In Summary
  • Normally, Kaweesa says, a standard motor vehicle spark plug usually lasts longer if it has worked for between 10,000 to 15,000 miles.
  • A rough brake rotor is caused by among other reasons, rust that sticks on the brake disc and excessive heat than the brake rotor or disc can contain.
  • If your car shudders or vibrates only when you are turning, it is a little easier to narrow down the source of your problem, since it is probably from the power steering system.

Approximately two weeks ago, Eric Makumbi gave me a lift on my way from work. Along the way, I felt a strong vibration from his car as the speed increased. On inquiring, he informed me that he had taken a while without balancing his wheels.
“My mechanic has asked me to save some money and take the car for wheel balancing. I will take it as soon as I get the money,” Makumbi responded.
Edgar Kaweesa, a mechanic at Sam’s Motor Garage in Wandegeya, says if your car vibrates as you accelerate, it is a sign that your tyres or wheels lack balancing, which in most cases is felt as the speed of your car increases.

Defunct spark plugs
Normally, Kaweesa says, a standard motor vehicle spark plug usually lasts longer if it has worked for between 10,000 to 15,000 miles. He says many motorists tend not to give attention to their plugs, forgetting that they wear out with time, just like any other car part. He advises that you should not wait for your car to come to a stop to be told by your mechanic to change or replace your spark plugs. They could either be old or defunct and the source of vibration.
“When the spark plugs are too old or when they become weak, your engine may not function well because it will not receive the required spark from the spark plugs. Your car will tend to vibrate as you drive on. If the plugs are fine, it could be that the spark plug wires need to be checked (are they connected in the proper order?) or replaced,” he says.

Old ball joints
The main purpose of ball joints is to connect the control arms of the car to the steering wheel stick for easy movement of the car. Musa Kimera, a mechanic at MK Motors Garage in Rubaga, says when your car ball joints become old, car vibration ceases to become an option.
According to Kimera, the main reason ball joints are circular in shape is because they move in all directions. They move in a horizontal direction to hold the steering arm and in a vertical direction to contain the shock absorbers for easy movements. Ball joints are also attached to the wheel hub where the wheels and tyres are connected to the rest of the car suspension.
“The shiny ball joint metal rotates in a shiny metal confinement and the movement that takes place inside the confinement is aided with grease to reduce friction. If at any one point this grease is exhausted from the ball joint, it automatically becomes damaged, causing complete wear and tear and lead to a vibration when steering and increase in speed,” Kimera explains.

Bent driveshaft
Kimera also observes that your car may vibrate as you accelerate because of a fault with your car’s driveshaft. Sometimes, also mechanically referred to as the propeller shaft, the drive shaft, just like the car engine, is one of the car parts that performs faster on your car by transferring the engine power to the rear axles and wheels in cars that mostly use rear-wheel drive system. If your drive shaft or propeller shaft is bent, it leads to a vibration.

Rough brake rotor or brake disc
Sometimes when you apply brakes, you may feel vibrations. When this happens, Kimera says, it could mean that you are driving on a rough brake rotor. A brake rotor is also sometimes called a brake disc. It is that part on your car onto which the brake pads rub to stop or reduce the speed of your car. A rough brake rotor is caused by among other reasons, rust that sticks on the brake disc and excessive heat than the brake rotor or disc can contain.

Uneven tyre wear
Car tyres too, may at times cause car vibrations as you drive. This happens especially when they are not balanced, worn out or when your tyre treads have separated from the rest of the tyre body. At times, it may not be the tyres that cause the vibration. It may be your car rims onto which the tyres are embodied that may cause the vibration when you are driving. This usually occurs when the tyres have bends that result from rough driving such as hitting humps and potholes, among other causes.

When turning
If your car shudders or vibrates only when you are turning, it is a little easier to narrow down the source of your problem, since it is probably from the power steering system. Take a look at the power steering system’s hoses to see if there are any visible leaks, and check the reservoir to see if the power steering fluid needs to be topped off.
You can also try to replicate the sound while the car is not moving. According to YourMechanic.com, an online portal, if the problem is somewhere in the power steering system, you should feel the same vibrations from turning the steering wheel even while the car is in park.