If your car is shaking when accelerating only and you have no idea what is causing this issue, this guide is for you. We have dug deeper into this issue and found helpful info that we’re going to share with you below.
Your car shakes when accelerating as an indication of broken motor mounts. Other issues that may cause your car to shake when accelerating include damaged CV inner joints, bad spark plugs, loose lug nuts, sticking brake calipers, and unbalanced tires.
The following guide will give you full details on the different reasons why your car is shaking when accelerating, how you can fix this issue, and other helpful related information you need to know.
Why your car shakes when accelerating:
Your car shaking when accelerating is a common issue and usually signify something is wrong with one of your internal components.
There’s no single reason why this happens. A variety of issues could be behind the annoyance, so it’s important to get your car diagnosed by a reputable mechanic to help you find the root cause of the annoyance.
Here are the most likely culprits for your car shaking when accelerating:
- Broken engine mounts
- Dirty or worn-out spark plugs
- Loose wheel nuts
- Unbalanced tires or tire problems
- Damaged inner CV joint
- Bent axle or driveshaft
- Stuck brake calipers
Below, we’ll take a closer look at each of these culprits and how they cause the shaking:
Broken engine mounts
Motor mounts help secure the engine to your car frame, and thus help reduce vibration when your engine is running. These mounts are typically made using strong rubber which helps cushion shocks.
However, the mounts don’t last forever. And when they get broken or worn out, they make some sections of your car engine become broken and misaligned.
Broken mounts will cause shaking when idling, but most of the shaking will be felt during acceleration. So, if you’re experiencing vigorous shaking when accelerating, the motors are most likely the culprit.
Replacing the broken motor mounts with news is the best way to stop this vibration.
Dirty/worn-out spark plugs
If the spark plugs are dirty or faulty, they can result in a misfire. Engine misfires are typically first noticed when your car is at a stop. And they can make your car feel like it’s shaking when you try to accelerate.
If you haven’t replaced your car spark plugs for a long period of time, you may want to start by getting new ones to see if the problem goes away. If you remove a spark plug and it has a black deposit at the tip, that’s a sign that it could be faulty.
Loose wheel nuts
If you don’t properly torque down the lug nuts on your car wheels, or if they get loosened overtime, then the wheels are likely to wobble slightly when driving your car. This wobble can translate to shaking when you accelerate.
If you don’t take care of the loose lug nuts, they may eventually loosen all the way out with time. Needless to say, your wheels can fall off when driving—this is a catastrophic experience you don’t want to experience when driving your car.
Confirm that your lug nuts are properly tightened using a torque wrench. Ensure each nut is properly tightened as per the factory specifications. You should also ensure you use the recommended size of lug nuts.
Vibrations at high speeds could also be due to unbalanced tires. If you recently installed new tires in your car and you start experiencing shaking when accelerating, then it could be due to unbalanced new tires.
When you install new tires on your wheels, they don’t usually have the same weight all way around.
For this reason, the installer ought to mount the tire and wheel assembly on a balancing machine and then stick small wheel weights at specific locations around the rim to help achieve tire balance.
As your new tire rotates, the slightest weight imbalances can turn into small vibrations. When riding at higher speeds and the tire rotates much faster, vibrations become even more intense!
If you experience your car as well as steering wheel shaking at constant speed at high speeds, then the most likely problem behind this is unbalanced tires.
Or if you have adhesive wheel weights and they fall off, they can offset the balance and cause shaking when accelerating.
Tire balancing is a relatively simple fix and can be even done for free in some shops if you buy products from them. If you’ll have to pay for the service, it will not be more than $20.
Damaged inner CV joint
The constant velocity joints or simply the CV joints are standard in all front wheel drive vehicles. They come as outer and inner joints and are situated at the end of each axle.
Unfortunately, these joints can get damaged when the joint boot tears and allows dirt and water to get inside and contaminate grease inside, which helps protect the splines.
If the inner CV joint starts failing or gets damaged, your car will start shaking under hard acceleration. As the joint problems get worse, the minor vibrations will transform into violent shaking while under load.
The only fix for a damaged inner CV joint is a replacement for the CV joint or even the entire CV axle.
Bent driveshaft or axle
For cars with rear-wheel drive, power from engine to rear axle and the connected wheels is usually delivered through the driveshaft.
If this component gets bent or damaged, which usually happens due to an accident, it causes your car to shake as you accelerate at low speeds.
The shaking gets more intense as you increase the speed. Since repairing the driveshaft is usually impossible, you’ll need to replace it with a new one.
If during an accident, an axle gets bent as well, you may also notice some vibration from your car, and it can get worse as you accelerate.
Just like the driveshaft, replacement is the best option for a bent axle.
Sticking brake caliper
The brake caliper is part of your car’s braking system. If the caliper gets stuck, then it can also make your car start vibrating.
You may also notice your car steering wheel shaking as you hit speeds between 40 and 50mph. The vibration increases as you increase the car speed. You may also smell a burning odor coming from your car.
You can easily figure out which wheel the suck caliper is at by using your noise to find out the source of the odor. You may also need to inspect all the parts of your car braking system including the caliper bolts, piston, and slides.
The video bellows shows the diagnosis process for a vehicle that shakes when accelerating
How much will it cost to repair your car-shaking-when-accelerating problem?
The amount of money you’ll need to spend to repair the car shaking issue when accelerating will depend on the specific issue causing the problem.
As we have just discussed previously, there are many possible causes of the shaking. If the shaking is due to simple issues such as bad spark plugs or unbalanced tires, that’s a cheap fix.
Also, if you’re the handy type and can do most of your car fixes on your own, you can save a great deal of money.
If the shaking is due to broken motor mounts, then replacing the mounts will cost you around $200 – $600. For a bad driveshaft replacement, you’ll need to spend around $500-$1000.
Replacement for a damaged cv joint will cost you between $500 and $1000 while fixing the brakes issue will cost around $350 to $800, depending on the broken part.
Some fixes such as worn-out spark plugs and tire balancing are pretty cheap and won’t cost you a lot of money. Tire balancing, in particular costs a mere $20 bucks
Note that these are just rough estimates and the repair costs can greatly vary depending on the year, make, and model of your car.
Why your car shakes when accelerating but not when coasting?
There are instances where your car shakes when accelerating but not when coasting. There are many reasons why this may happen.
Potential causes include faulty inner CV joint, broken motor mounts, unbalanced tires, loose lug nuts, bent drive shaft/axle, faulty spark plugs, lose or damaged vacuum hoses, and stuck brake calipers.
That said, it’s not easy to discover the exact reason why your car shakes during acceleration but not when coasting by just looking at it.
For this reason, we advise you to visit an experienced mechanic who will diagnosis your vehicle and find the exact component or part of your car causing this annoying shaking experience and correct it.
You can fix some of these problems behind car shaking on your own (provided you know what you’re doing).
However, issues such as damaged axle, stuck caliper, etc. are beyond your scope and will require a professional mechanic intervention.
Why your car shakes when accelerating at high speeds?
You may also experience a scenario where your car shakes when accelerating at high speeds, ay at highway speeds.
Some car owners experience shaking when accelerating over 50mph or 70mph. Others may experience shaking when accelerating between 60 and 70 mph.
The most likely reasons why your car shales when accelerating at high speeds include out-of-balance tires, bent/damaged driveshaft or axle, and engine problems such as faulty spark plugs, clogged fuel filter, engine failure, etc.
Your car shaking at high speeds could also be a sign that your car isn’t in a good shape to handle the high speeds. It may be a sign that it requires maintenance and some new parts.
If your tires aren’t properly inflated, they won’t have enough air pressure, and this can also result in shaking when accelerating at highway speeds.
What if your car vibrates when accelerating at low speeds?
If the shaking in your car only occurs when riding at low speeds, it could be due to out of balance tires.
If you increase the speed and the shaking becomes even greater, then that’s a confirmation that your tires are unbalanced.
Bad tires can also cause your car to vibrate at low speeds, and the situation can become worse as you increase your car speed.
Another likely culprit for car shaking at low speeds is broken engine mounts. In this case, the shaking will get more noticeable with speed as your vehicle engine will be working harder.
You can fix the issue of your car vibrating when accelerating at low speeds by getting your car tires balanced by a mechanic. You may also want to have the engine mount inspected for damage or wear.
If these fixes don’t work, consider getting a new set of tires for your car to see if it helps solve the problem.
What does it mean if the front end of car shakes when accelerating?
The most possible explanation as to why your car’s front end shakes when accelerating is bad engine or transmission mounts. These will make the engine twist during acceleration, and may also cause axle misalignment.
If you feel the shaking at your vehicle’s front end, when accelerating, you should also have your inner front CV joint inspected. Key symptoms of a bad cv joint include grease markings, separated axle, looseness, and split/torn boots.
Generally, components that constitute the front end of your car will make your car easily wobble/shake if you accelerate if they become loose.
To solve this issue, have your car’s front end inspected by a mechanic. A professional mechanic should be able to do a full diagnosis and find out the problem affecting your car and even give you the estimated repair costs to fix the issue.
Why your car shakes when accelerating uphill?
Your car may only shake when accelerating uphill and when you let off the gas, the shaking stops. One of the likely reasons for this scenario is loose or broken motor mounts.
According to Your Mechanic, motor mounts usually fail due to tearing or separation of rubber isolation components. For the hydraulic type mounts, failure of the internal hydraulic component may also cause the mount to become faulty.
Abruptly accelerating your car after it has stayed undriven for a long period of time may also cause premature failure of the mounts.
Dirty or clogged fuel filter and fuel injectors is another likely cause for your car shaking when accelerating uphill or downhill.
You may also want to check the transmission fluid; if its level is low, the transmission will slip when going uphill and cause some bit of shaking.
Other potential causes for the car-shakes-when-accelerating-uphill problem include a bad rear CV joint, loose vacuum line, worn out spark plugs, distributor, and plug wires which need to be replaced.
Is it safe to drive my car if it shakes when accelerating?
No. It is not safe to drive your car if it shakes when accelerating. If you continue driving it in this condition, it will likely result in more damage to the involved components of your car. An accident can also be caused if you lose control of the car.
Some issues are of more safety concerns than others. If the issue involves braking system, then it is even riskier since a faulty braking system means you can’t stop abruptly and reliably when cruising at high speeds.
We advise you to have your car diagnosed by a mechanic at the first sign of this trouble. This will give you a clue about the root clue of the problem and have it solved. If it’s an issue with brakes, you should have it solved right away!If your car shakes when accelerating, it could be a sign of a problem with the engine, suspension system, or tires. However, this issue could also be associated with other common problems, such as car shakes when braking or when the AC is on. To learn more about these potential causes and what you can do to fix them, check out our articles on car shakes when braking and car shakes when AC is on. These articles provide helpful tips and insights on how to troubleshoot and solve these issues, so you can ensure the safety and comfort of your vehicle.
Broken or loose engine mounts are the most likely reason why your car only shakes when accelerating. Unbalanced tires, loose wheel nuts, bent axles, faulty CV joints, bad brake calipers, and bad spark plugs are additional reasons for your car shaking when accelerating.
An unbalanced or uneven tire is the likely cause for your car to shake violently at 60mph. The vibrations usually start at around 55mph and become more intense as you hit higher speeds of up to 60mph and higher. Damaged or bent driveshaft or axle can also make your car shake at 60mph.
Your car shaking or vibrating when accelerating is a common issue vehicle owners deal with at some point. The most common causes for this issue include broken engine mounts and unbalanced tires. Other key areas to look into when your car is shaking when accelerating include loose wheel nuts, bent driveshaft or axle, damaged inner CV joint, dirty or worn-out spark plugs, and stuck brake calipers.
When you experience your car shaking when accelerating, we advise you to have it checked by a professional auto mechanic as soon as possible. Knowing the root cause will help you fix the problem and get your car running as smoothly as new again. Remember, driving your car when it has a shaking issue can cause further damage to your car components and risk accidents, especially if the issue is due to the braking system.