Are Cars Vibrating When You Accelerate? This is How to Fix it

Do you remember the feeling of your vehicle vibrating or shaking as you accelerate from a stop sign? 

If you have, then you know that it’s certainly not a joy. 

Immediately after you feel the shake for the first time, your mind starts to race, thinking, “what could that be?” “How much will this cost me?” or “Is this safe to drive?”. 

If your vehicle shakes when you accelerate, this is usually a sign that there's a more minor problem. If you’re able to get this fixed soon after noticing the fault for the first time, then this could save you spending the big bucks further down the road. 

Unbalanced or worn CV joints are the most frequent reasons why cars vibrate or shake when they accelerate. You may also experience a worn driveshaft. However, engine problems such as a misfiring motor could be the cause.

This is a detailed listing of most likely reasons your car shakes while you are accelerating.

Índice de Contenido
  1. There are 8 Reasons Why Your Car Shakes When You Accelerate
    1. 1. The Wheels are Out of Balance 
    2. 2. Wearned CV Joint 
    3. 3. Damaged Driveshaft or Propshaft 
    4. 4. Faulty O2 Sensor 
    5. 5. Sensor Faulty in MAF 
    6. 6. Gearbox Mounts/ Engine Damage 
    7. 7. Misfire with the Engine 
    8. 8. Gearboxes that are not working properly 
  2. Conclusion 

There are 8 Reasons Why Your Car Shakes When You Accelerate

1. The Wheels are Out of Balance 

Wheel Balancing

You may notice some shaking when you have new tires installed or hit a curb with your wheel. This could indicate that your wheels are in need of balancing. 

It is simple and inexpensive, which most garages can do for you. 

You need to feel the vibration coming from your wheels in order to determine which ones are responsible. If you feel vibrations through your steering wheel as you accelerate, it could indicate that the front wheels are in need of balancing. If you feel the vibration through your seat it could indicate that your rear wheels require balancing. 

Keep in mind that if your wheels are out of balance, then this shaking sensation will usually feel more pronounced as your vehicle’s speed increases.

RELATED : 7 Common Reasons your Car vibrates when it is stopped or idle

2. Wearned CV Joint 

Cv Joint Grease E1609778858734

Your front driveshafts have CV joints. These are the parts that allow you to rotate your wheels while moving. The rubber boots are made up of greased bearings. 

If your CV boot is split, this can allow water to enter the joint and let out any grease. As the grease is not lubricated, this can lead to excessive wear and vibration in your CV joints. 

You can determine whether your CV joint has worn by observing how the vibration/ noise changes when you turn corners. You may notice a worsening vibration and need to replace your CV joint. Visual inspection of the rubber boots that house the joint can reveal visible cracks in the rubber. 

3. Damaged Driveshaft or Propshaft 

Driveshaft

A driveshaft/ prop shaft that isn’t perfectly inline can cause a bad shaking sensation through the vehicle when driving and progressively worsen as your vehicle’s speed increases. 

A faulty drive shaft can cause a problem with a front-wheel driven vehicle. Rear-wheel drives can have either the drive shafts that go out of the CV joint, or the large prop shaft which goes from the differential to the gearbox. If the prop shaft is out of balance, small vibrations can be felt while you are not acceleration.

A four-wheel vehicle can be fitted with any of the above mentioned axles.

The best way to check if the driveshaft/prop shaft has been damaged is by driving your car on a ramp. As you drive the car on the ramp, inspect for damage to the shafts. You will need to replace any shafts that are damaged before they can cause more damage to your CV joints. 

4. Faulty O2 Sensor 

Bad O2 Sensor E1609866265874

Your O2 (oxygen) sensor is situated in your vehicle’s exhaust. There will be two sensors on some models, one for pre-catalytic conversion and one for post catalytic. These sensors adjust the amount of fuel that is injected into your engine. They also use exhaust gas to detect if your engine is too rich or lean. 

Your engine may be misfuelling if there is a problem with an O2 sensor. This could cause the car to shake while it drives. OBD2 Diagnostic tools are able to monitor live data from the sensors and identify fault codes. 

5. Sensor Faulty in MAF 

Intake And Maf Sensor

Located on your car’s intake pipework, your MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor is used to adjust the fuel-air mixture in your engine depending on the quantity and pressure of air that’s being drawn into the engine. 

Your sensor may be defective, which could lead to mis-fuelling of your engine and cause shaking when you are accelerating. 

Specialist diagnostic equipment is required to diagnose this fault. It can read fault codes, measure live data and determine the fault. 

6. Gearbox Mounts/ Engine Damage 

Engine Mounts

You will notice a worn gearbox or engine mount when you first accelerate, and then take the drive forward or backward. 

Along with a harsh shake being felt through the vehicle, you’ll usually also hear a very pronounced knocking noise. 

The engine and gearbox mountings can be easily accessed, so it is easy to inspect for wear or excessive movement. To check for signs of wear, if the mount is not visible, you can move it with a prybar and look for excess movement. You should replace any damaged engine and gearbox mounts.

7. Misfire with the Engine 

Car Misfires

The engine misfiring is frequently caused by the wrong firing of one or several of its cylinders. It is often caused by insufficient fuel, lack of compression or no spark to ignite fuel. This only applies to petrol engines. 

You can check your engine's fuel level by checking the condition of your sparkplugs. If necessary, replace them.

A faulty fuel injection is another common problem, particularly on diesel engines. This can cause misfuelling and sometimes cause an engine shake when it accelerates. This issue will typically require specialist equipment, including an injector spilloff test kit and electronic diagnosis equipment. 

A pressure gauge is required to determine if your engine has a low compression. It’s a quick but effective test that will confirm compression pressure inside each cylinder bore. An absence of compression can indicate a damaged or cracked engine block or piston or a defective valve. 

Check out this article on misfire symptoms.

8. Gearboxes that are not working properly 

Gearbox

A worn gear or bearing inside your gearbox can often cause a vibration when taking up your vehicle’s drive. Although vibrations and noises are most common when one gear has been selected, they can be more prevalent if the other gear is not chosen. This could also vary depending on the problem in your gearbox. 

You can test if the fault is in your gearbox by pressing the clutch pedal down while driving along a calm stretch of road. If you feel the clutch slipping, it is possible that something is wrong with the system. 

A specialist would normally be able to diagnose the problem in your gearbox. You could always check your gearbox’s oil level, if you can, as a good place to start, however. Top up if necessary and road test to see if this has had any effect on your vehicle’s shaking. 

Conclusion 

This guide should help you identify the cause of your car shaking under acceleration. 

Most of these faults are simple, easy fixes that won’t cost a fortune to repair. However, you’ll want to get your vehicle repaired as soon as you reasonably can, as putting off the repair can lead to further damage and a higher cost to fix. 

This guide can be referred to whenever you require assistance diagnosing shakes under acceleration.

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