Common reasons why the car shakes while driving.

When the car shakes while driving, there is a possibility that the issue has been there for sometime. It’s just that it is being manifested in the form of shaking.

There are different occasions when you will notice vehicle vibrations. Some of them are normal vibrations while others are a cause for alarm. For example;

  • When idling.
  • Turning or cornering.
  • Driving over rough or uneven road surface.
  • At high speeds.
  • When starting the engine.
  • During braking.
  • When accelerating.

Therefore, we are going to venture into what causes the car to shake during these different occasions. Ignoring some of the causes for a long period of time will make things worse for your car.

There are some common causes for these car vibrations. For example;

  • Worn out brakes.
  • Misaligned wheels.
  • Tire issues.
  • When the vehicle is carrying a really heavy load.
  • Engine problems like a bad spark plugs.
  • Clogged filter.
  • Suspension system problems like a Bent axel.
  • Steering system problems.
  • Lastly but not least, bad motor mounts

Undertaking regular car maintenance is one of the easiest ways to avoid the ”car shakes”. It also saves the costs that might be incurred if the car brakes down. In both instances,

Why is my car shaking when I accelerate?

Foot on gas pedal accelerating when car shakes

Lets start our guide on the common reasons that may cause the car to shake when you accelerate. Some drivers have noted that the car doesn’t start shaking until a certain speed. Some cars start shaking at 50 mph and above. These are some of the causes of that problem;

a]. Bent axle.

A bent axle is not a common occurrence for most vehicles. Because of the strength of the metal that makes up an axle. An axle is a rod that connects two opposite wheels and maintains wheel alignment.

Further, the axle is responsible for transferring power from the transmission to the wheels. It connects the parts that rotate with the wheel.

In fact, for a bent axle to be the reason behind the shaking car, you might have been involved in a car accident. Alternatively, when you speed over a bump, curb or pothole at high speeds, the axle is at risk of damage.

You will notice when the car vibrates due to a bent axle, the shaking keeps intensifying as you continue to accelerate. At this point it is advisable to stop the car in order to avoid much more damage on other parts of the suspension system.

Further, if the shaking intensifies as you accelerate, it will be wise to examine the drive-shaft and CV Joints.

b]. Unbalanced or Misaligned wheels.

A common problem with the wheels is balancing and alignment. Wheel balancing and alignment should part of the car service package.

Balancing involves equal weight distribution on all the wheels. It’s importance is to ensure they rotate well even when you’re carrying heavy loads.

The vibrations caused by unbalanced or damaged wheels are usually felt on the steering wheel. Sometimes the wheels tend to be bent due to;

i]. Firstly, problematic tie rod ends.

Tie rod ends are a part of the vehicle’s steering system. Therefore, they are found on the front part of the vehicle’s suspension system.

Tire rod ends connect the steering gear mechanism on one end and the spindle where the front wheel mounts on the other end.

ii]. Secondly, issues coming from faulty wheel bearings.

Wheel bearings connect the wheels and axle within the wheel assembly. They’re a set of metallic balls that are either tapered bearings [tapers] or ball bearings [balls] which have a metallic ring that holds them together.

Their function includes to ensure that the wheel rotates in motion. Further, they provide a reduction in friction during the circular motion of the wheels.

iii]. Faulty ball joints.

Sometimes the hip joint of a human is known as a ball joint because it has a ball and a socket similar to what a vehicle has. Therefore, according to Moogparts ball joints refer to interconnections within the vehicle which facilitate movement.

The front suspension system ball joints facilitate movement between the control arms and steering knuckles. They permit precise vehicle control when negotiating corners.

Damage within the wheel assembly system takes place when you run over a bump, pothole or curb at high speeds. Causing a high impact which leads to damages.

c]. Tire issues.

Tires are susceptible to wear and tear as the car’s mileage increases. The tire tread is a clear indication of how much the tires have worn out. An additional tire issue is tire bulges that result from high impact.

You may observe that tires on opposite sides are wearing out unevenly. This should be alarming. It is an indication that your vehicle is in need of wheel alignment and balancing. Additionally, a tire rotation could be necessary for the correction of the uneven tread wear issue.

Let’s not forget that car vibrations could be caused by tires that are loose. Ensure that you don’t have Loose or damaged lug nuts and confirm that they are tight enough.

Once tire lugs are properly tightened and you still experience vibrations, investigate the wheel bearings. Further, if the vibration is felt around the steering wheel, check the ball joints.

Additionally, a continuous shaking could be as a result of a bent rim. This comes from high impact when running over a bump, curb or pothole.

d]. Problematic brakes.

This is one of the easiest to spot causes of car vibrations. Bad brake pads cause the car to shake when you hit the brake pedal in an attempt to slow down while driving at a relatively high speed.

The vehicle mostly relies on the front wheel brakes to slow down and stop. The front wheels tend to take up most of the stress so vibrations are likely to come from here.

Apply brake grease onto the brake parts assembly in order to lengthen their lifespan. This is an essential requirement during brake caliper service. Most disc brakes are made to last for a long time.

Parts like pads and rotors must be replaced after a substantial amount of miles. Pads should be thick enough as they press against the rotors to bring the car to a stop. This generates friction and heat which causes them to degrade over time.

When the car shakes because of problematic brakes, there is a problem within the following parts;

i]. Stuck brake caliper.

The brake caliper is part of the disc brakes. Most car manufacturers install disc brakes on the front wheel because of their efficiency when stopping the car.

A stuck brake caliper will cause the vehicle to shake when you press the brake pedal. Therefore, you will need to replace the brake caliper.

What causes a stuck brake caliper?

  • Faulty brake caliper bolts.
  • Problematic brake caliper slides.
  • Faulty brake caliper piston.

ii]. Worn out brake pads.

There are some brake pad manufacturers who install a metallic pin within the brake pads for the purpose of warning you when they’re worn out.

The brake pads should be thick enough to be able to hold the disc when you hit the brake pedal. However they tend to wear out after prolonged use.

Worn out brake pads are the main reason why car brakes are squeaking when you hit the brake pedal. Further, worn out brake pads may lead to more harm within the brake assembly by damaging other parts like the brake caliper, pins and rotors.

iii] Worn out brake rotors.

Brake rotors are part of the brake system assembly parts. They are the large disc shape that attaches to the wheels and rotates as the wheels rotate.

Brake rotors help to stop the vehicle when the brake caliper slides push the brake pad against them. However, there are a number of things that could cause the brake rotors to deteriorate. These are inclusive of;

  • Worn out brake pads.
  • Stuck brake calipers.
  • Rust.

e]. Engine problems.

Car shaking while driving sometimes comes about due to some engine parts. These same parts may cause the car to shake vigorously while idling.

i]. Dirty or contaminated spark Plugs.

Spark plugs conduct electric current which facilitates combustion of fuel and air mixture within an internal combustion engine. Therefore, starting the engine.

Some internal combustion engines have one or two ignition coils. The primary ignition coil transfers electric current to the secondary coil which then transfers the electric current to the spark plug.

Failing ignition coils alongside dirty or contaminated spark plugs are one of the reasons why the car engine misfires during ignition. Further, they cause the engine to shake vigorously during idle time.

Spark plug contamination comes from an accumulation of suit after a long time of successful ignitions.

ii]. Clogged air filters.

Think of air filters as part of the engine’s breathing system. Therefore, air filters are responsible for ensuring that the air which mixes with the fuel within the combustion chamber is clean.

They do this by removing any dust particles, insects and other contaminants from the air that the engine takes in. Clogged air filters will not let sufficient air through to the combustion chamber.

Therefore, they will cause a lack of balance between the fuel and air mixture ratio within the combustion chamber. This will cause the car to shake while idling and during acceleration because the engine’s air demands aren’t being met.

iii] Dirty or clogged fuel injectors, pumps and filters.

Fuel contains contaminants like debris from the means of its storage and transportation. The fuel filter is a part of the internal combustion engine fuel system.

Fuel filters play a crucial role of protecting the engine by preventing the intake of the fuel contaminants into the engine. When the fuel injector draws fuel from the fuel tank, the fuel heads towards the engine to facilitate the provision of power.

A fully functional fuel pump provides sufficient fuel pressure when it draws the fuel from the tank. This fuel flows through the fuel filter to the fuel injector.

Next the fuel injector atomizes the fuel and forces it into the internal combustion engine. This takes place at the necessary fuel pressure during precise points within the combustion cycle.

Therefore, the fuel pump, filter and injector work alongside each other to facilitate sufficient fuel pressure. However, a dirty or clogged fuel injector, pump and filter causes low fuel pressure. A replacement fuel pump, filter and injector is necessary incase this happens.

Because the fuel has to go through the fuel filter so that it is free from particles that may cause wear and tear to the engine. A clogged fuel filter will be unable to allow sufficient fuel through to the engine. Further, it is one of the reasons why the car consumes more fuel.

Therefore, the engine may fail to start. However, if you manage to start the engine, it will tend to cause a major vehicle tremble and the engine may have misfires.

The annoying loud pop sounds from the misfires that most people assume come from problems with the exhaust system may even continue through out the journey. Additionally, the car will stall and the engine will shut down in the middle of your journey.

f]. Faulty engine motor mounts.

The motor mounts are responsible for holding the engine in place. They connect the engine with the chassis. If they are not in a good condition the car starts vibrating at high speeds and the vibration increases as you accelerate. This type of vibration won’t be felt at the steering wheel but through out the front part of the car.

g]. Worn out suspension.

The suspension system is made up of parts that are aimed at making the ride much more comfortable. Some luxury vehicles incorporate air suspension systems for comfort enhancement.

However, people who aren’t satisfied with their suspension systems, it is possible to undertake a suspension system upgrade. But the suspension mods you install should marry with your type of vehicle.

The road terrains vary with a lot of ups and downs and if you’re facing suspension system problems, the ride tends to be very uncomfortable. The suspension system is meant to absorb the impacts generated by the road.

The car suspension system parts include; rods, bearings, spring shock absorbers, struts, and ball joints. If any of them is worn out, you tend to feel the vibrations from the road through out the car’s body. Get a professional to check out the issue if you’re suspicious that there is a problem here.

What causes steering shakes at 50 mph?

Car radio upgrading the car sound system

The steering assembly parts are meant for directing the car to whichever direction you desire. An issue within the steering parts could cause very uncomfortable vibrations.

Some of the parts of the steering assembly are inclusive of the following;

  • Drag or center link.
  • Pitman arm.
  • Steering shaft and column.
  • Tie rods.
  • Center link.
  • Rack.

The vibrations can be felt within two different occasions; when turning the steering wheel and when driving straight ahead at a speed that is around 50mph.

If vibrations are experienced when turning the steering, the issue could be faulty tie rods. Alternatively, if the steering wheel shakes without an attempt to turn it, the problem could be faulty ball joints.

Can transmission cause the car to shake?

Problems with the transmission will definitely cause the car to shake when driving. You will also hear a grinding or squealing noise alongside the shaking.

Further the car will go into reduced engine power mode hence slowing down without giving you the luxury to accelerate. In this case all you can do is replace the transmission, which is an expensive undertaking.

Common signs of transmission problems.

  • Shifting problems. The transmission just won’t enter the correct gear.
  • Clunking or grinding noises.
  • Transmission fluid leakage.
  • Engine revs without the transfer of power to the wheels.

Causes of transmission problems.

  • Low transmission fluid.
  • Problematic clutch plates.
  • Faulty shift solenoid.
  • Worn out or faulty torque converter.
  • Overloading.

How do I stop my car from shaking?

There are a number of things you can do in order to change the situation. Other times all you can do is take the car to a repair shop and get the issue checked out. Some issues will require a replacement of the causative parts while others will call for a small correction.

  1. Change the tires, have them balanced and inflated.
  2. Assess the engine mounts and torque them down per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  3. Replace the air and fuel filters if they are clogged.
  4. Replace the spark plug if it’s worn out or tighten it’s connection if it’s loose.
  5. If it is a suspension issue, take the car to a repair shop and diagnose the suspension system problem.
  6. Resurface the rotors if they’re not too damaged but replace them if the damage is extensive.
  7. Change the car’s brake pads.
  8. Disassemble and rebuild the brake caliper system.
  9. Repair the axle depending on the level of damage.
  10. Reattaching the loose hoses or replacing damaged ones within the engine chamber.

What causes a car engine to shake?

car engine cc size

Engine vibrations come about when the engine components are faulty. Before taking the car to the auto shop for repair, it is important for you to know what causes the problems.

1. Spark plug.

Spark plug is responsible for ignition of the fuel and air mixture. If the spark plug is worn out, the air and fuel mixture won’t be ignited properly hence leading to misfires. This causes the engine’s vibrations during idling or when you’re driving.

2. Damaged motor mounts.

This is one of the common reasons why the engine shakes when it is idle or during acceleration. The motor mounts usually hold the engine in place. Secondly, they absorb the engine’s movement caused by uneven road terrains. If they are faulty, the engine will start shaking.

3. Disconnected hoses.

Hoses carry coolant, air and fuel mixtures among other essential fluids within the engine. Incase these essential hoses are disconnected or damaged, there will be interrupted supply of essential fluids within the engine. This will bring a shaking effect onto the engine.

4. Faulty timing belt.

A damaged or loose timing belt means that fans and other belt driven components will not work well. This will cause the engine to shake during idling and when accelerating. Further, the shaking will be accompanied by a rattling sound from within the engine chamber.

5. Improper fuel intake.

Firstly, when the fuel filter is clogged, it means there will be improper fuel and air mixture in the combustion chamber. This will cause the engine to start shaking especially when you’re accelerating. Adjusting the carburetor settings and cleaning the fuel intake systems will turn this around.

Is it normal for a car to shake when starting?

In most cases, the engine will have subtle vibrations when you’re starting the car. This is mostly brought about by the normal operations of the engine’s components parts. But in other situations, you may notice an increase in the level of vibrations.

When the levels of vibrations increase, there is a possibility that the engine components’ normal operation has ceased.

Reasons why the car shakes when starting.

Most of the reasons why the engine vibrates mentioned above bring about the increased level of vibrations when starting a car. That is;

  1. Faulty timing belt.
  2. Clogged air and fuel filters.
  3. Worn out or poorly connected spark plug.
  4. Faulty motor mounts.
  5. Disconnected hoses.

When the vibrations are accompanied by rattling noises, then you can look at the condition of the timing belt, fuel and air filters as well as the spark plugs. The faulty spark plugs, fuel and air filters may cause the car to misfire and this will lead to the car shaking during starting.

Is it safe to drive when your car is shaking?

If you’re asking this question, it’s probably because you need to use your car for an errand but you are unable to fix the problem immediately. Well, to be honest, cars don’t just start shaking except when there is an issue. Chances are, if you keep driving the car while in that condition, the damage will get worse.

Secondly, depending on what is causing the car to shake, there could be a danger to you and other road users. For example the cause of the car shaking could be stuck brake calipers. This means that the braking capacity of the car is affected. You can already tell where this is going, right?

In conclusion, its good to investigate the situation fast by looking into obvious signs that will tell you why the car is shaking. For example,

  1. If the only shakes when you hit the brakes, that is a problem with the brake assembly parts.
  2. If the steering is shaking during turns that could be the tie rods.
  3. Also, if the steering wheel is shaking when driving straight ahead, the issue could be the ball joints.
  4. If the car is shaking and there is a rattling sound, the timing belt is faulty.

The reasonable thing to do when this happens is to take care of the thing causing the car’s shaking first. Afterwards, it will be safe to drive the car without it shaking.

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