When your notice your car shaking, you need to find the cause and fix it as soon as possible. Shakes and vibrations in your vehicle can be signs of problems that could become dangerous down the road.
Car shaking can be caused by a lot of different things. From your engine, to your axles, all the way down to your tires. It can be difficult to tell which one of these is the problem. The quickest and easiest way to find and correct the problem is to have your vehicle inspected by a trained technician. The professional mechanics at your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet’s Service Center will be able to find the problem and fix it for you.
You can also troubleshoot car shaking yourself. If you are a DIY auto repair mechanic, you can probably fix most of them.
This guide will help you troubleshoot your car shaking problems.
Diagnosing Front End Car Shaking
Start with the type of shaking your car is doing, and when it does it. If it feels like a vibration that becomes more rapid as you speed up, then the problem most likely lies in your wheels or axle. We’ll start with the most common problems:
Wheels out of balance
If the shake is a vibration that starts at highway speeds but isn’t noticeable at lower speeds, you most likely have a tire or two that aren’t balanced quite right. This can happen if your wheel weights shift or if you hit a bump that knocks one of the weights off one of your wheels. Rebalance your wheels to take care of this problem.
Tire belt damage or mis-mold
A tire issue is less common than a balance problem, so they are sometimes mistaken for balance problems. The two cause a very similar shake, although a tire problem are usually easier to feel at lower speeds than a bad balance is. A tire can cause a vibration if it was molded incorrectly and is “out of round,” or if it has a damaged or slipped belt. Car and truck tires are rubber on the outside, but they are made of layered steel belts inside. If one of these belts slips out of place or partially breaks due to an impact, it can cause a bump or a bulge on the tire that will shake your car or truck every time the wheel rotates. In both of these cases, you’ll have to replace the tire to stop your car shaking problem.
Brakes are worn, damaged, or wet
If the car shaking happens when you use your brakes, then the brakes are most likely the cause of your shake. If it only happens when you first start driving and then goes away, there was most likely moisture in your brakes that was causing them to slip. If the shake happens every time you brake, you could have a warped rotor or a sticky caliper. These problems are unsafe to drive with. Have your brakes checked by a professional mechanic as soon as possible. You’ll have to replace whatever brake part is causing the problem. Blain’s Farm & Fleet offers a complete line of brake parts and installation.
Worn steering or suspension parts
If you feel a jolt in your steering wheel when you drive over a bump, the shaking problem is most likely due to worn out steering or suspension parts. These parts could include your tie rod ends, steering gear rack, sway bar links, ball joints, pitman or idler arms, shocks, or struts. If you suspect this is the problem, have your vehicle inspected by a trained mechanic to figure out which part is worn. You’ll need to replace the worn part to stop car shaking from this problem.
Worn out wheel bearing
This type of shake usually gets worse as you speed up, and often comes with a howling sound at highway speeds and a grinding sound at lower speeds. It can also feel very similar to the shake from worn steering or suspension parts. If you find that this problem is causing your shake, you’ll have to replace the wheel bearing. Your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet can replace your wheel bearings in their service center.
Bent or misshapen axle
A bent or misshapen axle will often make it feel like you’re driving over a lot of tiny bumps even when you’re on level road. This can happen from collisions or a manufacturing defect. To stop a shake from a bad axle, you’ll have to replace the axle.
Clogged fuel filter, dirty air filter, or old spark plugs
If your car or truck has a quick rumbling shake at certain speeds, or if it starts up and runs smooth for a while, but starts shaking in the front after you drive it a bit, there is probably something keeping your engine from running properly. An engine needs air, fuel, and spark to run. If your engine is shaking, you might have a clogged fuel or air filter that’s keeping it from getting the right amount of fuel or air, or your spark plugs are old, varnished, and not giving enough spark. These are fairly cheap and easy DIY fixes if they are the causes of your car shaking. You should change all three of these parts as part of the regular maintenance of your car or truck. Your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet carries full lines of fuel filters, air filters, and spark plugs.