A car that is shaking, vibrating, or jerking is not performing the way it was manufactured to. If this describes your current driving experience, you can safely assume there is a malfunction or two happening within your vehicle. Continue reading to learn the top five reasons why your car might be shaking and vibrating, plus what to do if the underlying cause renders your vehicle a total loss.
Diagnosing Car Shaking and Vibrating
Identifying unusual movement in your car is an important part of car care. It is right to acknowledge car shaking, pulsing, and/or vibrating as unusual vehicular performance. An effective way to determine what is causing the underlying problem behind vehicle shaking and vibrating is to identify when the unusual movements take place. For this reason, it is important to begin your initial examination by asking yourself a few questions.
Does your vehicle shake and vibrate when you are idling? Driving? Speeding? Pressing the brakes?
Do you feel the movement coming from your steering wheel? The seat? The brakes? All around?
Is the movement accompanied with other warning signs, like strange noises or smells?
Has your vehicle sustained any recent impacts, like hitting a pothole or driving over a curb?
The answers to these questions can help you faster identify the problem behind your vehicle shaking and vibrating.
Common Causes of Vehicle Shaking
When it comes to diagnosing car shaking, a mechanic will initially take a look at these five automotive systems and parts:
If your car tires have uneven wear and tear, poor tread, or the tread has separated, it can cause the vehicle to shake or stagger while driving. To fix this issue, you will need to take your car into a local shop for tire balance and rotation service. If your tires are too worn, you may need to replace some altogether.
Do you feel the shaking when you are driving? More so at higher speeds? Do you feel it below your feet, coming from underneath the car? Like tires, poor wheel condition can also cause cars to shake, jerk, or pulsate. In most cases, a quick trip to the tire shop for a wheel rotation and tire balance will fix this problem. However, the car shaking could be caused by loose lug nuts or broken bearings.
Steering and Suspension
Your vehicle’s steering and suspension system can fall subject to certain malfunctions that can cause vehicular jerking and shaking. This underlying culprit usually presents itself when accelerating. If you feel the shaking in your car increase as you speed up or take off from a stopped position, it could be due to problems within the steering and suspension system. Such problems include a broken drive shaft, worn CV joint, or even a bent axle.
Faulty or defective brakes are a common cause for car shaking. If you are feeling this happening when you are pressing on the brake pedal or coming to a stop, your car could be experiencing physical defects with the brake pads, brake rotors, or disc brakes. If you feel the vibrations and jerking mostly in the steering wheel, or smell a burning odor when it happens, it is likely due to a stuck brake caliper.
If this is happening to your car when you drive or stopped in idle, the engine could be the area of concern. In most cases, it signifies that the car engine is not getting enough spark, air, or fuel. In most cases, bad spark plugs or wires are to blame. Dirty or clogged air filters and loose motor mounts have also been known to cause this problem.
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