5 Causes of Car Shaking After Oil Change & What to Do

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car shaking after oil change

Numerous moving components comprise our car’s engine, and these components need adequate maintenance to prevent damage. Engine oil provides this crucial function to your car; however, this oil deteriorates and gets polluted with engine and environmental dirt, debris, and dust. Whenever this occurs, oil cannot do its function correctly.

As a car owner, I always get excited to run my car after an oil change. Aside from being a straightforward approach to improving our car’s efficiency and prolonging its life, it also provides a smooth and worry-free ride! But what if it acts strange and opposite from what you expect?

You suddenly notice unusual shaking and vibrations as you run your car right after an oil change. If this happens, it’s undoubtedly not a good sign. This could suggest a mechanical drawback or something went wrong during the oil change process. Below are several probable reasons.

Causes Why Car Is Shaking After An Oil Change

But why is this happening? What could’ve gone wrong? There are several possible causes for car shaking after an oil change. Listed below are some of the most common reasons:

  • malfunctioning oil pressure sensor
  • low engine oil levels
  • too much engine oil
  • clogged oil filter
  • incorrect oil viscosity

Malfunctioning Oil Pressure Sensor

Some people disconnect their oil pressure sensor to clean it when changing engine oil. This is to remove contaminants from your old dirty oil. But assume you wrongly reinstall your oil pressure sensor.

In this instance, the oil levels won’t be accurate. You might not realize that your engine is running at a low oil level. Low engine oil increases engine components’ friction, causing your automobile to vibrate even after the oil change.

You don’t need to unplug your oil pressure sensor while changing oil. To cleanse it while still in your engine, you can flush your engine with a solution designed for engine flushing. This can eliminate any buildup on your oil pressure sensor. Or, before pouring new oil, remove your oil pressure sensor, wipe it, and replace it.

Low Engine Oil Levels

As your engine’s internal components grind against each other, you may notice rough idle and unusual vibrations while driving, particularly at higher RPMs due to low oil levels. A mistake some motorists make is just replenishing oil. When it reaches the neck of the oil cap, they shut the lid and consider it done.

There should be no oil left after extracting your old oil and cleansing your engine. You’ll have to pour a bit of extra oil after letting the new engine oil to circulate thoroughly. When pouring additional oil and it reaches the neck of your oil cap, allow it to settle, and you’ll see the level decreasing.

Start your engine and let the oil flow ultimately. Consequently, your oil level will decrease further. Allow your engine to operate, then refill the oil to the oil cap’s neck. However, shaking might be detected after a bit of driving. You’re less likely to encounter it soon after an oil change. If your engine’s oil doesn’t circulate uniformly, you might feel a tiny jolt when starting your automobile.

Too Much Engine Oil

You must always apply the quality and quantity of engine oil specified in your owner’s handbook. When there’s excessive oil in your engine, your oil level is flooding your crankshaft, and that’s not normal.

As it spins, foam and bubbles accumulate around your crankshaft, hindering the oil from properly lubricating your engine’s internal components. If your engine’s internals isn’t adequately lubricated, friction can develop, resulting in noticeable engine vibrations and shaking.

If you don’t correctly drain your old oil before pouring new oil, your engine’s oil level might exceed the acceptable amount. Park your vehicle on a level surface to properly drain your old oil.

Next, run your engine for around 10 minutes to warm your oil. Hot or warm old oil drains are preferable to cold oil because they are less prone to leave oil deposits in your engine. When extracting the oil, always move your hand away after removing the oil plug. It prevents heated oil from harming or burning your skin.

Also, wear gloves during the oil change process. Allow the oil to stream freely till the last drop. Before pouring your new oil, cleanse your engine using a flushing product with degreasing qualities.

Clogged Oil Filter

Your oil filter is crucial for filtering your engine oil. If your oil filter is dirty or clogged, your engine internals won’t get enough oil since less oil will pass through your engine components.

Therefore, the internal components produce rattling noises and vibrations by grinding against one another at significant frictions. It would be best to replace your oil filter with every oil change. You may consider cleansing and reusing your oil filter; however, this is not encouraged, and a new oil filter is a must.

Reusing your oil filter won’t effectively filter your oil, thus contaminating your new engine oil. Polluted engine oil won’t effectively lubricate your engine’s internals. After using your oil for a while, you’ll experience vibrations and shakings that intensify over time.

Incorrect Oil Viscosity

Too thin or too thick engine oil can cause internal troubles. Your owner’s handbook indicates a specified oil viscosity for your engine to avoid using the wrong oil grade. If you use thinner oil that doesn’t meet your engine requirements, a lubricating coat won’t develop on your engine’s internal components, mainly if your engine is operating at high temperatures.

Without lubricating oil, engine components would scrape against one another, causing vibrations. This friction can ultimately generate high temperatures and cause your thin engine oil to boil, releasing steam and smoke out of your engine.

Using too thick engine oil is one of the biggest screw-ups that one can do. The high viscosity of engine oil blocks your engine’s proper operation, making it challenging to start. Yet when started, your engine’s internals might struggle to function.

As your oil heats, they grind over each other, generating vibrations. Employing thick engine oil through the winter is why your vehicle vibrates. Extremely viscous oil can freeze faster than less viscous oil. You must apply an antifreeze compound or employ “W”-labeled winter engine oil.

Oil Leak

Significant friction increases once your engine internals starve for oil due to leakage. As more oil spills, the vibrations across your vehicle will grow due to internal tension and might illuminate your check engine light due to low oil pressure because not enough oil is circulating.

When you notice a puddle of oil under your vehicle’s parking area, you must investigate the source and cause of the leak. Broken seals or a loose drain plug can cause oil leaks. These are the top prevalent causes of engine oil leaks. It’s essential to replace the damaged part or tighten the sealings. It’s vital to replace worn-out seals, gaskets, and plugs since they break out over time.

The most straightforward technique to detect the cause of a leak is to inspect your engine with a flashlight after a thorough cleaning. If you cannot locate the cause of the leak, submit your automobile to a repair facility.

What To Do When Car Is Shaking After An Oil Change?

Getting your oil changed is a fundamental approach to taking care of your engine. However, what should you do in an instance when a car shakes strangely after changing the engine oil? Below are a few things you can check to determine and fix the cause of this occurrence.

Inspect Your Oil Level

Park on a flat level and a safe road spot, and switch off your engine. Let 30 to 40 minutes or longer for your oil to settle. Inspect your oil level using the dipstick, but wipe it clean first and reinsert it to read accurately.

Pull your dipstick and examine its oil level. The dipstick with a line or hole marking displays the maximum and minimum oil levels. Your oil level must be within the higher and lower levels indicated on the dipstick.

To prevent possible harm, avoid restarting your engine if the level is below the lower limit or above the highest limit. Before restarting your engine, drain all excess oil and, if required, replenish to the appropriate level.

Check For Any Detached Sensors

Inspect your engine compartment for broken or detached sensors or a look at your dashboard if there’s a check engine light. Verify that your Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF), Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP), and Oxygen (O2) sensor are all correctly attached. Check your engine compartment for any frayed or damaged wiring.

Examine Your Air Filter

Inspect if your air filter is clean and free of debris. A clogged air filter blocks proper air circulation needed for your adequate engine combustion and might produce vibrations if not corrected.

Check Your Spark Plugs

Ensure that your spark plugs are placed correctly in their positions. If you previously adjusted the gap between your spark plug tips, you must readjust them to minimize any further vibrations in your vehicle.


Oil changes might seem to be a straightforward procedure, but they can result in various issues if performed improperly. We suggest letting a technician replace your oil to ensure the correctness of the job to avoid your car shaking after oil change.

Nobody enjoys driving while experiencing car shaking and vibrations. If these vibrations are very severe, they might cause a distraction. It’s less probable that you might experience these car shakings shortly after the oil change. You’ll notice them after a period of driving. Since low oil levels cause most problems, constantly check your oil levels before hitting the road.


Can too much oil cause rough idle?

Excess oil volume might enter your crankcase ventilation valve (CCV) or oil separator. Because of the extra oil, this might create a rough idle and throw an error code. If there’s an overabundance of oil or a leak, examine your valve.

Why does my engine shaking?

It is essential to monitor your engine for any unusual shaking or vibrations. Spark plugs might result in irregular power supply for several causes, such as worn or broken mountings, engine damage, or failure because of an engine problem.

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