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Why Does My Truck Shake If I Put it in 4-Wheel Drive?

The 4-wheel-drive system is designed to provide power to all four wheels of the vehicle. When you put a truck in 4-wheel drive, it does not change the gear ratio. It just sends power to all four wheels and prevents axle binding. In this article, I’ll speak about: Why does my truck shake if I put it in a 4-wheel drive?

Generally, your truck shakes because the axles are not centered in the hub, which will, in return, make the truck rotate in different directions; therefore, your truck shakes.

The axles are able to move more freely with the system in 4-wheel drive mode, so they are less likely to bind up and cause a vibration. You might also notice that your truck will have less body roll when you turn in this mode because of the increased stability provided by the system. Stay along to discover the details.

Why Does My Truck Shake If I Put it in a 4-Wheel Drive?

In our day-to-day driving, we experience car shaking, which makes us think about why there are such situations.

I have created the infographic below covering why the truck shakes in 4WD. (You are welcome to use and share but please credit back if you do so.)

Why Does My Truck Shake If I Put it in 4-Wheel Drive

Below are the most common reasons why the truck shakes in a 4 wheel drive:

1. Engine Misfire/Multi-Cylinder Misfire: 

Several indications happen when a car is misfiring, with one of the most common reasons being that you smell gas in your vehicle.

Another sign is that your car’s power goes on and off like the fluctuation shown in the cardiography of our hearts beat. This causes your car to jerk.

2. Car Shaking When the Brake is Applied:

When you step on brakes that your car shakes, it is because the pistons inside the brake caliper are sticking or slide pins have lost lubrication; this disallows engagement and disengagement of brake pads in the usual way.

3. Poor Tires:

When you are moving at highway speed, and you experience shaking, error from the factory in spreading materials wrapping across the surface of the tires.

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4. Out-of-Balance Driveshaft:

When the joint that the end of the driveshaft is connected to is worn, as the power that transmits through the driveshaft reaches, since the shaft is loose, this makes the driveshaft wobble and causes your vehicle to shake.

5. Motor or Transmission Mounts Issue:

The rubber in the motor mounts dampens the vibration from the engine before transmitting it into the chassis; that is what the rubber does. 
However, when the rubber in mounts is not there anymore, the vibration that gets to the chassis, and subsequently, the vibration to the cabin, will be bettered. This is a reason why your car might be shaking.

Also, if your motor mount is broken, the torque applied to your wheels by the engine and transmission will cause your vehicle to shake, too, as the vibration will be transferred to your chassis and then to your cabin.

To check for this, you check for excessive movement of your engine. To do this, when your car is parked, you start the engine, step on the brake, ensure your emergency brakes are engaged, shift your gear into drive, tap on the gas and have someone help you check for excessive movement of the engine. If a big “jolt” is felt, then there is something wrong with your motor mount(s).

6. Use of Aftermarket CV Axles:

Also, (for 4WD), aftermarket CV axles can lead to vibration of your truck. This is because the CV joints are not of the same standard specs as the OEM ones.

This will lead to the vibration of the wheels, then to the strut tower, which transfers to the chassis and subsequently to the cabin.

7. Faulty Tie Rods:

Also, if you feel vibration at your steering wheel, either when you are hovering over a bump or moving from a dead stop, this most times indicates an issue with your inner or outer tie rods.

The inner tie rod is connected to the steering rack and pinion, while the outer rod is connected to the steering knuckle. There is a ball joint at each end.

The steering will often shake when the protective layer inside the ball joints wears out. This will cause your steering not to have the due responsiveness it should have.

This can be checked by lifting your car like you are changing tires, putting your hands on both sides of a tire, and shaking to the left and right. If there is an unevenness to the inside, it is the inner rod with a problem. If it is to the outside, then it is the outer tie rod.

8. Perturbed Air System:

The air system is the one that regulates how air is taken from the outside, air that mixes with the fuel to get the engine running. This system is the one that ensures that air and fuel are mixed at the correct ratio.

The truck can shake through the air system is when there is a leak; when this happens, the air gets in through the leaking areas, the air system collects air from the points it is not expecting it.

These leaks can be through the vacuum hoses of your engine. In addition, the leaks can also be through your gasket surfaces, throttle body, or the intake manifold.

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9. Faulty Spark Plugs:

If your spark plugs are burnt out, or there is too much space or too small of a space between the head and the curved metal, then your plug(s) is/are due to be changed.

Why Does My Truck Shake If I Put it in 4-Wheel Drive

10. Bad Fuel System:

When the fuel system gets contaminated, or things are not getting on the way they should, this messes up your car’s running. This often comes up due to lousy gas or ethanol, which makes the system supply excess fuel to the engine. This is a situation you don’t want.

The transfer case is another common cause of a truck shaking when in a 4-wheel drive, when the truck is in 4-wheel drive, the transmission shifts between the front and rear axles, which can cause the truck to shake.

The engine and transmission in your truck work together to provide the power to move your truck. When the engine performs correctly, it delivers fuel and air to the engine and transmission, which helps them turn the wheels.

When the engine and transmission are working correctly, they produce minimal vibrations. However, if something is wrong with the engine or transmission (as mentioned above), they can produce vibrations that cause your truck to shake.

Causes of Shaking of Truck in 4 Wheel Drive and How to Fix:

Shaking Issue

Root Cause

Fix Technique

Steering shaking

Faulty tie rods

Get your mechanic to help you replace them

Vehicle shaking when the brake is applied

Sticky pistons inside the brake calipers

Get new pistons

‘’Dancing’’ wheels

Use of aftermarket CV axles

There is actually no better way to fix this than ensuring your ‘’follow-come’’ CV axles last long!

Shaky wheels

Out-of-balance driveshaft

Your car repairers should have a way of getting them aligned

Faulty spark plugs

This makes your vehicle jack forward and backward

Have new plugs put in place

Other Reasons Of Your Truck Shakes:

1. Tire Blowouts:

When a tire blows out, the truck can start to shake violently. This is because the burst tire causes the truck to lose its balance.

2. Bad Suspension:

If the suspension in the truck is bad, it can cause the truck to bounce and shake.

3. Damaged Steering Gear:

The damaged steering gear creates annoying shaking issue during the time of changing the gear.

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Is it Safe to Drive When Your Car is Shaking?

Why Does My Truck Shake If I Put it in 4-Wheel Drive

When your car is shaking, it can be challenging to control it. This can lead to dangerous situations if you’re unaware of the risks.

The shaking could be caused by several problems, including flat tires, low tire pressure, a loose wheel, or a problem with your suspension.

Therefore, it is NOT safe to drive when your car is shaking. If you’re not sure what’s causing the shaking, take your vehicle to a mechanic to have it checked out.

Common Tips to Beat the Shaking That Affects Your Car

There is no definitive answer to the question of “how do I stop my truck from shaking” since everyone’s driving experience is different, and also, reasons always differ. However, some general tips that may help include:

There are a few different types of solutions for truck shaking.

  • One is to put a vibration damper on the truck. This is a metal or plastic box that is attached to the truck, and it helps to reduce the shaking.
  • Another solution is to use a heavy-duty suspension system. This system isolates the truck from the ground and helps reduce the vibration.

Tire and Wheel Balancing:

Tire and wheel balancing is a standard solution for truck shaking caused by worn or uneven tires.

Tire balancing is a simple and affordable procedure that can correct the alignment and balance of your tires. It can also improve your truck’s stability and performance.

Wheel balancing is a more complex procedure that can correct the alignment and balance of your wheels. Wheel balancing can also improve your truck’s stability and performance.

The other solutions include:

  • Ensure your tires are in good condition and inflated to the correct pressure.
  • Keep your speed down and stay within your driving limits.
  • Use your 4-wheel drive only when necessary.
  • Make sure you are using the correct gear ratio for your terrain, as a higher gear ratio will make your truck goes faster, which can make the shaking worse.

How Can You Determine If Your Vehicle Needs 4-Wheel drive?

One of the first things you should do when purchasing a new truck is to determine if it needs a four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is a crucial safety feature on trucks and can help you tackle slick terrain and icy roads. If you don’t have a four-wheel drive, you may want to consider adding it to your purchase.

There are a few ways to determine if your truck needs a 4-wheel drive system. One way is to check the owner’s manual to see if the 4-wheel drive is mentioned. If not, the next step is to look at the truck’s engine.

Most trucks have a 4-cylinder engine and a 4-wheel drive system. The truck most likely needs one if the engine does not have a 4-wheel drive system. The next step is to check the transfer case. Most trucks have a transfer case that allows the engine to send power to the rear wheels.

What are the Differentials and Gears in a 4-Wheel Drive System?

Differentials and gears in a 4-wheel drive system allow the vehicle to move forward or reverse while providing equal traction on all four tires. In addition, the differentials enable the vehicle to rotate as one unit, while the gears allow the vehicle to move at different speeds.

A differential helps distribute the power between the front and rear wheels, while gears allow the vehicle to move smoothly and efficiently through various terrains.

What are the Risks of Using a 4-Wheel Drive?

There are a few risks associated with using a 4-wheel drive.

  • First and foremost, a 4-wheel drive can unnecessarily wear down your vehicle’s tires, chassis, and brakes.
  • Secondly, a 4-wheel drive can cause you to lose control of your vehicle in slippery or wet conditions. Finally, a 4-wheel drive can increase your risk of getting into an accident.

How Do You Maintain Your 4-Wheel Drive?

Maintaining a 4-wheel drive vehicle can be daunting, but it is essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly.

If you live in a snowy or icy area, keeping your 4WD system operational can be a challenge. However, you can do a few things to make it easier.

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Underinflation can cause your 4WD to slip and lose traction.
  • Check your brakes and rotors. If they’re worn or damaged, they can cause your 4WD to stop working.
  • Make sure your oil and fluid levels are correct. Overflowing or low levels can make your 4WD less efficient.
  • Keep your battery charged.
  • Make sure you keep your vehicle serviced regularly. This includes oil changes, tune-ups, and repairs as needed.
  • Make sure you use the proper gear when driving in 4-wheel drive mode. If you are not using the correct equipment, your vehicle may not be able to handle the terrain.

The Future of 4WD: Trends and Possibilities:

The future of 4wheel Trends and possibilities is exciting. There are so many possibilities with 4wheel technology.

One possibility is that 4wheel technology could be used in more traditional ways. For example, it could be used in off-road vehicles to help them travel over rugged terrain.

Another possibility is that 4wheel technology could be used in more futuristic ways. For example, it could be used in self-driving cars or drones.

The possibilities are endless, and the future of 4wheel technology looks promising.

4 Wheel Drive Technology is going to continue to evolve in the future. Already, we are seeing more and more 4-wheel drive systems that can operate in both 2WD and 4WD modes. This gives drivers more control over their vehicles and allows them to navigate through rugged terrain easily.

Other future trends that we can expect to see include:

  • More autonomous 4-wheel drive systems that can operate entirely on their own, without the need for a driver
  • More hybrids and all-electric 4-wheel drive systems
  • More sophisticated and efficient drive systems can handle tougher terrain and more weight.

Final Thought:

In everyday driving, we find ourselves in different situations to drive in the various drive modes available on one’s car, such as the 4H. Still, when we switch to the 4-wheel drive on our trucks, we know something is not suitable as the vehicle makes a kind of disturbing sound.

  • The 4-wheel drive system is a critical component that allows the vehicle to move in any direction when driving on rough terrains.
  • 4-wheel drive vehicles come in various types designed for different purposes.
  • Maintaining a 4-wheel drive vehicle can be daunting, but it is essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly.
  • The Effects of 4-wheel drive on trucks Four-wheel drive is a standard feature, allowing the vehicle to move more easily over all terrain.

Also Read:

Do Mud Tires Cause Vibration? All You Need to Know
Why Does My Jeep Shake At 40 MPH? All You Need to Know
Do Off-Road Tires Wear Faster? All You Need to Know
Do Mud Tires Ride Rough? All You Need to Know

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Why is my car shaking while making loud noises?

This might be because the tires are incorrectly aligned or defective.

Why does my car shake when I hit the gas pedal?

There might be a problem with your vehicle’s suspension.

How do I fix my car's vibration problems?

This can be avoided by doing regular maintenance and continuously checking your car after a supposed heavy usage.