2890 Jackson Ave.  |  Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Reasons Your Car is Shaking and How Complete Auto Service Can Help

Here’s a pop quiz from Complete Auto Service. Multiple choice:

Your car is shaking. Select the reasons you are about to find yourself standing on the side of the road waiting for a wrecker:

  1. Low pressure – we’re talking about your tires. Unfortunately, there’s not enough air. 
  1. High Pressure – we’re talking about you, not your tires. Instead of getting to the office on time, you’re fixing to blow – as in, blow out – and it’s not going to be pretty. 

And now, look what’s happening: the car is wobbling, your bladder is full, and you’re on the side of the road, phone in hand, calling Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor, and could we please hurry? ‘Nuff said; we’re on our way. 

  1. Good vibrations-or maybe not. Feeling a bit unbalanced lately? Wheel a little tilted? It’s a matter of simple physics. A car that has balanced wheels will stay in motion unless met with unbalanced forces. You may think you know where you’re going, but unbalanced forces can lead your car into a change in direction, a change in speed, or both – and if you are driving, this can spell trouble. 

In short, to function at a safe level your tires need to have even wear and must be balanced. 

Other causes of wheel imbalance can be caused by poor road conditions such as potholes, roadwork, grooved pavement, poor alignment, worn ball joints, tree branches, and rocks, causing flat tires, bent rims, damaged wheels, sidewall, and belts.

  1. She’s come undone – loose lug nuts, anyone? It’s a given – cars are difficult to drive without wheels, and the last thing you want is for the wheel to pop off at 70 mph. Of course, the faster the speed, the more dangerous a blowout is, so slow that baby down. A tire bouncing down the road is not something you want to see, be it from your vehicle or anyone else’s, and it’s even worse if your car has sidestepped the pavement – how’s the view from the ditch?
  1. Disproportionate wear – like anything else, things need to move around a bit so the tires don’t continue rubbing in the same spot. Tires are constructed with tread wear indicators. Knowing what to look for is your first defense against tread bare tires. If you are unfamiliar, ask us.
  1. Tires need rotating – have you ever done the pull test? It’s when you are driving down the road and take your hands off the steering wheel to see if there is a pull to one side. Does your car stay in a straight line even when your hands are not on the wheel?  How far can you go before the car veers off to one side? 

It should get your attention if your car seems like it’s drifting, even slightly. If you feel a strong directional pull, then take action. Your ride should be steady as she goes, not all over the place. 

  1. Spark plugs need replacing – if the engine misfires or the car is idling rough, it might be time to replace the spark plugs. You might also see the engine light, among other signs. 
  1. Dirty fuel filter – if you smell strong odors, if the engine has trouble igniting, or the acceleration is compromised, you might need a new fuel filter. 
  1. Damaged axle – have you over-corrected and landed on the curb? Have you overloaded the vehicle with too much stuff and too many passengers? Excess weight can cause an axle to break. 

If you answered all of the above, then you are right. This is just a snapshot of the many things that can cause your car to shake. 

But take heart. Here are some things you can do to prevent your tires from running amok.

Wheel Alignment

Various signs your alignment may be off:

  • The steering wheel might look crooked
  • Squealing tires
  • Uneven tire wear
  • Vibrating steering wheel 

Reasons your tires need to be realigned:

  • Significant tire wear 
  • Fender benders and other impacts

The good news is, you’re not losing your mind. You may not know that the shaking is caused by alignment issues, but that’s why Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor employs only the best professional technicians who can diagnose and fix the problem.

You could lose your car – or worse – if you don’t pay attention to the alignment. Neglecting the alignment can put you, your loved ones, and other motorists at serious risk. Drive responsibly.

Rotate the tires

While you can’t always predict driving obstacles, you can at least practice prevention.

Since at least 60% of your car’s weight is carried by the steering tires (front tires), then it makes sense that they would wear out faster than the rear tires (rear-wheel drive). 

Naturally, you would want to spread the love. How often you should rotate them is all in the owner’s manual. A general unwritten rule is somewhere between 3,000-5,000 miles, and preferably before you get to 4,999. 

Ordinarily, adherence to a routine maintenance schedule should extend the life of your tires and reduce the risk of a sudden fiasco. Repeat after us – owner’s manual. The place to read this instruction booklet is not while sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. 

But isn’t Complete Auto Service expensive?

Maybe. And maybe not. If you consider having someone else remove the tires, moving them to a different position, checking and adjusting the air pressure, and inspecting the brakes expensive, then perhaps it is. But what about never needing an appointment for these services, and free loaner cars so your life doesn’t need to be interrupted? 

Hold the phone – did we forget to mention that we have sanitized pick-up and drop-off services, as well as free towing? 

Of course, you can do this yourself, provided you have a way of elevating your car and the equipment at your disposal. Or you can bring it to us at Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor. We are your go-to auto repair professionals in Ann Arbor. 

When it comes to caring for your vehicle, you will never see us tread lightly. Give us a call today. We’ll rotate your tires in no time flat.