Pinning Down That Troublesome Vibration

Mechanics see customers complaining of vehicle vibrations on an almost daily basis. When your car is vibrating, it indicates trouble, but the source isn't always easy to pin down. Although mechanics are highly skilled in finding the underlying cause of vibrations (and many other problems), it is still helpful to have as much information as possible when you bring your car to the shop. The more data you can provide to your mechanic, the more quickly they will be able to locate the problem and get you on your way. Below, you will find a few possible sources of vehicle vibrations and how you can identify them.

Isolating Vibrations

If you are attempting to discover the source of a vibration in your car, the first thing you should do is try to isolate it. Pulling this off can be easier said than done, however, since severe vibrations can often seem to originate from all around you. In general, vibrations will have three apparent sources from within the cabin: the steering wheel, the floor or seats, or the rear of the car. In some cases, engine-related vibrations may seem to be most severe in the dash or toward the front of the vehicle.

Identifying when the vibration occurs can sometimes make it easier to identify where the source of the vibration is located. For example, if you notice that your car shakes when traveling uphill, then you can try accelerating slowly and carefully uphill while paying close attention as the vibration begins. Repeatability is an essential aspect of automotive diagnosis, so being able to explain to your mechanic exactly when the vibration occurs can be invaluable.

The Most Common Causes of Vibrations

There are near as many possible causes for vibrations as there are parts in your car, but where and when the vibration occurs can be important clues to its source. Steering wheel vibrations, for example, are commonly the result of a failing rotational component. This category covers a wide range of possible parts, including front steering components, suspension components, or even your wheels. Floor and seat vibrations that seem to change with vehicle speed are often the result of wheel or tire problems as well.

On the other hand, vibrations that vary in intensity with engine speed rather than vehicle speed generally originate with either the engine, transmission, or exhaust. These vibrations may be felt through the floorboards as well, but they are often more intense and may also be more apparent in the dash or structure of the vehicle. If you can produce the vibration while revving the engine in neutral, then you can be sure that the problem is not with your tires or wheels. Note, however, that not all vibrations will be apparent when the vehicle is not under load.

Dealing With Annoying Vibrations

Once you have as much information as possible, the best way to deal with any vibration is by having your car inspected by a qualified mechanic. The information that you have collected up to this point will help your mechanic to quickly diagnose your problem, saving you money on labor costs and helping you to get your car driving smoothly again.

For more information, contact an auto repair shop.