It can be rather unnerving to notice that your car isn’t giving you the smooth ride it used to, and it’s even more stressful to discover that your car is actually shaking.
Many factors can cause a car to shake as it's driven, and though some are more simple to diagnose and fix than others, all of them can lead to bigger, more expensive, and ultimately dangerous problems if not fixed promptly.
Therefore, it’s important to take your car to your mechanic regularly, even if it’s just for a routine inspection or tune-up. They will be able to spot any issues, such as the ones outlined below, that can cause car shaking before you end up with a big problem.
Problems with the Axles
Vibrations can occur if either of the two axles of your car is dented or bent. If you’ve recently experienced a mishap on the road, an axle can be the problem, with vibrations usually increasing as you accelerate. Worn driveshafts or CV joints may also be causing the issue.
Problems with the Brakes
If vibrations tend to occur as you apply the brakes, that can signal a problem with the car’s front brake mechanism. The pads and rotors of brakes need to be replaced occasionally, as, over time, the pads wear out, and the rotors can become warped. It is that warping that could be causing the shaking.
Problems with the Engine
While it’s not as prevalent an issue as a set of worn brakes, a number of engine components can cause a car to shake if they malfunction. Spark plugs and engine air filters can be the culprits here. The former won’t last forever, and the latter can get dirty and clogged.
Problems with the Tires
Vehicle shaking can sometimes be caused by its tires, depending on the type of vibration you’re feeling. If the car shakes only when it’s at certain speeds, you may just need to have your tires balanced. A rotation can fix uneven and worn tires, which can also cause vibrations. You might need new tires if one or more of them are damaged or worn to resolve the shaking issue.
Problems with the Wheels
If your steering wheel feels wobbly when you drive, the problem can be related to your wheels. Specifically, it could be because one of the wheels isn’t spinning properly due to prior damage or because of bad ball joints, rod ends, or wheel bearings.
Before bringing your car to a mechanic, you can try some DIY solutions. Check your tires to see if they look worn or misshapen. Also, inspect the CV joints and driveshaft if you can. Next, check the engine’s spark plugs and their connections, replacing them if necessary (on average, they last for about 80k-100k miles); if they are sound, check your air filter next.
Troubleshooting Your Vehicle Vibration
If you’re uncomfortable checking things out on your own, take your car to your mechanic. They’ll be able to properly diagnose and rectify the cause of your car’s shaking when you drive.