kadotani auto repair

Why Does My Car Shake When I Accelerate

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You’re driving along and suddenly you notice a shaking or a feeling of vibration. You wonder what’s wrong. You say why is my car shaking? There could be many reasons why your car is shaking when you accelerate. You think to yourself, could it be the brakes, the tires, the engine or something else? Well, here are some possible causes why your car is shaking and what you can do about it.

Brakes/Brake Caliper

You know it could be your brakes causing the shaking or vibrating, especially when you hit the brakes. Look at your brake rotors. The discs or rotors are under constant pressure from everyday use, general friction, wear and tear and any moisture that may have accumulated. Any wear or friction can cause damage or unevenness to the rotor. The actual wearing can be minimal, but it can also be extreme. When the rotor is uneven or badly worn, the brake pads will no longer grip properly and you’ll feel shaking or vibration as the brake pads are having a hard time gripping the rotors.

You can machine a warped rotor to work out the unevenness, but in many cases a warped or damaged rotor will require replacement. You’ll need experience to replace a worn rotor, so it’s best to have a trained mechanic do the work.

A stuck brake caliper can also cause brake vibration. The caliper is the device that the brake pads are attached to, and a caliper pushes the brake pads to take hold of the rotors when you apply the brakes. Calipers can get stuck and when they do, you’ll experience shaking or a powerful pull to one side or the other. A caliper that’s stuck is a more significant issue and should be in the hands of a trained professional.


When you feel vibration or shaking with your vehicle, chances are that your tires could be causing the problem and checking them is the one place you should look. If your tires are uneven, bald, worn or unbalanced all of those issues could cause shakiness.

Tires simply aren’t long lasting. They may need replacement, even with the best of care. Rotating your tires and maintaining proper tire pressure will increase their usefulness over time, but if you’re not following maintenance procedures, you’ll probably experience wear and tire deterioration, which can cause your car to shake.

There are other related causes for tire vibration that include improper wheel alignment, under or over-inflated tires, suspension problems, tire rotation, worn tires and separated tread. Separated tread from tires can cause shakiness, and that’s because of over-inflated tires. This is usually an issue that requires replacement of tires, which should happen as soon as possible.

Axle/CV Joints

When your car is involved in accidents or you drive too fast and hit bumps, potholes or curbs, you could do damage to your axle, which just might cause your car to shake. Any kind of impact that causes damage to your axle creates a serious problem. A damaged axle will cause your suspension to vibrate and can cause more involved shaking. If your axle receives damages or is badly bent, you have a major issue on your hands, which a trained professional should handle immediately.

In relation to your axle, there are CV joints that are found at the end of drive axles. They are covered in a rubber boot. Axle boots keep grime, dirt and debris away, plus they help contain the axle grease. Worn or torn boots can also cause shakiness while driving. With any tears or brokenness, the CV joint will lose its ability to lubricate and will take in dirt and debris. If you drive with damaged CV joints, you’ll get suspension vibration and may end up replacing both the CV joints and the drive axles. When you hear clicking or clunking type noises when making a turn, it could be a defective CV joint.


Uneven and sporadic engine vibration could be a sign that something that’s amiss in your engine is causing the shakiness. It could be anything such as faulty spark plugs that hinder your vehicle. An engine needs both fuel and air along with that spark. The lack of these attributes can cause poor engine performance that leads to engine vibration. You may become aware of jerking or shaking upon acceleration or you may notice shakiness at certain speeds or when driving a certain amount of time.

When you experience any of these issues, the first thing you want to do is check your spark plugs. If they’re not working correctly or are damaged, your engine will perform sporadically. When the plugs are undamaged, it could be a problem with the spark plug wires. You may need to either adjust or replace them.

If there is nothing wrong with the spark plugs or spark plug wires, there could be problems with the air or fuel filter. Dirt or clogging with either of these parts can limit your engine of air or fuel, which can lead to vibration and rough running. If that’s the case, replacing either one is easy and not expensive.

Motor/Engine Mounts

Motor or engine mounts keep your engine in place. They’re made of rubber and metal and attach or bracket your car’s engine to the frame. The rubber found in motor mounts performs the function of decreasing any vibrations that go along with an engine’s everyday performance. Just like other parts in your vehicle, the motor mounts, whether the rubber or metal component, can wear out with time. Both are unable to cushion as well, and vibrations will occur. The problem can be resolved with new motor mounts. Also, make sure the motor mounts are properly placed to prevent not only vibrations but any other costly damage.

Wheel Alignment

Though a wheel alignment in itself won’t cause vibrations or shakiness, an alignment that doesn’t meet exact specifications can lead to other problems that cause shaking. A wheel alignment that’s not to specifications can lead to other problems that cause shaking. Check the wear on your tires and whether they’re worn unevenly. The wear on your tires could be because of an alignment problem with your car. Any unevenness with your tires along with vibration in the steering column are indicators that you may need a wheel alignment.

Properly maintaining your vehicle means getting wheel alignments at particular intervals, especially when you reach the stage of worn tires and steering column vibrations. It’s something that’s not that expensive, plus it’s a fairly simple process and a trained and certified automotive expert can do it for you.

If you’re having problems with vehicle shakiness or vibrations, get in touch with Kadotani Auto Repair in Watsonville, California. They’ll help you resolve those shakes when you accelerate and give you the best service for what is ailing your vehicle.

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