Some shaking is not unusual for a car, especially when you’re driving across a bumpy road. But when it seems more like an earthquake, you know something is wrong.
A shaking car will have very obvious vibrations that are difficult to ignore. Any driver would worry at the earliest signs of wobbling, but it can also leave you feeling helpless and wondering what caused it in the first place.
Here, we’ll explore the most common reasons why your car is shaking – and what you can do about them.
1. Bad tires
Poorly maintained tires are typically to blame. Tires provide your car with traction and balance. So if they aren’t in good shape, they can affect how your car runs.
Uneven tread wear, separated treads, and tires that roll unevenly can make it difficult to control your vehicle and cause it to shake. Tires that lack air pressure will force your car to tilt towards one side.
What to do: Always keep your tire pressure within recommended levels. Replace any old tires and make sure to include tire rotation in your car maintenance.
2. Out of round wheels
Wheels that are “out of round” are basically bent, usually as a result of an impact. There are two types:
- Radial runout is when the radius measuring between the middle of the wheel and any point in the rim is inconsistent.
- Lateral runout is the sideway motion that a wheel makes.
Any damage to the wheel, whether radial or lateral, will not only cause your car to wobble. It also leads to poor handling and possible accidents.
What to do: Replace damaged wheels. You can prevent it next time by avoiding potholes and ill-maintained roads.
3. Wheels are not balanced or aligned
Is your steering wheel shaking with the rest of the car? You probably have unbalanced wheels, although poor alignment could also be the problem.
Unbalanced wheels don’t rotate symmetrically if you steer them. This can cause a shaky ride, which worsens as you accelerate. Wheels that are misaligned can also lead to poor handling.
What to do: Take your vehicle to an auto service shop. Wheel balancing and alignment require specialized equipment and professional help, and should be part of regular maintenance, not as a last resort.
4. Problematic steering
A car that vibrates while being switched on is easier to narrow down. More likely, it has steering issues.
What to do: Check the hoses connected to your power steering for holes and replace them if necessary. If there are no signs of leaking, the next step is to check the reservoir to see if it needs to be refilled with power steering fluids. However, if both problems are ticked off, your steering wheel might be worn out and needs to be repaired or replaced by a professional.
5. Damaged axle or driveshaft
For rear-wheel-drive vehicles, a rear-end collision would easily place your axle and driveshaft out of place. Damage to either part could be a reason why your car is shaking, which seem to worsen with increased speeds.
What to do: Take your car to an auto repair shop for inspection and have these damaged parts replaced.
6. Worn CV joints
For front-wheel drive vehicles, it’s more common to encounter constant velocity or CV joints that are worn out. But unlike the axle and driveshaft, it’s easier to check them for signs of wear and tear.
What to do: Inspect for torn boots, loose clamps, and leaking lubricant. If you see these signs, the axle has to be replaced.