You probably have noticed something wrong with your proud car when you are here. Does its excessive vibration rattle your nerve? Do you notice a lack of accelerating power? 

Well, vehicles always shake a bit when they are running. When it begins to shake your fillings out, though, something is definitely wrong. We have to take action before it is too late. 

But how? There are hundreds (if not thousands) of reasons for engine shaking and loss of power, and if you are not a mechanic, exploring all of them is not practical. Stay calm – Drive Revolve has compiled a list of common issues that can cause this to happen! Let’s go through this, one by one, and bring the engine back to health. 

Problems With The Body Control Module

Ideally, you should feel some vibration inside the cabin when your car accelerates. The unusual vibration that drives you nuts, however, might indicate an issue with the body control module (or BCM). 

In case you are not familiar with this versatile system, the BCM connects and controls various electrical modules associated with the car’s body. These include door locks, windows, lights, access control and… can you guess? The shock absorber! So, if your auto is not running smoothly, it should be the first thing that comes to mind.

Oftentimes when the BCM suffers, it doesn’t only affect the shock absorber but also other functions. For example, you can notice electrical parts being turned on when they should be off. That explains the loss of power. 

There are several ways to see if the body control module is the real culprit behind the engine shaking and loss of power, but the quickest one is by testing the connection between it and the fuse box. First, plug out the battery’s negative terminal and change the OHMs setting on the ohmmeter. Then, connect one of the leads with a terminal on the BCM connector. If there is no sign, the BCM is to blame for sure. 

Solving this problem requires a body control module reset. You can perform it at home, but I’d recommend letting a technician do the job. Repairing a BCM requires reprogramming the module, so a specialist with skills and diagnostic scan tools can handle this without messing up the system. 

How to reset all ECU’s and control modules in your car or truck?

Engine Shaking And Loss Of Power – Spark Plug Or Spark Plug Wires 

When a spark plug malfunctions, your car will change its persona completely. A combustion engine relies on the sequential firing of spark plugs to maintain engine pressure while providing power to keep the vehicle moving. When one of the spark plugs fails to ignite, the motor’s internal pressure lowers (resulting in a loss of power). The other cylinders are forced to make up for it, causing violent jerking and shaking.

Spark Plug Or Spark Plug Wires
Imagine your ride has a square tire and three round tires; that will help you picture how to correlate the stress on the motor when this happens – Source:

Sometimes the problem is not the spark plug itself but the spark plug wires. Also referred to as ignition wires, they are responsible for delivering the power current to the spark plug, allowing it to fire sequentially. A faulty wire will make the whole system fail, showing symptoms like a failed spark plug. 

In case your car has an RPM gauge, you can detect a faulty spark plug wire before it completely fails. When the car stops, you may spot a slight bounce or repeated drop in the RPM needle. The bounce often comes with a more muffled noise compared to the engine’s normal sound. This indicates an issue with the electrical current flowing through the plug or cable.

The cost of replacing a set of spark plugs falls between $16 to $100, depending on the type of plugs you need and the number of cylinders your engine has. To prevent problems with them, experts recommend changing your spark plugs every 30,000 miles or so. 

Vacuum Leaks

A combustion engine produces a vacuum. This is an attractive feature, especially since the engine can reroute that vacuum to power other things. However, a vacuum leak can lead to engine issues. 

Vacuum leaks allow too much air to flow into the engine, affecting its performance. Aside from the intense vibration, you will notice the engine idling too quickly when you come to a halt. The erratic idling is due to the excessive amount of air in the engine. 

Is there any other sign? Park your vehicle and listen to it carefully – if you hear a humming sound, much like a vacuum cleaner, the car is undoubtedly suffering from a vacuum leak. 

Vacuum Leaks automobile
Depending on the size of the leak, you can fix or replace the faulty part – Source: Top Gear Phillipines

You can check for a leak by examining each vacuum hose (which is located under the car hood). If the leak is small, fixing them is simple and can be done at home. Severe damages require professional care, though. Depending on the cause and location of the leak, the auto repair shop might charge you from $150 to a whopping $1,000. 

Engine Shaking And Loss Of Power – Engine Sludge

Engine Sludge
If your car loses power and then comes back, a possible cause is the engine sludge – Source: Matthew Volvo Sites

 Over time, debris from deteriorating engine oil can build up in your motor. As these deposits accumulate, a thick sludge is formed, and they are challenging to remove. They might be the culprit of losing power while driving and unusual vibration. When engine sludge takes place, oil won’t be able to lubricate the moving parts of the car’s engine. 

While the cause sounds simple, this often becomes a serious problem. Most drivers spend a ton of money to remove engine sludge just because they overlooked it and left the buildup there for too long. In that case, the cost of removing the sludge will be around $600 to $700. Too much for a lesson about neglecting your car, I’d say. 

No matter what type of car you own or what your driving habits are, it’s crucial to perform maintenance regularly on your baby to avoid engine sludge. The presence of sludge might be challenging to detect early on, but there are some simple tips for diagnosing the issue. 

Engine Shaking And Loss Of Power – Wrong Gasoline Octane

What will happen if you give your car the wrong type of gasoline? It’s an age-old question, and while we are referring to a common mistake, the consequence is far more serious than you think. 

Here’s a surprising fact: Gasoline with a higher octane number burns slower than one with a lower octane number. If your engine is designed to run on 87-octane gasoline, yet you use one with a higher octane rating, the engine won’t be able to burn the fuel properly. This results in reduced power, increased fuel consumption, and even violent engine shaking. 

Wrong Gasoline Octane
To know what type of gas your car takes, find the minimum octane rating in the owner’s manual – Source: LiveAbout

As soon as you realize you put the wrong gasoline in your car, park and turn it off immediately to prevent further damage to the engine. Remember, it is not designed to burn this type of fuel. Then, get the vehicle towed to an auto repair shop, where they’ll drain out the remaining octane, top it up with the right one, and make sure it will function smoothly again. 

The repair cost doesn’t have to be expensive, but you have to pay extra for a tow. Try not to make this expensive mistake! 

Clogged Filter 

Like how we need oxygen to breathe, a car also requires oxygen, but for its combustion process. The air filter defenses the engine from debris, dust, or insects while ensuring our vehicles get a good balance of fuel and air to support their performance. 

But this part can become clogged with debris sometimes, which directly affects the engine’s function. When air can’t reach the engine, this messes up the combustion cycle. As a result, you see your car losing power while driving. 

Fortunately, cleaning a dirty air filter is quite simple, so if it’s the reason for your vehicle’s poor performance, you are luckier than most. All you need to do now is take out the filter (located at the front of the car) and give it a thorough clean. A vacuum cleaner comes in handy, but experts recommend using a can of compressed air for the best result. 

How to clean your car’s air filter in 3 easy steps

Engine Shaking And Loss Of Power – A Failing Sensor 

Nowadays, modern car engines are equipped with a variety of sensors. These fun auto parts work to identify faults and ensure the operation of all components. Managing everything from emissions to temperature, these sensors transmit signals to the ECU. They are vital for keeping power and performance at peak. 

Car Sensor
A regular car often has 17 sensors – Source: EE World Online

Problems with an engine sensor are relatively rare, but when they do occur, they can cause a wide range of issues. This includes severe shaking and a drop in power. To make matters worse, a faulty sensor can be challenging to detect since the symptoms are just like other issues under the bonnet. 

The only way to tell if you have a failing sensor is to take your car to a professional mechanic. Most service centers possess specialist engine diagnostics tools that quickly pinpoint sensor failure, so you can get the vehicle fixed quickly and safely.

Make Your Ride Smooth Again! 

Engine shaking and loss of power are indeed frustrating, but they don’t have to be a permanent problem. In this article, you’ve uncovered many causes for this issue. By pinpointing the problem and getting it fixed quickly, you can keep the engine working at its best for a long time. 

But act quickly: Trying to operate a shaking car can result in further mechanical failure, seizing of the engine, and costly repairs you could have avoided by a simple visit to the auto repair shop. Do it now so you won’t regret it later! 

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