Chevy Shake Headache

Nov 19, 2018

What is the Chevy Shake?

General Motors defects attorneys have learned of an apparent “mysterious recurring issue” affecting certain GM full-size trucks and SUVs. The alleged problem causes the affected vehicles to vibrate excessively resulting in their owners complaining of headaches and dizziness when the vehicles reach certain varying speeds, not all of which are exceptionally fast. The alleged problem is also causing headaches for the automaker’s engineers who have yet to pinpoint the cause or find an effective resolution.

The Chevy problem, reportedly affecting vehicles including certain Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierras has earned the nickname the “Chevy Shake” and is the subject of complaints “in online forums and in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s complaints sections”.


How to Identify the Chevy Shake

Identifying the infamous Chevy Shake is vital for drivers dealing with the discomfort it triggers. Various signs and symptoms define this baffling issue, detailing the driver’s ordeal. Here’s what to watch out for:


The most immediate symptom of the Chevy Shake is an excessive and uncontrollable vibration in the vehicle, primarily experienced at high speeds. However, it’s also been reported at surprisingly lower speeds, as low as 25 mph, even in vehicles with remarkably low mileage. Unlike standard vibrations on rough roads, the shaking associated with the Chevy Shake is severe, resulting in a feeling of instability. This is a critical distinction; the severity of these vibrations goes beyond what one would anticipate from standard driving conditions.

Shuddering and Shaking

Steering wheel shuddering is the most noticeable sign, with the shaking often extending throughout the vehicle, including the body and the driver’s seat. You may even sense this unsettling vibration in the passenger seats, indicating how pervasive the issue can be.


In addition to these vibrations, drivers report a noticeable humming or droning noise accompanying the shake. This noise tends to intensify with speed, and it’s particularly noticeable when driving on smooth, flat surfaces – conditions that should typically result in quiet operation.

Transmission-Related Issues

You may also detect problems with your vehicle’s suspension. Unusual sounds or feelings while driving, especially at higher speeds, could strongly indicate the Chevy Shake. Furthermore, transmission-related issues, such as jerking or lurching during gear changes, may also be related to this problem.

Uneven Tire Wear

Another symptom pointing towards the Chevy Shake is uneven tire wear, suggesting potential issues with the drive train. Rapid brake pad wear, far beyond the norm, suggests potential issues with the brake system, adding to the concerns surrounding this mysterious issue.

Recurrent Issues

Lastly, if you’ve repeatedly taken your vehicle to a GM dealership or a mechanic for the same shaking issue and they haven’t been able to resolve it, this could be a key sign of the Chevy Shake. Despite attempted fixes, the recurrence of the issue underscores the elusive nature of the problem.

These symptoms, along with the general discomfort, headaches, and dizziness experienced by drivers and passengers, constitute the tell-tale signs of the Chevy Shake. These indications serve as vital clues in diagnosing this unnerving problem and are the first step toward seeking a resolution.


What Causes the Chevy Shake?

The root cause of the Chevy Shake remains largely unconfirmed by General Motors, contributing to the intrigue and frustration surrounding the problem. However, multiple theories and legal cases offer potential explanations, shedding light on some potential underlying issues.

Drive Shaft

The drive train, a key component transferring power from the engine to the wheels, is one suspected culprit. The issue is thought to be rooted in a drive shaft that’s either improperly balanced or constructed with inferior materials. Two class-action lawsuits notably identify a flawed drive shaft, specifically the aluminum driveshaft, as a major vibration source. This driveshaft’s role is to transmit power from the engine to the wheels, and it’s been singled out as one of the primary reasons behind the shaking and the resulting driveshaft deterioration.

Some vehicles may become undrivable after significant wear and tear, with the driveshaft potentially falling off the vehicle. Many customers have reported that this problem is most prevalent at highway speeds. The response to this problem from General Motors has been criticized, as the issued Technical Service Bulletins offer no long-term solution and appear to obscure the driveshaft issue.

Wheel-Tire Imbalance

Another widely speculated cause of the Chevy Shake is linked to the vehicle’s tires and wheels. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some vehicles started exhibiting the Shake after installing new tires, leading to theories that the issue could stem from an imbalance in the wheel-tire setup. However, efforts to balance or replace the tires have generally failed to resolve the problem, intensifying the enigma.

Eight-Speed Transmission

The eight-speed transmission has also been highlighted as a probable cause. In a particular lawsuit, it was alleged that subpar 8L90 and 8L45 transmissions used in several SUVs and trucks were at fault. This problem seems to be related to the hydraulic system within the eight-speed transmission. A malfunctioning system stresses the gears, leading to premature wear and tear. As the gears wear, metal pieces can break off, get lodged in the transmission, and ultimately cause transmission failure.

The vehicle may shake violently when a driver accelerates, slows down, or changes gears. Complaints about vehicles not shifting smoothly and slow acceleration have also been reported. Like the driveshaft issue, General Motors’ response to these transmission problems has been limited to issuing Technical Service Bulletins without providing a concrete solution or a recall.

Suspension System

Lastly, some theories suggest manufacturing or design flaws in the suspension or brake system could be behind the Chevy Shake. Yet these theories, like the others, remain unvalidated by General Motors, leaving vehicle owners seeking effective solutions.

While these potential causes give some direction, the exact origin of the Chevy Shake remains elusive, adding to the frustrations of drivers experiencing this discomforting problem.

Attempts to remedy the problem by balancing wheels and replacing tires has been ineffective according to certain owners. One owner reportedly claims his first GM pick-up “spent 56 days of its first six months in the shop” due to the problem and even after the vehicle was replaced, the replacement truck vibrates as well. Because it has not yet been deemed a safety issue, there is no auto recall to date.

The lemon law protects those who buy or lease a new vehicle that turns out to be a bad car that is constantly in the shop for the stubborn same problem. The lemon law differs from state to state, including how long owners and lessees have to make a claim under the statute.

The Pennsylvania lemon law covers vehicles during the first 12 months or 12,000 miles whereas the New Jersey lemon law covers vehicles during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles. Generally, lemon laws provide that the defect must substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. There are also guidelines regarding how many repair attempts were made in order for an owner to be entitled to lemon law protection.

It should also be noted that car owners or lessees may still have legal recourse under consumer protection laws for “lemons” that don’t satisfy or exceed their state’s lemon law statute’s time/mileage restrictions.


Which Vehicles Are Likely to Experience the Chevy Shake?

While GMC Shakes are not limited to a single model, it’s been particularly reported in certain Chevrolet and GMC vehicles. Among the affected models are the Chevrolet Silverado, especially the 2014 to 2019 models, and GMC Sierra. SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade have also been flagged by owners for this issue.

Furthermore, the Chevy Shake has not been restricted to older models. Some newer models have also been implicated, causing concern among owners and potential buyers about the extent of this phenomenon.



1. What Are the Most Common Chevy Shake Complaints?

The most common complaints regarding the Chevy Shake involve excessive vibration, usually at higher speeds, accompanied by a humming or droning noise. The vibration is not limited to the steering wheel but can be felt throughout the car body and seat. Many owners also report abnormal tire and brake pad wear.

2. Has There Been Any Official Chevy Shake Recalls?

As of now, there has not been any official Chevy Shake recall. General Motors has not yet been able to pinpoint the cause, so there has not been a specific recall for this issue.

3. Is the Chevy Shake Covered Under Warranty?

The warranty coverage for the Chevy Shake largely depends on the specific terms of your vehicle’s warranty. Generally, if the problem can be traced to a defective part or workmanship, it may be covered under the warranty.

4. How Can I Get Relief if I’m Experiencing the Chevy Shake?

Depending on your state, you can pursue a Chevy Shake lawsuit under the lemon law. You may also be entitled to relief under other consumer protection laws if your vehicle doesn’t meet the time/mileage restrictions of your state’s lemon law.


If you have questions about an auto recall, or feel you may be driving a lemon, The Law Offices of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Depending on the nature of your problem, you may be entitled to a full refund of your down payment, trade-in, monthly payments and taxes, or a brand-new car or a cash settlement.

Experiencing Similar Issues?

If your car was manufactured between 2019 and 2024 we may be able to help. Contact us for more information.