Car engines will always vibrate when running, but if you notice that your car is vibrating at the red light or when parked, it may signal an engine trouble. What you must know is that an engine is designed in such a way to cancel out vibrations so that you and your passengers can have a smooth ride. So what exactly is happening when your car vibrates when idle?

I will take you through some of the reasons behind idle car vibrations. Through this article, I also hope to give you simple ideas on how to fix this vibration problem.


Causes of Car Vibrations When in Idle Mode

Getting to know the causes will help you explain better to the mechanic, and it will make it easier for him to sort out the whole problem

1. Loose or Disconnected Hoses

A disconnected vacuum or air hose will inevitably cause a vibration. Vacuum leaks is considered the primary cause of engine idle vibrations. The reason is that the intake system is meant to hold up more air when the car is idle than when the vehicle is operational. The greater the load (vehicle is in operation), the less the vacuum. You should also look out for cracks or pores on the air and vacuum hoses.

1. Loose or Disconnected Hoses

2. Faulty Timing Belt

All timing belts should have the correct tension to ensure rotations inside the engine match the revs the car make. A broken or loose belt, render fans and other rotating components are not to operate consistently. This will result in squeaking sounds and idle vibrations. Always make sure your timings belts have the right tension and that have no cracks or ribbing.

Belts work alongside the shaft timing to counter the natural engine vibrations. The misaligned crankshaft will leave the belt out of position and affect the whole timing belt or chain system.

2. Faulty Timing Belt

3. Faulty Fuel Intake System

An intake valve must have proper sealing. Any contamination that happens within the intake system as a result of leakage means that the engine operates on dirty fuel, this will also cause vibrations. Cleaning the components of the intake system and adjusting the idle on a carburetor ensure that your car runs on clean energy. Making necessary adjustments not only reduces vibrations but it also make sure your engine runs efficiently.

3. Faulty Fuel Intake System

4. Broken Engine Mounts

This is the rubber suspensions that an engine is mounted upon to lessen vibrations. A broken mount means that your car’s engine will be rested on the body and this will result in noticeable vibrations. The simplest way to confirm broken mounts is to put the car on neutral and try to see if the vibration continues. If the vibration continues, it is time to pay a visit to your favorite mechanic. You may also physically check on the mount for cracks, oil leaks, and if there is any separation on the mount frame.

5. Worn Out Spark Plugs

A worn out or faulty spark plug is likely to add on to the car vibration when idle. A bad spark plug will give the common problem referred to as engine misfiring; some spark plugs are not firing as expected. Every time there is a misfire, your car will vibrate. If this is what you find to be the reason for your vehicle’s vibration, get new spark plugs for replacements.

5. Worn Out Spark Plugs

6. Engine Compression

For cylinders to operate fully and at an optimum, equal amounts of compression should be applied to all cylinders. Poor compression will cause vibrations when the car is idle. To confirm this, you will have to perform an engine compression test to get accurate readings and make proper adjustments.

6. Engine Compression

7. ​Transmission Problems

​In some cases, low transmission fluid is likely to cause idle vibrations. A dirty transmission filter will also result in dirty oil passing through the transmission and therefore creates the shaking effects. You need to be checking on the levels of your transmission fluid and replace dirty filters.

7. ​Transmission Problems

8. ​Different Worn Out Parts

​Other parts not directly related to the engine will result in idle vibration when they are worn out. These parts include

  • ​Struts and shocks
  • Strut bearings
  • Ball joints
  • Tie rod ends

Every time you take your car to the service shop ensure that the parts listed above are also checked for consistency.


Regardless of what causes your car to vibrate when idle, I hope you see the urgency as to why should visit your auto mechanic for proper diagnosis and fix. Continued vibrations if unchecked will lead to costly repairs in the future.

As I was writing this article, I also tried to give possible solutions so that you would be able to know what to do when caught up in idle vibrations. Some of the reasons as to why a car vibrates when idle can be solved by you, especially if it involves buying and replacing parts. A qualified mechanic should address any other complex analysis such as leakdown and compression tests.

If you feel that you still have a lot to share with us on this issue, please do not hesitate to comment and share.

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Chief editor at Paul's Gigantic Garage. I came up with this blog to help you to sort out some basic problems your car may be facing and in turn, save lots of cash by some of my DIY tips that I hope will get your car out of its current situation. I also had in mind motor enthusiasts who for the love of cars who are constantly looking for information about cars on the latest trends, questions, fixes, driving, tricks, and accessories.


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