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5 reasons my car shakes at idle but smooths out while driving

Car shakes at idle but smooths out while driving

An idling vehicle should be smooth. If your car is shaking or vibrating to the point where you can feel it in the seat, steering wheel, or while holding the shift lever, you may have a problem. But why does my car shakes at idle but smooth out while driving? Is it worth it to find out the cause? Read on.

There are many reasons why the car shakes at idle. Some of the common reasons include bad spark plugs, failing mass airflow sensors, bad coil packs, and vacuum leaks. You may also experience a shake at idle if your car has a worn-out timing belt.

Feeling a vibration or shaking when your car is running isn’t normal, and it could mean you have a problem. There are several different causes for this problem, but worn-out engine mounts are one of the most common. If your car is shaking at idle, make sure to get it fixed soon before it develops into a bigger issue.

Also, when the car shakes idle, this is typically due to a problem with the drivetrain or the engine. These are the systems that help the car move and work together to ensure your tires turn while you drive. The most common cause of shaking at idle is dirty fuel injectors.

 Car shakes at idle but smooths out while driving

Car vibrates in drive but not in neutral

Sometimes, it’s not just the engine driveshaft or other motor parts that are causing the rumble in your car, but one of the tires could be out of balance. The problem is evident when you feel vibrations on either side or at the center of the steering wheel.

You need to take the vehicle for a professional wheel balancing service to solve this problem. You can tell when it is time to do some wheel balancing because a light vibration will surround your car when driving at highway speeds.

Therefore, if the car only vibrates when it is in motion and does not when in neutral, it indicates that the motor mount is faulty or damaged.

Car shakes when starting then runs fine

The most common culprit with engine vibration is the motor mounts. If a motor mount fails, the engine’s weight can put pressure on your wheels and tires. As a result, your suspension system takes more abuse than it should when driving around.

Below are likely reasons your car will shake when starting and then runs fine.

1. Dirty filter

Dirty filters will cause the engine to shake, change the filter, and your problem should go away. The dirty fuel filter blocks the normal fuel flow, restricting and limiting the fuel pressure simultaneously. Thus, your car gets a hard time starting and runs roughly as well.

If you are faced with such a problem, you should check the fuel filter for any signs of build-up. While one needs to replace it periodically based on the manufacturer’s recommendation, it should be cleaned regularly to ensure smooth operations.

2. Faulty spark plugs

If your car is shaking when starting, it may be faulty spark plugs. These are relatively simple and cheap to fix and, if left untreated, can cause much more damage further down the line.

3. Bad wheel balancing

Bad wheel balancing is the most common cause of your car shaking. This occurs if your wheels are not balanced evenly, the rims are bent, or if your tires are worn unevenly. These can cause a slight shudder at low speeds, which becomes more pronounced as you accelerate.

4. Issues with the Axles

If you notice some shaking coming from your vehicle’s axle, or this shaking happens when trying to get the car going, it could be a sign of an axle problem. The two axles in your vehicle transfer power from the engine to the wheels.

This can include torque during acceleration and brake pressure for stopping. When there is a sign that there is something wrong with the axle, there is a bigger underlying issue.

If you let it go, it will only continue to make things worse until it becomes extremely difficult and expensive to fix.

5. Warped Brake Rotors

Warped rotors not only make the car uncomfortable to ride but can also damage the other parts of your braking system. In some circumstances, warped rotors can go unnoticed if the car doesn’t shake, but it is one of the major reasons your car shakes when moving.

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 Car shakes at idle but smooths out while driving

Car shakes when idle and accelerating

If your car is shaking when idle and accelerating, it can signify many different car faults.

  • Faulty fuel injectors

Faulty fuel injectors are one of the most common causes of a rough idle. If you’re having a hard time figuring out what’s causing your rough idle and car shakes while accelerating, it’d be a good idea to take your car to a mechanic and have them run some diagnostics.

Check if the fuel injectors are faulty. Faulty fuel injectors will cause a backfire, sending vibrations throughout the car.

  • Worn-out spark plugs

It’s a common problem caused by plugs that need to be replaced. Replacing your old spark plugs is a quick and easy fix. The sparks in worn-out plugs can misfire and cause the engine to shake.

The vibrations felt from the car shake when idle and accelerate can be a symptom of worn-out spark plugs. Spark plugs ignite an air-fuel mixture in your engine to create power, so if these plugs are malfunctioning, your vehicle can stall or vibrate when it is idling.

  • Bad timing belt

The timing belt on a car controls the engine’s camshaft, meaning that if it goes bad, it can cause real problems. If you notice that your car is shaking or you’re having trouble accelerating while idling, it could be a sign that your timing belt needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

If you suspect your timing belt is bad, but the car isn’t making any sort of ticking noise, and it isn’t shaking, then the most obvious symptom to look at next would be a misfire.

If your car only has one or two cylinders that are misfiring, then it might not be as noticeable to you, but if three or more of them begin to misfire, you will feel it driving, or even when it’s idling.

Why is my car shaking when I drive

If your car is shaking when you are driving, it could be a sign of a problem with your tires, brake system, alignment, or suspension. To help you determine what may be causing the shaking of your car, here is a look at some of the most common causes.

  • Tire imbalance

Tire imbalance is another common cause of shaking. When a tire becomes unbalanced, it may shake slightly as the vehicle moves across the roadway, continuing to shake more and more violently as the vehicle accelerates.

The tires’ balance is usually most noticeable at higher speeds when the shaking force can become unmanageable. Several possible reasons one tire could become unbalanced, from a poor mounting or tire change to underinflation to simply wearing them down improperly over time.

However this happens, it is essential to have a mechanic check out the tires and, if necessary, balance them correctly, so the car doesn’t continue to shake during acceleration.

  • Bad brake system

It sounds like your car may have a bad brake rotor disk on one of your wheels. When you put your foot on the brake, the rotor disk should turn as part of the braking process. If it’s warped, it can cause your whole car to shake when you apply the car.

  • Poor alignment

Poor wheel alignment leads to excessive tire wear, decreased fuel mileage, and, more importantly, shaking. If your vehicle pulls to one side when driving, this could be a sign of poor alignment.

If you are experiencing vibrations in your steering wheel while driving, or your traction light is coming on and off, you may be experiencing wheel misalignment. Poor wheel alignment can damage tires, cause undue stress on suspension parts and ultimately lead to premature failure of ball joints and axles. Have your wheel alignment inspected periodically by a professional mechanic to ensure the smooth operation of your vehicle.

  • Bad suspension

Your car is likely shaking because of bad suspension. The shocks, tied rods, and other parts of the suspension system in your car take a lot of wear. If they wear out, they may cause your car’s wheels to be less stable than usual, which can lead to an unpleasant ride and even wear on your tires.

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 Car shakes at idle but smooths out while driving

Car shakes when driving slow

In many cases, car shaking is caused by a simple problem that can be fixed in minutes. Next time your car shakes, see if it happens when you accelerate on the open road. If it occurs only when accelerating at low speeds or decelerating, the wheels are probably out of alignment.

If they are not aligned properly, they will make your car shake when you accelerate and decelerate due to friction with the surface of the road. To fix this problem, take your car to an auto mechanic and ask them to check the alignment of the wheels.

Why is my car shaking when I stop?

Car shaking when you stop is usually a sign of worn brake rotors. The rotor could be warped or bent if you have hit something hard or at high speed. When stopping, a shaking car may also indicate that your brake pads are too worn to generate enough friction and have to be replaced.

Also, your vehicle may shake, vibrate, or shudder while driving at highway speed or when stopped in traffic due to an engine misfire, faulty spark plug, dirty air filter, weak fuel pump, clogged fuel filter, failed mass airflow (MAF) sensor or dirty oxygen sensor. A vehicle shaking unnecessarily when stopped may have a problem with the motor mounts.

Car vibrates when idle

If a car vibrates when idle, it’s most likely that the engine misfires and causes it to vibrate. A source of fuel or air can cause the engine model and requires maintenance to resolve.

Some major reasons include:

  • Worn out plug

If your car starts vibrating at idle, and the check engine light is on, chances are you have a worn-out plug. Often the vibration is more noticeable in drive than park because the engine is under a load.

  • Bad timing belt

If your car starts vibrating at idle, and the check engine light is on, chances are you have a worn-out plug. Often the vibration is more noticeable in drive than park because the engine is under a load. If your car is vibrating while idling, it could be due to a problem with the timing belt.

  • Bad fuel system

Car vibrates when the fuel system is bad. This can be caused by worn or loose engine mounts and vacuum problems.

What does idling mean?

To idle means to let an engine run while not moving. This can be dangerous if your vehicle is stuck or waiting in traffic or at a very long red light. Idling also pollutes the air with harmful chemicals that make breathing harder.

 Car shakes at idle but smooths out while driving

Why is my car shaking?

If your car shakes and vibrates while driving down the highway or on a bumpy road, it can become pretty annoying (and even make it hard to drive). Here are some troubleshooting tips for a shaking car.

  • Faulty fuel injectors

It could be faulty fuel injectors. They distribute the right amount of fuel to your cylinders. When they’re faulty, they might spray too much or too little fuel into the air-fuel mixture, leading to misfires and an engine that shakes when you accelerate.

  • Imbalance tire

Your tire balance affects many parts of your vehicle and dramatically impacts your driving experience. If your vehicle is pulling to one side, vibrating while driving, or experiencing uneven tread wear, it could be caused by unbalanced tires. Wheel imbalance can cause extra stress on suspension components and a rough ride.

  • Mis-alignment

Mis-alignment is a common cause of car shaking, especially when you only feel the shaking when moving. If the car vibrates while it’s not running or the steering wheel jiggles and shakes at all times, it’s likely a problem with the tires.

  • Low tire PSI

Low tire PSI is the most common reason why your car might be shaking during acceleration. You can fix this by inflating your tires to the correct PSI, or if you don’t know how to do that yourself, bring it to a mechanic.

Car shakes when idle

If your car shakes when idling, it could indicate an engine misfire, air or fuel filter problem, or bad spark plug wires. If you have an older model with a carburetor, it may be due to a clogged carburetor causing the gas line to back up.

Worn or damaged motor mounts can cause vibration and noise when your engine is running. If your car shakes while idling, it could also mean your motor mounts are faulty.

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 Car shakes at idle but smooths out while driving

Why does my car shake when I accelerate?

If your car shakes only when accelerating, it could be because of the U-joint. This part is responsible for transmitting power from the driveshaft to the axle or wheels. If any shaft has bad or worn U-joints, this will cause the wheels to shake.

Do not ignore this if you see it occurring, leading to many other issues. When you accelerate, and your wheel starts shaking, you know there is a problem. It can also be an indication of some other issues.

If your vehicle shakes while accelerating, this is one of the first things that will come to mind. Well, you are right in thinking so. Yes, there are many other reasons your wheel may shake when you accelerate, such as misalign or deflated tires.

Car shuts off when stopped or slowing down

The safety feature of the car is if you slow down rapidly or come to a complete stop, the car will shut off. This prevents your car from turning on unexpectedly. If you stop or slow down your car for any reason, Shut-off turns off the engine. This helps you save on fuel costs and helps to protect the environment.

Is idling bad for your car?

Idling is not actually as damaging to cars as we previously thought. Idling at stoplights wastes gasoline and produces greenhouse gasses that are bad for the environment.

If you let your car idle for more than 30 seconds, you waste fuel and produce emissions that contribute to pollution and global warming. Idling is defined as keeping the engine running when a car is not in motion. Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and releases more emissions.

Why does my car shake when accelerating?

Several things could be the reason your car is shaking while accelerating. A couple of things to check; first, your tires should be balanced, rotate tires, and replaced if necessary. Also, get your brakes checked and possibly replaced. These are just a couple of things that could be causing your car to shake when accelerating.

There are a couple of things to check; first, your tires should be balanced, rotate tires, and replaced if necessary. Also, get your brakes checked and possibly replaced. These are just a couple of things that could be causing your car to shake when accelerating.

Engine shakes at idle

The engine may shake in your car when it is idling. This can occur for reasons like having the wrong spark plugs, bad fuel, or a faulty engine. Also, the reasons may include rough idling, misfiring, or a lack of response when the gas pedal is pressed.

Car shakes when ac is on

When I turn the AC on, my car shakes and makes lots of noise like the air conditioning is loud and keeps shaking. Here are some of the reasons your car can shake when your AC is on.

  • Load on the engine

Shaking while the air conditioning is running is common in all air-cooled engines. When the AC is on, and the engine starts to overload, the power needed for the AC is taken from the engine’s energy. Before any major repair or service work, you should check your engine oil level.

  • Bad throttle position sensor

Your car shakes when the AC is on, this is most likely caused by a bad throttle position sensor. This sensor tells the computer where the throttle of your car is, and if there is something wrong with this, you will feel it in random places, such as when you are operating the AC to cool your car off.

  • Faulty fuel injector

If your car shakes when the AC is on, it could be because of a faulty fuel injector. Your car’s fuel injectors are responsible for getting the correct amount of fuel into the engine, so if one or more of them isn’t functioning properly – which could be caused by a mechanical problem or just clogged from dirt and debris – that could have disastrous effects for your vehicle.

  • Damaged or old spark plugs

If your car shakes or the AC is on, it could mean worn spark plugs. Spark plugs require a periodic replacement. Damaged spark plugs will cause poor acceleration, balance issues, and an expensive repair bill.

  • Damaged AC compressor

A damaged AC compressor can cause your car to shake and vibrate. The AC compressor connects the main engine of your car to the AC unit. Any damage or wear and tear on the compressor will result in unsuccessful delivery of high-pressure refrigerant to the AC system, which results in a vibrating car.

Car bouncing

‘Car bouncing’ is the term used to describe the condition of a car with tires that have insufficient air pressure or are worn unevenly. You may not be able to drive as well when your car bounces.

How long can a car idle?

There is no real maximum amount of time someone can let their car idle, as long as they do so safely. If a person doesn’t pay attention to what’s happening with their vehicle while it’s running, there’s a risk that more problems will occur and cause more damage.

If you let your car idle, be sure to always keep it in mind and turn off the engine if it is more than necessary. The environmental impact of idling is high, and it hurts the environment. Many other factors affect how long your car can remain on one tank of gas when idling.

What causes a car to idle up and down?

A car idling up and down while the vehicle is stopped is a sign that something is off the balance in the fuel system. Any number of issues can cause this, but most commonly, it’s a sign that your car needs a tune-up or has some other mechanical problem.

It is usually due to inconsistent fuel supply or intake system problems in most cases. Another possible reason for an idling variance could be a clogged air filter or partially-clogged fuel injectors.

 Car shakes at idle but smooths out while driving

Car struggles to accelerate and shakes

Every car struggles to accelerate and shakes once in a while, but if these things start happening regularly, you may need to consult with your mechanic about a tune-up and some routine maintenance.

It could be a problem with your car’s transmission system. Check engine, transmission, or drivetrain lights are indicators that your car is struggling to accelerate. Squealing or chirping noises could mean that your car’s hoses need to be replaced.

Also, the shaking could be caused by a part of your engine called the crankshaft harmonics damper that has come loose. That is not unusual because the bolt that holds it on can loosen. It would be costly to repair, and there would probably be some other mechanical problems from driving it before inspecting it.

Intermittent vibration while driving

During your first few miles, you may experience intermittent vibration during acceleration. This will occur primarily between 40–60 mph and is normal. Any time you feel a vibration while driving could be several reasons.

It’s most important to pay attention to when your vehicle vibrates. If it only occurs in certain conditions, such as hitting the gas pedal or driving at certain speeds, it can narrow down where and why the vibration occurs.

Truck shaking while driving

There are many reasons why a truck can shake while driving. The solutions can be as simple as getting air pressure checked out at a filling station to replacing the tires on your vehicle.

Also, if your truck is shaking while you drive, this could be a sign of several different issues. You may have a bad wheel bearing or a suspension problem.


Many things may cause an engine to idle up and down in a vehicle. While it is normal for some vehicles to have a little fluctuation, it doesn’t hurt to check what could be causing this. If you suspect something wrong with your car, be sure to take it to a licensed mechanic for diagnosis.

So on this page, the car shakes at idle but smooths out while driving; we have all the information you need on how to solve each problem with your car.