Hey, Why Is My Car Shaking While I drive?

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Four common causes for a vehicle shaking while driving and their related parts.
Your vehicle has many moving parts that, if they get out of sync or worn can cause a very annoying vibration. These vibrations can be felt at various speeds while accelerating or braking. All of these indicators will help determine where the vibration is coming from. The other thing that can determine where the vibration comes from is where you are feeling the vibration. Some vibrations are felt in the steering wheel, brake pedal, floorboard, seat, or even the dash.

Is Your Car Shaking While You Drive?

It’s shaking while driving because either the engine mounts are damaged, the drive axle is bent, the driveline u-joint is faulty, or the tires are impaired or unbalanced. It can also be a cv axle joint problem. Any of these problems affect stability and commonly create the exact symptom you’re getting.

A car shaking while driving on the road can be pretty concerning. This shaking can indicate various issues, such as unbalanced wheels, worn or damaged tires, or problems with the suspension system. These issues can make it challenging to control your vehicle, putting you and your passengers at risk.

Addressing any shaking issues immediately is crucial to avoid potential hazards while driving. Ignoring the problem can cause further damage to your car, making repairs more costly and extensive.

Therefore, if your car shakes while driving, consider having it inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible to determine the cause of the shaking and make necessary repairs.

Let's Get To The Bottom Of It!

  • Q: Does the shaking seem to come from a single wheel in the vehicle?

    The axle shafts in a car have a flange on one end that holds the brake rotor and wheel in place. Just behind the flange is a seal and bearing that help the axle shaft spin smoothly. On the other end of the shaft, a set of splines connect to the differential in the car. Sometimes, if something hits the side of the wheel hard enough, it causes the axle flange to bend. This makes it look like the wheel itself is bent or damaged. When the wheel and tire are misaligned like this, it causes the car to shake when you're driving down the road. This shaking only affects the misaligned wheel but can still be noticeable and make for an uncomfortable ride.

  • Q: Does the vehicle shake when you hard accelerate it from a stop?

    The CV axle is essential to your car's drivetrain. It has two joints on either end that help maintain torque even when the wheels make sharp angles. These joints are made up of balls and sockets filled with grease and protected by a rubber boot. However, the balls and sockets can wear out over time, especially if the boot becomes damaged or cracked, allowing dirt and debris to intrude. When the joint wears out, you may notice shaking or vibration in the car, especially during high-torque acceleration.

  • Q: Is the steering wheel shaking when driving the vehicle?

    As you drive your car, the tires naturally wear out. However, specific issues can accelerate the wear and tear of your tires. For example, if your car's alignment is off or there are loose steering or suspension components, it can strain your tires and cause them to wear out faster. To add to that factor, the tires might hit bumps and uneven asphalt while driving. When this happens, the belts inside the tire can shift and cause extra damage, making the tire lose its round shape. This can result in noticeable shaking or vibration in the car, especially at higher speeds.

  • Q: Is the vehicle only shaking at high speeds?

    During manufacturing, the tires and wheels of a car might not be perfectly up to standards. So, they must be balanced when put together in a car. This means that weights are added to the tire and wheel to ensure they rotate smoothly and don't wobble. If the tire and wheel are not balanced correctly, the car will shake, especially at higher speeds.

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Vehicle Health Inspection Proof

Explore the following typical inspection results that show a potential cause for the symptom and select the one you believe is similar to your vehicle's issue.

Bad driveline u-joint

The proof image shows the loose U-joint causing the vehicle to shake.

The customer brought their vehicle to the shop because they felt a strong vibration while driving at high speeds. They suspected it might be an unbalanced tire issue since they had experienced it before. The shaking usually started at around 45 mph and became even more pronounced at 65 mph.

During the test drive, the technician observed a lot of vibration from the vehicle. They also noticed a slight clunking sound when backing out of a parking spot, which also came from the drive shaft when putting the car in drive. As the technician drove the vehicle faster, the vibration in the car's center became increasingly severe.

After conducting a vehicle health inspection, the technician was initially unable to identify the cause of the vibration. However, they decided to run a more detailed check with the help of an assistant.

The technician raised the vehicle on a hoist and had the assistant start it and shift into drive and reverse while pressing the brake. Through this process, they determined that the rear drive shaft U-joint closest to the transmission was causing the noise.

Based on their observations, the technician recommended replacing the front and rear U-joints in the rear drive shaft since they were similarly worn and likely to fail soon.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it
Bent drive axle

The proof image shows the top of the wheel leaning in due to a bent axle flange, causing the wheel to shake.

A customer dropped off their vehicle and mentioned they had recently slid into a curb while driving in the snow. After the hit, they noticed a shake from the car's left rear. They initially suspected that the wheel had been bent in the accident, and after replacing it with the spare, the shaking continued.

During the test drive, the technician noticed the shaking from the vehicle's left rear. So they performed a vehicle health inspection to investigate further. Then, they spun all four wheels, and the left rear wheel appeared to wobble.

The technician removed the left rear wheel and tire from the car and put it on a tire balancer. They spun the wheel on the balancer and found it was not bent. Next, they tightened the rotor with lug nuts on the axle shaft and turned the rear axle with just the rotor on. Finally, they discovered that the rear axle flange was bent, causing the wheel to shake.

Based on their findings, the technician recommended replacing the right rear axle.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it
Faulty cv axle joint

The proof image shows the torn CV boot, which has allowed debris to enter the joint and cause wear, leading to the shake on acceleration.

A customer brought their car into the shop and told the technician they felt a shake from the front passenger side. The shake seemed to happen randomly and was more noticeable at slower speeds than on the highway. The customer also mentioned a clicking noise when turning left.

During a test drive, the technician confirmed the shake from the right front of the car, especially during hard stop-and-go accelerations. The technician also heard a clicking noise from the right front area while hard turning in a parking lot.

Upon inspection, the technician noticed that the right outer CV boot was torn, causing grease to leak. The CV boot is a rubber component that covers and protects the CV joint, which transfers power from the engine to the wheels. When the CV boot is torn, debris can enter the joint and cause damage, leading to a shake on acceleration.

To verify that the right front CV axle was causing the shake, the technician raised the car on a hoist, had an assistant start it, and put it in gear with the brake applied. The technician then confirmed that the right front CV axle was the culprit. The technician recommended replacing the right CV axle to solve the problem.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it
Uneven tire wear

The proof image shows that the uneven tire wear was causing the shake in the steering wheel while driving.

A customer brought their car in for service and reported feeling a shake in the steering wheel while driving down the road. They were worried their brakes had gone bad even though braking didn't trigger the issue.

A technician took the car for a test drive and felt the vibration through the steering system but didn't relate it to the brakes. Then, during a vehicle health inspection, the technician found that the brakes were in good shape.

However, they did notice the front tires were wearing unevenly, and the left front tire had deep worn spots. In addition, when spinning the front tires, they wobbled. They also checked for warped brake rotors but found none.

With authorization from the customer to do additional tests, the technician performed a front-end alignment, discovering the steering and car's suspension system were in good shape. However, they found that the front-end alignment was off by a bit.

Based on the tires' age and tread depth, the technician recommended replacing all four tires and their brake pads.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it
Faulty engine mounts causing the vehicle and engine to vibrate while driving

The proof image shows the torn rubber in one of the mounts causing the vibrating car.

A customer brought their vehicle concerned about the shaking and vibration they felt while driving. They also mentioned recently experiencing a loud clunk when they accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake while backing out of their driveway. Although they weren't sure if these two issues were related, they said the vibration was exaggeratedly bad.

During the test drive, the technician confirmed that a lot of vibration from the engine was coming through the vehicle. They also heard the loud clunk that the customer had described when doing some hard accelerations in reverse.

However, during the vehicle health inspection, the technician didn't notice anything out of the ordinary that would explain the customer's concerns.

To get to the root of the problem, the technician put the vehicle in park and rocked it back and forth while observing the engine. They found that there was quite a bit of movement in all three of the motor mounts.

Upon closer inspection, they discovered that the rubber in all three mounts had been torn. This prevented them from gripping the engine and created the shaking and vibration the customer felt. To fix the problem, all three motor mounts needed to be replaced.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it
Unbalanced tires cause the steering wheel to shake while driving and needs to be rotated and balanced

The proof image shows one of the wheels and tires in the wheel alignment and balancing process on a specialized machine. This can also affect the wheel's ball joints.

A customer dropped off their vehicle concerned they were experiencing vibrations at around 65 mph, which worsened as they approached 80 mph. This upset the customer, as it could impact their driving safety.

To investigate the issue, the technician took the vehicle out for a test drive and confirmed a tire shake while driving over 65 mph. However, during the vehicle health inspection, the technician did not notice anything directly related to the customer's concern. In addition, the brakes were in good shape, and there were no visible signs of wobbling in the wheels and tires when spun on the lift.

After obtaining authorization, the technician decided to balance all four wheels. This involved adding small weights to the wheels to ensure they were evenly weighted and balanced.

Upon completing the balancing process, the technician performed another test drive to verify that the shaking issue had been resolved. Finally, the shaking stopped, and the vehicle was driving smoothly and safely; it was an unbalanced tire issue.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it

Typical Fixes to Address the Cause(s)

The following chapters bases themselves on experiences from our auto repair shop; we'll describe related problems' causes and fixes.

"Motor mount replacement" fixes "Faulty engine mounts"

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Hey, Why Is My Car Shaking While I drive?
Sometimes a problem is more challenging to describe than it initially looked like. If you are not sure your problem is described by this article, please find below similar vehicle symptoms, which might describe better the issue you are experiencing.

Other things your auto repair shop might talk about:

Spark plugs. Spark plug wires. Brake pedal. Brake rotors. Failing spark plug wire. Air or vacuum hose. Power loss engine vibrations. Engine losing power. Maintain engine pressure. Spark plugs fire. Spark plug stops firing. Brake calipers. power steering. power steering fluid. loose lug nuts.