As a responsible driver, you work hard to keep your car in the best possible shape. You pay close attention to the condition of the vehicle, and you are always looking for the early warning signs that could spell trouble down the road.
So when your previously smooth idling car starts shaking at stop signs and idling rough at red lights, you know it is cause for concern. But what could be causing that sudden shaking, and what can you do to stop it?
There are a number of things that can cause that sudden shaking, and in some cases there may be more than one issue going on. If you want to get to the root cause of the shaking and restore your smooth idle, it is best to work through the potential problems one by one.
It is also a good idea to have your vehicle checked out by a mechanic, especially if the shaking is new, or if it is severe. A pronounced shake could be prelude to a complete shutoff, and that could spell danger if you are on the road at the time.
Fouled Spark Plugs
Fouled or dirty spark plugs are a common cause of shaking during idling, and that is a good place to start. If you know how, you can check your spark plugs on your own, but it is best to let the professionals check things out.
If your car is due for a tune-up, replacing those old spark plugs with new ones could be enough to restore your smooth idle and stop the shaking. If this fails to resolve the issue and the new spark plugs quickly become fouled, you may need to have additional work on your engine.
Problems with Fuel
Issues with the quality of the fuel in your vehicle can also cause a pronounced shaking at red lights, stop signs and other idling conditions. If you just fueled up and the shaking started soon afterward, there could be water or other contamination in the fuel.
In this case, you should immediately return to the station where you bought your gas to report the situation. Other drivers may be similarly affected, and reporting the problem quickly could help you get restitution if something bad happens.
Whether the shaking during idling is caused by bad fuel, fouled spark plugs or something else, this is one problem you should never ignore. Having your car shake during idling makes a breakdown more likely, and an unexpected shutdown of your engine could put you and other drivers at risk.