When driving your car down the highway, you expect a smooth ride without any strange sounds, vibrations, and bumps. Well, some slight vibrations are expected due to the rotation of the crankshaft, gears, and other moving parts of the engine.
But you may have noticed that these gentle vibrations have ceased to be Good Vibrations the Beach Boys sang about – they have now become irritating.
Don’t worry, most car vibration problems may not point to expensive repairs at first, but the problem could worsen if left unchecked. Diagnosing the problem early will most often save you from dealing with bigger issues.
Whether the shaking happens when igniting the engine, accelerating, or braking, here are some possible reasons why your car is shaking and vibrating.
Sometimes a shake emanates from the engine because it’s not getting enough air, fuel, or spark that it needs to run smoothly. Engine-related vibrations may include these symptoms:
- A jerking that occurs during acceleration
- A shaking within a specific range of speed
- The car drives fine for some time but starts to shake out of the blues
Worn-out spark plugs can cause the engine to malfunction in the cylinders, causing the car to vibrate when speeding. Also, issues in the air and fuel systems are also to blame for some engine vibrations. Finally, if your filters are dirty or clogged, the engine suffers reduced oxygen supply required for the ignition process.
If you can feel vibrations through your steering wheel and brake pedal, this may be a brake rotor and pad issue. Usually, it is related to the front brake mechanism, as this part takes the most stress when you brake. Your mechanic can check whether the rotors have become warped thereby leaving excessive run out.
While at it, they should check the pads as they need a certain thickness to press against the rotors to stop the vehicle. As a rule of thumb, the brakes need replacing after about 50,000 miles but this depends on the model.
If you experience vibrations through the steering wheel when driving at speeds over 70 km/h, it could also be an issue with stuck brake calipers. Alternatively, this problem could manifest through a burning smell that forms when you stop driving.
Uneven or bent axle is another possible cause of car vibration. Though axles are quite sturdy, a minor fender bender from a ditch or speed bump can damage them. When worn out, your car will start to jostle as you drive and the vibrations increase with speed. In other cases, the shaking is caused by a bent or damaged driveshaft. This is a spinning part that transfers engine power to the axles and wheels.
If the vibrations occur at certain speeds, it could indicate imbalanced tires. For this, your mechanic can add small weights to them to eliminate imbalance. It could also be caused by uneven tire wear if you don’t rotate your tires.
Besides, a tire that’s no longer perfectly circular can cause bumping and vibration. In most cases, this is covered by the factory warranty. Finally, if you over or under inflate your tires, the car tends to drift because they are not making equal contact with the road.
If the tires are fine, turn your attention to the wheels. Vibrations could occur after you’ve hit a notorious pothole, causing your wheels to become unbalanced. A bent wheel can cause your car to vibrate excessively and need a wheel balancing machine to repair. If you feel these vibrations through the steering wheel, it could point to damaged or worn out bearings.
The other place to check is the steering system. Over time, some of the parts in your steering will start to wear out, which could make it less responsive. If it works fine when you drive straight but shakes when taking corners, it suggests an issue with tie rod ends. However, if your steering wheel shakes when you drive straight, chances are you’ll need to replace the ball joints.
Finally, if you feel these vibrations when steering in a curve or corner, try adding steering fluids and check for leaks.
Consult further if your car vibrations persist
While these six reasons aren’t the only possible reasons for car vibrations, they are the major causes to consider first. A vibration is oftentimes harmless especially if it doesn’t involve the engine. But if it persists or you’re unsure of the cause, consider visiting a professional mechanic for more help. You can also reach us here at Motors on Wheels and we’ll advise you accordingly.
Also, if you’re looking to sell your used car, we’d be happy to offer you a quick and unbeatable cash deal. We’re based in Houston but work with clients from all the major cities in Texas including Austin and San Antonio. Reach us now by filling out the form available here and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours.