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Why Is My Car Shaking When I Drive and What Do I Do Now?

why is my car shaking

If you have been a car owner for a few years, it’s basically inevitable that something is going to happen with your car. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a major problem, but all cars and vehicles require maintenance to keep them running smoothly and safely. Unfortunately for this problem, due to its annoyance to the passengers and driver, it is an issue which can be easily felt – and needs to be addressed quickly.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


The main problem with vibrations is that in the beginning, you may not notice it – it can start off pretty soft and subtle, but gradually grow over time. By the time you realize what is happening, your car is roughly vibrating down the road. An issue with your car shaking is that although it has an easy explanation and fix, it could end up costing you a lot more money if you wait for too long. Head to a local technician or a reputable business like a Firestone to have a technician check out your vehicle.


Different Instances In Where Your Car Might Be Shaking


There are various instances in which your car might be shaking while you’re in the vehicle. One common instance of when your car would shake is while you are idling. This occurs when you are sitting still and not moving on the road, which typically signals some type of engine issue. Your car will usually be vibrating and your engine will be shaking.


The next instance is your car shaking every time you accelerate. When you press down on the gas pedal to go quicker, your car begins shaking. This is typically due to a problem with the engine mounts or suspension system. This will cause the engine to begin shaking while you’re speeding up.


The third instance of your car shaking is when you brake. This is especially dangerous because you need to be able to stop reliably and quickly at high speeds for the safety of everyone in the car. If your steering wheel, brake pedal, or whole car shakes when you brake, that could put everyone’s lives in jeopardy. This type of your car shaking is usually due to issues with the brakes themselves. You will typically find your steering wheel shaking as a main symptom.


The fourth situation in which your car might be shaking is when you drive quickly. Your foot might not even be anywhere near the brake pedal for it to cause shaking, or you might not be currently accelerating – but your car is still shaking. This problem is typically due to a misaligned wheel/s or unbalanced tires.


Main Reasons Your Car Is Shaking – auto simple and car bibles


There are typically a few key reasons that your car is shaking while you’re driving or idling. This is a common problem that typically occurs at least once for most car owners, so technicians are well equipped to deal with any of the following scenarios. Your car shaking is usually an engine issue, steering problem, tire issues, or a combination of multiple.



  1. Worn Out Parts

Your car can get old. You can get busy, forget to replace a few aging parts, and before you know it – your car isn’t running like new anymore. If too many parts become worn out, or just the right combination of parts, it can cause shaking in your car. If your axle is somehow damaged, this can cause vibrations throughout your car, causing it to shake while driving, and get worse while driving quicker. The axle on your vehicle can get bent during minor accidents, driving over potholes, or hitting something on the road.


Another potential problem for a part that can cause your car to shake is the drive shaft. If something happens to bend the driveshaft, it can cause vibrations in your car. In addition, constant velocity joints also wear out, which can cause vibrations. The constant velocity joint is what permits a drive shaft to efficiently transmit power at a constant speed without an increase in friction.


  1. Lack of Spark Plugs

Usually when you’re driving and your car is shaking, you can sometimes tell where your car is vibrating from. If your car feels like it is vibrating from the engine area, it could be due to your car not getting enough spark, fuel, or air to smoothly run. If this is the case with your car, there are a few tell-tale signs that this is true.


First, your car’s shaking will increase when you try to accelerate or press down on the gas pedal. Second, it may feel as if you’re driving over a constant stream of tiny bumps or dents on the road, and it will be an extremely bumpy and vibrating ride. Third, your car will be able to start properly, but it will take a while before it actually begins shaking while you’re driving. This is potentially dangerous because it could make you think that everything is okay, when in reality, you need to diagnose why your car is shaking. Fourth, your check engine light may come on and start flashing while your car is shaking. The motor may vibrate abnormally, which leads to a loss of power, and a loss of proper timing for fuel and ignition.


These symptoms are all characteristic of issues with the spark plugs within the car. This might mean it’s time to change your spark plugs – if your technician does an inspection and they don’t need replacing, then you might just need to get them checked and inspected for possible repair. If the spark plugs are not the main issue, the shaking could be more related to a dirty air filter which prevents the flow of fuel or oxygen to the engine.


The good news about this culprit to your car shaking is that spark plugs are a pretty inexpensive fix in terms of repair work that has to be done on a car. This means that there should be no wait period between you feeling a vibration, getting a diagnosis, and fixing the problem.


  1. Brake Problems

If the vibration and the shaking is occurring mainly when you are applying pressure to the brakes, the culprit is – you guessed it – the brakes. The shaking is usually directly correlated with the brake mechanism, since the front brakes take the most pressure when a braking force is applied. It is crucial that the vibration is fixed, since the brakes need to work correctly to inhibit forward motion and stop quickly when needed.


There are a few components which comprise the front disc brakes which may need replacing more often than other parts. The two main pieces which need to be more commonly replaced are the brake pads and rotors.


How Does A Brake Pad Work?


The brake pad presses against a rotor, which generates friction – this is the process that causes your car to stop. The process unfortunately also causes the friction to wear on the surface of the pads over time, reducing the thickness after substantial use. If your brake pads are worn, this causes your car to start shaking, and might even start damaging the rotor.


            How Does A Rotor Work?


The brake rotor is the flat piece of steel that is attached to a longer rod and held inside of the wheel. The brake pads flank either side of the rotor. During the braking process, the pads compress around the rotor, which causes friction and stops the vehicle.


Since the brake pad and brake rotor are the two main components of the front braking system, they need to be fully taken care of. The rotor can unfortunately become warped over time due to heavy use. Certain pads can also lose their thickness as time progresses, which causes the vehicle to begin shaking.


When you notice these signs happening on your car , it is time to replace your brakes. Typically, brakes are replaced every 50,000 miles, although it varies depending on the make and model of your car. Be sure to check your user manual and contact your technician in order to schedule a replacement.


  1. Wheel Hubs or Bearings

When diagnosing why your car is shaking, it’s imperative to diagnose where the shaking is coming from. If the vibrating is coming from your steering wheel and column, it is probably due to an alignment issue. However, there are sometimes underlying reasons why the steering wheel might be shaking – such as wheels having additional instability at their hub.


A shaking steering wheel could be due to a few different reasons. The first reason would be improperly aligned lug nuts or worn-out wheel bearings. The second reason is a bit more complex, and involves runout – this requires a new wheel. The third reason is worn-out ball joints, which costs an average of $200.


The ball joint in a car is basically just a round steel ball that is surrounded by metal and is placed between your car’s wheels and suspension. The main function of this mechanism is to help during steering by connecting the wheels and suspension, allowing a pivoting motion which in turn, lets you steer your car in any direction.


  1. Tires

Tires and tire alignment are the main reason that your car is shaking and vibrating. There are numerous reasons as to why your tires could be shaking – we have deciphered the most common explanations as to why your car is shaking while you’re driving.


The first situation that you may find yourself in is that your tires are only shaking at certain speeds. This usually requires you to only balance your tires, instead of needing a full replacement or rotation. You will need to fix the tires in order to prevent your car from shaking at high speeds.


The second hypothetical you may find yourself in is that your tire tread has separated. If the tread has completely separated from the tire, you will need to purchase new tires and replace your old ones. Tire tread separation generally occurs because of the newer material utilized in building modern tires – tires are much less likely to blow out during driving, but they are more susceptible to tread separation. Tread separation is the most common instance of tire failure.


The third situation for why your tires are causing your car to shake is that your tires are wearing unevenly. Uneven tire wear can cause your wheels to become unbalanced, which will shake your car. The uneven wear is generally due to incorrect contact with road surfaces. If your car begins shaking or it becomes a more intense shaking around the speeds of 50-60 miles per hour, this is usually due to imbalanced tires. Luckily, the solution is fairly simple, and requires just a visit to your trusted mechanic. They will need to rotate and balance your tires, and ensure the tire tread is in working condition.


The last situation in regards to your tires is if your tires are rolling unevenly. This will cause major balance issues, and requires a full replacement of your tires. If your wheel alignment and balance problems are evident, they will have in turn caused irregular tire wear, which can mean an expensive fix for your vehicle. After you replace your tires, you should try to get your tires regularly rotated. This prevents an uneven wear on the tread of your tires, and keeps them from wearing down quickly. Rotation allows you to always have the most amount of tread around the edge of the tire.


How To Prevent Your Tires From Causing Your Car From Shaking


After seeing how important tires are in the prevention of keeping your car from shaking, there are a few steps you can take to prevent tire breakdown, and a few warning signs to look out for – and tell you it’s time to visit your mechanic.


Be sure to keep an eye out for tread separation and uneven tread wear. This usually results in your car shaking at certain speeds, especially at higher speeds while driving your car. Take note of a low PSI while in your car. A low PSI can lead to tire failure, a loss of steering precision, and a loss of cornering stability.


We would recommend visiting your mechanic more often for tire maintenance services, like tire rotation and tire balancing to prevent your car from shaking. Tire rotation is when you periodically change the position of your tires, and it should be done at around every 5,000 miles for optimal performance. Tire balancing is when the mechanic ensures that weight is evenly distributed around the circumference of the tire.


What If My Car Is Shaking And I Need An Expensive Fix?


If worst comes to worst and the repair cost for fixing your car from shaking is very high, since it leads to other structural and internal issues, you can always decide to scrap your car and sell it for some quick money. This decision will let you save towards your next vehicle – plus, you can sell any of the non-metal components still within your car. Head over to CashCarsBuyer for a fair and trustworthy estimate and earn some easy money.




There you have it – we discussed why your car is shaking, different instances which cause your car to shake, signs that you need to get your car checked, the circumstances in which your car is shaking, and the causes of why these vibrations are happening. Be sure to keep an eye out for the warning signs and take all preventive measures to ensure a healthy life for your car.


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