Vibration, when you shift gears, can be worrisome and even scary. Anything like shaking, jolting or grinding is not normal and you should take notice. Most of the time this car shaking is caused by the transmission, though it can sometimes be caused by a bent exhaust or one that’s different to the original.
Vibrating, shaking and grinding can indicate serious problems with your transmission so it’s important to get your vehicle checked sooner rather than later. Repairs to your transmission can be one of the most expensive jobs you will come across, but finding the fault sooner can help to keep repairs simpler, and less expensive.
Low transmission fluid
One of the simplest faults, and a common one would be low transmission fluid. When this lubricating fluid gets low the parts in your transmission system can grind together and cause vibrations. Transmission fluid should always be topped up at the earliest interval to help prevent damage – it’s an easy way to ruin your transmission.
The u-joint compensates for motion and change in position, keeping the driveshaft, differential and transmission connected and spinning freely. Worn u-joints can create a thudding noise when changing gears and when suddenly increasing speeds, the noise can usually be heard from the center to rear of the vehicle. The vibration you experience can mean that the driveshaft has become imbalanced and this can lead to damage in the transmission and other components.
Worn u-joints are more common in rear-wheel drive cars, trucks and SUVs. They are generally inexpensive to fix and replace.
Shocks are part of your suspension; they help to stabilize the vehicle when turning, braking, accelerating and driving over uneven surfaces. Over time shocks can wear out and one of the symptoms that can present is transmission vibration, particularly on bumpy and uneven roads.
Computer system problems
A symptom of modern-day cars; sometimes car shaking isn’t caused by a fault with the transmission but the computer system instead. Since these complex systems are connected to most parts of the car, a fault in one location can often have a knock-on effect in one area that is not entirely related. Though the vibration may be coming through the transmission, it doesn’t necessarily suggest there’s an actual problem with it. It can be difficult to determine if vibration when shifting gears is caused by the transmission itself or the computer system. To find the root cause a mechanic needs to know specific details such as the driving conditions, how long you were driving for and the exact type of vibration or noise experienced.