Car Shakes: Common Causes of Car Shaking

Shaking in a vehicle can be an alarming development for any car owner. Another challenge of this shaking is that it can originate from many different causes, which makes diagnosing and fixing the issue hard for the average car owner to handle on their own.

Car shaking is far more common than anyone would like to admit.

If your vehicle is shaking, it’s likely due to one of several common causes–several of which can be easily fixed. If you’re worried about the cause of your car’s shaking, here’s a look at some of the most likely culprits.

Old Spark Plugs

While some car owners dealing with unexplained shaking may also notice an oil leak coming from their car, you don’t need to worry about how to stop an oil leak if you’re trying to fix your car shakes. When it comes to shaking caused by the engine, the most likely culprit is old spark plugs that need to be replaced.

The good news for car owners is that spark plugs are a relatively inexpensive fix. You might also check your engine air filter while you’re changing spark plugs–heavily clogged filters can cause shaking, and even dirty filters can inhibit vehicle performance.

Imbalanced Tires

If your car’s shaking starts or becomes more intense between 50 and 60 miles per hour, the likely cause is imbalanced tires. Tires can become imbalanced for several reasons, especially when they develop wear and tear unevenly.

Car shakes when engine is running could be caused by imbalanced tires.

Fortunately, the solution is easy: Visit a mechanic to have your tires rotated and balanced, and the shaking should go away. If your tires are old and have worn through the tread, you may have to invest in a new set.

Worn Out Brake Pad

When a car’s shaking takes place while the driver is braking, there are multiple potential causes related to your braking system. The first point to inspect is the brake pad, which presses against the rotor and creates significant friction and pressure required to slow down the vehicle.

Over time, the brake pad wears down and becomes thin. When the pad is too worn out, it can create a loud brushing noise, as well as shaking when the brakes are being pressed.

Changing the brake pad might be enough to fix your car’s shaking, although there are other brake-related problems that should also be considered.

Sticky Brake Calipers

When brake calipers stick, they can cause a vehicle to shake–but there are often other symptoms that can help you identify whether calipers are the issue. Sticky brake calipers only become evident when driving at 45 miles per hour or faster, in more cars, but as the sticking creates friction, it will cause a strong burning odor in addition to possible shaking.

Sticky brake calipers will also cause the shaking and bad smell to intensify at higher speeds.

Bent or Damaged Axles

When axles have been damaged by an accident or other mishap–even something as simple as running over an object that hits the axle while driving–vibrations can occur, and they will persist at any speed.

The only way to fix shaking caused by brake axles is to replace the axles, which can be a cost-intensive repair depending on the type of vehicle.

While this list covers most of the common causes of car shaking, it’s far from exhaustive. If you can’t easily identify the reason for shaking in your vehicle, bring it to a trusted professional to have the cause properly identified and fixed.

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