Can a Bad Shock Cause Vibration? Understand the Facts

Shocks are an essential part of a car’s suspension system. They’re designed to dampen the compression and the rebound of the springs in the suspension. By this, they regulate excessive spring motion.

Unfortunately, the shock absorbers are not built to last indefinitely. They are susceptible to wear and tear. They can also become damaged due to an accident. Since they’re designed to dampen impacts, you may ask, “Can a bad shock cause vibration?”

Yes! Bad shock absorbers are less effective at absorbing road impact. This can result in increased vibration as you drive. In extreme cases, a bad shock can cause your car tires to lose contact with the road. Let’s see some other signs of bad shocks in this article.

symptoms of a bad shock

Can a Bad Shock Cause Vibration?

If you’re asking, “Can a bad shock cause vibration?” The straightforward answer is yes! A bad shock can cause vibration in a vehicle. However, some experts claim the vibration is not from a bad shock. But here’s the thing; the shocks work hand in glove with other parts of the suspension system.

When your shock absorbers fail, they won’t be able to manage the bounce and jolt from bumpy roads. This further transfers the impact to the car, making your ride uncomfortable.

In other words, if your shocks cannot do their job, the suspension system will experience excessive movement. This will eventually lead to abrupt shaking or vibrations. The vibration is usually a response effect.

When you drive through bumpy or bad roads, a bad shock will not be able to dampen the impact. Then what? Increased suspension movement and excessive vibrations become the result.

Also, a bad car shock can cause tire wear, excessive body roll, and sway during turns. This can result in the wheels intermittently losing contact with the road, causing vibrations.

What more? The increased movement can put extra stress on other suspension components. The bushings and control arms can wear out or get damaged. It will further escalate the vibrations as you drive.

How Much Vibration is Normal in a Car?

A slight vibration is normal, especially if you drive an older vehicle. The slight vibrations can be due to the engine’s combustion cycle. The operations of engines’ reciprocating components (pistons and crankshafts) can cause mild vibrations.

Modern cars are built with great sophistication to provide a smooth and comfortable ride. Hence, they have highly minimal vibrations. The engine, transmission, tires, and suspension system are built and balanced to minimize vibration as much as possible.

That said, something is wrong if you notice an unusual vibration in your car. Although, some road imperfections, such as potholes, or speed bumps, can cause vibrations. These vibrations are temporary.

However, if the vibrations are excessive, persistent, or occur even on smooth roads, it may indicate an underlying problem. You may need to diagnose the issue and fix it immediately.

Meanwhile, regular maintenance will go a long way in averting vibration issues. Ensure to perform scheduled tire rotation and balancing. Wheel alignment and suspension checks can also help prevent and minimize excessive vibrations.

What Causes Too Much Vibration in a Car?

Tire problems, worn suspension parts, engine mount issues, and worn-out brake rotors can cause excess vibrations in a car. Let’s delve into these issues in detail.

Wheel and tire problems

The leading cause of vibration in a car is wheel or tire problems. This includes improper wheel balance, uneven tire wear, out-of-round tires, and separated tire treads. Damaged wheels and loose lug nuts are also culprits of vibrations.

Suspension problems

The suspension system, either gas or oil shocks, play a vital role in absorbing the impact of road bumps. However, the suspension parts, such as shocks, struts, bushings, and control arms, can wear out. When these parts become worn out, they can cause excessive vibration.

Engine/transmission problems

Mechanical issues with your car’s engine or transmission can also cause vibrations. A misfiring engine can create an uneven power supply, causing the vehicle to vibrate. Similarly, worn-out transmission/engine mounts can also result in vibrations.

Brake system problems

Faulty or worn-out brake parts can cause annoying vibrations when driving. For example, warped brake rotors can lead to pulsating vibrations when braking. This can also continue when driving at higher speeds. Worn-out, warped, or damaged brake pads can as well cause vibrations.

What are the signs of bad shocks?

Awareness of the signs of bad shocks will enable you to fix the issue promptly. Here are some common symptoms of a bad shock: excessive bouncing, excessive vibration, poor steering response, nose-diving during braking, uneven tire wear, leaking fluid, bottoming out, longer stopping distances etc.

Can You Drive with a Broken Rear Shock Absorber?

Driving with a broken rear shock absorber is possible but not advisable. You will be endangering yourself by doing so. Bad rear shocks can negatively impact your vehicle’s handling, stability, and braking performance.

A broken rear shock will cause the rear suspension to become less effective in absorbing bumps. This will further lead to a rough and uncomfortable ride. Also, you will eventually experience increased wear and tear on other suspension parts.

A broken rear shock can also affect your car’s stability and control during manoeuvers. Cornering or quick lane changes can easily lead to accidents due to increased body roll and instability.

What Happens if You Don’t Replace Bad Shocks?

Failure to replace bad shocks will increase vibrations, instability, and handling problems. This can further lead to unexpected accidents. Shock absorbers are very crucial components. You must not be negligent in replacing your worn-out shocks. Bad shock absorbers have serious impacts on your braking performance.

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of bad shocks outlined above, it’s time to replace them. Before changing, you should study the cost of shock and struts replacement.

The weight transfer during braking can cause the rear of your vehicle to dip excessively. This can further result in longer stopping distances. Take note; whatever compromises your car’s brakes is endangering your life.


Enduring the impacts of bad shock absorbers can look okay in the meantime. However, the problems can be very costly in the long run. If you were wondering, “Can a bad shock cause vibration?” The short answer is yes!

However, the vibrations are one of the most negligible effects. Driving with bad shocks can be extremely hazardous, especially if the parts are damaged. It is crucial to address any issues with the shock absorbers promptly.

Neglecting to replace the components can have a detrimental impact on your vehicle’s performance and safety. So, kindly replace them ASAP.


Mr. Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer and has more than 15 years experience of repairing and maintenance of different brand vehicles like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW etc. He is also giving training to Mechanics. He has started writing to share his practical knowledge to Vehicle Owners, Drivers and Mechanics to keep their cars at best fit.

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