Car Shakes At Idle but Smooths Out While Driving

Car Shakes At Idle but Smooths Out While Driving

If you’ve ever owned a manual transmission car, you know that changing gears while idling can be challenging under the best of circumstances. But what if your car shakes at idle but smoothens out while driving? What is going on? If your car only shudders when it’s idling, then the problem is likely related to your transmission. After all, there aren’t too many other moving parts in a car that are sensitive to engine RPMs. And it’s not unheard of for the rubber gasket around a transmission to dry and crack (or simply wear out from age) which can result in noises coming from that area when you’re idling. But if the shaking goes away while driving, then you probably have something else going on with your car.

Car Shakes At Idle but Smooths Out While Driving?

If your car shakes at idle but smooths out while driving, it could be a sign of an engine misfire. The engine misfires when the air/fuel mixture in the cylinders is incorrect. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including a dirty air filter, bad spark plugs, or a problem with the fuel injectors. If you’re experiencing this problem, take your car to a mechanic to have it checked out.

Check Your Tires

  1. Check your tires for excessive wear, especially at the edges. While there are a lot of variables related to tire wear, one of the biggest is driving style. If you drive like you’re on a racetrack, then tire wear will be high. In fact, some people have reported that their tires only wore down by 20% or so in as little as 100 miles of daily driving. If you’re not sure what type of driving you do on a regular basis, then find out by using a simple online car-sensor test here.
  2. Check your alignment and suspension setup to make sure it’s set up properly and not causing the shaking at idle. Your alignment should be checked every time your car is serviced and adjusted if needed from time to time to ensure proper ride quality (which includes smoothness). A properly-adjusted suspension will also ensure that the car doesn’t bounce or shake at idle or during hard acceleration or braking (which can cause the transmission to shift around).
  3. Check your clutch fluid level (and possibly replace it) if necessary. It’s not uncommon for someone to use their car with only one hand while they fill up with gas and leave without noticing that their clutch fluid is low (which can cause a shudder at idle). The fluid level in the transmission may need to be checked as well if it has been neglected over time (or if there are signs of leakage).
  4. Check your transmission fluid level and replace it if necessary. If you see a leak that causes your car to shake at idle, first check to see if the leaking area is accessible and replace it with a new gasket or sealant. If that doesn’t work, then you may have to replace the whole unit (but this is highly unusual). Otherwise, try checking your transmission fluid level again after replacing the gasket or sealant and make sure it’s correct.

Check Your Struts And Shocks

  • A common cause of noises coming from the engine at idle is the struts and shock absorbers in your car. If these are worn out, then they may not be able to deal with vibrations coming from the engine. This is especially true for vehicles that have struts that are mounted high up in the chassis where they’re not protected from road debris and other elements.
  • Another common solution to noises coming from engines at idle is a bad strut or shock absorber. These can be replaced quickly, but you’ll want to take precautions when doing so to ensure that you don’t damage your transmission as a result of improper installation.
  • There’s another possibility for noises coming from an idling engine that isn’t related to any of these issues: it could be a problem with your fuel system. For example, if you’re running low on fuel or haven’t used it in a while, then it could be causing problems with your car’s computerized fuel injection system which controls how much fuel is being injected into the cylinders of your engine at any given time during its operation. This is why some cars require drivers to top off their gas tanks periodically (or even daily) before driving long distances so as to prevent what is known as “fuel cutoffs.” The mechanics at Your Mechanic can diagnose whether or not you have one of these problems and recommend solutions accordingly.
  • And finally, there’s always the possibility that your car’s engine is just worn out. If you have high mileage, then this is likely the case. However, if your car’s engine is under warranty, then it may not be necessary to replace it at this time.
  • What if your car doesn’t make any noises at all? If the above steps haven’t helped, then it could be time to consider having your car’s engine replaced.

Your Wheels May Be Out Of Balance

  1. Check your wheel alignment.
  2. Check your steering to see if it is loose or worn out.
  3. Check your tire pressure.
  4. Look for cracks in the housing of the hubcap or wheel itself for leaks that could be causing vibrations in the wheel bearings and suspension components.
  5. Clean or replace the hubcap and lube the ball bearings in your wheels and suspension components with a high-quality lubricant designed for this purpose.

Your Brakes Might Be Failing

  • They’re not grabbing the road well enough – If your car shakes at idle but doesn’t shake when you’re driving, then your brakes might not be doing their job. It’s possible that the pads on your brake rotors are worn out or damaged and aren’t grabbing the road well enough. Or it could be that the calipers are sticking and not releasing properly. Either way, this is an area you should definitely check out before you start looking for a new transmission.
  • The Transmission Is Losing Clutch Too Quickly – If you have a manual transmission, then chances are that at some point in time your clutch will slip too quickly or lose engagement altogether. This can happen as a result of a worn-out clutch slave cylinder (not uncommon in older cars), which can cause the clutch pedal to get stuck down while idling or when shifting gears while driving.
  • Your Transmission Is Leaking – If your car shakes at idle but smooths out while driving, then there may be some fluid leaking from your transmission (either from a leaky gasket or a damaged seal). This fluid can cause vibrations as it passes through various parts of the engine and transmission assembly, so it’s important to get this checked out by an experienced mechanic as soon as possible to prevent any damage from occurring to other parts of the car along its path through there!
  • Your Trans is Loose – An inexpensive solution to shaking at idle but not while driving is to loosen the bolts that hold your transmission in place. If you’re not sure where these bolts are, then ask a friend to help you out; just make sure you put the car in neutral before doing so!
  • The Transmission Fluid is Overflowing – It’s possible that your transmission is leaking fluid and getting into the cooling system. This can cause the engine temperature to rise, which can result in a whole host of other problems, including shaking at idle and when driving. Specialists can check for this by replacing a speed sensor or pressure sensor on your transmission and checking for leaks after that repair has been completed.
  • The Shift Linkage Is Broken – Your shift linkage connects the input shaft of your transmission to the output shaft; if this connection breaks, then it can cause some serious problems (and possibly even damage). This is one of those things that most people would never think about (or even know about), but could actually be causing all kinds of issues with their car!


If none of these things seem to be the cause of your car shudder, you may have a serious problem on your hands. As with all of these issues, it’s best to get your car inspected as soon as possible. Hopefully, everything is fine, and it’s just a combination of older parts wearing out and needing to be replaced. If not, you’ll at least know what needs to be fixed and can get the car back on the road in no time.

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