‘Chevy Shake’ What Is That?

The “Chevy Shake” mysteriously started appearing in a slew of different GM models throughout all lineups. It is severe shaking that happens at different speeds, mostly speeds above 35 mph. The steering wheel shakes or “shutters”, which shake back and forth out of the blue. The problem has given rise to several class-action lawsuits.

2018 Chevy Silverado
2018 Chevy Silverado | GM

We’ll list all of the cars, trucks, and SUVs it allegedly involves at the end of this post. The issue has happened mostly to Chevy Silverado pickups, thus the nickname “Shake-arado.” Sometimes it happens to almost brand-new vehicles, with some reports of it appearing at under 25 mph speeds. 

The class-action lawsuits allege that the Chevy Shake is attributed to either the aluminum driveshafts or a problem with the eight-speed automatic transmission. Some dealers have blamed warped brake discs, even after owners had the discs replaced. Others have told customers that the shaking is “within normal limits.” 

How does a transmission cause the Chevy Shake?

2018 Chevy Colorado
2018 Chevy Colorado | GM

Violent shaking so intense it feels like being hit by other cars is one statement in a lawsuit. The Francis vs. General Motors suit pinpoints the problem with the transmission. GM has two eight-speed transmissions, the 8L45 and 8L90. 

It is alleged that a defective hydraulic mechanism in the transmission is the problem. It puts extra force on gears, which wear prematurely. This causes metal fragments to circulate within the transmission, which leads to failure. 

How does an aluminum driveshaft cause the Chevy Shake?

A white 2015 Chevy Silverado against a white background.
2015 Chevy Silverado | Chevrolet

With the problem potentially with the aluminum driveshaft, it may still be a result of the transmission. The driveshaft transfers power from the transmission to the rear axle. If the transmission is shaking, it can resonate through the driveshaft. It can also deteriorate the U-joints on each end of the drive shaft. And finally, it can cause the driveshaft to take on a warp or bend. Any of these conditions exacerbate whatever is going on with the transmission. 

For their part, GM has issued numerous Technical Service Bulletins over the issue. While one of these recommends replacing the transmission fluid, allegedly, this hasn’t fixed the issue. According to reports, some owners have had steel driveshafts made at their own expense, to try and tame the issue.  

Has GM issued any recalls?

2018 Chevy Camaro
2018 Chevy Camaro ZL-1 | GM

GM has issued no recalls over the problem. In 2019, it met before a judge to have one of the class-action lawsuits dropped over technical issues. Information about the problem becomes murky because of all of the disinformation floating around, with many Lemon Law websites campaigning for more victims and more class-action lawsuits. 

Below is the long list of GM vehicles allegedly affected by the Chevy Shake:

  • 2015–2020 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2017–2019 Chevrolet Colorado
  • 2017–2019 GMC Canyon
  • 2015–2020 GMC Yukon
  • 2015–2020 GMC Yukon XL
  • 2015–2017 GMC Yukon Denali
  • 2015–2017 GMC Denali XL
  • 2016–2019 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 2016–2019 Cadillac ATS, ATS-V, CTS, CT6, CTS-V
  • 2015–2020 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2015–2017 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2015–2019 Chevrolet Corvette
  • 2015–2020 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2015-2020 Chevrolet Silverado