Why Does My Car Shake When I’m Driving? (3 Possible Reasons)

A car that’s shaking (vibrating) when braking or moving is telling you something is wrong!

  • Why is my car shaking when I press on my brakes?
  • Is something about to break?
  • Where can I get my brakes checked?

These are all good questions?

A car that shakes (or shimmies) when being driven or when the brakes are applied normally means:

  • Your brake rotors are warped and need to be turned or replaced.
  • Your shocks or struts, and possibly control arm bushing are worn out and need to be replaced.
  • Your tires are out of balance (or one has separated).

Before you yell, Alexa, find auto care near me, finish reading this DIY tip…


Let’s break this topic into 3 parts:

  1. Brakes (disk and drum)
  2. Suspension (shock, struts and more)
  3. Tires and Wheels

First Let’s Discuss Brakes & Rotors

Brake rotors can get worn out from day to day application of the brakes.

When car brakes are applied, hydraulics press a metallic pad against the brake rotor to cause friction.

Phoenix Auto Repair Shop

During this process, extremely high temperatures are created that can cause the rotor to warp and wear out.

Also, as brake pads wear, they sometimes cause grooves in the rotor that are removed by a process called “Rotor Turning” or “Turning of Rotors,” for the DIY mechanic this can be done at most auto part stores.

When rotors are turned, material from the rotor is cut off the disk and a fresh smooth surface is left.

This is good if the rotor has never been turned, but if it’s already been turned then the rotor can become thin and easier to warp.

This often happens after breaks have been replaced, but the rotors were turned to save money.

At this point, new rotors are required to stop the shaking (or shimmy).

NEXT, Let’s Talk Worn Suspension Parts

Front and rear shock and struts are gas or oil charged to maintain a smooth, balanced, ride while your car is moving on uneven roads.

Along with these parts, there are hard rubber bushings on control arms and tie-rods that keep your steering in firm alignment.

Over time, all these suspension & steering parts can wear, and become loose.

When part gets worn, shaking can happen while driving or braking.

This may also cause tires to wear quicker if the problem has gone on too long and the wheel alignment has been affected.

Finally, Let’s Discuss Wheels and Tires

Wheels that have lost their balance weights can cause car shaking, too.

Normally the shaking will happen at a certain speed and then you can drive through it.

However, wheels and tire problems should be taken very seriously as they can cause high-speed accidents from the sudden loss of control from a blow-out or tire separation.


If you suspect one of these gotchas is your problem, get it checked fast… I also recommend reading Car Won’t Start Just Clicks (Dead Car Battery).

Video about unbalanced tires…

Today I’m going to do today is going to concern wheels that are out of balance now I just took this vehicle to get it aligned I don’t have an alignment machine I took it because there was a bad ball joint to know the ball joint was bad I had that replaced and it was due for an alignment so the ball joints replaced the alignment was done everything should be good but I’m going to try to illustrate here there is a vibration when this vehicle gets up roughly in around 100 kilometers an hour so hopefully I’ll be able to show you the symptoms of a vehicle that has wheels that are not balanced problem okay we’re only doing about 80 90 kilometres here okay right now straight ahead hopefully you can see the level of vibration that’s occurring here bearing in mind that this vehicle just had an alignment done so I know all the front-end parts are good pretty severe vibration Leland see that again only doing 90 kilometers an hour less than 60 miles an hour I think you can see my fingers vibrating on this here like a mix max master here so here I have the passenger side front wheel of the vehicle jacked up that’s the wheel let the bad lower ball joint was replaced on and I’m gonna give that a shake make sure that they didn’t miss something at the garage careful not to put my fingers underneath but we only case something happens they solved it that way back and forth also no moving so that seems to be okay and also just to make sure I can move it back and forth that way I have a bit of a luxury here I have another vehicle that has the same size tires and rims on it so I’ve taken the rims and tires off of that vehicle which I know they’re fine there’s no vibration on the vehicle that these came off of and I’ve put them on the vehicle with the vibration issue when mechanics belts tire what they do they put it on a balancing machine which generally requires spinning the tire and making sure that the weight distribution as it’s spun is equal and then they’ll put a weight on whatever side needs a little extra weight if you look at the where my foot is there there is a weight on this tire we’ll go over to this one and the weight is here and we’ll go to our offending tires here that came off of our vehicle that had the issue there’s the weights right there and here’s the culprit and I kind of cheated a little bit in this video because I knew that my mechanics are good they when they do an alignment they’ll check everything else on the front end of it so I knew that everything else would have been good so I kind of drove it up my ramps and I had a look and I could actually see where there was no weights on this tire so I kind of had a pretty good idea before I ever did this that was going to be the issue so if you look at where my toe is there you can actually see the marks of where the weights once were so I don’t know what happened there but they could have moved or hit a big bump and flew off whatever so I put the two properly balanced wheels on driving along here under kilometers an hour nice and smooth a vibration in the wheel as I say I had a luxury here in the sense that I had those two wheels that were balanced that I was able to put on but obviously if you suspect the tires aren’t balanced on the rims properly take it your mechanic if you take the wheels themselves with the tires on I generally get charged about Canada here seven to ten dollars to balance and so anyway what I want to do Street this video is the symptoms of it as you can see we’re at 100 kilometers now are there before I was all over the place it’s nice and steady now so that’s it for this video symptoms of unbalanced stars you…


DIY Tip:

Stop paying for tire air and buy a cheap electric tire pump that plugs into the 12v accessory outlet.

Do drive around with low tires, air them up with your own air pump.