Will Your Car Shake if You Need an Oil Change

So many parts come together to ensure that the car runs smoothly without hiccups, over time, it is possible that one or two of these parts malfunction because they are damaged or out of shape.

One way a car can malfunction out of the ordinary is by ‘shaking’. Shaking is when the car vibrates either when in motion or idling which can be attributed to various problems ranging from low transmission fluid to unbalanced wheels to some engine-related problems. But, will a car shake if you need an oil change?

Yes, it is highly possible for the car to shake if there’s a need to change the oil. However, shaking due to oil changes does not usually happen until it is late.

Will Your Car Shake if You Need an Oil Change?

Yes, there’s a high probability that your car will shake if an oil change is needed amongst other signs. Although some schools of thought are of the opinion that the need for an oil change will not cause a car to shake, the possibility cannot be ruled out, because shaking in a car sometimes can be attributed to a lack of oil.

For some cars (modern), you may not experience any shaking as it relates to oil change because there will be digital indications when an oil change is due. These indications could be; showing the percentage of oil left, suggesting an oil change at intervals.

If you are having to deal with a shaking car and the possibility of an oil change comes to mind, you should check it out and change. If the shaking stops after changing the oil then you have your answer.

A car with low oil is likely to shake especially when it’s idling which is a result of friction between engine parts. The extent to which the car will shake depends on the friction level.

One way to prevent a shaking car is by doing a regular oil check using a dipstick, if the oil is dirty or dark then an oil change is in order. You can as well follow your mechanics’ recommendation for a timely oil change.

When Will Your Car Shake if It Needs an Oil Change?

For shaking to be attributed to oil change then it’s definitely been a while since you changed the oil. Car shaking often time is not a common sign of low oil, but it tends to happen when the oil has been left for a long time without change.

Low oil means the moving engine parts are not well lubricated, and debris and dirt that has settled below are getting in.

If your car starts shaking and every other probable cause has been ruled out besides the need for an oil change, you should check for that. When shaking is attributed to low oil, it is probably late.

What Other Problems Can Cause Shaking in a Car?

Other than low oil, there are various problems in the car that can result in shaking. We’ll take a look at some of the other problems below;

1. Problem with the Steering Wheel

Your car can shake if the wheel is bad or unbalanced and the extent of the shaking depends on the speed at which the car is running. An increase in speed will see the shaking increase also.

As a car owner over time, you may have to deal with shaking steering wheel as a result of unbalanced wheels especially if you regularly ply a road with potholes and some other road-related conditions. Potholes and bad roads are a recipe for unbalanced wheels.

2. Bad/ Poor Condition of Tires

A bad tire will also cause shaking in a car. If the tire is unbalanced, does not have enough pressure in it, has some loose lug nuts, or wear and tear of the tire over time, these and many more conditions of the tire can cause shaking.

In order to prevent this, the tire pressure should be checked regularly, all lug nuts torqued properly, and a tire that is already wearing out should be replaced.

3. Axle Not in Great Condition

The axle in a car is a rod connecting wheels and helps the wheel rotate and move the car forward. When the axle is not in good shape either due to an accident or constant hitting it results in the car shaking. The shaking will get worse as the car speed increases.

4. Engine-Related Problem

Shaking in the car could also be pointing to a problem somewhere in the engine. Some of these problems could be; a dirty air filter, bad spark plugs, blocked fuel filter, etc.

For the engine to perform optimally, it needs air, sparks, and fuel but when any of the aforementioned are having problems it affects the engine’s functionality which can be in the form of shaking.

5. Not Enough Transmission Fluid

Low transmission fluid will likely cause the car to shake, this is because the moving parts of the engine are not well lubricated.

Friction occurs between transmission parts when there’s no fluid and results in shaking, this friction gets bad the faster the engine runs.

6. Brakes

Shaking could also be caused when the brake rotors are bad or have lost their shape. A badly shaped brake rotor will prevent proper gripping by the brake pads and calipers when braking. In this case, you will likely have a burning odor.

What to Do if a Car is Shaking Because of a Lack of Oil

After you must have attributed the shaking car to a lack of oil, the first course of action should be to clean out the reservoir by draining the oil. By doing this, you are removing dirt residue and debris that may have settled below.

Then you can proceed to refill with new oil. It is important that you use only the oil recommended in the manual when refilling, this is so you can have the car running smoothly for a longer time.


Shaking in a car can be avoided If you take your car maintenance seriously and follow all recommendations given by your mechanic.

Also, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the slightest changes in the car and take action immediately if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

For modern cars, you are sure to see early signs that something is going on with the car, if you’re not sure what the problem is, consult a professional. They are always in the best position to help out.