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If My Car Shakes or Vibrates While Driving, How Do I fix It?

by Eddie Carrara

If your car shakes while driving down the road or the steering wheel vibrates, you're not alone. One of the most common complaints of vehicle owners is vibrations. Whether it from the car tires, bent rim, or the brakes, they can be annoying and if left unattended for a long time, it could cause premature wear and tear on the tires and suspension.

Most vehicle owners think that when their car shakes or vibrates, it means they need and alignment, this is not true. All that and alignment will do is point the tires in the right direction, you see, over time you car goes through some hard hits like potholes, curbs, speed bumps, and just every day poor road conditions.

After a while, things get knocked out of place and the wheels are no longer pointing in the right direction, it's so minor that even the naked eye can't tell it's out of alignment, but an alignment machine will take measurements of your vehicle and compare it to the vehicles specifications, can you see how none of this has anything to do with your car shaking and vibrating?

The most common cause of tire shakes or vibrations is tire balance. Most vibrations can be resolved by simply having your tires balanced by a qualified mechanic, but there are some cases where it gets a little more in depth because a tire balance didn't fix the vibration. This is where you need that qualified mechanic I was talking about; I find a lot of mechanics will give the customer a story and tell them their shock are bad or their alignment is out, just so the customer will go away.


Tire Balancing

A reputable garage will have a tire balancer machine called "Hunter Road Force Machine" or something similar. A road force machine will measure rim run out, (check for a bent rim) locate tire hard spots in a tire, check for broken belts in a tire, diagnose defective tires, and balance tires, it is truly the best machine for car shakes and vibrations in my opinion, so ask your mechanic if they have access to a Road Force Machine if you have a problem you can't fix with a regular tire balancer. 

RoadForce Tire Balance Machine

There are other less common causes of car vibrations like worn suspension parts, brake rotor pulsation, snow, mud, debris, things stuck in and on tires, transmission and motor problems, and loose wheel bearings. All of these could give you a vibration or make your car shake, but I was addressing the most common problem associated with car shakes and steering wheel vibrations.

So if your car has a vibration or a shake that is driving you crazy, I recommend having it checked as soon as possible, like I mentioned earlier, leaving a vibration alone, hoping it will go away, will only lead to tire chop and cupping, premature wear on suspension components, and worst of all, insanity, it will drive you crazy if it hasn't already.


Car Shakes or Vibrates When Applying Brakes Video

In the video below, you can see who the car shakes or vibrates when applying the brakes. You'll notice that I'm driving about 80 mph, so the shake isn't that bad, but it is noticeable. To fix this problem, either replace the rotors, or have the rotors resurfaced if the're within spec (thick enough).


Wheel Bearing Noise VS. Tire Noise


If you have any questions about your car, please don't hesitate to ask, I enjoy helping people like you with the issues they're having with their vehicle. I also find great pleasure when someone has a question about a quote for a repair needed or if someone is trying to scam them, sometimes I'll tell you to get a third opinion if I think it's necessary, so if you have a question, just ask.

Oh, and one more thing, if you know someone who could use this information or if you would like to share it with friends, just email them the link or click one of the share buttons in the box on this page, I would really appreciate it, thank you.

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Eddie Carrara 

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