Why Is My Car Vibrating? 6 Most Common Reasons

car mechanic with car diagnostic equipment

You’re driving on a freeway and noticed some kind of vibrations. You ask yourself, why is my car vibrating? Is this normal? Well, the moving parts of your car can create slight vibrations which can be expected. But, if it feels more like shaking, your car is probably having some issues that need to be fixed as soon as possible to prevent further complications. Here are the 6 most common reasons why your car is vibrating.

1. Engine Problems

When a certain part of your car’s engine has an issue, you may notice your car shaking while driving. The first thing you should do is to examine the spark plug to check if it’s already dirty or worn out.  A spark plug is said to last about 80,000-100,000 miles depending on the brand of the car. Once checked, replace it with a new one if necessary and secure its connections. 

However, if the spark plugs are in good condition, try to check the air and fuel filter. Too much dirt can clog the air filter, preventing clean air from passing through. The fuel system may require cleaning and adjusting the carburetor as well. These two are essential in starting the ignition, and when there is too much clogging, the car will surely vibrate.

An engine can also go wrong when hoses in your car are disconnected or broken. Check the hoses in the radiator and coolant system, as well as cut or detached wiring. Then, inspect the motor mounts if cracked as this can also cause vibration. Also, do not forget to examine the timing belt. This part secures that your intake and exhaust valve are in sync. If broken, replace it right away.

2. Axle and Driveshaft Problems

There are usually two (2) axles connected to your wheels. One is connected to the front wheels and the other to the rear wheels. When any of these are bent, the car vibrates at high speed. Aside from that, check if there is any drive shaft damage. This part of the car transfers engine power from the rear axles and wheels to the rear-wheel-drive or on the front. When it is deformed or twisted, it may cause the vehicle to vibrate.

A dirty and dusty Constant Velocity (CV) joint in axles may also be the reason for such shaking. If this rubber-made part of the car is too filthy and happens to be on the front wheel, replacing it with a new one is the best option. 

3. Brake Problems

Does your car vibrate as you step on the brake? Perhaps there’s a problem with your brake, particularly on the front brake as it is the most strained part. Pads and rotors on the front brake must be replaced often. Pads may wear out over time and their thickness plays a significant role while you press them with the rotor.

The caliper can also be the reason for car vibrations, especially when it accidentally joined to the brake disc. This will be obvious since you can smell something like burning and feel shaking on the steering wheel. When brake drums are not in good condition, you’ll notice a car rumbling as you press the brake. 

4. Misaligned or Unbalanced Wheels

An unbalanced wheel could be another reason for your car’s vibration. A bent or damaged wheel is likely caused by many possible hazards you may encounter along the way as you are driving. It is also possible that a sudden change in the wheel alignment causes vibration. Not only that, but if the steering wheel vibrates, there’s a huge chance that the wheel bearing is damaged.

This mishap is barely noticeable. As soon as you observe that there is intermittent vibration while driving and the above-mentioned items are not the issue, then let a mechanic diagnose your car’s condition. 

5. Bad Tires

The most common reason for your car to vibrate is related to tire issues. A car vibrates with uneven tire wear because your tires may not rotate smoothly together. Underinflated tires can also cause extreme vibration when driving at high speed because your tires are not making equal contact with the road. 

A car can also vibrate due to defective tires. This could be caused by a factory defect or potential road hazards. Check if your tires are still perfectly circular to avoid tire rotation problems. When your car vibrates at a certain speed and somehow escalates as you accelerate, then you may have unbalanced tires. You’ll need a mechanic to address this issue.

Worn-out tires that have little to no thread decrease your car’s ability to stop, causing it to vibrate occasionally. This may be a sign that it’s time for you to change tires. You can also examine the tire rims for any damage.

Neighborhood Roadside Assistance offers tire change service in different areas of New Jersey and New York.

6. Steering Problems

Car vibrations can be caused by a problem with the steering system. Check for any loose steering components or worn chassis components such as the rack and pinion, tie rod ends, ball joints, steering gear, or any other parts that exhibit wear or damage. You can notice this as you turn or drive on curve roads and it vibrates. 

Check your power steering for any leakage and ensure that there is enough power steering liquid to prevent car vibration. You can observe this issue when you try to turn in a corner and it suddenly shakes. 


There are many reasons why your car vibrates and you must be keenly observant on which part specifically vibrates and try to remember when it occurs. This can make it much easier to deal with the problem. But, overall, car vibrations can be prevented by being aware of their causes — and more importantly, let a qualified mechanic inspect your car from time to time. 

A healthy car comes with a car-conscious owner. So if you notice your car is vibrating, do not take it lightly.