Does your car feel bumpy, wobbly, or unstable while driving? Many possible issues can cause excessive vibration when traveling at speeds above 50 miles per hour. If your car feels shaky or rough when accelerating onto the interstate, you may want to check these common issues to diagnose the problem.
Tires Are The First Place To Look
The most common culprit is where the rubber meets the road, the tires. Your car’s tires require regular inspection to ensure the safest ride possible for you and your passengers. Including maintaining proper inflation and inspecting tires for damage, routine tire maintenance is essential for safety. As you put miles on your tires, they show normal wear-and-tear over time. Tires can also show signs of abnormal wear.
One of the reasons why maintaining proper tire inflation is so important is because improper tire pressure (PSI levels) can cause abnormal tire wear. Over-inflation of tires causes the tread to wear faster in the center of the tires, while under-inflation of tires causes excessive wear on the outer edges of the tread.
If your car’s wheels are out of alignment or if suspension parts are failing, abnormal tire wear-and-tear occurs. If an automotive part responsible for keeping the chassis rolling is failing, such as a CV joint or tie-rod, it can eventually cause abnormal wear to your tires as well. Failure to rotate your tires regularly can also cause abnormal wear.
Preventive Maintenance Puts Safety First
In short, your car’s suspension and tires are critical to the safety of every trip you make in your vehicle. If your tires are showing signs of abnormal wear-and-tear, it is important to diagnose the root of the problem. Failing to do so may cause major damage to other car parts.
Cars are full of moving parts. When one piece of the equation begins failing, it is only a matter of time before the faulty part starts affecting other components negatively. Over time, the snowball can accumulate into an avalanche of auto repair issues. That is why you need to address concerns before they become expensive repair bills. Preventive maintenance is the best way to ensure your vehicle remains as healthy and safe as possible.
The 4 Most Common Causes Of 50+MPH Car Vibrations
There are many different kinds of shakes or vibrations passengers may experience while riding in a car. Tires do cause some of them, while others only occur at lower speeds or while applying the brakes. In this article, the focus is on vibrations and wobbles that occur at or above speeds of 50 miles per hour. If your car feels like you are experiencing turbulence at higher speeds, you should inspect these four potential issues to see if they are the problem:
- Check Tire Pressure – Maintaining proper tire inflation is vital to your safety. Check your tire pressure regularly to ensure your tires wear correctly and provide you with optimal control when driving. An added benefit to maintaining proper PSI levels in your tires is optimizing fuel efficiency. If one or some of your tires are not at the recommended inflation level, you will notice a stark difference while driving at certain speeds.
- Check Tires For Signs Of Abnormal Wear – If a tire shows signs of cupping (waves along the sidewall) or the tread has flat spots from hard braking, it may cause abnormal vibrations at high speeds. Run your hand along the sidewall of the tire to feel if it is flat (standard) or if it is wavy and bumpy (abnormal). Inspect the tread of each tire visually. If you have safely parked the car, without the risk of it moving, you can also gently run your hand along each tire’s tread to determine if there are any flat spots.
- Balance and Inspect Tires – Tires that are out of balance are the most common cause of high-speed wobbles in a vehicle. Sometimes driving over a pothole or accidentally driving over a curb can cause a wheel or rim to bend or warp. A bent rim can also cause unwanted vibrations while driving at higher speeds. Professional tire service shops have the necessary equipment to check if a tire is out of balance or if abnormal wear is occurring. A tire service professional will also be able to tell you if the wheel or rim is damaged.
- Inspect Suspension Components – If all your tires check out, it may be time to have a professional inspect your vehicle’s suspension. Loose or worn out suspension parts can cause wobbling while driving. There are many parts associated with your car’s suspension, and they all need inspecting if the tires are not causing the problem.
Other Possible Car Vibration Causes
Although tires and suspension components are not the only possible causes for a turbulent ride experience, they are among the most common car issues. Other potential causes may include the transmission, driveline, or even brake components. Loose motor mounts can also cause excessive vibrations while accelerating or driving.
Understanding where to look when diagnosing a wobbly car ride can save you a lot of time, money, and peace of mind in the long run. If you inspect the tires or suspension and find no signs of abnormal wear, a professional mechanic or CarDr.com inspector can help you diagnose the problem.
Whether you are trying to squeeze the most value out of your current car or shopping for a pre-owned vehicle through CarGurus used cars, you need to understand the condition of the tires and other chassis elements. A simple pre-purchase used car inspection will tell you everything you need to know before driving home.
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