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Car Shakes a Little

I have a 1998 Nissan but with only 90,000 miles on it. For the past 2 months or so I have noticed my car shaking but only under some circumstances. I have not noticed any issues while driving. I notice the shaking only when my car is idle or stopped at a red light. Also I have noticed if I put it in neutral the shaking is not as bad. When I say the car is shaking I specifically notice the steering wheel shaking and the front side mirrors.

I’ve googled this but get a whole sort of reasons. Any way to try to narrow it down or anyone has a better idea?

Also - I normally use my car for work (12 miles round trip per day). On weekends for 6 months a year I might put some highway miles on it but that’s about it.

This weekend I need to take a “long” trip by my standards. It’s 85 miles to go and 85 to come back. I’m not sure if this is considered a long trip for a car but the shaking is the only thing that scares me…even though it doesn’t shake on the highway

Are there any warning or trouble lights on?

I’m not nan expert, but could this be the engine missing? or it could be a bad engine mount. Did you take it to a mechanic?

If you open the hood and look at the engine while you have the vibration what do you see? Is the engine moving?

No warning lights on. If it was the engine mount I think you would see it shake if you open the hood no? Because when I open the hood nothing appears to be shaking too much

Can you give us a little more background on the maintenance history? Repairs, last oil change, filter, spark plugs and wires, etc?

My last oil change was 3,000 miles ago (but it’s been 5 months). I’m planning on getting one this month.

I bought the car two years ago. Since then I’ve changed the radiator and thermostat. I have not made any other repairs and don’t know when the filters, spark plugs have been changed (or if ever)

What model nissan? 4 cyl? What state?

altima…4 cylinder

Four cylinder engines tend to have a rough idle to begin with, and it is not at all unusual for the steering wheel in some four cylinder cars to vibrate a bit at idle. Then, if you factor in spark plugs that are long overdue for changing, you wind up with even rougher idling.

Since the maintenance of this 19 year old vehicle is unknown, I would strongly suggest that the OP change the spark plugs, the plug wires, the air filter, and the fuel filter–if it is the type that resides under the hood. You have nothing to lose (other than a few bucks) by doing this maintenance, and in all likelihood you will wind up with less vibration, better gas mileage, and more power.


+1 to @VDCdriver Agree, it is time. You might also want to run fuel injector cleaner through a couple of tanks of fuel as well as cleaning the throttle body.

Car makers set the idle quite low for fuel economy. It doesn’t take much of any issue to slow the idle enough to cause shaking.


My 2006 Accord shakes when i am stopped in drive with the a/c on and so does my friends same year CR-V, it could just be something you didnt notice, or amplified by a broken motor mount.

I took it to my mechanic (who I bought the car from and knows the car). He told me the spark plugs have been previously changed. He pulled them out to inspect them and notice that oil has been going in them and told me it’s the valve cover gasquet.

He also replaced the air filter which was filthy.