Rough Ride? What Could it Mean?

If you experience an unusual sensation when driving, it could be more than uneven pavement or rough terrain. Ideally, your ride should be smooth and comfortable, but if you notice shaking, wobbling, swaying, or anything else that seems odd, there might be a mechanical problem. Don’t hesitate to get your vehicle checked because it could cause other problems the longer you wait.  To get the proper diagnosis, you'll want to have your car inspected by an automotive expert at a AAA Car Care Center. Here are some of the potential culprits for your rough ride.



A rough ride can easily be caused by a tire. Uneven wear, feathering or cupping of the tread can cause noise and a rough ride. A tire that is separating will always cause a ride disturbance and is extremely unsafe. Since your tires are primarily responsible for keeping you safe when driving, you'll want to address the issue right away. First, you can visually inspect the tire tread to see if there is a rock or other debris causing the bumpy ride. If all is clear, check the drivers’ door jam for the the correct tire pressure setting and check your air pressure. If you suspect any problems, bring your car to your local AAA Car Care Center for service. Check out these additional tire tips on AAA Talks.



When there is a problem with your suspension, you will likely be able to feel it. The car's suspension is designed to keep the tires on the road and maintain the proper braking distance while providing a smooth ride. Your car has either a shock absorber or strut on each wheel. Shocks and struts absorb the vertical movement and stabilize your vehicle while turning and braking all while providing a smooth ride. If your car bounces a lot before stopping, leans to one side, or you feel or hear noises when driving over bumps or turning, you could be dealing with a suspension problem. Be sure to get it checked out so the necessary repairs can be made.



Transmission problems can come in many forms.  A tell-tale sign that indicates a transmission problem is if you feel or hear anything when the vehicle goes from one gear to the next or if it does not shift into a higher gear when it is supposed to. When a transmission starts to malfunction, the teeth on the gears typically go out first which can result in gears slipping and loss of power. You will also want to have your vehicle’s transmission fluid checked regularly to see if the oil is discolored, burnt or low. On most vehicles the transmission should be serviced every 30,000 to 50,000 miles but check your owner’s manual for your vehicles scheduled transmission service.  If you suspect a transmission problem, it's important to have it looked at right away. The longer you wait, the more expensive the repairs may be. 



If your ride is riddled with squealing or moaning sounds, it could be a brake system issue. You will usually hear and feel when there is a problem with the brakes. Warped or damaged rotors could cause the car to vibrate when the brake pads are applied. If you notice vibrations or unusual sounds when you apply the brakes, or if a noise goes away when you apply the brakes, be sure to make an appointment with AAA Car Care and have it checked out for free.  


If your vehicle's performance is not optimal, you are putting yourself and others on the road at risk. Aside from discomfort, a bumpy ride indicates there is something wrong with your vehicle. It could be a simple fix or may require a more complex repair. However, waiting to address it usually increases the danger and potential cost of the repair.  Don't hesitate to bring your car to AAA Car Care for a proper diagnosis. We offer a full range of automotive services and back our work with an industry leading two-year/24,000 mile warranty. Sign up for Car Care Coupons below.


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