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What is a Car Shaker?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated Feb 15, 2024
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The term “car shaker” has two popular meanings in the transportation world. The primary one is for a mechanical device that is often installed on rail cars and other open topped vehicles. The other is a popular term for a kind of audio system used in consumer vehicles.

The technical definition of a railway car shaker is a metal yoke or similar structure that gets attached to the frame of an open vehicle. As this shaker is moved, it shakes the vehicle so that any large amount of aggregate materials will be slowly released from the car. These shakers are most common in railway cars that carry various materials long distances.

A main benefit of the car shaker is in saving significant amounts of labor. In primitive wagons without these devices, the receiving yards for energy materials like coal, or other materials like sand or stone, would have had to employ men to physically shovel all of the contents out of the car, or lift one end of the car with complex cranes or other systems. The shaker also allows for controlled distribution.

Use of a car shaker and other specialized gear reflects modern methods for the transport of some valuable mineral products. For example, coal is frequently a major component of mining in any given country, where coal power plants serve as a primary or significant source of electrical energy for a national energy grid. Designing rail cars with special devices helps transport providers to cater to these much-needed raw materials for keeping a region supplied with electricity.

An alternate definition of a “car shaker” is as a colloquial term for a specific kind of automobile stereo system. This sort of system is most commonly installed in certain American cars. In fact, some people may refer to any brand of larger bass speakers as “car shakers.” This has to do with the motion and vibration created by large box speakers that are often called sub-woofers. At a particular wattage, these speakers affect not only the vehicle, but those outside the vehicle, emitting strong, powerful vibrations along with loud bass sounds.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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