Even the newest cars can develop problems. One particularly alarming problem for many drivers is a vehicle that vibrates or shakes while they are driving. There are a number of reasons this occurs and also ways to fix it. Below is a quick glance at the top five reasons cars vibrate while being driven.
- Tire problems can cause shaking. If a tire needs balanced, it won’t be even with the others and it won’t go straight while you’re driving. This can be an issue for your other tires too, which is a good reason to get it checked out. Your car could also need checked for alignment issues or to be sure the treads haven’t separated from the tires. Unevenly worn tires can cause vibrations as well – this can be fixed by a simple tire rotation.
- Vibrations can also be due to the wheels. For one thing, it may be the wheel bearings, which is likely the case if your wheel is already attached well to the car. Even though wheel bearings are intended to last the same length of time as your car, cars that are over-driven or used extensively can be in need of a replacement. However, wheel bearings may not be the problem if your wheel isn’t securely attached. This issue can become a serious situation and should be checked immediately. Not only will it cause a lot of vibration, but it can also easily cause an accident.
- If using the brakes intensifies the vibrations, there could be an issue with the brake rotors or the brake caliper. If the brake rotor is bent at all, causing part of it to be higher or lower than the rest of the surface, the brake pads and calipers can’t evenly put pressure on the rotors when the driver uses the brakes. If the brake caliper sticks, it will generally produce a burning scent when you stop driving. When driving, the vibrations should be through the steering wheel, start around 50 miles per hour and intensify as you speed up. If it is either the brake rotors or the brake caliper, a brake specialist will be able to look at your car and determine the problem correctly.
- Another common cause of shaking vehicles is a problem with the axle. Going over a curb or getting into a small accident may not appear to cause any problems with your car, but if it bent one of the axles, this can be a big issue. Usually, the vehicle shakes badly and this shaking gets worse as you reach higher speeds. If the axle isn’t bent, it might be a good idea to look at the CV or ‘constant velocity joint’ that is located at each end of an axle. When these wear out, your car is prone to vibrations.
- Engine issues can also be a likely culprit. The engine mount could be loose, causing the engine to have room to move around and this can cause the car to shake quite a bit. While many cars have four engine mounts and some have more than that, even one loose mount can cause a lot of shaking. If not the engine mount, the shaking could indicate the need for a fuel or air filter replacement; if either are clogged or dirty, the engine may not be getting enough air or fuel. Spark plugs could also need replaced or the spark plug wires might be placed incorrectly.
There are a lot of reasons for a vehicle to shake, so it is usually a good idea to ask a certified mechanic and have your car maintained regularly to avoid problems.