old brake fluid is drained and replaced with new fluid if the old fluid is more than 3 yrs old.

Did the shaking begin immediately after the parking brake was freed up? If so, how long had the van been sitting with the brake frozen? Because you state that the shake occurs on initial application of the brakes but may disappear if the pedal is released and re-applied warped rotors seem less likely to be the cause and binding races on the calipers seems more likely. But I would strongly advise that you get a good brake man to inspect the brakes on all 4 corners and repair them as needed.