9 Reasons Your Car Shakes When Accelerating (and How to Fix)

Last Updated on December 2, 2020

If you car shakes when accelerating, it could be the result of various issues. Often, the cause of the vibrations is a fairly simple issue that is actually a warning sign of a much bigger (and more expensive) failure if not fixed soon enough.

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A car shaking when driving can often mean something different than a car that vibrates when stopped so you’ll want to pay attention to when the shakes are happening.

Is it only at idle? Does the vehicle only vibrate at low speeds, high speeds, or a constant speed? If your car only shakes while braking, the cause could also be different.

So how do what area you should look at when first diagnosing the issue? Keep reading to find out.

See Also: Car Making a Rattling Noise When Accelerating? (Here’s Why)

Common Causes of Car Vibration When Accelerating

#1 – Damaged Inner CV Joint

bad CV joint

CV joints are located at the end of each axle. There is both an outer and inner joint. When the inner CV joint is damaged or begins to fail, you will notice your car vibrating under hard acceleration. As it gets worse, the minor vibrations turn to violent shaking when under load.

Damaged CV joints usually occur because of a tear in the joint boot. When this happens, water and dirt get inside the boot and contaminate the grease that protects the splines inside.

Without proper lubrication, the metal on metal contact eventually causes failure. The only fix is to completely replace the CV joint.

#2 – Broken Motor Mounts

bad motor mount

The main purpose of motor mounts is to attach a car’s engine to the frame of the vehicle. A secondary purpose is to dampen or reduce engine vibration so the occupants of the car don’t feel the constant shaking or vibrating of the engine while it’s running.

Engine mounts are made of a hard rubber material which allows them to absorb these vibrations. When a motor mount is damaged or broken, not only will you feel excess vibration in the car, other parts in the engine can get misaligned and ultimately break since the engine is not in its precise location.

You will be able to feel a bad motor mount when idling but the shaking can be more obvious under acceleration as the engine has to work hard. Replacing a bad motor mount should stop the vibrations.

Keep in mind that when a motor mount is broken, the other mounts now bear more of the load and are more likely to fail as well.

#3 – Unbalanced Tires

unbalanced tires

If you recently had new tires installed and notice your car shaking while driving, it may be the result of unbalanced tires. When at tire is mounted on a wheel, it will never have the exact same weight all the way around.

To fix this, a tire installer will mount the tire/wheel assembly on a balancing machine and stick on small wheel weights to the rim at specific locations to make the balance perfect. As a tire rotates, any slight weight imbalance will turn into a small vibration.

At higher speeds where the tire is rotating much faster, the vibration will be more noticeable and your steering wheel will actually shake.

If your car vibrates while at a constant speed and is worse at higher speeds, you may have an unbalanced tire(s). It’s also possible one of the adhesive wheel weights simply fell off. To fix, simply take your car back to the tire shop to have them rebalance the tires.

#4 – Loose Lug Nuts

loose lug nuts

A simple problem (more common than you think) that could become catastrophic. If the lug nuts on a wheel were not properly torqued down on the hub and some loosened over time, the wheel would have a slight wobble to it. While driving, this would make it seem like the car was shaking.

If left untightened, the lugs could eventually loosen all the way out and your wheel could actually fall off while driving. Suffice to say, you don’t want that happening. Don’t overlook making sure that you’re using the correct lug nut size as well.

To confirm you don’t have loose lug nuts, use a torque wrench to make sure each lug nut is tightened to proper factory specs. If you don’t have a torque wrench, a regular lug nut wrench or tire iron can be used for tightening

#5 – Bent Driveshaft

bent driveshaft

If your car has rear wheel drive (RWD), power from the engine to the rear axle and connected wheels is delivered through the driveshaft (or propeller shaft).

Therefore, if the driveshaft is even slightly bent or damaged (often due to an accident), it will cause the car to shake when accelerating at low speed and get worse as you go faster.

Since you normally can’t repair a driveshaft, replacing it is the only option.

#6 – Bent Axle

bent axle

If you accidentally drive curb, large rock, or have some kind of minor accident, don’t assume everything is fine if you don’t see any noticeable damage. The incident could have caused an axle to get bent, which is serious.

You will start noticing vibrations coming from the car which starts to get worse as you accelerate the car. Similar to the driveshaft, you will need to replace a bent axle immediately or risk causing further damage.

#7 – Stuck Brake Caliper

stuck brake caliper

If the brake caliper on a wheel is faulty and causing it to stick, then it can cause car vibrations. In this particular situation, the steering wheel will be what vibrates as you reach about 40-50 miles per hour.

The vibrations will get worse as you continue to accelerate at higher speeds. When you come to a stop, you will likely notice a burning-like odor coming from the vehicle.

If you suspect a stuck brake caliper, you should be able to figure out which wheel it’s at using your nose due to the smell. You will need to inspect all parts of the brake system there paying particular attention to the caliper bolts, slides, and piston.

Sometimes cleaning and re-lubricating the parts is all that’s needed but failed brake components will need to be replaced.

See Also:  Causes of Grinding Noise & Vibration When Braking

#8 – Torn or Disconnected Vacuum Hose

loose vacuum hoses

This common problem can cause severe shaking or shuttering of a car while driving. If a vacuum hose becomes disconnected or develops an air leak due to a small tear, the lack of air pressure can cause various sensors to get confused which in turn can lead to misfires, backfires, losing power, and other problems where the engine doesn’t run smoothly.

Inspect all hoses to make sure they are connected to somewhere and they have not tears or cracks in them. You may need to use a small clamp to reattach hoses that are too loose on the fitting.

Vacuum hoses on turbocharged cars are even more prone to disconnecting. Replacing with stronger silicone hoses is commonly done as a permanent solution.

#9 – Dirty or Worn Spark Plugs

fouled up spark plug

Spark plugs that are dirty or fouled up can cause the engine to misfire. While the problem is usually first noticed when at a stop, it may also make it seem like the car is vibrating when driving.

If you don’t remember the last time you replaced your spark plugs, it may be time to do so. If you remove one and notice a bunch of dark buildup on the tip, there’s good chance the rest of your spark plugs are bad as well.


42 thoughts on “9 Reasons Your Car Shakes When Accelerating (and How to Fix)”

  1. Well, hard to tell just a semi vibration upon acceleration in speed then stops as faster I go. I changed coil pac and plugs but continues to have vibration or shake. Is timing a factor, truck has 280,000 miles. What is left to check?

      • have you had the motor and tranny mounts looked at ? If the engine is in tune then often they cause vibration in reverse and slow speed but not at constant higher speed.

      • I jus purchased s car 3 days ago today mine started doing the same thing after I come to a complete stop then try to go it starts shaking everytime I acceletate after stopping it shakes for a few seconds then it stops

    • I’m having the same issue. Has anyone found a solution to this? The car vibrates when accelerating from a stopped position and is slow to pick up speed but then stops vibrating after a few seconds of accelerating

    • Mine does that. It is the Manifold gasket leak/ hole. I have the 280,000 mileage. Shows on computer reading at AutoZone as misfires in any random 2 cylinders. Mine shakes until I have a steady speed. If I let up on acceleration it shakes again.

  2. I just dono wth is going on with my car. Replaced the rotors new tires and it still ruff on the road. not smooth vibrations when flooring it or cruising at 65 to 76.. just sick of it.

  3. I had my tires and rims changed. I also did an alignment and wheel balancing on all tires and the car still vibrates. It only happens when I’m accelerating on the freeway.

    • I get vibration when first driving car when it is still cold on acceleration. This persists for about 40 minutes then vibration when accelerating. After driving past 40 minutes vibration hardly detected

      • I’m not sure. Perhaps your vehicle isn’t fond of the cold start enrichment process. Maybe the throttle body or idle air control valve need to be cleaned. These are just guesses though. If the problem persists, it would be best to run it by a mechanic.

    • My golf 5TSI is having a same problem I did put in new engine mountings and replaced the dirty plugs but it’s stl shake between 40-50km when it’s reach 70 up it stop

      • Did you check to see if your wheels are unbalanced, tires are out of round, or wheels are bent? This could cause vibration at certain speeds.

        If those look good, I would have the suspension system inspected to make sure it isn’t an issue with a worn tie rod, ball joint, or other suspension component.

        • Hello, My Ford explorer has the same problem, noisy engine and hard acceleration from stop, but after a while it will run smoothly without any issue. Kindly share any solution

        • That’s probably a little too vague for anyone to offer specific diagnostic steps. You’ll want to take it to a mechanic for a diagnosis and see what they say.

          What year is your explorer? Are there any check engine lights?

  4. I have vibration when i keep at a steady speed. Just keeping my accelerator steady.20, 30, 35 45 just about any speed.
    Have a 2016 sienna.

  5. Hi am from Mauritius. Recently buy a qashqai j11 1.2 dig-t with 32,000 km. After 5 month driving noise cming from left front wheel and feel little vibration. Check with my mechanic they changed the brake pads the noise gone but vibration still here. It happens only when i reaccelarate after using brake. When i slow down without touching brake it doesn’t happen. What could b z problem. Thanks

  6. Hi I have a 2012 Ford bantam 1.3.
    I changed all suspension rubbers, new control arms new cv, new shock saddles, new gearbox mounting, put new wheel nuts n got new tyres 13 inch tsw mags, but my van from second gear especially on a right hand bend got a heavy vibration, from 2nd gear up to 5..
    Spent a lot of money n the problem is still there..
    Please help

  7. Hi ,

    I have a BMW 740 and it Is vibrating after I get 45 miles and beyond and also it is vibrating a lot when I’m Stoping , I feel the car shaking on the front part .

    . The car was running very smooth until I change the brake fluid that start shaking for everything , I don’t have a smooth driving anymore .

    Can anyone please help me to have an idea what to do,

  8. Karl if you have a BMW 740 you should be taking it to have it looked at by someone who knows what they are doing.. Otherwise sell it and get and a small Mitsubishi heap of **** that you can actually change the brake fluid on 🥴

  9. check the calibration of throttle body sensor. If the car’s throttle body is recently serviced, it might be the culprit, shaking on high acceleration

  10. I have an 05 ram 1500 5.7 that’s vibrating between 40-60 mph. I’m going to reset the throttle body to see if it helps since it’s so simple.

    • It’s probably not the throttle body. Consider having your wheels, tires, and suspension inspected, especially if you feel the vibration most through the seat or steering wheel.

  11. My wobble is on the front right side. Most noticeable when accelerating from a stop or when turning left. Goes away when reaching 40 MPH or more or when my foot’s off the gas. Started after replacing both all four motor mounts, lower control arms & ball joints, Struts and Sway Bars and CV axles (2004 Toyota Highlander FWD). Replaced right axle (again) in hopes of a fix…didn’t work. Bought new tires that were balanced prior to install and a front wheel alignment. Still no affect. Does anyone have a similar situation and did you figure out what the fix was?

    • Did you figure it out. Paid dealer $150 to get that they think it is my front CV Axle. Other mechanics thought it was the rear. Definitely right side because tire cupping occurred on right side. Replacing CV front Axle tomorrow (not at dealer). Already replaced, balanced and aligned tires. 2009 Highlander with 163k miles.

  12. I just bought a 2008 GMC Acadia on a lot as is. It’s my first time buying from a lot and the guy told me that the only thing wrong was I needed a new amplifier for the radio system. Well when I test drive it it ran and drove just fine. No issues. Upon driving it for a few hours off and on and once in stop n go traffic it started to shake when I would accelerate starting at 25mph if I let off the gas it stops. Then I accelerated and the rpm went way high then my rpm, battery and mph gauge all went all the way down then a check engine light came on. I pulled over and turned the car off and on and the light went away and I could drive it home? Any ideas? We’ve tried seafoam today and were going to do a tuneup this weekend. If issues still persist I need a professional I know but if someone could help save me from being ripped off from a mechanic telling me it’s a million things when it’s only one that’s be helpful too! Thank you!

    • This is a wild guess, but maybe you’re having an issue with the ignition coils. That could cause misfires (which would vibrate the car) and could mess with the tachometer. Get the codes read, that will narrow down the scope of the problem considerably.

      There could also be an electrical issue somewhere. I can’t think of why the shaking would cause the gauge cluster to die like that. More troubleshooting is needed before anyone can say definitively what’s wrong with it.

  13. My car like bounces when I let off the gas and when accelerating at higher speeds. Recently heard the cv joint pop so I figure that’s the issue? Any input would help.

    • It could be the motor or transmission mounts. If either of those are shot you will often get a lot of powertrain movement. Those should be easy for a mechanic to visually inspect if you end up bringing the vehicle into a shop.


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