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. So, ignoring this for a longer period will make things worse for your car. The results will be higher repair costs.
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. The car vibrating may be experienced in three instances; when idle, accelerating and when you hit the brakes. In both instances, there are common causes for this; worn out brakes, wheels, tires, bad spark plugs, clogged filter, bent axel and broken motor mounts.
Why is my car shaking when I accelerate?
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;
1. Bent axle.
A bent axle is not a common occurrence for most vehicles. The axle is a strong metal that is hard to damage. In fact, for this to be the reason behind the shaking car, you might have been involved in a car accident. Alternatively, when you run into a bump, curb or pothole at high speeds, the axle is at risk of damage.
The axle is responsible for transferring power from the transmission to the wheels. It connects the parts that rotate with the wheel. 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 the suspension system.
Further, if the shaking intensifies as you accelerate, it will be wise to assess the drive-shaft and CV Joints.
2. Damaged or unbalanced wheels.
A common problem with the wheels is balancing and alignment. During car servicing, the wheels need to be checked to ensure that they are well balanced and they’re in a good condition. Balancing involves equal weight distribution on all the wheels. It’s importance is seen when they rotate well even when you’re carrying heavy loads.
Sometimes the wheels tend to be bent due to issues coming from the wheel bearings, ball joints or tie rod ends. The vibrations caused by unbalanced or damaged wheels are usually felt on the steering wheel. Wheel damage takes place when you run over a bump, pothole or curb at high speeds. Causing a high impact which damages the wheels.
They 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. when you observe that the tires are wearing out unevenly on the tread, then they my be unbalanced. Further, if the car vibrations appear while at a specific speed, the tires may be in need of balancing. Additionally, a tire rotation could be necessary for the correction of this issue.
Let’s not forget that car vibrations could be caused by tires that are loose. Assess the tire lugs and ensure they tightened. Once they are properly tightened and you still experience vibrations, investigate the wheel bearings. Additionally, if the shaking continues, the issue could be originating from a bent rim. This comes from high impact when running over a bump, curb or pothole.
4. Problematic brakes.
This is one of the easiest to spot cause of car vibrations. Problematic brakes cause the car to shake when you hit the brake pedal. 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.
The brake assembly parts need brake lube in order to last for a longer 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. If the pads are too worn out they will cause the car vibrations. A clear sign that a replacement is overdue is when you start hearing squealing sound when you engage the brakes.
Brake rotors are the disc shaped metal that attaches to the wheel and spins as the wheel spins. It tends to become bent or warped over time. This is one of the causes for the car to vibrate.
Brake calipers could get stuck and cause the car to vibrate when driving. The calipers are responsible for moving the brake pad to push against the rotor. If the calipers are stuck in a position that constantly has the pads pushed against the rotors then you will experience shaking when you accelerate.
5. Parts of the engine.
Car shaking while driving sometimes comes about due to some engine parts. These same parts may cause the car to shake vigorously while idling.
Spark Plugs which is worn out will lead to shaking of the car. The spark plug is responsible for starting the engine. Electric power from the car battery is transferred to the spark plugs which ignites the air and fuel mixture within the combustion chamber. Worn out spark plugs will not initiate combustion properly and this may cause the engine to misfire. Hence resulting to a shaking effect.
Clogged fuel and air filters could cause the engine to misfire hence causing the car to shake. That’s because the amount of fuel and air capable of passing through these filters is limited when they’re clogged.
6. Faulty 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.
7. Worn out suspension.
The suspension system is made up of parts that are aimed at making the ride much more comfortable. The road terrains vary with a lot of ups and downs and if your suspension system is worn out, the ride tends to be very uncomfortable. The suspension system is meant to absorb the impacts generated by the road.
Parts of the suspension system 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?
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. The vibrations can be felt within two different occasions; when turning the steering wheel and when driving straight ahead.
If vibrations are experienced when turning the steering, the issue could be the tie rods. Alternatively, if you’re not trying to turn the steering wheel but you’re experiencing shaking, the problem could be the 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.
How do I stop my car from shaking?
There are a number of special undertakings that you can conduct 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.
- Change the tires, have them balanced and inflated.
- Assess the engine mounts and torque them down per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Replace the air and fuel filters if they are clogged.
- Replace the spark plug if it’s worn out or tighten it’s connection if it’s loose.
- If it is a suspension issue, take the car to a repair shop and diagnose the suspension system problem.
- Resurface the rotors if they’re not too damaged but replace them if the damage is extensive.
- Change the car’s brake pads.
- Disassemble and rebuild the brake caliper system.
- Repair the axle depending on the level of damage.
- Reattaching the loose hoses or replacing damaged ones within the engine chamber.
What causes a car engine to shake?
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. Most of the reasons why the engine vibrates mentioned above bring about the increased level of vibrations when starting a car. That is;
- Faulty timing belt.
- Clogged air and fuel filters.
- Worn out or poorly connected spark plug.
- Faulty motor mounts.
- 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,
- If the only shakes when you hit the brakes, that is a problem with the brake assembly parts.
- If the steering is shaking during turns that could be the tie rods.
- Also, if the steering wheel is shaking when driving straight ahead, the issue could be the ball joints.
- 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.