It’s an unsettling feeling when your car starts vibrating as you accelerate. Generally, you want, and expect your car to drive smoothly and when it doesn’t, you may be looking at a trip to your local service provider.

You’ll generally notice the problem when you are driving 60 mph or over. The steering wheel may shake uncontrollably and after a while it can feel like arm day at the gym instead of a casual drive.

So, what causes the vibrating when you’re driving? There are three main reasons for cars to shake when you accelerate.


Tires are the most common reason a car shakes when it reaches 60-mph. Tire balance, or lack thereof, makes the steering shake as the car increases in speed. Typically, the shaking begins as an automobile gets to 55 mph and only becomes more problematic as the speedometer increases to 60 or more.

A problem with tire balance and alignment can be fixed rather easily. If need be, you can have new, high-quality tires put on you automobile. If you don’t need new tires, simply having tires inspected and aligned can fix any further problems.

Brake rotors

If brake rotors are “out of round”, then cars may vibrate when a driver increases speed. Dirt build up on brake rotors can also cause a car’s steering wheel to shake. However, build up may not be the only problem with the rotors. Over time, they could have developed worn, thin patches on the face of the rotor.

To fix vibration caused by brake rotors, it must be determined which set of rotors is causing the problem. If the steering wheel is shaking then it is the front rotors that need to be replaced. However, if the bodywork or car frame is vibrating, then it is likely the back brake rotors causing the problem.

By taking the car to a mechanic, owners can have the rotors replaced. However, for those that enjoy DIY projects, car owners can replace the brake rotors themselves.

Brake Caliper

A sticky brake caliper is the third common problem that causes a car to vibrate. Sticky brake calipers cause steering wheel vibration. The shaking gets worse the faster the car accelerates and a burning odor can occur once the car stops.

The simplest way to maintain healthy brake calipers is to have them checked during a car’s regular brake inspection. In addition, having brake pads checked regularly can reduce problems in other areas.

Although these are the most common causes of car vibration, there are other problems that can cause vibration. Taking a car in for a thorough maintenance check can provide details on any areas that need to be fixed.

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