Can Low Coolant Cause Car to Shake?(Identify The Reason)

An optimum level of coolant protects the engine from overheating. It helps in lubrication and prevents corrosion as well. But what happens when our car is low on coolant?

Can low coolant cause car to shake?

Yes, if the coolant is really low, it can cause the car to shake. The engine cannot produce enough power while it’s running on low coolant. As a result, there is a problem with the acceleration, which causes the car to shake while driving.

The article below discusses why cars shake because of low coolant. I have also discussed the other reasons that could cause the car to shake, among many others. Have a look!

Why Do Cars Shake With Low Coolant? (Detailed Explanation) 

When there is insufficient coolant or antifreeze, the engine cannot operate at peak performance. It cannot run at optimum temperature. It will definitely overheat.

The temperature will keep on rising because of low antifreeze.

What happens then? The engine cannot produce a sufficient amount of power. This kind of situation limits the engine’s efficiency.

You cannot get accurate acceleration when the engine is like that. So when you try to drive the car, the engine will stutter. It won’t run smoothly, and it will hold you back.

The car will feel like it is shaking whenever you drive on really low coolant. kind of like a limp mode.

Also, the mixture of coolant, petrol, and oil will cause the radiator to flood out with one type of brownish coolant. The pressure in the radiator rises too.

Why? because air gets in.

These are the reasons why car shake with low coolant. However, as previously stated, it only occurs when there is an excessive amount of low coolant.

A little bit of low coolant won’t cause your car to shake. Rather, you can drive your vehicle smoothly without having any problems. There can be other reasons for the shaking of your vehicle. Check it out in the following sections.

So if your car has really low coolant, try to top it up. You can always take it to a mechanic for better guidelines. Again, routine maintenance will help you to prevent issues like low coolant.

How to Know Your Car is Shaking Because of Low Coolant or Other reasons?

Like I said earlier, there can be multiple other reasons behind the shaking of your car. There can be different issues apart from low coolant that can cause shaking during the acceleration of your car.

Here, I’ll be discussing the symptoms of low coolant so that you can identify if it is actually the coolant level that is causing your car to shake. Also check out the other various issues that can be a cause as well. 

Other 7 Reasons Your Car May Be Shaking

1. Problem with the Engine

This is one of the most common and major issues behind the vehicle’s shaking. The engine of the vehicle contains a lot of components.

However, out of them, a few parts can cause the engine to shake. It includes the air filter and three spark plugs. What to do?

Check the spark plugs first, and then go for the air filter. Usually, spark plugs last from 80 000 to 100 000 miles. If you’ve reached this limit, then there might be a problem with them. If not, check out the air filters.

Your car’s shaking could be caused by a clogged air filter. So you need to check both of these components.

2. Problem with the Brakes

When you have a bad brake rotor, it can cause your car to shake.

How to identify Check out the car’s position when you hit the brakes. If it shakes at that moment, you can be certain that there is a problem with the brakes.

So, because of the wear and tear of driving, the brake rotor can be warped. And it can pretty much cause the vehicle to shake.

Another thing could be the caliper. If the caliper is stuck somehow, then it can cause the car to vibrate. So when you drive around at 40 or 50 mph, you will notice it.

What’s the solution? Repair the brakes.

3. Problem with the Tires

I faced this problem twice.

Tires are one of the most important components of our favorite cars. It ensures a smooth ride.

But if the car isn’t properly stable or doesn’t have an overall good balance, it will affect the ride negatively.

An imbalanced tire will not run on the road smoothly and can lead to  the entire vehicle shaking.

Once, I went on a long ride with my family. The kids were excited, way too much! But after running a couple of miles, the car started shaking. Guess what? There were problems with one of the back tires. Glad I had an extra!

So check out the tires. If they are loose, tighten the lugs properly. If there are leak problems, try to change the tire.

In summary, make sure the tires are in good shape to avoid shaking.

4. Suspension Issues

If the shaking is due to suspension issues, then quickly take it to a mechanic.

There are different suspension components such as struts, ball joints, tie rods, etc. There can be a problem with them, or they can be totally broken as well.

It can cause the car to shake. As a matter of fact, it can be really dangerous and cause serious accidents.

So don’t delay; take it to a mechanic and check out the suspension quickly.

5. Low Transmission Fluid

Apart from the coolant, low levels of transmission fluid can also cause the car to shake. 

When you have a low level of transmission fluid, the car might shake when you accelerate. Another thing to remember is to not drive with too little transmission fluid.It will damage the car’s transmission in the long run.

So, keep a good amount of transmission fluid on hand while driving.

6. Axle Issues

Axle problems may be the source of your vehicle’s shaking.Like most other vehicles, your car probably has two axles:

  • Front wheel connecting axle
  • Rear wheel connecting axle

If there are problems with either of the axles, the car might shake. The axles might be dented, and it will make the car vibrate. Additionally, as you accelerate, it will eventually rise.

That is why you should also inspect the axles.A lot of people do not notice them or take these issues lightly. But they can be a major reason for your vehicle’s shaking.

7. Motor Mount Problems 

Do you ever put your car at idle and it starts shaking? 

Then you probably have problems with the motor mount. It can get worn or broken. 

So, check under the hood and if you find a problem get it repaired. 

Other than low coolant, these were some of the common reasons why your car might be shaking. So, do not jump into the conclusion that it’s because of the coolant. Check out the other issues as well. 

Now Have a look at the signs of low coolant to identify this problem as well.

7 Symptoms of Low Coolant in Car

1. Leakage in Pipes

If you think there is low coolant, check for leaking pipes.

One thing you have to do is look underneath the hood. You may find green water droplets under the leaking pipes. Repair them quickly if you can.

2. Problem in the Heater

Another symptom is the inactiveness of the heater. If it isn’t functioning properly then 

Check your heater, if it has any problems, then there might be cooling issues.

3. Inefficiency of Fuel

If you think that the fuel consumption rate is high, then be sure that there is low coolant in your car.

You already know that the engine can give its best performance at the optimum level of temperature. 

But if it is consuming fuel at a high rate then it is probably because of the cooling system. It is probably because there is too much low or no coolant at all.

It will also lead up to different acceleration problems as well.

Try to fix it ASAP. 

4. Overflowing Reservoir

An overflow reservoir is a symptom of low coolant in the car. It has marks that will show if the cooler expands or not. You can know when to expel, when to not. 

See at which point the overflow reservoir is at. Then take steps accordingly.

5. Antifreeze Smell

Wondering what is an anti-freeze? 

Well, it is a compound that is added with the coolant. It has a sweet smell. But don’t be happy if you get the sweet smell. 

If you think that there is a sweet smell coming out of the engine, then the probable cause is that the cooling system is leaking. 

When you have a low level of transmission fluid, the car might shake when you accelerate. Another thing to remember is to not drive with too little transmission fluid.It will damage the car’s transmission in the long run.

So, keep a good amount of transmission fluid on hand while driving.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long can you drive with coolant light?

Answer: Without coolant, you can drive for around five minutes.

Driving with no coolant is really dangerous for the vehicle. It will be really harmful in the long run. In fact, if you start driving it like that, the car will start getting harmed just after a minute.

2. Can no coolant cause rough idle

Answer: Rough idle can be caused by head gasket leaks. It can leak and make a mixture of oil and coolant which can be dangerous.

3. Is Coolant Made From Oil?

Answer: Nope. There is no oil in the coolant. 

4. Is Coolant the Same Thing as Antifreeze?

Answer: No, there are slight differences.

Although many people consider these two the same, there is one significant difference. Coolant is the mixture between water and antifreeze. 

While you can use coolant separately you can never use antifreeze alone.

5. How often should you top up coolant?

Answer: My suggestion would be to check your coolant twice a year. Before Winter and before summer.

And you should top up every 30000 miles.

Final Thought

It is now time to summarize this lengthy discussion.

Can low coolant cause the car to shake? If it is very low, then it can. There can be other reasons, just as I mentioned earlier.

So look for the reasons and try to solve them accordingly. If your car has been shaking for a long time, waste no more time and immediately take it to a mechanic.

Till then, drive safe!

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