Using our site means you agree to the use of cookies and other technologies. Our cookie policy.

Why is my car shaking?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 1 year ago

5 min read

  • Maintenance
  • why
  • Advice
  • warning

WhoCanFixMyCar reveals some of the most common reasons for why your car might be shaking and what you can do to stop it from happening

If your car is shaking as soon as you switch the ignition on, it is more an annoyance than anything else, but must nonetheless be tackled. Fortunately, car vibration could be the cause of a few small issues that are cheaply fixed. Or it could be a costly job, with fears the vibration is doing damage to your vehicle in the long-term. Locating the cause of the vibration can be extremely difficult, but the vibration will not just disappear.


Is car shaking dangerous?

What causes car shaking?

Why is my car shaking at high speed?

Why is my car shaking when I start it?

Why is my car shaking when I brake?

Is car shaking dangerous?

You might be wondering if a noticeable shaking in your car is normal, or better still, is it safe to drive a car that is shaking.

The answer depends entirely on the cause of the problem. Whilst it can be difficult to troubleshoot the exact reason why your car might be shaking, diagnosing the issue yourself could save a lot of money. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the top reasons why your car might be shaking. If in doubt, we always recommend taking your car to a specialist mechanic or garage who can diagnose the shaking in your car for you.

What causes car shaking?

There could be a number of different causes and reasons as to why your car is shaking. Some of the most common causes include:

1. Brake problems

Does your car shake more when you apply the brakes? If so, the diagnosis could be as simple as a warped brake rotor. This vibration is typically felt through your brake pedal as well as through the whole vehicle. Your brake caliper may also be sticking, which can be identified with a burning odour and a vibration through the steering wheel, contact a trained mechanic for brake repairs.

2. Worn out parts

Worn out or damaged vehicle components can cause shaking. For example, the driveshaft, which if bent causes the whole vehicle to shake or vibrate. To determine whether this is in fact the cause; check that the clamps are secure and if there are signs of leaking lubricant.

3. Tyres

Low rolling resistance (or low profile) tyres are a potential cause of tyre vibration, they reduce drag and resistance on the road. This could be a potential cause of the vibrations.

Similarly, old balder tyres could be a simple cause of road vibration and can be easily replaced with a new set.

4. Axle problems

The mechanics of the car operate very specifically, made up of rotating parts to perform properly. If one of the axles gets bent, which occasionally happens after an accident, vibration will occur and increase as your driving speed increases.

5. Unbalanced wheels

Occasionally, it is the wheels rather than the tyres that are the source of the car’s shaking.  An imbalance in your wheels may be the cause and although hard to spot, garages can check them out for you and reconvene balance fairly expensive through wheel alignment.

6. Engine problems

Sometimes the engine doesn’t get the right amount of air, fuel or spark to run smoothly and this can result in the car shaking. To eradicate the issue, you may just need a new set of spark plugs or just have their wires checked out and replaced. The air of fuel filter of your engine may also be dirty or clogged, starving it of the fuel or indeed oxygen that it requires to run smoothly.

7. Power steering problems

If the car only shakes as you turn the vehicle, then it’s likely a result of the power steering system. We advise that you inspect the system’s hoses for any leaks. Also, check the reservoir for the power steering fluid level. To amend this issue, contact a garage for power steering support.

Why is my car shaking at high speed?

If you notice your car shakes at high speeds, one of the most common reasons for this happening could be caused by misaligned tyres. Tyres that are off balance even slightly can a vehicle to shake when reaching higher speeds (between 50-70mph), and can cause your steering wheel to shake too.

Why is my car shaking when I start it?

A shaking or juddering feeling when you start your car can be caused by problems with your engine. This can be as a result of a lack of air to the engine, as well as faulty spark plugs.

Alternatively, the rotation of the engines crankshaft and transmission gears can cause a smaller shaking sensation to be felt.

Why is my car shaking when I brake?

One common reason why you might notice shaking or 'brake shudder' while braking is your brake discs. Brake discs can become encased in oil and dirt over time causing a shaking feeling.

If you notice a shaking in your steering wheel and brake pedal however, it could be caused by the rotors. Car rotors that are off balance can cause shaking to be felt when you press your brake pads to slow down.

If you have checked for all these symptoms and are still unable to locate the cause of your car’s shaking, get in touch with a garage as soon as you can.

The car shaking may not feel like an urgent issue, but without even a diagnosis you cannot be sure of the further damage it is causing your vehicle and in turn how costly the repair is becoming.

Free no-obligation quotes from local garages