Vexing Vibrations: Isolating the Cause of Your Car's Symptoms

One of the most disturbing feelings when you're driving is that of a vibration in your car, particularly when you can't isolate exactly where it's coming from. While some minor vibrations aren't much to worry about, there are some cases where there may be cause for concern. Here are a few things that you should know when it comes to vibration in your car.

Isolating the Origin

One of the first things to consider is where you're feeling the vibration from. If it's from the front end, you will typically feel it when you're holding the steering wheel. When it's coming from the rear of the car, it runs through the car body, so you feel it more in the seat. There are some other odd occurrences that can alter this, but this is a good starting point.

Identifying the Effects of Speed

Some automotive vibrations will only occur at specific rates of speed. If you can only feel it when your car's traveling at certain speeds, it may mean that you have a bent wheel. At certain speeds, the motion of the bent wheel will actually overcome the vibration dampening of the car's suspension. This can leave you feeling vibration at higher speeds than you do at lower speeds or vice versa. If you find that you can only feel it at specific rates of speed, call your local auto shop to test your wheels. They may be out of round or warped and need to be replaced.

Evaluating the Brake Pedal

If you can feel vibration transfer through the brake pedal under normal to moderate braking pressure, that usually means there's a warped brake rotor. If that's the case, you can usually take your car in to your local repair shop and either have the rotors turned or replaced completely. They can also check the calipers and brake pads for any other signs of damage that could lead to vibration transfer into the brake pedal.

What to Do about It

When you take your car in to an auto repair shop like H & S Tire & Auto Center, they'll probably start by putting your wheels on a balancing machine to check the balance of the rim. If it's balanced, they can inspect the tread to be sure there's no wear that's causing an issue. Additionally, many shops will evaluate the front-end alignment of the car to be sure that you don't have an alignment issue. From there, it's time to assess the condition of the brakes and the front suspension. With the help of a local auto repair shop and these troubleshooting tips, you can identify the cause of your vibration and address it quickly and easily.