It’s common knowledge for many drivers that some vehicles vibrate at specific speeds. Identifying the cause related to your particular vehicle could potentially save you money on repairs. If your car starts to shudder after reaching 30 miles per hour, it’s an issue that you should address as soon as possible.
While it may seem inconsequential, persistent vibrations can result in increased wear and tear of various parts, potentially causing a loss of vehicle control. To prevent such scenarios, familiarize yourself with the following potential causes:
Causes of Car Vibration Between 30 To 40 Mph
Multiple factors can contribute to vibrations in the passenger compartment, including tire issues:
- Worn Tires: Uneven or excessive tire degradation is a common cause of vibrations. Tires have a specific lifespan based on mileage and age. To measure the tread depth on your tires, you’ll need a micrometer caliper. If the tread depth falls below 4 mm, or 0.15 inches, the tires are not considered safe for the road.
- Winter Tires: Winter tires are not designed to function optimally in warmer climates, leading to unnecessary vibrations. You can confirm if you have winter tires by looking for the snowflake symbol or M+S markings on the tire sidewalls.
- Tire Imbalance: If the rim and tire are not perfectly aligned, minor imbalances can cause noticeable vibrations. Tire professionals use specialized equipment to identify unbalanced areas and rectify the issue.
People often confuse tire balancing and wheel alignment. Wheel alignment involves the angle of the wheel itself, whereas tire balancing pertains to the positioning of the tires on the rims. Misaligned wheels can cause quicker tire degradation, vibrations, and compromised control and stability. Wheel bolts that aren’t properly tightened are a dangerous yet common source of jarring.
Car brakes work primarily through friction. If you notice vibrations when you touch the brakes while decelerating from higher speeds between the 30 and 40 mph limit, it may be due to worn brake discs or pads.
The suspension system‘s multiple components work together to smooth out the road’s bumps and flaws. However, when one or more components malfunction, vibrations at 40 mph can become more frequent.
- Worn-out parts: Like any other component, suspension degrades over time. Elements like rubber and ball bearings can be particularly vulnerable to wear and tear.
- Rusted shocks and struts: Although shocks & struts are not always the source of vibrations, it’s still a good idea to inspect them.
5. Engine and Transmission
Vehicle vibrations at speeds of 30, 40, or 60 mph can be due to powertrain issues; however, diagnosing these issues at home can be challenging.
- Obstructed filters: The engine requires a precise and consistent flow of air and fuel to function at its best. An insufficient supply of either can cause the engine to shake, causing vibrations throughout the car.
- Defective spark plugs: In petrol engines, a critical spark is needed to ignite the gasoline. If even one spark fails, the engine can still function, but with a misfiring cylinder, knocking the engine out of balance.
6. Defective Engine Mounts
In addition to causing discomfort, vibrations induced by an engine directly connected to the body can accelerate part depreciation. Engines are mounted on specialized dampeners that mitigate vibrations. When these fail, the engine exhibits abnormal shaking, generating enough force to transmit from other mounts into the passenger compartment. To diagnose engine mount problems, drive slowly on a deserted road. To propel the car, provide the engine with short, rapid bursts of gas. You may hear clunking noises and other strange sounds from the engine compartment as it reverts to its idle state. The second method is similar, but instead of pushing the inertia point backwards, you push it forwards by depressing the brake pedal.
7.Driveshaft, Differential, and Transmission Issues
Moving parts inevitably create vibrations. As these parts wear, the vibrations gradually increase to levels previously undetectable, particularly noticeable when driving above 40 mph. The driveshaft, essentially a long, rapidly rotating tube, can produce significant vibrations even from a minor bend, potentially rendering the vehicle unsafe to drive.
Dashboard, window glass, and door panels may subtly warp over time, vibrating when the vehicle moves above 30 mph. Many small issues are challenging to fix. For instance, the dashboard might slightly deform in hot sunlight, with no effective way to restore its original shape. The best course of action is to ignore the noise and await vibrations to cease as wear and tear eliminates the points of contact.
Also Read: How To Remove Car Pinstripe (Ultimate Guide)
How to Fix Car Vibration Between 30 to 40 mph
Car vibration between certain speeds can be a frustrating issue. It’s usually caused by a number of issues including problems with the tires, alignment, or other components such as the driveshaft or engine mounts. Here’s a guide on how to address these issues:
- Balance Your Tires: Tires that are out of balance are one of the most common causes of vibrations. Most tire shops can balance your tires quickly and efficiently. They use a specialized machine that spins the tire to identify the heavier side and then add weights to the opposite side to achieve balance.
- Inspect Your Tires: Look for uneven wear, embedded objects, or damage. If you find any, you may need to replace the tire. Make sure the tires are inflated to the correct pressure as mentioned in the vehicle’s manual or the sticker on the driver-side doorjamb.
- Rotate Your Tires: Regular rotation helps achieve uniform wear for all your tires. Check your vehicle’s manual for the recommended rotation scheme.
- Check Your Alignment: Improper alignment can cause vibrations and uneven tire wear. It can often feel like the car is being pushed in one direction or the other. A professional alignment service can correct this issue.
- Inspect the Driveshaft: A damaged or unbalanced driveshaft can cause vibrations at certain speeds. This is a more complex job and may require professional assistance. Look for obvious damage, loose u-joints, or signs that the driveshaft balance weights have fallen off.
- Inspect the Engine Mounts: If the mounts that hold your engine in place are worn or broken, they can cause noticeable vibrations. You’ll need to inspect them for visible damage or excessive movement. This might require professional help depending on your vehicle and mechanical skill.
- Check Your Brakes: Warped rotors can cause vibration when braking. If the vibration only occurs when you apply the brakes, this may be the issue. You’ll need to remove the wheel to inspect the brake rotor for warping or damage.
Remember, it’s always important to regularly maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Regular maintenance can prevent many of these issues from occurring in the first place. If you can’t identify the cause of the vibration or if the repair is beyond your abilities, consult a professional mechanic.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes my car to shake at 40 mph?
If your car needs alignment or if the wheels and tires are out of balance, it may shake at around 40 mph. This can also occur if the ball joints are worn, wheel bearings are bad, or brake rotors are warped.
What causes car vibrations at specific speeds?
The most common causes of vibration are an unbalanced or damaged tire, a bent wheel, or a damaged driveline U-joint. You might notice the car juddering in an up-and-down motion. Vibrations can be felt through the brake pedal, steering wheel, or seats.
What sensation does transmission shudder cause?
A transmission shudder can make your car feel like it’s vibrating or shaking. This can be noticeable even if you’re not driving very fast. The shudder can cause noticeable lags in your vehicle’s performance. Some cars have a transmission temperature indicator that can warn you if your transmission is overheating.
Can a car shake because of the transmission?
Low transmission fluid levels can cause your car to vibrate when you accelerate. While relatively easy to correct, it should be addressed immediately. If you have a leak and continue to drive with low transmission fluid, your car’s transmission could suffer long-term damage.
Can faulty spark plugs cause vibration?
Inefficient spark plugs can cause uneven fuel combustion in the engine, altering the RPMs and causing noise. You may notice increased vibrations when your car is idling or moving at low speeds. These engine-related vibrations can cause the whole vehicle to shake.
Does low brake fluid cause shaking?
Brake pads may vibrate during braking, potentially indicating low brake fluid levels. In this case, you should immediately drive your car to a nearby auto shop for professional help before the issue escalates and causes irreversible damage.
How can you tell if your tires are balanced?
Common signs of unbalanced tires include poor fuel economy, uneven and faster tread wear, and vibrations in the steering wheel, floorboard, or seat that increase with speed. When all parts of the wheel-tire unit are as evenly weighted as possible, it rolls smoothly.
Can alignment issues cause a car to vibrate?
Alignment issues can cause persistent vehicle vibration whether you’re braking, accelerating, or maintaining a steady speed. The steering wheel may seem to “push” your car in one direction instead of smoothly guiding it in a straight line.
Identifying the exact cause of vibrations at 30, 40, and 60 mph is challenging as nearly every moving part in a car can generate them. Instead, pinpoint the source of the vibrations and associated noise, then narrow down potential culprits through a process of elimination.