Engine vibrations can be quite alarming to any motorist. Whether you’re running at cruising speed or just idling, shudders and slips in the engine might sound very serious. But despite the raucous sound that it makes, the underlying problem may not always be as bad as one would expect. There are only a few likely culprits for a vibrating engine so troubleshooting this problem shouldn’t be much of a hassle to someone who has a good understanding of cars and mechanics.
But even if you know that it’s not really a big deal as far as actual damage to the engine is concerned, the sound can really make you uneasy while driving, especially if you have loved ones on board. It also goes without saying as well that a car that produces noise at that level doesn’t exactly strike most people as impressive.
Here are a few ways you can diagnose and stop vibrations.
- Turn on your engine in a relatively quiet place–your garage would probably do. The first step is, of course, to determine where the actual vibration of your engine is coming from. Listen for sucking sounds or hissing, which would suggest some damage in an air hose, vacuum hose, or water hose. These could be simply disengaged or loose from its rightful place. If you see anything of this nature, simply reconnect and tighten the hoses’ connection and see if it solves the problem. If you don’t hear the noises after you make this simple repair, you can let go a sigh of relief because you probably don’t have to do anything further.
- If you still hear something amiss, try to check if you can hear your engine “miss.” Missing occurs when that the one or more cylinders inside the engine does not fire properly or on time. If you suspect that your engine is, indeed, missing, inspect the spark plugs if they are burnt or worn out, or if they are rusted. Spark plugs are fairly inexpensive to change. However, if you own a carbureted car, you would have to tune up the engine after changing spark plugs.
- The next step is to check your high tension ignition wires. High temperatures might cause cracks and brittleness in these wirings. Uneven electricity distribution usually also causes missing, poor timing and ignition. One way to check this is by revving the engine while in gear, but also stepping on the brakes. On a manual transmission car, try revving the car while in first gear, with the handbrake on. This puts some load on the engine, and results in a stall. But it can also tell you if the engine is having difficulty producing enough horsepower to pull the load.
- The engine mounts could also be the source of the problem. Check the engine support, which are rubber blocks in between the chassis and right underneath the engine. You can also check the transmission support, as poor mounting would cause vibrations while the car is running. Broken or damaged supports also cause metallic banging sounds when you pass potholes or speedbumps on the road, so this is not very difficult to diagnose.
- Lastly, check your engine for leaks and for worn hoses. Leaks from parts like the harmonic balancer, power steering, and other components might result in vibrations.
Use this guide as a short checklist of possible sources of vibrations. If one step doesn’t solve your problem, move on to the next one. Keep in mind that it is possible to have more than just one source for the engine vibration. If you’ve done all of these steps and you still hear vibration from your engine, maybe you’re better off taking your car to the auto repair garage to know what’s wrong with the engine.