Identifying That Shake in a Used Car

Sometimes you have to take a few flaws to save a few hundred dollars. There are some small problems that can be overlooked if you're getting a good deal, but you don't want to dismiss a major problem that could cost more than the sales price. Shaking is one of the more common, noticeable problems to watch out for when shopping for used cars, and a few of these inspection points can help you figure out the problem.

Tire Wobble

One of the first places to check when buying a car is the tires. Unfortunately, some problems can't be detected until you're driving, and it can be hard to locate the problem.

A flat tire may be visually obvious, but you may need to look closer for low tire pressure. A telltale flatness where the tire meets the ground will show that the tires have low air pressure, and you should be able to pump up the tires either at the dealership or at a nearby gas station or car cleaner.

While driving, tires may cause a wobbling problem because of a bubble in the material, which is usually caused by the rubber separating and allowing the pressurized air to push out of the tire at a weak area. If thudding is noticeable while driving, stop the car and drive slowly--1 mile per hour or so--while someone you trust takes a look at the tires.

Tires are the easiest problem to replace, but make sure that you don't have a rim or axle problem as well. When you replace the tire, be sure to watch the work being done and check for any dents or bends in the rim. Damage to the rim may allow air to leak, and will simply lead to faster tire wear and tear until you fix it.

Auto Body Air Resistance

Many people ignore auto body damage because it seems like a simple aesthetic issue. In some cases, dents and crumples are just a nasty eyesore. Unfortunately, the wrong kind of body damage can cause driving problems.

Vehicles are designed with an aerodynamic profile in mind. This design determines not only how well the vehicle moves forward and "cuts" through the wind, but how well the vehicle stays centered with your steering and stays grounded instead of flipping upside down.

For casual driving, some types of damage can cause the vehicle to shake or vibrate because of the movement of the air. An auto body expert can repair the damage or add new auto body panels, so consider getting a quote before purchasing a dented vehicle to figure out how much you're really investing.

Contact a used car professional like at to discuss vehicles in great condition, as well as more affordable vehicles with a bit of manageable damage.