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Reasons Why Your Car Vibrates


I received a mail from one of our readers, the author complains of his car having some vibrations and I decided to answer him so that all can benefit from this as well.

Have you ever been driving your car and it shook so much you felt like you were on an amusement park ride and you begin to wonder what may be going on? Well, here are three common problems that can cause a car to shake.

1. The most common reason for a car to shake is related to tires.  If the tires are out of balance then the steering wheel can shake. This shaking starts at around 50-55 miles per hour (mph).  It gets worse around 60 mph but starts to get better at high speeds.

2. Sometimes brake rotors can be the cause of shaking.  If your steering wheel shakes while you are braking then the problem could be caused by "out of round" brake rotors.  This vibration can also be felt through your brake pedal.

3. Another common problem that can cause shaking is when a brake caliper sticks on.  When this happens you will experience a vibration through the steering wheel starting at 45 to 50 miles per hour.  It will get very bad the faster you go, and you will also smell a burning odor when you stop.

The good news is that these problems are easily avoided or corrected.

The tire problem can be avoided by purchasing good quality tires and by having all of the tires carefully inspected when your car goes in for preventative maintenance service.

The brake problem can be avoided by including brake caliper service when your brakes are due for maintenance.  This is particularly important for vehicles that have over 75,000 miles on them.  And, like your tires, have all of your brake pads inspected as part of a regularly scheduled preventive maintenance program.

In fact, by sticking to your manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance program, you can avoid or predict these problems.  Normally, the brake and tire inspections are performed when you have an oil change.  In the case of customers who put very little mileage on their cars, this will be performed at the six month vehicle check-up.

Tires wearing in a strange way or having a wheel that's out of round can both be signs of what's causing a vibration issue.  If one of the front or rear brake pads (out of four) is seen wearing more than the other, this is a sign that the brake caliper is sticking.

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