Jeep Cherokee Shaking: A Comprehensive Guide to Causes, Symptoms, Solutions and Preventions

Jeep Cherokee shaking while idle or running is not only uncomfortable for the user because of the performance issue but it can also cause serious damage to the entire vehicle and can even result in accidents. Various components work together to ensure proper function of the vehicle and faults in any one of them can cause the problem of excessive shaking in the Jeep Cherokee. 

The most common issues that can cause the Jeep Cherokee to shake are engine misfiring issues, vacuum leak issues, motor mount problems, engine timing problems, air filter issues, fuel issues, various wheel issues, faulty suspension, low fluid issues, and so on. 

All of these common issues with their symptoms, possible solutions, and prevention methods are discussed below in detail. 

What Causes Jeep Cherokee to Shake?

There can be a lot of reasons behind the issue of a Jeep Cherokee shaking excessively and finding the exact cause can be a difficult task. Proper diagnostics can save you a lot of time and trouble as it can accurately show the exact reason that is causing all the trouble. Using an OBD 2 code scanner is a very helpful way to diagnose the exact issue that is causing the problem. You can get an OBD 2 scanner for $60-$300. 

OBD 2 scanner connects to the OBD 2 port on your vehicle. Locate the port and connect the scanner to try and get the error codes to diagnose the problem. You should also check the engine lights which display issues in the car on the dashboard of your car around the speed meter. The common issues with the chances of ‘check engine light’ signal turning on and OBD codes are given below. 

CausesCheck Engine LightOBD 2 CodesNotes
MisfiringAlmost alwaysP0300, P030XNoticeable sound, Lack of power
Vacuum LeakSometimesP0171Hissing sound
Motor MountNoNoneSlamming noise during shifting
Engine Chain timingSometimesP0016, P0017Rough idle, slapping noise, decreased MPG
Air FilterRarelyP0172Rough idle, decreased throttle response
Air/Fuel mixtureUsuallyP0171, P0172Excessive black or blue exhaust smoke
Harmonic BalancerNoNoneEngine Vibration

Misfiring Issue

Misfiring issue is one of the most common issues that can cause excessive shaking of the entire vehicle. The ignition system works to ignite the rich mixture of air and fuel in the combustion chamber to push the pistons in the cylinder which in turn powers the engine. Problems in the spark plugs, coil packs, and spark plug wire can cause the engine to misfire. 

Spark Plug Issue: Spark plugs are responsible for starting the necessary flicker that starts the combustion process and any faults in the spark plug result in one or multiple cylinders to misfire at improper times. These altogether can cause the engine to misfire.

Solution: Regularly check the spark plugs to make sure that they are functioning properly. Check the electrodes and make sure that the gap between them has not become too narrow or too wide. Also, ensure that the spark plug has not accumulated any dust, dirt, debris, or carbon on the electrodes. Fix the gap between the electrodes and clean the entire spark plug thoroughly. Replace the spark plug if it gets beyond repair. A spare spark plug will cost you $5-$25. 

Coil Packs issue:  A faulty ignition coil does not only cause engine misfiring but it can also cause problems like loss of power, poor fuel economy, backfiring, hard starts and stalling, unusual noises, and jerking or vibration. Ignition coil packs boost the voltage from the battery to create sparks in the gap between the electrodes of the spark plug. The coil packs in your car are causing the issue of misfiring if the spark plug and the spark plug wire are functioning properly.

Solution: Coil packs are very difficult to repair so you will need to replace them. It will cost you between $200-$300 to replace the coil packs in your car. 

Spark Plug Wires Issue: Engine misfiring can also be a result of faulty spark plug wires. Spark plug wires carry the electricity from the battery to the spark plug to start the ignition process. Check the spark plug wires with a multimeter to verify if there are any issues like short circuits or disconnections with it. 

Solution: Replace the spark plug wire with a new wire to resolve this problem.  

Vacuum Leak Issue

Unwanted shaking or jerking can also be caused by vacuum leaks. The most probable causes for a vacuum leak are faulty vacuum hoses, leaking gaskets and seals, and bad actuators and valves. Although the symptoms of a vacuum leak include check engine light, rough idle, stalling, and unwanted jerking or vibration, the most useful sign is hissing noises coming from around the engine. 

Solution: Finding and repairing the exact leaking point on your Jeep Cherokee might be a difficult task and you will need to take it to a trusted workshop near you to get it checked and repaired. 

Motor Mount Misalignment 

Another issue that can cause excessive jerking or shaking in the Jeep Cherokee is the misalignment of the motor mount. The motor mounts connect the engine to the chassis of the car.

The engine can cause the entire car to shake if this mount wears out. The most efficient method of knowing whether your engine mount is causing the issue of excessive shaking is to notice if the car is shaking the most when it is idle and not in gear. A bad motor mount is definitely causing the issue if the engine is not misfiring and yet the car shakes excessively. 

Solution: Replace the broken motor mount to resolve this issue. It will cost you anywhere from $200 to $600 to replace a motor mount. 

Engine Timing Chain Problem 

Excessive vibration or shaking can also be caused by a faulty timing chain. The timing chain connects the crankshaft to the camshafts. It helps to keep them running in sync. In that way, it helps to make sure that the piston is close to or at top dead center at the moment of combustion.

The common symptoms of a faulty timing chain include unusual engine noises, engine misfiring, poor fuel economy, check engine light, and so on. The most effective way to understand if the timing chain is causing the issue is to listen to the noise of the Engine carefully to notice any clacking noise. 

Solution:  Take your car to a professional mechanic and replace the timing chain to resolve this issue. It will cost you somewhere between $1000-$2000 to fix this problem. 

Clogged Air Filter 

Clogged or dirty air filters can cause unwanted vibration because it prevents clean air flow to the carburetor and the cylinders have to combust this mixture of unclean air and fuel. This causes the engine to misfire which in turn can cause the entire vehicle to shake. 

Solution: Clean the air filters if they are dirty and replace the filters completely if they become too clogged or dirty.  

Fuel Issues

Fuel issues like faulty fuel pumps, clogged fuel lines, Faulty fuel injectors, O2 sensor issues, and so on can cause the engine to misfire which in turn can cause excessive shaking and jerking motion of the car. 

Faulty Fuel Pump: Faulty fuel pumps do not properly create the vacuum in their chambers to pump fuel from the tank to the carburetor. Your Jeep Cherokee might have a faulty fuel pump if the low humming noise that starts when the ignition is turned on sounds wrong and produces a noise of clattering. 

Solution: Replace the fuel pump with a new one. Replacing the fuel pump on a Jeep Cherokee will cost somewhere between $350 and $1000. 

Faulty Fuel Injector: Fuel injector atomizes the fuel into a mist which is then mixed with air to make it ready for the combustion process. Symptoms of faulty fuel injectors include rough idle, poor fuel economy, misfiring, loss of power, difficulty starting, engine stalling, poor acceleration, unusual exhaust smell, and so on. The main problems of an injector include clocking, leaking, and electrical issues.

Solution: Replace the fuel injector to solve this issue. It will cost you $300-$1000 to replace the fuel injector on a Jeep Cherokee.

Faulty O2 Sensors: O2 sensors monitor the exhaust to determine the correct air and fuel mixture that will be supplied to the engine manifold. The O2 sensor can get damaged as it performs under extreme levels of heat. The common symptoms of a failing O2 sensor is excessive exhaust smoke and engine misfiring. Check the O2 sensor if fixing all the other components does not solve the issue of engine misfiring.

Solution: Replace the O2 sensor with a new replacement part to solve this problem which will cost you somewhere between $100-$200. 

jeep cherokee o2 sensor problem

Wheel Issues

Various wheel issues such as misaligned wheels, damaged tires, damaged rims, broken wheel bearings, and loose wheel nuts can cause excessive shaking, vibration, and jerking of a Jeep Cherokee. 

The most common sign of misaligned wheels is when the vehicle pulls to one side and you have to constantly adjust the steering wheel. Check the wheel’s alignment at a trusted workshop and get the problem fixed. 

Damaged tires are another problem that can cause wobbling steering wheels and excessive vibration on a Jeep Cherokee. Check the tires for any cuts, bulges, and uneven wear. Fix the tires at a trusted workshop to resolve this issue. 

Bent rims can also cause unwanted shaking or jerking motions on your Jeep Cherokee. Check the rim of the wheels for any bent or damaged area and fix it accordingly. 

Broken or defective wheel bearings can also cause the excessive shaking of a Jeep Cherokee. The most common symptom of bad wheel bearings is grinding noise coming out of the wheel while driving. The noise increases with the speed which indicates issues with the wheel bearing. Replace the broken wheel bearings to solve this problem.

Loose wheel nuts can also cause the issue of excessive shaking or jerking. Wheel lug nuts can come loose by itself with time so always check the wheel nuts and tighten them accordingly to avoid the issue of the wheels wobbling. 

Axle Issues

Axel rod rotates the wheels, supports the vehicle’s weight, and transmits power from the engine to the wheel. Excessive vibration can be a result of faulty or worn out axle components. 

Solution: Axles are very difficult to fix on your own so you must take your Jeep Cherokee to a trusted workshop near you to solve this problem. 

Worn Suspension or Steering Parts 

Faulty suspension or steering system can cause excessive vibration or jerking of the Jeep Cherokee. Looseness in the suspension or the steering system can cause the vehicle to wobble while running.

Excessive vibration from the front end or through the steering wheel, clunking or rattling noises coming from the suspension especially on a bumpy road are common signs of faulty suspension or steering parts. The front end of the suspension vibrating uncontrollably at high speed is called a death wobble and can seriously cause harm to the car and the driver. 

Solution: Issues in the suspension system or the steering parts are notably difficult to repair so you must contact a professional mechanic to get them checked. 

Low Fluids

Low fluid level means that gasoline, engine oil, transmission oil, and other lubricants are at insufficient level. These can also cause excessive vibration of the entire vehicle and thus you should check all the fluid levels of your car and fill them accordingly. 

causes of jeep cherokee shaking

How to Prevent Jeep Cherokee From Shaking?

The most effective way to prevent Jeep Cherokee from shaking is to perform routine checks on all of the parts of the car and repair and replace them accordingly. Always keep all the parts of the car clean from the dust, dirt, and debris that accumulate on the exterior and the interior of the car.

Routinely check the engine to make sure none of the components are faulty. Also regularly check all the nuts and bolts on the car to make sure that they are tightened properly. Take the car to a professional mechanic at a trusted workshop if you hear unusual noises coming from the engine or other parts of the vehicle. 

Can I Still Drive My Jeep Cherokee if It’s Shaking?

You can still drive your Jeep Cherokee if it is shaking but it is wise to diagnose the problems that are causing this problem and resolve them as soon as possible because the excessive shaking problem can result in accidents if not resolved in time.

Leave a Comment