All cars vibrate a little, but shaking it while it’s parked could mean something. Besides, if they are more pronounced than usual, that could indicate a worse problem.
So, what causes car shakes when parked? Worn-out or misaligned motor mounts, worn or misaligned belts, and issues with fuel intake are common causes. Also, faulty spark plugs, ignition coils, spark plug wiring, and an oxygen sensor can cause car shakes when parked. Other causes include loose or disconnected hoses, a clogged air filter, and vacuum leaks in the engine.
Read on to learn more about the common causes of car shakes and tips to fix them and get back on the road with confidence.
What Causes a Car Shake When Parked?
Here is what is causing your car to vibrate when idle:
1. Worn Out or Misaligned Motor Mounts
The motor mounts are responsible for keeping the engine in place and absorbing vibrations. If the motor mounts are worn out or misaligned, it can cause the engine to move excessively and create shakes when the car is idle.
2. Worn or Misaligned Belts and Wrong Idling RPM
The belts in the engine are responsible for keeping the various components running smoothly. They are made of rubber and are designed to transfer power from the crankshaft to multiple components, such as the water pump, alternator, and air conditioning compressor.
Also, having the wrong idling RPM will result in vibrations. The engine will not operate optimally, hence causing shakes.
3. Issues with Fuel Intake
A clogged or malfunctioning fuel intake component doesn’t allow enough fuel to enter the engine. As a result, you will notice that your car runs roughly when idling. Other symptoms will also be such as engine misfires, poor engine performance, and stalling.
4. Faulty Spark Plugs, Ignition Coils, or Spark Plug Wiring
Spark plugs and ignition coils provide the spark that starts the engine. They are designed to ignite the fuel and air mixture. If faulty or the wiring is worn out, they won’t ignite as needed. Hence, it can cause vibrations when the car is parked.
This will be accompanied by other symptoms such as poor engine performance, engine misfires, and check engine light is on.
5. Loose or Disconnected Hoses
Hoses in the engine are responsible for carrying fluids and gases. They are made of rubber and are designed to transfer coolant, oil, and vacuum.
When they are loose or disconnected, your engine won’t receive the necessities it needs to run smoothly. This will lead to vibrations when the car is idle or running.
6. A Clogged Air Filter
A clogged air filter can impact the engine’s performance and cause vibrations when the car is parked. It can happen due to dirt, dust, and debris clogging the air filter.
Once it is clogged, little to no air will make it to the combustion chamber. This will lead to other symptoms such as poor engine performance and check engine light is on.
7. Vacuum Leaks in the Engine
A vacuum leak can cause a decrease in engine performance and cause vibrations when the car is parked. It can happen due to a leaking vacuum hose, a malfunctioning vacuum actuator, or a cracked vacuum line. Vacuum leaks will accompany poor engine performance with check engine light on.
8. Faulty Oxygen Sensor
An oxygen sensor is responsible for monitoring the air-fuel ratio in the engine. It sends a signal to the engine control module to adjust the fuel injection accordingly. If the oxygen sensor is faulty, it will send the wrong information.
And the engine control module will adjust the fuel and air mixture wrongly. This will lead to car vibrations and other symptoms such as poor fuel efficiency and check the engine light is on.
Step-by-step Guide on How to Diagnose and Fix Car Shakes When Parked
Here is a guide on how to diagnose and fix car shakes when parked:
1. Inspect the Motor Mounts
Here’s what you need to do step by step.
Step 1. Inspect the motor mounts for signs of wear and tear. Look for any cracks, tears, or signs of excessive movement.
Step 2. Check for any misalignment or looseness. If the motor mount is not correctly aligned, it can cause the engine to move excessively and create vibrations when the car is parked.
Step 3. Replace them with new ones.
Step 4. Use the torque wrench to properly tighten the bolts and ensure that the engine is securely mounted.
2. Inspect the Fuel System
Step 1. Start by checking the fuel filter for clogs or blockages. The fuel filter is usually located in the fuel tank or along the fuel line.
Step 2. Also, check for any leaks or disconnected hoses. They can cause a loss of fuel pressure, leading to poor performance and vibrations.
Step 3. Replace all the worn-out systems and tighten those that are loose.
3. Check the Ignition System
Follow the procedure below to troubleshoot this system:
Step 1. Inspect the spark plugs for wear and tear. Look for any signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. The spark plugs are located on the top of the engine, under the ignition coils.
Step 2. Check the ignition coils for any damage. The ignition coils are on the engine’s top, next to the spark plugs.
Step 3. Inspect the spark plug wiring for any damage or wear. Any worn or damaged wiring can prevent the spark plugs from working correctly.
Step 4. Replace the faulty components.
4. Fix the Air Filter
Step 1. Remove the air filter from the air intake. The air filter is usually located under the hood in the air intake box.
Step 2. Inspect it for clogs or blockages.
Step 3. Clean those clogs and blockages.
Step 4. If it is beyond repair, replace it with a new one.
5. Check the Vacuum System
Use the vacuum pump to check for any leaks in the vacuum system. You will also need a vacuum gauge to check for proper vacuum levels. If the vacuum level is lower than expected, it could indicate a leak.
To fix it, find the leak and patch it. Replace vacuum hoses and actuators.
6. Repair or Replace the Oxygen Sensor
Test the sensor using a multimeter. Check for proper resistance and voltage readings according to the manufacturer’s specifications. If you notice any issues with the oxygen sensor, replace it with a new one.
How to Replace Timing Belts
If you have car shakes when parked, you might need to adjust your timing belts or replace them. Here is how to do it step by step.
Step 1. Gather necessary tools: timing belt tensioner tool, timing belt, timing marks on pulleys, camshaft and crankshaft pulley wrenches, and timing light.
Step 2. Locate timing marks on pulleys.
Step 3. Remove the old belt by loosening the tensioner and removing the belt from the pulleys.
Step 4. Install a new belt by routing it around pulleys while ensuring proper alignment with timing marks.
Step 5. Adjust tension using the timing belt tensioner tool according to your car’s specifications.
Step 6. Tighten pulleys using camshaft and crankshaft pulley wrenches according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Step 7. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes to ensure the proper functionality of the timing belt.
Watch this video to learn this DIY process visually.If your car is shaking when parked, you might find our articles on car shakes when starting then runs fine and car shakes when accelerating helpful. Our article on car shakes when starting then runs fine explores some of the most common causes of this issue, such as vacuum leaks, ignition problems, or fuel system issues. Meanwhile, our article on car shakes when accelerating discusses how worn engine mounts, damaged CV joints, or transmission problems can cause shaking while accelerating. Be sure to check out our resources on car shakes when starting then runs fine and car shakes when accelerating for more information.
Here are answers to questions that might come up in the process;
No. It is not recommended to drive with a shaking car as it can indicate a severe issue with the vehicle. Diagnosing and repairing it as soon as possible is best to avoid further damage or potential safety hazards.
This could indicate an issue with the wheels or tires. It is best to have the wheels balanced and aligned. Check for any signs of wear or damage on the tires. Replace worn-out tires.
As seen above, car shakes when parked can be caused by various issues, from worn-out motor mounts to faulty ignition systems. However, preventive measures can help prevent these issues from arising in the first place.
Likewise, regular maintenance and inspections can ensure that your car stays in good condition and avoid costly repairs in the future. Also, be aware of any unusual vibrations or sounds while driving, as they can indicate potential issues with the car.