One of the most irritating car problems is excess vibration and it tends to creep up over time. There are many causes for this and while there is no substitute for having the problem assessed by an automotive service professional, you may find that it’s an easy fix.
All you may need to do is have your wheels balanced or replace your tires. Of course, it could be more costly if it involves suspension or steering issues. Here are some of the problems that could be causing the shaking.
Wheel hubs or bearings
A wheel problem could be as simple as worn out wheel bearings or something a little more complex, such as worn-out tire rod ends or ball joints. Unbalanced wheels are a common reason for vibrations.
It may be difficult to diagnose this problem on your own but it is usually inexpensive to have a shop check this out and balance them for you. As wheels are commonly a cause of vibrations, it is definitely worth having them checked out.
Old, worn-out, dry, bald tires are another common source of vibration. Tires have a relatively short lifespan as they are the only part of the car that makes contact with the road. If tires have worn unevenly, they need to be rotated. If tires are badly worn, the tread is separated, or they roll unevenly, you will have to replace them.
Loose steering components
When it comes to steering a new car, it is often more responsive and firmer than steering an old car. Steering components wear out over time. As there are a number of small moving parts that connect your steering wheel and your wheels, excess play within the complex network can cause vibrations.
If you drive a vehicle with heavy machinery, an elevated truck or a motorhome, it is sometimes a struggle to hold on to the steering, especially in rough terrain or when you have to drive for a long time. A steering stabilizer will absorb the interference from the ground and limit side-to-side movement, offering a smoother and more manageable driving experience.
If shuddering or jerking occurs when you accelerate or staccato shaking begins at a particular speed, you could have engine problems. This could also be the case if the car starts easily and only begins to shake after a while.
The engine may not be getting the amount of air, spark or fuel that it needs to run smoothly. You may need to deal with a dirty or clogged fuel filter that’s starving the engine of fuel or oxygen or you may need a new set of spark plugs.
Your brakes are likely to be the problem if the vibrations appear or intensify when you apply brakes. If your vehicle has a disc brake system, the rotor may become raised or lowered on part of its surface due to wear and tear. This can prevent the brake pads and calipers from getting an even grip, resulting in the vibrations.
Even a minor accident can cause damage to a car’s axle, causing the car to shake. With this kind of problem, the shaking usually increases the faster you drive. A bent drive shaft and problems with CV joints can also cause shaking.
If you suspect your CV joints, you can check to see if the boots are intact, clamps are secure and if there are signs of leaking lubricant.
Keep in mind that these reasons may not be the only ones causing your car to shake. If you’re in any doubt, seeing an automotive service professional is advisable.