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Why your Car Vibrates in Drive but not in Neutral - 4 Possible Reasons

Why your Car Vibrates in Drive but not in Neutral – 4 Possible Reasons

No matter what type of vehicle you drive, they all should run smoothly on a flat road. However, if you have been noticing that your car vibrates in the drive but not in neutral, then there can be many issues that might be causing it to vibrate. Car vibration is one of those annoying problems that sneak in quietly and come out drastically making sure that you can’t ignore them. Have you also wondered why your car shakes when braking? You might experience a number of symptoms.

When you experience vibrations in your car while driving, it might be because of a wear and tear problem. If yes, then it is possible that you have noticed wobbling and shaking progression over time.

You must not take any issue for granted when your car is trying to tell you through vibrations or sounds. Your car may be showing its age when it’s shaking. For this, you might need to check the main culprit behind the issue.

Possible reasons why your car vibrates in drive but not in neutral

Reason 1 – Tire Problem

The main cause of your car’s vibration starts with the tires. There may be imbalanced tires. The shaking of your car may not be prominent at a slow speed. But when you reach the speed of 50 or 60 mph, you may feel like your car may open into pieces if you move a single mile. Not only the steering wheel, but the seat, bonnet, and the entire car will begin vibrating with a certain mph count.

Tires deteriorate in a very significant way. Therefore, checking for any flat spot might also help in resolving the vibrating issue. If there’s an out-of-balance car, show it to a mechanic, and in case of severe damages, you might need to change the tire(s).

Reason 2 – Engine Problem

If you are an old driver, you must know how important it is for an engine to get proper oxygen, spark, and fuel. When your car lacks in maintaining any of these necessary elements, your engine system may not work properly in running the car smoothly.

When these engine issues arise, your vehicle starts shaking when you accelerate at a higher speed or want to join the rest with a specific speed.

In order to prevent these issues from arising, keep a check on your car’s air filters, fuel pumps, and the spark plugs regularly and replace them when needed. The main element that may deprive your car of getting enough air, fuel, or oxygen can be clogged filters. So, taking care of them regularly can be beneficial in the long run.

On the other hand, when you experience that your car vibrates in the drive but not in neutral, when you park it, or at the red light, while the engine is in a working state – there might be an issue in the engine mount. A damaged engine mount may also be one of the reasons to shake your car while it’s in an idle state.

Reason 3 – Brakes issue

A wrapped or worn-out brake rotor might be another culprit to make your car vibrate at an intense level. In the event of a damaged rotor, the vibration begins with the brake pedal and goes with the pulsing feeling all through the steering wheel. Make sure to check the rotor if engine and tire wear is not the reason for the vibration. Replace or change the rotor if needed.

Another reason for wobbling and vibration of your car while driving can be a rusted brake caliper. If this is the case, then you will start feeling vibration at your steering wheel at the speed of 50pmh. These vibrations will ascend as the speed increases. It is also possible that you may smell the burning odor when you stop at the parking or signal.

For further safety, keep the braking system of your car regularly checked as it is the most important part of your vehicle.

Reason 4 – Axle problems

If your vehicle met with a collision lately, it is possible that the axle of your car has been damaged, bent, or moved from its junction. The wear and tear of the axle also become the reason for your car’s vibration as you raise the speed, the vibrations will also intensify.

In addition, the driveshaft issues may also be the reason for intense vibrations. The driveshaft is an important component of a vehicle, which transfers the engine power to the rear or the front axle.

In using an FWD vehicle, if you feel the bouncing motions of your car at the front wheel, you may also hear the crackling noise that might be coming because of the broken CV joint. Repairing CV joints or replacing the entire driveshaft will help in reducing the vibrations from the front.

On the flip side, if you feel bouncing motions coming from the back of your car (mostly occur in RWD vehicles) which normally increases when you slow down your car from a speed, there might be a universal joints (U-joints) issue at the driveshaft. For this, repairing the joints or replacing the driveshaft will resolve the bouncing issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Why does the car vibrate in drive but not in neutral?

When you sense vibrations in your vehicle, they might be because of the engine misfire, tire imbalance, axle issues, brake problems, or a driveshaft failure. There may be some inner transmission problem that is causing your car to vibrate.

Why does a car shake when it is stopped?

When there’s a vibration at a stationary state, there might be issues with the motor or transmission mounts. Broken or rusted transmission mounts can seriously make your car vibrate when it reaches a specific low speed after you move from a higher speed. You need to fix it completely before it turns into a severe hazard.

What reasons are there when your car shudders?

If there’s no other reason in your car that is causing vibrations due to transmission or engine issues, your car may run out of fuel or gas. This commonly happens with vehicles that people underestimate easily.

No sparks mean that you might need to replace spark plugs. If the driveshaft joints are worn out, you need to repair or replace them.

Why does the car vibrate when you drive in reverse?

Shaking of the car would happen if there are faulty spark plugs, problematic engine, and depreciated tire health. You need to keep your car regularly checked in order to have a smooth long drive on a flat road.


Now we can say, whether it is mainly the upstream O2 sensors that are affected or the downstream O2 sensors, in either situation, you will get the same signs. Moreover, you are also required to often troubleshoot when it comes to helping because it will tell you the exact sensor which has got worse. For determining which of the among O2 sensors got bad, you are required to use an OBII scanner for troubleshooting the sensors, or a voltmeter in order to read the voltage transmission of each sensor.

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