In this series of Q&A posts, we are using google’s autocomplete function to find the most commonly asked questions about cars and giving them each a definitive answer. This series is ongoing and you can find more of our Q&A articles right here.

 

Why does my car shake?

Questions like this are always answered, at first at least, with another question. When it comes to an inquiry as broad as this one, the differential diagnosis requires two important follow up questions that will allow us to isolate what is going on when your vehicle. These questions are: “When does it shake?” And “What kind of shaking is it?”.

 

When does it shake? (What type of shake is it?)

There are four instances when you could expect to feel vehicle shake and each one is a symptom of a very specific problem. Some issues are minor and some are more serious. Though this is not an exhaustive list, it does outline the most common complaints we hear day to day.

  • Shaking while driving 80 kms on the highway (fast shaking felt through steering wheel): It is probably a tire balance issue.
  • Shaking while rolling slowly (wobble): it could be a tire separation, the layers of rubber are coming apart, causing a bulge that makes the car shake each time you hit it.
  • Shaking at idle (full vehicle shake): Engine is running improperly, probably not on all cylinders (a misfire).
  • Shaking while accelerating (full vehicle shake): usually a misfire that only happens under load.

 

Bottom Line

Excessive vehicle shake is a good example of a problem that greatly impacts your travel experience but can be very simple to diagnose and fix. Things like tire balance issues are very easily rectified at your next schedule maintenance visit, and full vehicle shaking issues like misfires need to be sorted out with an early visit to the shop to avoid a potential mechanical failure. We are here to help any time you need assistance, and we are happy to help diagnose any issue you might have.

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