I was driving on the highway today and I noticed that my car started to shake. I slowed down and it stopped. I repeated this a few more times and it seems that the shaking starts around 50 mph and the faster I go the worse it gets.

This isn't just the steering wheel shaking, though it does do that a lot. This is the whole car vibrating. I checked my oil levels and they were fine.

I have a 2009 Subaru Legacy automatic transmission.

  • I just came back from the dealer. My 2015 Outback was shaking at over 60 speeds for 200 miles the other day. Whole car. Vibration/shaking was extreme. I kept stopping at rest stops to make sure the tires were inflated, lug nuts were tight and no ice build up around tires as I assumed a tire balance issue. When I told the dealer they just shrugged and asked if there was ice and snow on the roads where I was driving. I said yes. They said they get this complaint all the time because ice builds up on the drive shaft under the car. Their solution, put it in a garage to let it warm up until the ice
    – tdavis
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 15:49

3 Answers 3


One of two things I think could be happening here. One of your wheels might have thrown a weight and become unbalanced. Second thing to check is to see if you have any ice buildup on the inside of the rim which would also have caused an imbalance. (Not knowing if you are in a winter climate where you are would figure into the second part of this answer.) Either way, it does sound like a wheel imbalance of one sort or another. If you cannot find any ice buildup, I'd take it to a tire shop and have them check the tires.

  • 2
    I am in boston. 3 feet of snow in a week
    – Chris
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 17:28
  • Is it possible to check the weights oneself?
    – jscs
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 20:01
  • 1
    Josh sort of... each wheel should have one weight on the rim somewhere. However, some wheels manage to be balanced without needing a weight, so not seeing one doesn't mean it's bad.
    – Jasmine
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 20:33
  • 2
    +1 on the ice build-up. A friend of mine complained of the same on arriving to work a few days ago. Problem wasn't apparent on driving home. Ice: it always keeps on your toes!
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 1:21
  • 1
    @JoshCaswell put the wheel up on rhe car jack and rotate the wheel. It should stop wherever you rotate it to. If it's badly out of balance there will be a heavy point that will spin to the bottom. This test is not as good as a mechanic will do with specialised equipment, but it's good enough. Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 9:32

the two likely culprits are unbalanced tires (i.e. they've gone out of round over time, or as suggested above, lost a weight), and some failed suspension component (perhaps a rubber bushing). unless you do further analysis yourself, a tire shop could answer the first question, and your mechanic the second.


Before all the checking balance, check the "other" out of round. My one in a million 1972 gem of a Pontiac (< $1000 TOTAL parts and maintenance spent last 20 years, and paid, any DIY free work neglible). More than 20 years ago, new NTW tires went out of round after a year or 2. As in tire wear made no longer round tires. Several tire shops claimed out of balance,all redid previous shop's balance and alignment. SOLUTION: an old radiator shop mechanic listened to the symptoms, radiator shop but an overall master mmechanic. He simply put a board under spinning wheels first test, the gap narrowed and widened as the tires were no longer ROUND. Sold the tires cheap via "the thrifty nickel" magazine, to a guy using for only city driving...so didn't care... no bad vibration until about 50 mph, worse vibe with more mph. Heard then, that NTW sold cheap because like flawed clothing(seconds), the tires sold had flaws or poor quality. Lol, none of the mechanics who rebalanced, claimed each previous shop didn't align and balance right ...but none took a fast enough test drive. All they needed was 50 mph or especially 65 or faster to see there work FAILED to fix the vibe to shake and shimmy at speed... not like any REAL speed needed, like in late 1970's when that Pontiac would go south over 1000 miles ti hit the Fla border in less than 11 hours, including fuel stops and fast food stopNeat zero mph eating some if the 10+ nearly 11 hr trip time, before the final leg instate.

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