Tech Stuff

Tech Stuff

Fixing Car / Steering / Pedal Vibrations

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Cars are supposed to run smooth & stable on a flat road, at any speed. And they generally do. It's only when they DON'T drive smoothly, that the owner starts worrying. Once you realize that your car is vibrating, what should you do to troubleshoot?

The first diagnostic step is to identify exactly what's happening. Focus on the driving conditions that accompany the vibration. Does it only occur under certain driving conditions? If so, when? Does it change with vehicle speed? When is the vibration problem most noticeable? Is it a noise (sound only) or vibration, or both? Where does the noise or vibration appear to be coming from? Can you feel it on the steering wheel, brake pedal or seat?

The 5 common culprits that cause your car to vibrate are:

  1. Tyres & wheels.
  2. Brakes.
  3. Suspension & steering components.
  4. Driveshaft (FWD) / Propeller shaft (RWD).
  5. Engine.

Each of the above problems causes different kinds of vibrations:

  1. Engine speed sensitive: The vibration is related to engine rpm and nothing else (not vehicle speed or driving conditions). The symptom appears or changes in direct proportion to engine rpm in any gear. Vibrations could be present even when your car is idling or revving at a standstill.
  2. Vehicle speed sensitive: The vibration is felt at specific speeds only. It may become worse with rising speed, or even disappear after you cross a particular speed.
  3. Acceleration / Deceleration sensitive: The vibration is only noticed when the speed changes (such as when driving off, overtaking, slowing down or coasting).
  4. Random: The vibration comes and goes with no obvious connection to engine rpm, vehicle speed or road conditions.

Let's look at each of the reasons for vibrations to occur, what kind of vibration may be felt and what can be done to resolve the problem.

 
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