12 Reasons Your Car Shakes When Accelerating

When you step on the gas pedal, have you experienced a sudden jolt and an unnerving shake? If your car feels more like a vibrating massage chair than a smooth ride, it’s time to get to the bottom of this mystery. There are numerous reasons why your car shakes when accelerating. Today, you’ll learn 12 reasons your car shakes when accelerating and their corresponding solutions to help you diagnose and fix the problem. So let’s embark on an adventure towards smoother rides!

12 Reasons Behind Car Shakes When Accelerating

There are several reasons behind car shaking; understand them and identify the root cause.

Damaged Inner CV Joints

These components transfer power from the engine to the wheels. You may think, what are the reasons behind this issue? Here are some possible culprits to consider:

Lack of lubrication: As time passes, the grease inside the CV joint may break down or leak, causing friction and damage.

Excessive wear and tear: Constant use and driving on rough roads can cause the CV joint boots to crack or tear. When damaged, dirt and debris can enter the joints, accelerating wear and causing shaking.

Incorrect installation: If your CV joints were not correctly installed during a repair or replacement job, it could result in misalignments that cause vibrations when accelerating.

Injured Motor Mounts

Motor mounts in your car prevent excessive vibrations from the engine. When these mounts get injured or worn out, it can lead to shaking and vibrating sensations while accelerating, causing discomfort and potentially affecting your vehicle’s performance.
Some possible reasons for injured motor mounts include the following:

Finding Injured Motor Mounts
  • Aggressive driving habits are the most common cause. If you often drive aggressively, significantly when accelerating rapidly or braking abruptly, it puts extra stress on the motor mounts. This can lead to premature wearing out or even complete failure of the mounts.
  • Wear and tear over time also contributes to injured motor mounts. The constant pressure, heat, and movement of the engine cause the rubber component of the mount to deteriorate, resulting in reduced effectiveness and potential damage.
  • Poor installation or low-quality aftermarket motor mounts can also be responsible for injuries. While cost-effective options may seem appealing initially, they may not provide sufficient stability or durability compared to genuine manufacturer parts.

Unbalanced Tires

When tires are not correctly balanced, it can result in an uneven weight distribution across the wheels. This can happen due to tire wear, hitting potholes or curbs, or even a simple defect in the manufacturing process. As a result, the imbalance causes your car to shake when you accelerate.

Vibration at higher speeds: Unbalanced tires can cause more noticeable vibrations as you increase your speed. This is because the unbalanced tire generates a wobbling motion, translating into an uncomfortable experience for the driver and passengers.

Impact on suspension system: Driving with unbalanced tires for prolonged periods can also put additional stress on other components of your car’s suspension system. The constant shaking and vibrations can lead to premature wear and tear on parts such as struts and shocks. It is important to address this issue promptly to avoid further damage and costly repairs.

Car Shakes When Accelerating

Safety concerns: Besides being an annoyance, driving with unbalanced tires presents safety risks. The shaking and vibrations may affect your ability to maintain control of your vehicle, especially during sudden braking or swerving maneuvers. In extreme cases, it could cause instability while cornering or fishing on wet surfaces.

Professional balancing solutions: To rectify this issue, professional technicians use state-of-the-art equipment to distribute weight among all four tires precisely. By doing so, they eliminate any imbalances and restore smoothness while accelerating.

Warped Brake Rotors

Warped brake rotors can be a significant cause of the shaking sensation. Here are some reasons why your car may experience this issue:

Overheating: Continuous heavy braking, such as downhill driving or sudden stops, can cause the brake rotors to overheat and warp. The excessive heat causes the metal to expand unevenly, resulting in warped rotors.

Uneven Torque: Uneven torque distribution during braking can lead to brake rotor warping. This could be due to a caliper sticking or faulty suspension components, causing uneven rotor pressure and warping over time.

Low-Quality Rotors: Poor-quality brake rotors may not have been manufactured with proper materials and heat treatments, making them more susceptible to warping under extreme conditions.

Suspension Issues

Worn suspension parts and rubber bushings are often overlooked culprits for a shaky driving experience. While many drivers may assume that an unbalanced tire or misaligned wheels are the root of the problem, it’s essential to check the condition of your suspension parts.

One common area where worn-out bushings can cause vibrations is the sway bar. The sway bar, a stabilizer bar, reduces body roll during cornering. Over time, the rubber bushings that hold the sway bar in place can deteriorate or become loose, resulting in unwanted movement and vibrations.

Car Shakes When Accelerating

Another crucial element affected by worn suspension components is your shock absorbers. These vital components are significant in maintaining stability and control when you accelerate or encounter bumps on the road. If their rubber bushings wear out or fail, they won’t correctly absorb shocks and vibrations, leading to a jarring ride.

Loose Wheel Bearings

Loose wheel bearings reduce friction between the wheel hub and the axle, allowing the wheels to rotate smoothly. They can cause problems when they become loose, leading to vibrations while driving.

It’s worth noting that loose wheel bearings affect your comfort while driving and pose safety risks. When left untreated, they can cause severe damage to other suspension components or even result in a wheel detachment. It’s crucial to promptly address any issues related to wheel bearings through regular inspections by a professional mechanic.

Damaged Brake Caliper

A damaged brake caliper applies pressure to the brake pads, slowing down or stopping the vehicle. When a brake caliper becomes damaged, it can create several issues that may lead to shaking during acceleration.

A damaged brake caliper can cause uneven braking and wear on the brake pads. This imbalance causes vibration as the brakes are applied, which can be felt through the steering wheel or the entire car. It’s essential to address this issue promptly because leaving it unattended can lead to further damage and compromise your safety on the road.

Shaking during acceleration can also occur when a seized caliper fails to release correctly after applying the brakes. This means that even though you’ve removed your foot from the pedal, one or more wheels may continue to drag along, causing unnecessary friction and shaking when you try to accelerate again.

Faulty O2 Sensor

Another main reason your car shakes when accelerating could be a faulty O2 sensor. The O2 sensor (or oxygen sensor) measures the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gases and provides feedback to the engine control unit (ECU). If the O2 sensor is defective or not functioning correctly, it can disrupt the fuel mixture and lead to rough engine performance.

Car Shakes When Accelerating

This can also affect other vehicle components, such as the catalytic converter. When the O2 sensor fails, it may send incorrect signals to the ECU, which causes an imbalance in the air-fuel ratio. This can result in an overheating catalytic converter, leading to a rougher ride during acceleration.

A faulty O2 sensor can lead to an incorrect air-to-fuel ratio, producing a lean or rich mixture. A lean variety means too much oxygen in fuel, while a rich combination has insufficient oxygen. Both scenarios can disrupt the engine’s smooth operation and cause vibrations when accelerating.

Faulty MAF Sensor

This small but crucial component measures the air entering the engine and adjusts the fuel mixture accordingly. If it malfunctions, several problems can occur, resulting in a shaky ride.

Car Shakes When Accelerating

Your car shakes with a faulty MAF sensor because it disrupts the fuel-to-air ratio, leading to an improper combustion process. This inconsistency causes the engine to misfire and results in a noticeable vibration when accelerating.

Another exciting aspect of a malfunctioning MAF sensor is its impact on the transmission system. As incorrect data on air intake is fed into the Engine Control Unit (ECU), it may cause abrupt gear shifts or delays, which can be felt as jerks or shudders when you press the gas pedal.

Twisted Driveshaft

A twisted driveshaft can be the reason behind that unsettling shake you feel when accelerating your car. But what causes this common issue? Let’s dive into some possible reasons why your car shakes when you hit the gas:

Car Shakes When Accelerating

Worn U-joints: The U-joints, also known as universal joints, connect the driveshaft to the transmission and differential. Over time, these joints can become worn or damaged, leading to excessive play in the driveshaft and causing vibrations.

Imbalanced driveline: A perfectly balanced driveshaft is essential for a smooth ride. If there is any imbalance due to misalignment or missing weights, it can cause noticeable shaking when power is applied.

Impact damage: Potholes, rough roads, or even minor accidents could result in a bent or twisted driveshaft. This mechanical stress disrupts its perfect balance and triggers vibrations during acceleration.

Excessive torque: High-performance vehicles with powerful engines might overpower the capabilities of a stock driveshaft, leading to torsional forces that twist it out of shape.

Broken Axle

The axle is a critical component that connects the wheels to the transmission and delivers power to propel the vehicle forward. When this crucial linkage becomes damaged or bent, immediate action must be taken to avoid exacerbating the problem.

Ignoring a broken axle may result in more severe consequences for your car, including potential damage to other vital parts like the driveshaft. This could lead to costly repairs and compromise your and your passengers’ safety while driving. Addressing a bent axle promptly is crucial.

Faulty Spark Plugs

Faulty spark plugs can cause your car to shake when accelerating due to a disrupted combustion process. When the spark plugs fail to ignite the fuel-air mixture properly, it leads to a misfire in the engine cylinders, causing an imbalance and shaky acceleration.

Worn-out electrodes on the spark plugs can also contribute to shaking during acceleration. Over time, the electrodes wear down, making it difficult for the spark plug to create a strong enough spark. This weakens ignition and causes incomplete combustion, leading to engine vibration.

Symptoms of Bad Spark Plugs

Wrapping Up “12 Reasons Your Car Shakes When Accelerating”

Experiencing a shaking sensation while accelerating can be concerning, but it’s important to remember that there are several reasons why this may occur. From worn-out suspension components to engine misfires and everything in between, identifying the root cause is crucial for maintaining the health and safety of your vehicle. By understanding these 12 potential causes and seeking professional help when needed, you can address the issue promptly and avoid any further damage or inconvenience. So don’t hesitate to take action if your car shakes when accelerating; it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Iram Khan
Latest posts by Iram Khan (see all)