It’s common to feel your car shaking while driving after a snowstorm. Many people experience vibration in the steering wheel, the seat, or underneath the car. You might not even feel it until you pick up some speed. This can be alarming and sometimes a little scary, but the cause is usually benign.
Why Your Car Vibrates
The vibration comes from snow and ice stuck in the wheels. The snow acts as a weight and throws off the balance of the tires while driving, wobbling them up and down or front and back, wherever the snow is. Yes, snow is light, but it takes less than an ounce of added weight to throw off your tire’s balance.
If you feel vibration in the steering wheel, seat, or chassis, the tires likely have too much snow in them. Vibrations felt in the steering wheel usually come from snow in the front tires, and vibrations felt in the seat usually come from snow in the rear tires.
Driving on unbalanced tires can wear out the suspension and steering parts over time and make for an unpleasant drive. It’s best to pull over in a safe spot and fix it, especially if you’re driving a long distance.
How to Fix the Vibration
To prevent this, remove snow and ice from the wheel, rotor, and wheel well. You can do this by hand with an old glove, but if the snow is light, you can also remove it at a self-service car wash with hot water. Make sure the package selection includes an undercarriage wash.
Snow left in the wheels before and after driving may refreeze. If this happens, you may continue to feel a slight vibration until the snow has melted away completely. If the vibration continues without snow in your wheels, then something else is likely the cause, possibly the suspension.