Three Reasons Your Car Is Vibrating

You probably purchased your vehicle, in part, because of its smooth ride. So, it can be both concerning and annoying when your car or truck starts vibrating every time you take it out on the road. Here are three reasons why this may be happening and what needs to be done to fix the problem.

Wheel Problems

Possibly the most common reason vehicles begin vibrating is because of problems with the tires, rotors, and/or brakes. The first thing you should check is that the tires are properly balanced and aligned. Tires that are uneven will cause vibrating because the vehicle is essentially limping on the road (i.e. how you would walk if one of your legs was shorter than the other). Be sure to have the mechanic also check the tire tread, because tires that are worn out more on one side can also cause vibrating and may indicate an underlying problem with the vehicle.

Damaged rotors can also make the vehicle vibrate. This type of damage is typically caused by letting the brake pads wear out so much the metal brakes begin rubbing against the metal of the rotors. However, rotors can also rust and crack due to environmental issues, such as water or driving fast into a fairly severe pothole.

You can generally tell the rotor is the problem if, in addition to the vibration in the vehicle, you hear a high-pitched squealing noise each time you brake. The vibration will also worsen when you brake at certain low and high speeds (e.g. 30mph and 60 mph).

Engine Issues

Another thing that can cause your vehicle to vibrate are engine troubles. The seriousness of the issue can range from simple to severe. For instance, worn spark plugs can cause the engine to misfire, leading the vehicle to shake each time it occurs. Simply replacing the spark plugs will usually eliminate the vibrating, so you can enjoy being on the road again.

The vibration can also result if the engine isn't getting enough fuel or air or there are constant interruptions in the supply. Dirty air and fuel filters can interfere with the engine's ability to obtain and mix gas and air properly, so your car may shudder or jerk while accelerating or begin shaking when you drive at higher speeds. Changing these filters may solve the vibrating problem.

If the engine is loose, it could cause the car to vibrate. Engines typically have multiple mounts that connect it to the car frame. If one or more of these mounts loosen due to missing bolts or other problems, the car may shake as the engine bounces around in the space under the hood. You may be able to check this issue yourself. However, it's generally best to have a mechanic look into this issue and fix it if there is a problem.

Front End Troubles

A third reason why it may feel like the car is vibrating is because there's trouble with the front end. Specifically, the tie rods in the steering system may have deteriorated due to age. This can cause the steering wheel to vibrate, which may only make it seem like the entire vehicle is doing so.

Other symptoms that may indicate the ties rods are the problem include a squeaky noise whenever you turn or hit a bump, tires on one side of the vehicle is more worn out than the other side, the steering wheel shakes when going over bumps, and/or the steering feels slack or loose.

Replacing the tie rods is pretty cheap and easy, so it's important to get it done as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may lose complete control of the steering and get into an accident.

There are other things that can cause your vehicle to vibrate. Take it in to a local auto repair shop for an evaluation.