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Car shaking at red lights


My wife recently got stuck in a snowstorm. Some helpful people got her out and she drove a couple miles to work. After leaving work, her car started shaking at red lights (like big, slow shakes, back and forth, not making forward progress), but stopped as soon as she started to move or put the car in neutral. It did this on her way home from work and then continued when she left for a workout class about half an hour later. However, after this, it stopped completely.

Some people seemed to suggest engine mount problems to other people, which seems serious if it is that. However, since it did stop after a short time, is it possible there was snow stuck somewhere causing a problem and it finally just melted off? Or is the getting stuck in snow the same day probably just a coincidence? It seems odd that it would stop once the brake is let up.

Right now I’m planning to take it in sometime later this week most likely, but am wondering if I can avoid that since it hasn’t exhibited any of the same symptoms for a few days.


Sounds like some snow got packed onto a rotational part, like maybe the crank pulley and threw it off balance until it slung all the snow off. Good idea to take it in to be looked at for damage though.

You didn’t say whether or not the check engine light ever came on.

I’d guess something in the ignition system got we with snow that melted and caused the miss at idle. It has dried out and will no longer be a problem, is my guess IF the check engine light is off and stays off.

No check engine light, so that’s good…


You Don’t Say, Doug!
You don’t say what make, model, and model-year this car is.

“Some people seemed to suggest engine mount problems…”

Hmmm… I do know that there was a technical service bulletin for Ford Escorts that addressed engine shaking at idle when in gear, like when stopped for a light. It was caused by road debris/stones, etcetera packing a lower rear engine mount device.

I’m not suggesting your car is an Escort or that there are stones in a mount. What I’m suggesting is that because the car was stuck in snow that snow packed a mount while the engine was warm, melted a little, and when the car cooled it froze. When the mount can’t move and cushion normal vibration (because of stones, ice, whatever) it transfers it directly to the car body. Later when the car was adequately warm the ice melted out of the mount.

Sorry about that. The car is a 2010 Chevy Cobalt.

Did it shake at idle in neutral or only at idle in drive? This is an automatic, right?