Check Engine Light and Car Shaking: Everything You Need To Know

Your check engine light has been coming on every time you start your vehicle and now your car is beginning to shake. How do you check engine light flashing and car shaking?

What Causes the Check Engine Light and Car Shaking?

Malfunctioning Cylinder

A malfunctioning cylinder could be the culprit for a check engine light and your car shaking. Every cylinder in your car must play its part in passing a mixture of fuel and air in the system.

Problems With Your Catalytic Converter

The other trouble maybe with your catalytic converter. When a check engine light is flashing in your car, this usually means trouble with your catalytic converter. You should notice a difference in the performance of your vehicle. It will not drive as smoothly and may seem to have a pull while driving your vehicle.

A catalytic converter can overheat when an increase of unburned gas comes through the exhaust system because of an inadequate spark plug, leaky exhaust valve, or other fuel system issues. When you experience this, it is a sign that you should pull your car over to the side of the road and turn it off immediately as to not do any more damage to your vehicle.

Spark plugs inside the engine.

Bad Spark Plugs

Your check engine light and car shaking issue may be that you have inadequate spark plugs. They are an important part of your engine properly functioning. Your spark plugs help to ignite and transmit fuel to other components inside the machine. The spark plugs help the engine and vehicle to operate normally. Check your spark plugs or replace them to see if this will fix your problem.

Bad Ignition Ring

Your car’s ignition ring may not be properly working. The ignition ring helps the spark plugs to ignite the spark to run your vehicle. The ignition ring is the main transformer that generates power for your spark plugs. The ignition ring gives the spark plugs the power to ignite and run your vehicle properly.

Clogged Fuel Filter

Your fuel filter may be clogged and this could be the reason for your engine light coming on and your car shaking. When you place fuel in your car, there may be impurities like dirt that is in excess that is left in your filter. A filter that is unable to keep your fuel flowing as it should, could cause problems in the engine of your car.

Faulty Intake Gasket

A faulty intake manifold gasket could also be the culprit for your check engine light to come on and your car shaking. A gasket forms a seal and when this loosens, you will often smell coolant leaking and an overheating engine. This is a good time to check your gasket for a possible replacement.

Rough Rear Drive Shaft and U Joints

Rear-drive shafts and U joints may also be the cause of your check engine light coming on and your car shaking. Remove the driveshaft and feel the movement of the joints. Any difficult patches here will only be increased once the engine runs and the car is driving on the road.

Bent Axle

A bent axle could result in a check engine light coming on or your car shaking. When you run over a bump in the road, especially while driving at a high speed, this can cause damage to your axle and CV joint at the end of the axle which could result in a serious shaking of your car and your engine light coming on. Stay away from unnecessary bumps in the road and check your axle to ensure that it is not bent.

Misaligned Tires

Check your vehicle’s tires regularly to make sure that they are not loose, misaligned, not installed properly, and/or have inadequate thread. Keeping your tires balanced ensures that they are not the source of your car shaking or the check engine light coming on while driving on the road.

Loose Hoses

A loose or disconnected air hose or vacuum hose can cause significant shaking of your car’s engine. To correct the problem, simply reattach the loose hose or replace it.

Misadjusted or Worn Out Belts

Misadjusted or worn belts like the serpentine belt can cause shaking in your car. These belts help to run the fans in the engine which could lead to overheating of the engine and shaking.

Bad Coolant Temperature Sensor

A bad coolant temperature sensor can cause the engine light to come on and your car to shake. A bad sensor can cause an overheated engine, poor fuel economy, engine lights to turn on, black smoke emitting from your car’s engine, poor idling, and defective electrical cooling fans.

How to Fix a Flashing Check Engine Light and Shaking Car?

Take Your Vehicle to a Professional Repair Shop

The best way to fix a check engine light and car shaking are to take your vehicle to a local reputable repair shop that specializes in engine repair. An engine is a big job and requires experience in working with this machine. Newer vehicles have a more challenging technology that often requires a certified mechanic to maintain your engine and keep it running as it should.

Car mechanic at work.

A certified mechanic can tap into the source of your engine problem by doing a diagnostic test and working on the specific issue. This ensures you that the repair job is done correctly and the issue has been resolved.

DIY and Check the Components That Could Be the Source of the Problem

If you are someone who is good at working on cars, then begin checking all of the major components of your vehicle that could be the culprit of your check engine light being on and your car shaking. Check the cylinders, catalytic converter, spark plugs, ignition ring, fuel filter, gasket, rear driveshafts, U joints, axle, air hose, and tires to ensure they are working properly. You may have to replace some of these components to get your car running smoothly on the road.

Can Your Engine Make Your Car Shake?

An engine that is not running properly can cause your car to shake. There are reasons for the cause of this shaking. They include: bad motor mounts, an engine misfire, or internal engine failure.

Bad Motor Mounts

Having bad motor mounts can cause your engine to shake. It may be best to have them checked and changed immediately. Continuing to leave the motor mounts on will only increase the problem and have the issue continue throughout other components of your vehicle. This means more money out of your pocket to resolve the issue.

Engine rattling due to bad motor mounts common symptoms include excessive engine vibration, especially under heavy acceleration and/or engine revving when engine movements are most pronounced.

Engine Misfire

Technically, an engine misfire is the result of incomplete combustion or zero combustion inside one or more of an engine’s cylinders. However, the problem will feel like hesitation or shaking when the car is running. On newer vehicles, that shaking will cause the check engine light to come on.

There are some signs that you can look for if you are concerned about a misfiring of your engine. These include hearing one or more misfiring cylinders in your engine, you will be able to smell a misfiring engine, there will be a loss of power with a misfiring engine and a misfiring engine will produce a black cloud of exhaust fumes.

Internal Engine Failure

Internal engine failure means abnormal combustion inside the engine that produces excessive heat and pressure in the combustion chamber. However, it can also be caused by bad ignition timing, incorrect spark plugs, low octane fuel, or an elevated engine operating temperature.

Common reasons for engine failure include: the engine will not start, your engine overheats due to a low coolant level in the system, your car stalling while driving, smoke, or steam coming from your car, noises coming from your vehicle that are abnormally loud, oil issues, and water in the engine.

How to Fix the Issue

Remember to always do your homework on pricing each item that may need to be replaced. If you have a friend or family member who is mechanically inclined, you may want them to check your vehicle first before taking it to an expensive repair shop. He can at least give you a beginning point to start while looking for the source of your problem.

If he is a trusted friend or family member, he can look under the hood of your car and test out each part or component and give you a better idea of the issue. You may also want to take your car in to have a diagnostic test was done which usually runs less than $100 and give your family member or friend a rundown of the problems from the diagnostic test.

If you have an older vehicle, you may be able to get away with having a family member or friend working on your car. However, with the way technology has changed in newer cars, a breakdown where your check engine light is coming on and your car is shaking will almost always warrant you taking it to a professional for repairs.

A newer car’s parts are sometimes more difficult to get to for repair. A certified mechanic has the right tools and knowledge to understand the body of each type of vehicle. A mechanic will assess the problem, usually through diagnostic testing and other resources, and begin working on the source of the problem. He can make recommendations on what will stop the issue and help your vehicle to drive better on the road.

Trusted auto repair shop.

Check the customer reviews for the repair shop you have chosen. Customer reviews are always a great way to get a sense of how satisfied consumers are with the work of the repair shop and mechanic. Knowing that you are bringing your vehicle to a shop where others are pleased with the work, will help you feel more confident that the job will be done the right way. Check with at least 3 to 5 repair shops to get the best pricing for your issue.

Mechanics often charge a high price for their labor services. And working with engine problems is astronomical within itself. Ask a friend or family member to recommend a good shop that they were pleased with and where the job was done with excellence. Keep your receipts from the diagnostic testing and repair work and see if there is a warranty on the work.

The warranty will give you an extra layer of confidence that if something goes wrong in the future that you will be able to bring your car back for repairs. Your vehicle is more than just your car, but is like a part of your family and you want to make sure that it is well maintained. As questions about the process and make sure that your repair shop, certified mechanic and you are all on the same page with regards to repairing your check engine light and car shaking.

Article Summary

This article is meant to describe what causes your check engine light to come on and your car to shake? It also describes how to fix your check engine light from coming on and how to stop your car from shaking? The article also answers does an engine cause your car to shake?

Please comment with any questions on this article.

Summary of Question 1:

What causes your check engine light to come on and car to shake include: a malfunctioning cylinder, trouble with your catalytic converter, inadequate spark plugs, bad ignition ring, fuel filter clogged, a faulty intake gasket, bad or misaligned tires, loosened air hose, or vacuum hose, bent axle, bad rear driveshaft, U joints, misadjusted and damaged belts like the serpentine belt, just to name a few.

Summary to Question 2:

How to fix a check engine light and your car from shaking include: taking your vehicle to a local reputable repair shop that specializes in engine repair. If you choose to do it yourself, then you will need to check the components of the source of the check engine light to come on and your car from shaking, remove, and possibly replace them.

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About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!

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