Driving on the highway can be a relaxing experience. But if your car starts to vibrate at highway speeds, it’s time to check your vehicle’s tires and suspension.
This guide will help you find the causes of intermittent vibration at highway speeds so you can get back on the road and enjoy your ride!
Reasons for Intermittent Vibration at Highway Speeds
If you are experiencing vibration at highway speeds, it could be one of a few different things:
Wheel misalignment is one common cause of vibration.
To check for this issue, look at the tires and ensure they are wearing evenly. If not, the wheels are out of alignment and need to be realigned.
Look for uneven tire wear on both sides of each tire; if one side shows more wear than another, the wheel is likely out of alignment.
In a car’s suspension system, the springs, shock absorbers, and linkages that connect the wheels to the body help keep the tires in contact with the road surface.
The suspension is designed to absorb and dampen bumps and impacts, so passengers feel smooth rolling rather than bouncing along like a pogo stick.
While driving on a highway at highway speeds, though, most of these effects are not present but still impact your car. These cause wear on your shocks or struts over time as they repeatedly compress and rebound against each other (or against their mounts).
As these components wear out over time due to repeated use (especially if there are no signs of damage), they can become less effective at absorbing those shocks and intermittent vibrations caused by regular driving conditions.
This can cause several issues, including increased wear on other components in the suspension system and poor handling. The most common signs that your shocks or struts are worn out include:
- You start feeling bumps you didn’t notice before (especially after driving over them again), even if they’re small.
- You hear squeaking noises when driving over bumps or turning corners.
- You feel like your car bounces over bumps and turns instead of rolling smoothly.
- Your vehicle leans too far when turning corners or braking.
- You have trouble stopping or slowing down your vehicle.
- Your car pulls to one side when braking or turning corners.
The first thing to check for is wheel imbalance, which is caused by a wheel that’s not perfectly round. This could be due to bent or damaged rims, wheels that aren’t spinning true (one side of the rim spins faster than the other), damaged bearings and tires, or even a damaged wheel bearing.
The most common cause of this problem is bent rims, so if your vehicle has them and you are taking it in for service anyway—like after an accident—you can have them checked out while you are at it. Otherwise, take your car into a shop to get all four wheels balanced if they are not already.
If your car doesn’t have bent rims, the problem could be with the tires or wheels themselves.
Check for flat spots on each tire (they will look like dark spots on the tread) and see if they move when you rotate them.
If they don’t move or are in different places on each tire, then it means that one side of your car has more weight bearing down on it than the other—which could be causing a vibration issue.
Tire pressure: Check your tire pressure, as it could be low. WHEELSCRIBE recommends checking your tires every two weeks or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. If the tire pressure is low, it will cause excessive flexing in the tire’s sidewall, which can lead to vibration at highway speeds.
Tread depth: If you have had an alignment done recently and it was not within specifications (or if you haven’t had one done yet), another possible cause of vibrations at highway speeds may be excessive tread depth wear on one or both sides of an unbalanced tire (usually caused by an improperly aligned vehicle).
Tire wear: A worn-out or underinflated tire can cause vibrations when traveling at high speeds because there isn’t enough rubber between the road surface and wheel assembly to absorb shock waves from bumps along your route.
Additionally, uneven wear patterns often point toward improper alignment issues causing chassis-related vibration problems at higher speeds and noise from cracked rotors rubbing against pads due to improper maintenance during scheduled replacement intervals.
A study from AAA showed that most Americans simply inflate their tires to what’s on the side wall rather than checking for proper inflation levels with a gauge first—but keeping your tires properly inflated helps keep them from wearing out prematurely and reduces fuel consumption by up to 3 percent (and saves money!).
If your car vibrates while driving but has no other issues like noise or performance issues at low speeds or when braking or accelerating slowly etc., then you should be able to get rid of those vibrations by inflating all four tires equally by 2 pounds per square inch (or PSI).
Car Frame or Body Damage
The most common cause of a vibrating car is damage to the frame or body. This can be caused by an accident, poor driving, or poor maintenance.
If you have had an accident that damaged your car but couldn’t take it in for repairs right away—or if you have been driving around with a damaged vehicle—there’s a good chance that this is the problem.
If you are experiencing vibrations, having your mechanic check the tires is a good idea. They may be worn out or damaged and need replacing or repairing. If not, they may be able to adjust them to align with each other again.
The axle is the part of your car that connects the wheels to the drivetrain. An axle can be damaged from hitting a curb or pothole, which causes it to crack and weaken.
A broken axle can cause vibration at highway speeds because of misalignment in your wheel bearings.
Brake System Malfunction
Brakes are a car’s most crucial and essential safety feature of any vehicle you drive. They are designed to stop your car quickly, safely, and smoothly.
A brake system malfunction often causes intermittent vibration at highway speeds.
The wheel cylinders may leak or have air, interfering with the braking process when you press on your brakes. If this is the case, we recommend that you have your brakes checked by a mechanic as soon as possible so that they can determine what needs to be done to fix it.
If your car is vibrating at highway speeds, it could be caused by any number of things. Damaged engine parts, such as loose or broken motor mounts, can cause your car to vibrate excessively while driving.
Fix this by replacing the mount with a new one that fits snugly in its place and holds the engine securely in place without excessive movement. If you are still experiencing vibration after replacing your mount(s), check for any other loose or damaged parts on your vehicle before looking elsewhere for additional causes of vibration.
Damaged Shock Absorber
Your shock absorbers are hydraulic components that dampen the motion of the springs. They are critical to the performance of your car and should be replaced if they are leaking, worn, or damaged.
If you suspect that one of your shock absorbers is no longer working correctly, check for leaks by topping up its fluid level (if it’s low) and checking for any signs of leakage on either side—the front end and rear end—of each tire.
In addition to looking for leaks around both ends of the car’s tires, pay attention to how your vehicle handles when driving at highway speeds: does it seem like something is loose in there?
Be Aware of How Your Car Feels!
If your car is vibrating at highway speeds, you should be aware that vibration isn’t just an annoying thing to put up with. It’s something that can be dangerous and should be treated as such.
The best way to deal with this issue is by finding a reputable mechanic and having them inspect your vehicle for any potential problems.
If the problem turns out to be minor, they will fix it quickly and easily—but if something more serious happens under the hood, they will know what needs to be addressed so that you can feel safe on the road again.
As you can see, the causes of intermittent vibration vary. Tools for diagnosing intermittent vibrations are also numerous.
If you have an intermittent vibration at highway speeds affecting your ability to drive safely or if other symptoms accompany this condition (such as the stalling of the engine or a no-start condition), we recommend contacting a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.
Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about the causes of intermittent vibration at highway speeds. We’re here to help!