Is there anything more frustrating than a steering wheel that shakes incessantly when you reach over 55 mph or less?
While the rest of your car may be in tip-top condition, a shaking steering wheel indicates that you have an underlying problem that needs to be checked out.
Most commonly the cause of steering wheel shaking has to do with your car’s tires, however, there could be a few other serious issues.
If you’re looking to get to the bottom of your car’s unstable steering wheel, we outline 4 key causes in this blog.
4 Common Causes of Steering Wheel Shaking
A common scenario: you’re cruising along the hi-way and as soon as you reach the open road and a speed of over 55 mph, your steering wheel begins to shake.
For some older make of vehicle, your steering wheel may even begin to shake at slower speeds- but why is that?
If you experience persistent steering wheel vibration, here’s what might be the cause:
1. Wheel Imbalance
This is one of the most common causes of steering wheel vibration when driving. If you’ve ever had to replace your own tires, you’ll know how important wheel balancing is for your car.
Aside from ensuring all your tires are of the same size and quality, a well-balanced wheel ensures all weight is evenly distributed around the tire rim.
This means that all heavy areas of your rims must be matched to the lighter areas, then counterweights must be added to further balance things out.
Many lightweight vehicles may experience wheel imbalances as well as cars with low profile tires.
2. Wheel Misalignment
Another highly common cause of steering wheel shaking has to do with misaligned wheels.
The misalignment of your car wheels can be caused by a disruption in your car’s suspension, throwing the positioning of your wheels slightly out of place. As soon as this positioning is disrupted, steering wheel shaking will occur.
It’s relatively easy to throw your car’s suspension out of place and the longer you own a car, the more likely this is to happen. To avoid this, try not to drive through potholes, over curbs, large speed bumps or railroad tracks.
Your tires are a dead giveaway of misalignment. This is because the tread will be unevenly worn down on the inside of the tire versus the outside.
3. Old/Worn Wheel Bearings
Your wheel bearings play an important role in the overall function of your vehicle’s wheels and how your car drives.
If your wheel hub bearings are old and worn down, this could lead to steering wheel shaking. Bearings essentially allow your wheels to turn as much they need to without too much friction taking place.
They also carry the brunt of the weight of your car, connecting to your car’s axle which connects to the drive shaft.
If wheel bearings are overly worn, this causes friction and vibration up your driveshaft to your steering wheel.
4. A Damaged Suspension System
Your vehicle’s suspension system is governed by a number of working parts, including shocks, pistons, and rods which connect your wheels to your car.
Ultimately, the suspension of your car dictates how well your vehicles drives and handles braking and turning etc. The suspension also helps to minimize vibration and noise inside your car.
If your suspension and any of its working parts have been damaged, this can also lead to steering wheel vibration.
Some of the most common suspension issues include corroded parts, an imbalanced driveshaft, old shocks, and loose connections.
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