Car shaking

Car shaking when driving

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Have you noticed your car shaking? If so, it may be telling you that there’s a problem.

One of our customers felt a vibration when driving. It was taken on a test drive and it seemed that the issue was somewhere in the drive train.

We put it up on a lift and when we ran it at about 40 miles per hour, we were able to move the drive shaft, which should be tight. This indicated that the transfer case was failing.

car shaking
Old transfer case

There were also metal flakes in the fluid coming out of the seal where the driveshaft goes into the transfer case.

When removing the transfer case, our technician needed to drain the fluid. As he did this, he saw metal chunks coming out of the drain band.

What is a transfer case? How do you maintain a transfer case?

Found on four-wheel drive vehicles, a transfer case connects the transmission to the front axle.

We recommend having regular transfer case fluid exchanges performed to extend the component’s lifespan.

During this maintenance service, old transfer case fluid is exchanged with new fluid. Transfer case fluid is responsible for keeping components, such as gears and bearings, lubricated. Overtime, it isn’t able to do its job as well and needs to be changed. 

Make sure that the correct type of fluid is being used. We see more problems with transfer cases, because somebody put the wrong fluid in.

It’s also a good idea to have your vehicle looked over to ensure that the transfer case isn’t leaking and any nearby parts don’t need to be replaced.

Symptoms of a bad transfer case

Even if you do keep up with transfer case maintenance, this part can still go bad from daily use.

A vehicle vibrating is just one indicator of a bad transfer case. Other symptoms include a growling noise.

You may also notice issues with the 4-wheel-drive. When you engage the system, the  4-wheel drive light might start flashing, which means that there’s a computer code indicating a problem. The system might also engage intermittently or not work at all.

Is your car shaking? Here’s what you should do.

If you notice your car is vibrating, you should have it checked out at a nearby car repair shop.

Drive shafts

The problem may have to do with the transfer case, or it could lie with another part. Unbalanced drive shafts and can cause a vibration.

Bad carrier bearing

Bad carrier bearings may also lead a vehicle to shake.

Constant velocity drive shaft

Other possible causes behind this symptom include bad constant velocity joints and bad universal joints.

Because various components could be the culprit, it’s best to have an expert take a look at your vehicle and perform any needed diagnostic testing. They will be able to pinpoint the issue and get your vehicle back up and running the way it should be.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.