car shakes when accelerating but not when coasting

Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting – Top Reasons Why

Due to the natural process of wear and tear and depreciation, your car will start to shake when you accelerate in its later years. However, if you notice that your car shakes when accelerating but not when coasting, yet your car is still young and has plenty of miles left in it, then this is a clear sign of a problem.

To help ensure that your car doesn’t continue to develop even more serious problems, it is paramount that you take it in for diagnosis and repair. In fact, not taking your car in for service as regularly may be the main reason for car shaking and steering wheel shaking when accelerating. 

The old adage “prevention is better than cure” certainly applies in this instance. In this post, we aim to explain why your car shakes when accelerating but not when coasting.

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What Is Coasting

You may also find that the car shakes at high speed even when coasting. Coasting is the pressing of the clutch to disengage the transmission. Many drivers do this intending to save fuel. 

Through coasting, the car is basically just rolling down a declining road. This could also explain why your car vibrates in drive but not in neutral. 

While some people will actively use coasting in an attempt to save on fuel, other drivers prefer not to use it as they fear it will damage a vehicle’s internal components and ultimately its performance. 

The truth is that coasting doesn’t really have an effect on the components of your car as all it does is disengage the transmission from the engine. This means oftentimes that the car shakes when accelerating but not when coasting due to an engaged transmission.

It can also result in the steering wheel shaking when accelerating.

That said, coasting will cause overuse of the clutch in manual cars and it, therefore, leads to the wearing out of one main component – the throw-out bearing

The throw-out bearing is the component responsible for disengaging the transmission from the engine whenever you press on the clutch pedal. While this is just a very small component, fixing it takes a lot of time since you’ll need to take out the entire transmission. 

This then explains why even while your vehicle may have certain mechanical issues that cause it to vibrate when on the road, the vibrations tend to go down whenever you are coastings. This is because most issues are caused by drive shaft and axle issues

However, if you have issues with wheel alignment, tire balancing, CV joint, or spark plugs to mention a few, then coasting will do little to reduce the shaking and the vibrations. 

Car Shaking While Driving

car shaking while driving

If you notice that your car is shaking when driving even without any significant acceleration, there are several factors that could cause this. 

First off, you could have a bent axle, you may also have damaged brakes or even damaged wheels including the tires. 

Furthermore, you could also be dealing with a problem that is under the hood. For instance, a broken motor mount, clogged filter, or damaged or faulty spark plugs.

It is important that you find out what the issue is causing car shaking while driving and fix this before it results in even more serious problems in the near future. 

Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting

As we’ve already noted, there are many reasons that could cause your car shakes when accelerating but not when coasting. Let’s look at some of the major reasons why. 

Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting Reason #1 – Faulty Inner CV Joint

The end of the axle is connected to a CV joint. There are two of these CV joints – the outer CV joint as well as the inner CV joint. If the inner one is faulty then your car will shake and vibrate during the acceleration. 

If you are carrying a load such as several passengers, then the vibrations become even worse. The main reason why the CV joints incur damage is due to a tear in the CV joint boot. This allows the dirt and gunk to accumulate and the grease to leak. The result is friction in the metal parts that eventually cause damage. 

Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting Reason #2 – Damaged Motor Mounts

The motor mounts are where the engine of the car connects to the frame of the car. They also act to absorb the vibrations from the engine as it runs. 

The motor mounts are able to do this because they are constructed out of dense and hard rubber. If they wear out or are damaged and are not doing their job correctly, they will cause shaking in other parts and even cause damage to these parts. 

While you can tell that a motor mount is faulty during idling, it is even more obvious during acceleration. It causes the entire vehicle to shake. 

Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting Reason #3 – Tires That Are Not Balanced

You may have noticed after a recent tire change or upgrade that your car shakes when accelerating but not when coasting. The main reason why is likely due to unbalanced tires

A tire will not have the same weight around when it is fixed onto a wheel. This is why after installing the tire, the wheel should be placed on a balancing machine. The mechanic will then place weights on the rim at certain locations and ensure that the tire is perfectly balanced. 

Just a slight variation in weight could cause a small vibration. This vibration is enhanced when the car is moving at higher speeds. 

Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting Reason #4 – Lug Nuts That Are Not Properly Fastened

Loose lug nuts will cause the wheel to wobble when driving and when accelerating. This could also result in the steering wheel shaking when accelerating.

What’s more, is that the wheel could come off and that would turn into a disastrous incident. It is critical therefore to ensure that whenever you change the wheel you torque down the lug nuts to the hug tightly.

Always ensure that you check the tightness of the lug nuts using a torque wrench. 

Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting Reason #5 – Bent Drive Shaft

car shaking when accelerating

The drive shaft sends the power from the transmission to the rear wheels through the axle. If there is even the slightest bend to the drive shaft, it will be a reason why the car vibrates in drive but not in neutral

The car shakes when accelerating but not when coasting. You may also notice the steering wheel shaking when accelerating. The shaking will get worse as you accelerate even more. 

You will not be able to repair a bent drive shaft and the only option is to replace it. 

Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting Reason #6 – The Axle Is Bent

After hitting the curb or a large rock, the first thing drivers do is to quickly check for any visible damage. If the car is still running they assume that everything is okay. If you get into any type of minor accident, never assume that everything is okay. 

You may get a bent axle without you even realizing it. This can cause vibrations and steering wheel shaking when accelerating. You cannot fix a bent axle. Instead, you will need to replace it otherwise it may cause a cascading effect damaging other parts of your car. 

Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting Reason #7 – Brake Caliper Is Stuck

If you notice that your steering wheel shaking when accelerating then the likely cause is faulty brake calipers that tighten while driving. 

You will also notice that the vibrations become far worse the more you accelerate. 

Another symptom of damaged brake calipers is after the car shakes when braking at high speeds you notice smoke or a burning smell. This is a result of the friction from the brake calipers. 

Often all you need is to lubricate the various braking components to get everything moving smoothly. This will help solve the car shaking when braking at high speeds. However, if the various components are damaged, they will need to be replaced and fixed

Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting Reason #8 – Torn Vacuum Hose

This is one of the more common issues that result in the car shaking while driving. A break or disconnecting of the vacuum hose will cause a reduction or loss of pressure in the cylinders. This will then result in a host of backfires, loss of power, and overall confusion in the car sensors. The result is the car shakes when accelerating. 

You will need to check the vacuum hoses and ensure they all connect properly and that there are no breakages causing loss of pressure. If you drive a turbo-charged car, then the vacuum hoses are even more prone to breakage or disconnecting. 

Car Shakes When Accelerating But Not When Coasting Reason #9 – Faulty Or Dirty Spark Plugs

car shakes at high speed

If one or more of the spark plugs incur damage or are dirty they will not function at their optimum. This will cause the engine to misfire. When you are accelerating you can easily notice this. 

When was the last time you made a replacement of your spark plugs? If you don’t remember then perhaps it’s time to get new spark plugs

The condition of just one of the spark plugs can reflect the condition of the rest of the spark plugs. So if one is black and dirty then chances are the rest are as well and need replacement.

Car Shaking When Braking At High Speeds

Perhaps you have experienced a situation where you are driving on the motorway at high speeds only to find cause to slow down and break. Suddenly the car shakes at high speed through the steering wheel or the brake pedal.  This is a clear sign of a problem within the disc brake system. 

There are several factors that could cause steering wheel shakes when driving and car shaking when braking at high speeds. 

First off are brake rotors that are uneven. Over time heat caused by the friction could cause the brake rotors to warp. This is because the exterior of the rotors will wear out unevenly due to the heat. This results in the brake pads coming into contact with the rotors only in certain areas. 

Secondly, the brake pads themselves could be in poor condition. They could wear down unevenly or warp. When you press on the brakes, the brake pads will come into contact with the rotors in certain areas. This results in the car shaking when braking at high speeds. 

Thirdly you could be dealing with alignment issues. If your car is out of alignment you will also experience car shaking when braking at high speeds. This issue could also result in major damage to other suspension components so it’s important to fix the problems fast. If you begin to experience shaking when making a turn then this is a sign that the problem has also expanded to the vehicle’s suspension system. 

Car Shakes At High Speed

We’ve looked at common causes of car shakes when accelerating but not when coasting. We’ve looked at reasons why the steering wheel shakes when accelerating. These are also reasons why your car shakes at high speeds. 

A few more factors that could cause car shakes at high speeds are:

1. A Broken U Joint

You can figure out if your car’s u joint (universal joint) is broken by visually inspecting the bottom of your vehicle. Check the drive shaft and look out for dust that looks brownish. If you see this then it means that there are components that are rusting. 

In this case, your car shaking while driving will likely manifest in the vehicle jerking or becoming clunky. You are also going to notice a lot of vibrations at speed.  At this point, you need to replace the u-joint. 

2. Issues With The Steering Wheel

If you have ever switched from an old car to a newer car of the same model, then you likely noticed that the new model has a far more responsive and comfortable steering wheel that is free of steering wheel shakes when driving.

This is because steering wheels experience wear and tear just like any other part. The steering wheel connects to multiple parts in the car. Once these wear out you may experience steering wheel shakes when driving at high speeds. 

Since the steering wheel comprises multiple parts, it is best to let a professional service the vehicle

Steering Wheel Shakes When Driving

If you are not just dealing with the car shaking while driving but also notice that the steering wheel is shaking or vibrating, then this is a sign of more serious underlying issues. It is important to understand the possible causes so you can fix the problem. 

1. The Brake Rotors Are Warped

car shaking when braking at high speeds

The brake rotors are the smooth and flat surfaces on which the brake pads press to stop the vehicle. The heat caused by friction over time could cause the brake rotors to wear down unevenly and warp.

During braking, the brake pad will press unevenly on the rotors causing shaking in the steering wheel. This results in the car shaking when braking at high speeds.

2. Tire Misalignment

The suspension system moves to help to keep the vehicle’s wheels on the road even on uneven surfaces. Due to the turbulence and rough driving the alignment can go off. This can cause the wheels to remain at an uneven angle. This can in turn causes steering wheel shakes when driving. 

3. Tire Balancing

If the weight around your tire isn’t even, then this can result in a less than perfect wheel rotation. Consequently, this will cause vibrations not just in the car but also in the steering wheel shakes when driving. To fix the issue, the mechanic will place special weights on different parts of the wheel to ensure that it is completely and perfectly balanced.

Car Vibrates In Drive But Not In Neutral

car vibrates in drive but not in neutral

There is a reason that your car vibrates in drive but not in neutral. This is mainly because the transmission is not yet engaged i.e. it is free. Once you engage the transmission by putting the gear to drive, then you will notice the vibrations of there are components of the transmission that are faulty. This could also be the reason your car shakes when accelerating but not when coasting.

There are several components that you may want to check if your car vibrates in the drive but not in neutral. 

1. Motor Mounts

If you have faulty motor mounts, this is one of the main reasons why your car vibrates in drive but not in neutral. Motor mounts help hold the engine and transmission to the frame of the car.

They comprise of thick rubber that absorbs the vibrations when the engine is running. If faulty they can no longer absorb the vibrations and therefore causing the whole car to vibrate. 

2. Damaged Fuel Intake

The fuel intake can be a major reason your car vibrates in drive but not in neutral. It delivers the fuel to the engine where it then mixes with oxygen and combustion takes palace.

If the fuel intake is faulty then it will not be able to deliver a consistent supply of fuel to the engine. This will create intervals where the cylinders at not receiving the fuel and therefore not combusting. As a result, it creates vibrations shudders and shakes when you engage the transmission and the drive train by moving the gear to drive. 

3. Fuel Injectors Are Clogged

When the fuel injectors are clogged by dirt or other stuff like gunk, they can be why your car vibrates in drive but not in neutral. This is because the engine cylinders aren’t getting a constant supply of fuel.

Just as we saw above this would cause vibrations, car shakes at high speed, and shudders in the engine. When you put the gear to drive, the transmission engages the engine and receives these vibrations causing the entire car to vibrate. 

4. Issues With The Spark Plugs

Even if the cylinders are getting a sufficient and constant supply of fuel, the spark plugs still need to ensure effective combustion by providing the spark at the required intervals.

If you have faulty spark plugs, then this translates to car shakes at high speed, shudders, and vibrations whenever the drive chain is engaged through the transmission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Car Shaking

There are several reasons why you may experience car shaking while driving. These could be a faulty inner CV joint, faulty motor mounts, lugs nuts that are loose, drive shaft that is bent, bent axle, faulty brake calipers, torn vacuum hoses, or faulty spark plugs. It could also be a result of damaged fuel intake, and faulty fuel injectors. 

Why Does My Steering Wheel Shake

Your steering wheel shakes when driving due to reasons such as warping in the brake rotors and the brake pad, misalignment, and unbalanced tires. 

Why Does My Car Shake When Accelerating

If you have noticed that your car is shaking when you accelerate, there are multiple factors that could be at play. These could be anywhere from a bent axle, bent drive shaft lack of tire balancing, warped brake calipers, and brake rotors, faulty spark plugs, damaged motor mounts, and damage to the CV joint. The shaking increases with acceleration. 

Why Is My Car Shaking When I Drive

Car shaking while driving is a sign of serious underlying issues. This could be faulty spark plugs, broken vacuum hoses, damaged CV joint, warped brake rotors, damaged motor mounts, or bent drive shaft. 

Why Is My Car Shaking When I Stop

When you are driving and then you hit the brakes, you may notice that your vehicle shakes. Reasons, why this could be happening, include warped or bent brake rotors, warped or bent brake pads, or alignment issues.  

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