Car Shaking While Driving? Common Reasons & Fixes

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Some shakes are good (ice cream, booty, dogs doing tricks), but noticeable shakes from your car? That is usually a sign that some part of your car needs some attention. 

From natural tire wear to engine malfunctions, there are several reasons why your car may be excessively shaking or vibrating while you drive.

You may feel it in your steering wheel, experience a constant vibration, or simply notice the entire car shaking.

We’ll go over the most common cases to help you find out how you might get the problem resolved. 

Reasons Why Your Car Starts Shaking While Driving

There are many things that can cause noticeable shaking, vibration, or stuttering of your car.

Here are 5 of the most common causes of a shaking vehicle:

  1. Tire or wheel issues: This is the most common culprit of shaking cars. Uneven wear on tires can cause shakiness that you feel at low speeds. Imbalanced tires usually give your car the shakes at speeds over 60MPH. Dents or unevenness in wheels can also cause some shakiness.  
  2. Bad brake rotors: Bends in brake rotors can cause brake calipers to press against the rotor, which can be felt via shakiness throughout the entire car. You’ll especially feel the vibrations while braking.
  3. Bent drive shaft and axles: A bent driveshaft can cause some serious vibrating. You’ll typically feel this at all times while driving, but it’ll get especially stronger when accelerating. 
  4. Power steering issues: Problems in your car’s power steering system could definitely cause some vibrations. You might feel power steering shakes when turning your car.
  5. Suspension issues: Your car’s suspension is in charge of keeping your car up and stable. It stands to reason that issues in the suspension could cause some shaking. 

How to Fix a Car that Shakes

Your car is not supposed to be shaking.

If you are feeling some serious vibrations, it’s time to find the problem and get it fixed. 

When you take your car to the mechanic, you’ll want to try to describe the issue as best you can. (i.e. what it feels like, sounds like, and when it occurs). The mechanic may need to take your car for a drive to try to replicate the problem.

Tires and Wheels

Your primary suspect is likely your tires.

Check the wear on your tires.

Make sure they have even tread and enough tread throughout, and that there are no flat spots. Also, be sure you have them inflated properly to manufacturer specs.  

It can be difficult to tell if tires and wheels are unbalanced. You’ll need to have some tire professionals check this out for you.

If your tires need to be replaced, also make sure that your car gets a realignment.

Bad alignment can be a big culprit of uneven tire wear. 

Brake Rotors

It’s not too difficult to pin a shaking problem on your brake system—you’ll feel it when you brake.

The fix could be as simple as getting your brakes serviced.

Just know that brake rotor replacements are significantly more expensive than just putting on new brake pads. 

Drive Shaft and Axle Issues

Drive shaft and axle problems that may be causing shaking are not the easiest to see.

To address the problem, you are likely going to need the knowing eyes of a professional mechanic who will advise you on whether or not you need to repair or replace it. 

Power Steering Issues

A car that shakes may indicate that there is a problem with your power steering pump, or you may have a power steering fluid leak.

Both are serious issues and will need to be addressed quickly.

If you are hearing some screeching sounds and feeling vibrations while turning, have your mechanic inspect your power steering system. 

Suspension Problems

Your car’s suspension is composed of many different components, and finding the problem might be tricky.

If you are suspecting suspension wear, let your mechanic know, and they will perform a full inspection. You may need to have something like a coil spring replaced.

Learn more about the cost to replace your struts or shocks.

How Much Will it Cost to Fix the Problem?

Because many different issues can cause shaking or vibrating, there’s not one simple answer as to how much a fix will cost. 

It can cost you between $400 to $600 to replace all your tires, plus another $100 for an alignment. 

To replace a rotor, you are looking at about $250 to $500.

Replacing a drive shaft can cost as little as $300 or as much as $1,000. 

Meanwhile, fixing a power steering pump may cost around $500.

And getting your suspension fixed can potentially cost between $1,000 to $5,000.

Is It OK To Drive a Car while It’s Shaking?

You do not want to be driving your car around while it’s shaking.

Your car is made to run smooth—or at least smooth enough where you can’t tell that it’s vibrating.

If the shaking is noticeable, that’s pretty much your car’s way of telling you that it’s not doing well, and needs some attention.

Shaking could be a symptom of serious issues that could leave you stranded and may even cause a very bad accident.

Remember, more often than not, ignoring the problem leads to even more problems and higher costs to get everything fixed.