What are the causes of a vibrating rear end?

Written by jen davis
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Vibrations in the rear end of a vehicle can be due to a variety of reasons. Your car's vibrating rear axle may be a sign of impending major repairs or simply an indication that your vehicle has an out of balance tire. The cause and severity of your vehicle's vibration can also be affected by whether your car is a front-wheel drive, a rear-wheel drive or a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Tires and Wheels

The simplest cause of rear end vibrations in a car can often be found in an out of balance tire or bent, damaged rim. Problems with your vehicle's rear tires can produce a vibration as you travel down the road. If your vehicle is rear-wheel drive rather than front-wheel drive, you may also experience some difficulties and changes in the way your vehicle handles and steers.

Driveshafts and Universal Joints

Rear-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles sometimes experience problems related to their driveshafts that cause a vibration through the rear end of the vehicle. These problems tend to be caused by an out of balance or bent driveshaft or a worn-out universal joint. You can go underneath your vehicle to check your driveshaft and universal joints, but unless you are fairly familiar with the components of your vehicle's drive train, you may not be able to tell a good driveshaft from a bent one. If you feel there is a problem with the driveshaft or universal joints, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic and have it inspected.

Suspension or Wheel Bearings

If your vehicle's rear suspension or wheel bearings are worn out, the vibration that your vehicle develops may be a sign that they need to be checked or replaced. Suspension and wheel bearing problems can cause your vehicle to sag or lean to one side. The vehicle may also ride roughly because the suspension will not be able to provide proper cushioning from road bumps and uneven terrain.

Loose Exhaust

On occasion, a loose or improperly installed exhaust can cause a vibration from the back of the vehicle. The exhaust should be secured tightly to the vehicle to avoid this problem.

Rear Axle

It is possible for a vehicle's rear axle to go out completely, especially if it is a rear-wheel drive vehicle. If your car or truck has a rear end vibration and you cannot determine its cause, you may have a broken or frozen component in your rear axle causing the vibration. If you have a problem with your axle, you will need to take the vehicle to a mechanic and have it taken apart to determine what the specific problem is. This is not something you should do at home, as you may not be able to tell what parts are damaged or reassemble the axle properly.

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