Why Is My Car Shaking?

  • Dec 30,2019
Hands gripping a steering wheel Hands gripping a steering wheel

Your car takes you everywhere: to work, to countless errands, on road trips, and eventually, to your home sweet home. But when you have a shaky vehicle, all that driving around can get old pretty quick. If your car shakes when accelerating, braking, or even when it's idling, it’s time to investigate the problem.

What does it mean when your car shakes?

You probably already know that your car has multiple systems and complex components that keep it running. If one of those systems isn’t working correctly, you might see it, hear it, or — in the case of car shaking — feel it! There are many parts and pieces that — when not working properly — can cause your vehicle to shake. Paying attention to when, where, and how your car shakes can help diagnose the issue.

My car shakes when it's idling.

Your car shakes every time you stop, but you definitely don't live near an earthquake-prone area! While a shaky idling car can certainly feel like an earth-rumbling tremor, it can also indicate a problem with the engine.

One common cause of shaking while idling can be loose engine mounts. Engine mounts are the connections between your engine and your car — they keep your motor safely attached while dampening vibrations produced by your engine. When those connections wear out, you’re more likely to feel the vibrations.

Alternatively, a car that shakes when idle may have faulty fuel injectors, worn-out spark plugs, or a bad timing belt. Some of these engine troubles can be corrected with a standard engine service or fuel system cleaning, but others may require more extensive engine repair.

My car shakes when I accelerate.

Loose or damaged engine mounts may also be to blame if your car shakes when accelerating. As previously mentioned, damaged and loose engine mounts can’t efficiently absorb the vibrations produced by your cranking engine, so you’re likely to feel them when you step on the gas.

In some cases, a misaligned steering and suspension system could cause your steering wheel to shake when you accelerate. These two issues feel similar to you, the driver, but they have very different solutions. To figure out why your car is shaking when you accelerate, bring your car into your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for an inspection. We can diagnose whether you need engine repairs or just an alignment check and adjustment.

My car shakes when I brake.

You expect reliable performance when taking your vehicle from zero to sixty. You should expect the same performance when going from sixty to zero! But if your steering wheel, brake pedal, or entire car shakes when you hit the brakes (especially at higher speeds), ignoring the issue could put you at risk of an accident.

Shaking when you hit the brakes could indicate warped brake rotors, worn-out brake pads, or insufficiently-lubricated guide pins — all of which are vital components of safe braking when driving. Does your car have a bad case of brake and shake? It’s time to call the experts for brake service and repairs.

My car shakes when I drive fast.

We've discussed your car shaking while braking, but what if your car shakes when your foot is nowhere near the brake pedal? If this sounds like your situation, you may have misaligned wheels or improperly balanced tires. Typically, you can tell which of the two issues is to blame depending on where you feel the shaking. If the shakes come from the steering wheel, your car likely needs an alignment check and service. If they come from the floorboards and seats, a tire balance may be needed.

While wheel misalignment happens when suspension components are not properly angled, tire imbalance occurs when the weight of your car isn’t properly distributed on all four tires. Such improper weight distribution can lead to excessive shaking, especially when you drive above 55 mph. To make matters worse, imbalanced tires can wear out prematurely, creating dangerous driving conditions that can only be remedied with entirely new tires.

What to do when your car shakes.

Is a shaking car driving you crazy? Let's calm things down! Head to your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a Complete Vehicle Inspection. Our expert technicians can get to the bottom of the issue, so you can get back on the road and on with your life.

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