Why Is My Car Shaking?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 9 days ago

5 min read

  • Diagnostic
A car on the road

WhoCanFixMyCar explains what might be making your car shake and how to fix it.

It's alarming when your car shakes, especially if it's very noticeable. This guide contains all the information you need to understand what might make your car shake, how to fix it, and how much it's likely to cost.

Contents:

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?

It isn't normal for your car to shake. There could be a range of causes, some of which are cheap and easy to fix, while others are more expensive and dangerous if left unresolved. We recommend taking your car to a specialist mechanic or garage for a diagnosis.


What causes car shaking?

Some of the most common causes are listed below.

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 disc. This vibration is typically felt through your brake pedal and the whole vehicle. Your brake calliper may also be sticking, identifiable by a burning odour and a vibrating steering wheel.

Find out how brakes work here, or read about five brake problems you shouldn't ignore.

Brake pads and discs image

How much does it cost to fix?

The average price of a brake repair on WhoCanFixMyCar is £316.89.

2. Worn-out parts

Worn-out or damaged vehicle components can cause shaking. One example is the driveshaft, which transmits the engine's rotational force (torque) to the wheels. If bent, it causes the whole vehicle to shake or vibrate, especially when accelerating. 

Other signs of a bad driveshaft include:

To determine whether this is the cause, check that the clamps are secure and see if you can spot signs of leaking lubricant.

How much does it cost to fix?

The price depends on which parts need replacing. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to request quotes on WhoCanFixMyCar.

3. Tyres

Older, bald tyres may cause road vibrations. Similarly, tyres that are not adequately inflated or are damaged could be to blame for the shaking feeling you're experiencing.

Mechanic checking tyre

Take a look at each of your tyres. Check the tread depth - 1.6 mm is the minimum legal requirement - and make sure they are at the correct pressure. Once you've done this, inspect them for any damage.

Sometimes, rotating your tyres may solve the problem. However, if you spot any cracks, bulges, or bald patches, you should replace them immediately.

How much does it cost to fix?

Getting new front and rear tyres fitted costs £172.98 on average, according to our data.

4. Axle problems

If one of your car's axles gets bent, which sometimes happens after a road accident, it can cause the vehicle to shake, and the intensity may increase as you speed up. This is only likely to be the cause if your car has recently been involved in a collision.

How much does it cost to fix?

The average price of an axle repair on WhoCanFixMyCar is £195.96.

5. Unbalanced wheels

Occasionally, the wheels rather than the tyres are the source of the car’s shaking, mainly if they are unbalanced or misaligned. 

Unbalanced wheels often wobble or seem to move up and down. To repair them, a mechanic will measure the weight distribution of each wheel assembly and add weights as needed.

Even a slight misalignment of your wheels can make your steering wheel feel like it's shaking. Fortunately, garages can check this for you and make necessary adjustments through wheel alignment.

Find out more about the wheel alignment process and whether it's worth it here.

How much does it cost to fix?

A wheel alignment costs £44.26 on average.

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. You may need a new set of spark plugs or the fuel filter may need to be replaced.

When engine problems are to blame, you may also notice your car misfiring and the check engine light will appear on your dashboard. Learn more about how an engine works in this guide.

Engine management light

How much does it cost to fix?

Engine issues can vary in price depending on the cause. The average price of a spark plug replacement is £153.85, and for a fuel injection system repair, you can expect to pay £185.35 on average.

7. Power steering problems

If the shaking happens when you turn, it could be due to low power steering fluid. This fluid creates a hydraulic link between the front wheels and the steering wheel, making it easier for you to turn, and it lubricates various parts of the steering system. Learn more about power steering in this guide.

As you can imagine, without lubrication, some components may start rubbing against each other, causing a juddering or shaking feeling.

Power steering

Take a look at the power steering reservoir and see if the fluid needs topping up - this guide explains how to check and change various car fluids. It's also worth keeping an eye out for any leaks, which will cause the same thing to happen again if you don't get them fixed.

How much does it cost to fix?

The average price of a power steering repair is £103.20.


Why is my car shaking at high speeds?

If you notice your car shakes at high speeds, one of the most common culprits is misaligned tyres. Even slightly misaligned tyres can cause a vehicle to shake when reaching higher speeds (between 50-70mph), and your steering wheel may shake, too.

This guide covers everything you need to know about wheel alignment.

Other possible explanations (with average repair prices) include:

  • Worn wheel bearing - £257.63

  • Broken suspension component (such as the control arm) - £127.37

  • Power steering problem - £103.20


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 due to a lack of air or faulty spark plugs.

Spark plugs

If insufficient air is causing the shaking, you may also notice black smoke from your exhaust, and your car is likely to stall. Common symptoms of bad spark plugs are discussed in this guide.

Alternatively, the rotation of the engine's crankshaft and transmission gears can cause a more minor shaking sensation.


Why is my car shaking when I brake?

One common reason why you might notice shaking or 'brake shudder' is your brake discs, which can become encased in oil and dirt over time. The brake rotors could also be to blame. They are pressed by the brake pads to slow the vehicle down, so when they are off-balance or warped, it can cause shaking.


Ready to get your car fixed? Whatever repair you need, WhoCanFixMyCar can help you find the right garage at the right price.

If you have any other issues with your car that you'd like to try and diagnose yourself, check out our guide on self-diagnosing car problems. The more you know about how your car works, the better.

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