What Causes Car Vibration When Driving?
You’re expecting to enjoy a smooth ride in your car, but suddenly something feels off. Your vehicle is shaking more than the usual vibration that is expected because of the rotation of the crankshaft and transmission gears. In some cases, the car vibration can become too intense to the point that it even makes the driver and passengers uncomfortable.
You know how much it will cost for a car and having it in the best condition is your major concern. Although gentle car shaking shouldn’t alarm you, vibrating movements certainly shouldn’t be ignored. As a matter of fact, excessive shakings or vibrations can lead to bigger problems if the faulty parts aren’t replaced.
In this article, we’ll explain the main reasons behind car shaking or car vibration, and what is the best thing for you to do.
When Does Your Car Vibration Occur?
As the gears move, the motion is transferred from the car’s motor to the wheels to drive your vehicle forward. Gentle vibrations are quite common, especially if your car is a bit old.
However, if you feel that your car is shaking more than it should, you need to stop the car immediately. There are several instances while driving that vibrations happen that you need to determine when and how it occurs.
- Is your car vibrating when you try to accelerate?
- Do vibrations increase when you hit a certain speed?
- Do you feel that your car is shaking when you’re going at a low speed?
- Is your car vibrating when it’s idle?
- Do you feel that your car is vibrating when you turn the AC on?
- Do you hear any noises?
Answering these questions will help you determine what is wrong with your car and the best thing to do.
How To Fix Car Vibration When Idle
In an idle position, the engine should still be able to mix the fuel with oxygen to operate different systems in the car. Rough idling happens when the car starts to shake when you get into an idle position.
Your car might be working normally and start shaking when you come to a stop sign. You feel that the steering wheel is shaking, and you can even feel the engine shaking if you put your hand on the hood. Several reasons can cause this.
- Your motor mounts that keep the motor attached to the car might be broken. These rubber mounts stabilize the engine, and with time, they either become loose or break, making your engine unstable. Replacing them will fix the problem. If you ignore the broken mounts, several engine parts might break because the engine isn’t stable.
- Rubber parts like the serpentine belt become loose and wear out by time, causing an annoying noise. A mechanic should inspect the belts and replace them.
- If your fuel tank is dirty or faulty, the car might start to shake. Dirty fuel injectors will eventually get clogged with the carbon residue that results from the combustion of fuel and affects the amount of fuel dispensed into the engine’s cylinder. Make sure that the tubes are clean and not clogged to provide continuous fuel supply to the engine.
- The spark plugs get dirty or wear out with time, causing the car to shake. The spark plugs and their wiring should be examined and replaced if the car shakes at idle. Hoses should also be unclogged, cleaned, or replaced if they release too much air into the engine that might cause the vibrations.
- A dirty air filter can also cause the car to shake when idle. When you drive, the air filter gets exposed to lots of contaminants that eventually clog the filter and obstruct the air flow that mixes with the fuel for combustion. Make sure that it’s clean and replace it when necessary.
How To Fix Car Vibration at High Speeds
If you notice that your car vibrates when you drive on the highway and that the vibration decreases when you increase the speed, your wheels might be out of balance or bent. Wheel alignment is the main reason why your car might be shaking, especially at high speed. In most cases, the shaking starts at 50 miles per hour and increases when you reach 60 miles per hour, but it might start to get better at higher speeds.
- Tire wear is another reason why your car might start shaking at high speed. If the tires aren’t wearing equally, they will have bumps that affect their performance, especially at higher speeds. You should also make sure that your tires aren’t over or under-inflated.
- You should also check the suspension and make sure that it’s not out of alignment. The suspension system is supposed to enhance comfort by increasing the stability on the road. With continuous use, several components wear out or get damaged. Make sure that the suspension components aren’t loose and have them replaced if necessary.
- Ask a technician to examine the axle. A bent axle will cause the car to shake as you increase the speed. The CV joints at the end of the drive axle can also get torn, allowing dirt to get inside. Replacing them will solve the problem.
How To Fix Car Vibration at Low Speed
You might experience some shaking at 50 miles per hour, but the vibration will decrease when you reach 60 or 65 miles per hour. Checking the wheels and making sure that they’re properly aligned is essential.
If the steering wheel shakes at low speeds, but the vibration disappears when you increase the speed, there’s probably a problem with your car alignment. Issues with tire balance and brakes can also cause the car to shake at lower speeds.
Due to the different road environments, the wheel alignment can go bad. Unbalanced wheels can cause the car to shake and affect the smoothness of your ride. You might have accidentally stepped on something that bent the wheels. Having them fixed should solve the problem.
The front tires wear faster than the rear ones, and having them replaced can eliminate the vibration. You should also check the car manual for the right tire pressure to make sure that all tires are even.
How To Fix Car Vibration When Accelerating
In addition to problems with uneven tire pressure and unbalanced wheels, there are other reasons that can cause the car to shake when you accelerate.
- The air filter might be too old and clogged, affecting the oxygen flow to the engine.
- If you have been involved in a collision, the driveshaft might be bent. In some cases, it can be fixed, but replacing it might be more cost-efficient and is usually the only answer.
- The motor mounts are supposed to reduce the engine shaking, and when they break, you will start to feel that your car is vibrating, especially when you accelerate. These mounts are made of hard rubber to absorb shocks, and with time, the rubber wears and cracks. If they’re not replaced, other engine parts might even break because the engine isn’t held in place.
- The hoses of the power steering system might be broken, leaking the fluid and causing the vibration. Ask a professional to check the hoses for any cracks or leaks and have them replaced, then add more of the fluid and see if the problem persists. In this case, a professional should examine your car a little bit more to find the cause of the problem.
- The inner CV joint usually starts to fail, causing minor vibrations when you accelerate. If the joint isn’t replaced, minor vibrations become stronger.
- Unbalanced tires can also cause excessive vibrations when you accelerate. If you have recently installed new tires, you need to have them balanced by a professional. Otherwise, the car will start to shake. A professional will mount the tire on a balancing machine and stick small weights to balance them.
- Loose lug nuts can cause the wheels to wobble and the car to shake, especially when you’re accelerating. This should be fixed immediately; otherwise, the wheel might fall off while you’re driving. A professional should use a torque wrench to make sure that the lug nuts are tightened according to the car’s manual.
- A misshapen rotor on your brakes might cause the vibration. Cleaning and lubing the brakes while replacing any broken or faulty components will solve the issue.
- The axle might get bent if you have stepped on a rock or got into a minor collision. Just like a driveshaft, replacing the bent axle is usually the only answer.
How To Fix Car Vibration When Braking
Although the tires are usually the culprit when your car is shaking, the problem could be related to the brakes in some cases. If you only feel that the vehicle is vibrating when you press the brakes, you might need to replace some braking system components. The only way to know what’s wrong with your car is to have the braking system checked by a professional.
If you notice the braking in the steering wheel and on the braking pedal, the problem could be related to the rotors. The rotors get pressed by the braking pad and might get out of balance.
If you have already checked the rotors, you might need to check the brake pad. Brake pads wear out, and they vibrate to show that it’s time to have them replaced. They usually produce a high-pitched sound when it’s time to have them replaced.
The braking calipers might be sticking, failing to press the braking pads against the rotors. They should be checked by a professional.
How To Fix Car Vibration When AC is On
In some cases, your car might be functioning properly until you turn the AC on. In most cases, this can indicate that there’s an increasing load on the engine. When the AC runs, it puts an extra load on the engine, but the shaking means that there’s something wrong with the engine itself.
You should check the fan or the cooling system. Any blockage in the AC system can cause vibration in the car and can eventually damage the overall AC system.
The mounts also handle a lot of pressure and will eventually break under the weight of the motor. When you turn on the AC, you put more load on the mounts, so they will wear faster. The mounts are easy to replace.
If you have examined the motor mounts, then there could be a problem with the AC compressor. If you notice that vibrations increase when your AC is on, regardless of the car’s speed, you probably need to replace your compressor.
You could also have a problem with the throttle position sensor. This sensor is supposed to stabilize the RPM when you turn the AC on. When the RPM isn’t stable, the car will start to vibrate.
The vibration in your car is an indication that something isn’t working the way it should. In most cases, the problem is easy to fix. However, ignoring it might damage more parts.
Pay attention to the intensity of the vibrations, and when they happen. This should help you know which parts to inspect. If you’re not sure about the reason, a full inspection by a professional would be necessary. A professional inspection will guarantee that all the parts will be working the way they should.