Car Pulses when Braking. Bad Wheel Bearing?


New member
Denver, CO
I have noticed that my 2003 Sunfire pulses when I am slowing down to a complete stop. It almost feels like a very slow ABS system kicking in where it seems like the brake pads are applying pressure and then loosening up again befor re-applying pressure to the rotor. I have felt ABS kick in and make the noise as well as the vibration on the brake pedal and this isn't it. It also throws the traction control light when ABS kicks in. It almost feels like a warped rotor where it would cause this on/off/on brake feel but I have replaced the front rotors within the past year and don't drive like a mad person so I don't think that is it.

Could a bad wheel bearing cause this feeling in the car when slowing down? I jacked the car up and tried to shake the wheels and rotate by hand but I don't see any movement or really hear any grinding noise. I had the car at the mechanic a few months ago and they wanted $400 to replace the rear passenger wheel bearing. I told them to hold off. I checked and it sounds the same as the driver side rear wheel and doesn't seem to be bad to me. I also don't really hear the whine that I have heard in a different car before but maybe I am just getting used to the road noise and this has been a problem for a while? The ABS light does not come on so it seems like the sensor is still working. The only reason I am questioning the wheel bearing is that the mechanic said it was bad but I don't quite trust them.



Staff member
It sounds like a rotor/drum problem a bearing will not cause an issue only when the brakes are applied. You could jack up one wheel at a time to feel for bearing play but usually you will get a noise telling you they are shot.