There are a number of possible causes for your car to start juddering, some more pressing than others. Experiencing a judder while driving can be quite an unsettling experience, as can anything that makes you feel like you’re not in full control of your car. Recent research by Scrap Car Network, in which their research team analyzed the most common car maintenance searches entered into Google, revealed that juddering is not an uncommon problem, affecting popular models like the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Astra.
There’s quite a long list of potential causes, and these can range in severity, making it difficult for the average driver to diagnose the problem alone. Partially for that reason, it’s important to never ignore a car juddering, as it could have catastrophic consequences. The best course of action is to take your car to a professional mechanic as soon as possible.
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To get an idea of possible causes (and to be well prepared to explain the problem to a professional if necessary) considers these questions. Is your Check Engine light on? Is the juddering occurring at high speeds? Is it only happening when you brake?
You might not be able to identify the specific cause yourself, but telling your mechanic how and when it happens can help them narrow down the possible solutions.
Common causes of car juddering
Faulty spark plugs or high tension leads
The job of your spark plugs is essential to ignite the fuel-air mixture in the combustion engine, fuelling the chemical reaction that propels your car. If the plugs are faulty or unclean, they can fail to properly ignite this mixture, causing the engine to misfire and resulting in a judder. Alternatively, the issue could be with the high tension (HT) leads, which connect the spark plugs to each of the ignition coils. If the HT leads break down, this could result in a weak spark from the spark plugs, which can once again cause the engine to misfire. If the spark plugs don’t just require a simple, clean, either they or the HT leads may need replacing.
Unclean or warped brakes
If you’re experiencing ‘brake judder’, one possible explanation is that dirt or corrosion has built up on your brake pads or callipers. In this case, they’ll simply need cleaning. If your car has a high mileage, your brake discs may even have become warped, so they can’t maintain an even grip when you brake. In this case, they’ll need to be specially machined until they sit true again.
Faulty CV axle joints
If you’re only experiencing judder at high speeds, the answer could be the Constant Velocity axles of the drivetrain. These wear out over time, so if your car has a long history behind it, or a particularly high mileage, they’re more likely to show their age. Loud clicking noises when turning, or grease on the tire edges are both other signs that the problem could lie with your CV axles.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of possible causes by any means, but may give you some useful starting points to give the mechanic. You may find that the solution is relatively simple and straightforward, such as cleaning the spark plugs, but if the issue is a serious one, the cost of repairs can end up being more than the car is worth. This is where services like Scrap Car Network can come in handy, making the process quick and easy for you when the time comes to finally scrap your car.