If you have had your car for a while, it is assumed that there may be a few problems going on with it. Even if you are dealing with easy fixes, your vehicle may be in the shop for a bit, and you may be out a few hundred dollars at a minimum. However, one of the most common problems you will probably fall into is your car shaking while driving.
When vibrations start to happen to your vehicle, it could be one of many things that are going wrong all at once. This feeling stems from brakes, rims, and/or tire issues. Ultimately, if the problem is not fixed as soon as possible, your suspension could be shot as well.
Today, we are going to dive into the possible reasons why your vehicle might be shaking. Then, we will talk through 5 solutions to give you peace of mind. So, let us not waste any time and start talking about the problems with a car shaking.
Reasons Your Car is Shaking While Driving & Solutions
#1 – Tire Damages
One of the most common reasons why your vehicle is probably shaking has everything to do with tire damage. Since tires are the only part of your vehicle that touches the road, they have the shortest lifespan of all products. When tires get worn down, that is when you start dealing with vibrations.
Specifically, you will feel these vibrations taking place when you are driving at higher speeds on the highway or freeway. When you start to notice these vibrations, you need to get to a mechanic pronto. They can inspect your tires and even put them on a balancing machine for tires. Then, you can get to the bottom of things that are causing you vibration issues.
#2 – Poor Tire Balancing
Over the life of your tires, you could run into vibration problems that are due from balancing issues. To make sure that this vibration problem is solved, a professional mechanic can get the job done right for you.
You have to think of balancing like if you lost your balance. Think about the times in your life when you lost your balance. Did you fall over? Did you hurt yourself? When you are not balanced walking or running around, the consequences can be detrimental. The same can be said for cars that have balancing issues.
When working on balancing issues, a mechanic uses minimal weight on each wheel. With the help of a machine, this allows your vehicle to get rebalanced. Then, you will not run into any vibration issues for a while.
You will start to notice tire balance issues when you are driving at speeds ranging from 55 to 66 miles per hour (mph). Weirdly enough, at higher speeds, you will not notice the vibrations at all. How crazy!
#3 – Problems With Your Brakes
Car vibrations can come about when you push down on your brakes, believe it or not. Specifically, you will feel the problem with your hands, as you use the steering wheel. Most of the time, the problem you are dealing with is due to faulty front brakes.
If you do notice these vibrations, but not involving the steering wheel, then you may have issues with your brake discs. Oh, all the choices! Rotors and pads can also be to blame for any vehicle vibration. For most vehicles, they even need their brake calipers changed once 50,000 miles is hit.
#4 – Losing Power Steering
Another shaking or vibration issue that you could run into involves power steering. When looking to fix this issue, you could be dealing with a power steering leak. Do you know? The fluid that is leaking on under the area where your engine is.
Additionally, you should make sure you know what the appropriate level of power steering fluid is. Many people do not keep an eye on this important specification of your vehicle. In turn, problems could have been solved before they even presented themselves.
#5 – Annoying Axles
If you are vicious while on the roadways, you may end up dealing with bent or destroyed axles. Why do the axles matter? Well, they help turn the wheels of course.
With damaged axles, you will notice a shake to start. Officially, this will take place as you propel the vehicle forward. Other plays to check for damage should be the driveshaft as well as the CV joints.
#6 – Steering Struggles
Having a steering wheel that responds well during driving is essential. It could be the difference between avoiding a crash and certainly crashing. Of course, in new vehicles, this is not as big a deal as in older ones.
However, the steering mechanism can wear down no matter the age of the vehicle. You will start to noticing your steering wheel struggles to turn with ease like it used to. Do not just ignore this problem. Take it into a professional, so they can go through all the bells and whistles on our steering wheel.
Unfortunately, there are a ton of components to a steering wheel, so an auto-specialist can handle any issue. But, it may take some time to diagnose the problem specifically. Just know that you might need to have a vehicle backup plan, in case yours is in the shop.
#7 – Wheel Bearing Trouble
Wheel bearings are not normally something that car owners think about checking. But, if you are trying to identify vibration issues, then look no further than wheel bearings. When wheel bearings get loose, you may also find that your steering components are also loose. One problem leads to another in this case.
Specifically, wheel bearings start to move freely at any speed that you drive because of the variety of vibrations. You may even hear high-frequency sounds, as you travel faster and faster. This is when you know that you have extremely bad bearings.
#8 – Riding On A Bent Rim
Alternatively, you may run into a situation where the vibrations come from bent rims. These bent rims can come in many forms, like when you drive up over a curb or if you hit those dreaded potholes.
When your rim gets bent, here is what happens. Vibrations begin to occur, especially when you are driving and driving faster at that. If you do notice that you are dealing with a bent rim, here is what you should do. Take it into the professionals to fix it because you can lose tire pressure very quickly.
#9 – Needing An Engine Diagnosis
If you are not dealing with wheel or brake issues, you may be having issues with your engine. Yikes! When your vehicle is still shaking after you check everything else, your engine problems may notice jerking movements from your vehicle, even at a constant speed.
Well, why are you having these engine problems? There are a few reasons for it. First off, the engine may not be getting the necessary fuel-air or spark to function properly. If this is the case, it may be time for a new air filter and/or spark plug to help you in your endeavor. But, if you cannot do this on your own, then you guessed it. You now need to take your vehicle in for a professional mechanic to help you with the process. Your spark plugs may need to be replaced here.
#10 – A Mischievous Motor Mount
As it pertains to vibrations, the last thing you may run into is a motor mount issue. Manufacturers try to keep your engine in place, but sometimes this does not work very well. When is the last time you have peeked under the hood? Some vehicles look like they have been wedged in with no regard for the rest of your vehicle.
Importantly, motor mounts are supposed to keep the chassis in place. But, all this depends on the size, strength, and shape of what your engine is. In general, motor mounts are manufactured with the help of rubber and metal. It is used to be the in-between for the engine and your vehicle’s frame.
The engine is bolted to the frame and the mount for added security. Both rubber and metal are good to fight off vibrations. However, the materials can wear down and that is when you start with vibrations.
High-performance vehicles are also notorious for not limiting vibrations. They do not have much cushion. In turn, you get the friction that causes so many drivers so much frustration.,
Even though there are a variety of solutions to the problem with vibrations, here are the top-5 that should help you on the right path. Check out these solutions first. Also, budget a price range to help you along the right way.
#1 – Tire Replacement
Of course, you should not replace your tires as soon as you start dealing with vibrations. But, more often than not, people dealing with vibrations have problems with their tires. Tire replacements cost a lot, and depending on the car, you will get a variety of options and prices as well.
For example, let us say that you are going for a new tire from Bridgestone. Their “Ecopias” version costs over $400, but that is just for the tires. More money can be tacked on to the total price. Just balancing and mounting can add $15-$50 for your set of tires as well. How about a value stem replacement? Insert $5 -$10 more dollars.
Do you want a protection plan to help out as well? Well, companies vary but expect at least $50. You may need an alignment, too. How about $150, but it will be even more if you own a Volvo, BMW, etc.
#2 – Plug Fix
We talked earlier about spark plugs needing some help. Well, new spark plugs are the answer here. Then, you will notice the vibrations settling and completely going away.
You may also run into dirty spark plugs. There is a chance that you can clean these spark plugs. However, if the cleaning is not done appropriately, then you may cause even more issues to the engine itself. Are you in a conundrum on what to do? Just replace them altogether. You will be glad you did, and so will your vehicle.
#3 – Get A Brake Check
Other than tires, brakes are usually the problem when it comes to vibration issues. Think about it. Reflect on a time when you were having brake issues. You could hear the screeching of the brakes and the tires together. Or worse, do you remember smelling burn rubber? These are all things you do not want to have happened to you and your vehicle.
Some of the things that can be replaced include brake pads, calipers, and rotors in general. There may be other things that you want to check. However, these are the main things to keep an eye on.
#4 – Balancing Issues
Are you dealing with a balancing issue with your tires? Have professionals clean your tires on every side. Sometimes, debris can be the problem here. Have you ever got things on your nice kicks and you could tell it was causing issues when you walked? Whether it was your Nikes, flip-flops, or moccasins, a piece of bubble gum, dog poop, or a thorn can cause issues to your balance as you walk.
The same can be said for an imbalanced tire. If your tires are not in pristine condition, you will start to notice all the rumblings. Look through tires reviews and see what people say about objects that get in the grooves of the tires. You certainly do not deal with a problem like that day after day. Find a tire that keeps you safe, but does not make you deal with vibrations issues.
#5 – Being Observant
When you are an observant person, you will notice the root problems quicker than you would normally. Start by turning on your vehicle, and notice when the vibrations and shakes happen. As you detect the problem, you will notice the engine starts the problem, but there is more than meets the eye here.
If you can get your hands on a diagnostic code machine, like an OBD-II scanner, this is a great way to see what troubles you are dealing with. This scanner can help you pinpoint if you are dealing with a single misfire, multiple ones, or none at all. After you have used the scanner, you may find out that there are no misfires. But, if you are dealing with misfires, then you are probably dealing with fuel supply issues, air supply problems, a control senors matter, or a computer mishap. That is still a lot to troubleshoot huh?
Next, you will need to analyze the problem at hand. With a variety of problems, they can all be fixed in different ways. To start, if there is no misfire at all from the scanner, then you are probably dealing with an unbalanced rotation or mechanical failure is at hand. On the other hand, if you have a single misfire, you are having an ignition or fuel injector mishap. Spark plugs can be checked, as well as the ignition coils and plug wires. Even a broken coil could be the problem.
How about with multiple misfires? I am glad you asked. Problems that affect the entire engine usually have everything to do with the support system of the engine. These are things like the fuel supply, air intake, and electric systems. Any dirt that gets inside can cause sensors to even fail, or leaking air from the vacuum could be bad as well. If you are at this point, your engine is not doing you any favors here.
Mechanical failures are the last things to troubleshoot through. This could involve the camshaft, head gasket, or a piston ring. With a shaky car, you will notice this very quickly as you drive. If you run into this problem a harmonic balancer or a balancing shaft can be the trick to stop the vibrations altogether.
At the end of the day, if your mechanic says you are dealing with damaged or bad parts, replace them. This will help you avoid anymore shaking. However, if you are going to do this on your own, you will need the new parts as well as equipment like a ratchet wrench, gloves, eyewear, a mallet, and jack to name a few. If you are going to get the engine out, you will need a pulling A-frame, too. Lastly, screwdrivers will certainly be needed to help in the process.
No matter what your vibration problem is, get to the bottom of it on your own or take your vehicle to a professional. Then, you can get things fixed and enjoy your ride as you have always wanted to do. Stay safe on the roadways, and keep clear of debris.