Why Your Car Shakes When You Accelerate: Possible Causes And Fixes

It can be scary when you're driving 60 miles per hour and your car feels like it's going to shake apart. There are a few reasons this can happen. The good news is that some causes are relatively simple fixes. The bad news is that some of these issues can leave you stranded or cause an accident if you don't fix them.

Transmission Fluid

This is one of the easiest fixes, but a big problem if your vehicle has been low for a long period of time. Low fluid may mean you have bigger transmission issues that need to be addressed. In automatic vehicles, the transmission fluid also acts as a coolant and the shaking or jerking may be accompanied by overheating. 

Transmission Filter

A clogged transmission filter may be to blame for shaking or jerking movements when you accelerate. They should be changed every 30,000 miles for optimal performance. The transmission fluid acts as a lubricant for many parts in your vehicle. When the filter is clogged with debris, you'll notice issues not only when you accelerate but also when you put your vehicle into reverse or change gears.

Struts or Strut Bearings

If you notice shaking when you accelerate that doesn't stop, have your struts and strut bearings looked at by a professional. These parts can become worn over time and cause a bumpy ride. You may also feel like your vehicle isn't level or seems one-sided and off balance. 

Tie Rods

The tie rods on your vehicle are vital to safe driving. They keep your tires moving on an identical course. Worn or damaged tie rods that are malfunctioning can cause an accident fairly easily, as wheels will be trying to go different ways at once. This causes very noticeable shaking when you accelerate. This is an issue you should see to as quickly as possible. Worn tie rods are dangerous.


The culprit may also be a worn U-joint. This causes a very evident shaking as you accelerate. If this is the problem, it is one you shouldn't ignore. You may notice vibrations in the rear of your vehicle or when you place your hand on the gear shift. 

Wheel Balance

A common problem many people aren't aware of is their wheel balance. Having out-of-balance wheels can cause some serious vibrations when you drive. This is a simple fix. Have your wheels properly aligned at an auto repair shop and the problem should go away. 

There are many issues that can cause your vehicle to feel shaky as you accelerate. It's never good to ignore this type of problem, because it could lead to a wreck. Most fixes are fairly simple and less expensive than being in an accident, so don't hesitate to visit a local auto shop, like Automotive Specialties.