While there are plenty of warning signs for many car problems (weird noises, weirder smells, dashboard warning lights) one of the most disturbing signs of something going wrong is shaking. Whether it happens at high speeds or low speeds, this is a pretty clear sign that something is out of wack. But what can make your car shake? There can be a lot of causes, but the most common issues have to do with your tires or brakes. Keep reading for a better idea of some problems.
What happens if you drive with a flat tire?
A flat tire can completely ruin your day. Not only will you not be able to get where you need to go on time, you’ll likely end up paying for an expensive new tire, and if you don’t know how to change your tire, you’ll need to call a tow truck. If you don’t react to a flat tire the right way, it could make your already bad day worse.
Faster Driving (45 mph+)
If your tires are unbalanced, then it could cause severe steering-wheel shaking at 50 to 60 miles per hour. Tires can get unbalanced from wear or tear, or because of more severe issues. If you think this might be your problem a normal tire rotation and balance should solve the shaking problem. Another thing that can cause shaking above 45 mph is a brake caliper that is sticking to the wheel. In the case of a stuck brake caliper, it will get worse the faster you go, and will probably smell like burning when you stop the car.
Stopped or Slow Speed
Shaking at slow speeds can have many causes. If your car shakes when breaking, you may have brakes that have been warped or deformed, either because of heavy use or part flaws. This can be called “out of round”. If you are parked or standing still at a stop light and your car is still shaking is likely something related to the engine. Worn spark plugs and wires are a common cause, but loose hoses or connections, dirty air filters, and lose timing belts are other possible causes of engine shaking.
If you are feeling a strange shimmy or vibration in your vehicle, it is good to get it checked out. While many of these issues are straightforward repairs for a qualified mechanic, they aren’t something a car owner would be expected to fix themselves.