Auto Mechanic’s Tip – How to Locate Driveline Vibrations

Whether you drive a lot or a little, driveline vibration can be an irritating problem to deal with. For most auto mechanics, the most compelling challenge is to find the vibration’s point of origin. It’s usually a task that requires firsthand knowledge of a vehicle’s driveline components.

Your vehicle’s wheels, tires, axles, transmission, driveshaft, clutch or torque converter, along with engine parts, rotate at a high rate of speed. Any one of these components can be worn or out of spec and be the source of your vehicle’s vibration troubles.

The first step in diagnosing the origin of the vibration is to try and determine the exact conditions under which the vibration occurs. There are three basic types of vibration to be on the lookout for.

Engine Related (RPM) Vibration

RPM-related vibrations will most likely occur when your car is placed in all gears, and is quite often attributed to the engine or any other engine components that turn at the same speed. The harmonic balancer, flexplate and transmission input shaft are several components to consider. If you are scoping the cause, and the vibration changes or disappears as speed is increased, you can eliminate RPM as the problem.

Speed-Related Vibration

A vibration related to vehicle speed will usually manifest when you’ve reached a certain speed and worsen if the vehicle’s speed increases. Several possible sources might be the wheels, universal joints, axles or transmission output shaft. You can narrow down the problem further by maintaining the same speed and shifting into a different gear. If the vibration goes away, you’ll know that speed is not the cause.

Acceleration/Deceleration-Related Vibration

If the vehicle vibration changes, whether you are accelerating, decelerating or maintaining a steady cruise speed, there could be numerous causes. Just keep in mind that your vehicle works as a complete system, and that the relationship between all the parts has to be understood when trying to diagnose any problems associated with driveline components.

If the problem becomes too much of a challenge to handle, there are always reputable vehicle repair shops with well-trained automotive technicians that can examine your vehicle. Just make sure any repairs suggested are warranted and within your budget.