mechanic working on car that shakes when driving

If your car vibrates while you’re on the road, it’s definitely time to have your car checked out. Whether it’s intermittent vibration while driving or full on shakes at high speed, it’s never a good sign.

Let’s explore some common reasons as to why your car might be shaking while you’re driving, if it’s even safe to drive a car that shakes, and what to do with your car that shakes.

Common Reasons Why Your Car May Be Shaking While Driving

Engine Problems

As the heart of your vehicle, any issue within your engine could be the culprit behind your entire car shaking. Spark plug malfunctions and faulty air filters can cause your vehicle to shake.

Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, spark plugs typically have a lifetime of 80,000-100,000 miles.

If the plugs and their connectors appear to be okay, then direct your attention to your air filter next.

A clogged or dirty air filter can restrict the necessary oxygen and/or fuel that your engine needs to run smoothly.

Brake Problems

If your car is vibrating whenever you press on the brakes, then the issue is likely the fault of your front braking mechanism.

Your front brakes take on the majority of the stress when you’re braking and, therefore, need a few of their parts replaced regularly (rotors and pads).

Every vehicle has a different point at which the brakes must be replaced. The rule of thumb is to have the brakes replaced around every 50,000 miles, but certain models can last longer than others.

mechanic holding axle

Axle Problems

If either of your vehicle’s axles are bent or dented, your entire chassis can end up vibrating as you drive.

Axle damage can be caused by collisions or even as your car interacts with the road and the subsequent vibrations will typically increase throughout your acceleration.

Wheel Problems

Vibrations can also be the result of one of your tires not spinning properly.

A tell-tale sign of this particular symptom is your steering wheel feeling wobbly or wobbling while you’re driving. Alternative causes for this might be the wheel bearings, ball joints, or tie rod ends.


If you notice your car shakes, then your tires may very well be at fault.

If vibration is only felt at certain speeds, then your tires probably need to be balanced.

If the tires are wearing unevenly and causing the vibration, then you need your tires rotated or even new tires altogether.

Is It Safe To Drive When Your Car Is Shaking?

If your car is excessively shaking or vibrating, then it’s time to take action.

A shaking car is a symptom of something amiss in your vehicle’s system, which can lead to an issue that compromises your safety later down the road.

It’s extremely difficult to determine if your vehicle is safe or not without knowing the cause of its shaking.

Having professionals take a look under the hood will help you avoid any issues in the foreseeable future.

What To Do When Your Car Vibrates While Driving?

If your car is experiencing a mean case of the “the shakes,” you’re going to want some professionals to take a look at it.

Depending on the cause, it could be a light maintenance cost necessary to get your car back running smoothly.

However, if the cause of the vehicle shaking is more severe, then you might be getting hit with a heftier repair fee.

Additionally, you should pay attention to what the car does when idle: is it still, or does it shake when idle as well?

If the repairs are more expensive than the total value of your car, you may be better off selling it and putting the profits towards a new vehicle. That’s where DamagedCars steps into the picture!

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What causes a car to shake while driving?

The most common causes for a shaking car are worn/damaged wheels, tires, or brakes.

Something under the hood could also be responsible for the shaking, like a poorly mounted engine or worn spark plugs. A bent axle or two could also result in your entire vehicle shaking.

Can low oil cause car shake?

Low oil can cause your car to shake when it idles. This is due to the increased friction within your car’s engine while it operates without enough oil.

Is it OK to drive a car while shaking?

While it isn’t inherently dangerous to drive a car that shakes, a shaking car is an indication that there is something wrong with your vehicle. That said, if the vibration becomes violent, it’s best to avoid driving the vehicle.

To get a definitive answer on what’s wrong with your car, have a professional take a look at it.