Why Does My Car Shudder When I’m At a Red Light?

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Car Shudder When at a Red light | ER Autocare

You’re driving along and you slow down to stop at a red light. Everything is fine until you actually stop. You notice your car begins to shudder and does so until you depress the accelerator and pick up speed once the light turns green. What causes this? It could be one of a few things, and ER Auto Care is happy to list them below.

Spark Plugs

Even though automobile manufacturers boast that you can wait 100,000 miles to have your spark plugs changed in modern engines, this isn’t always the case. If your spark plugs are dirty or worn, your vehicle will shake when you’re stopped. Dirty or worn plugs misfire because they cannot ignite the piston cylinder fuel properly. Thankfully, new plugs aren’t that expensive.

Fuel Intake System

As your car engine burns fuel to run, carbon builds up inside the intake system. The more your fuel intake system is clogged, the less efficient your engine uses fuel, which can cause it to shudder when you’re at a stop. Fuel is delivered to your engine by fuel intake valves, and these should be cleaned regularly to prevent clogs and a shaky sit at a red light.


It might not seem as if a hose could cause your car to shudder while you’re waiting at a red light, but it can. Your vehicle’s engine relies on vacuum hoses to handle byproducts that result from burning gasoline. If any of these hoses become loose, worn, or break free, your engine could chug when the vehicle is motion or shake or stall when you’re stopped.

Timing Belt

Let us start by saying do not let your timing belt wear out; have it changed at the mileage milestone recommended by your car’s manufacturer. A broken timing belt can destroy your engine and cost thousands to repair. If you notice that squealing accompanies the vibration when stopped or while driving, bring your vehicle in right away for an inspection.

Motor Mounts

Your motor mounts attach your engine to your car’s frame and if they are broken, they will cause your vehicle to shake at a red light. Your transmission also has mounts that secure it to the engine, and these, too, can cause unwanted vehicle vibration. You can isolate this issue yourself. While at a red light, put your car in neutral. Does it shake more? It might be the mounts.

Bring your car into ER Auto Care in Plain City, OH, if it shakes when you are stopped at a red light. We’ll diagnose and repair the problem. If you’d like to set up an appointment, call us.

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