Cars are one of the important vehicles for our daily life. And it should run smooth and flawlessly, especially on the road, right!
But did your ever face an opposite situation? Meaning, did you ever fall in a situation when your car is literally shaking, and you have no idea what’s going on?
Basically, the vibration or shaking indicates a faulty steering wheel, braking pads, or any other component of your car. However, if you don’t know what’s causing the vibration and ignore it, there’s a high chance of worse car damage.
The wise decision will be to go to a garage and check it by a mechanic. But if you find it by yourself, no worries, you’re at the right place. Here in this article, we’ll be talking about what does it mean when your steering wheel shakes.
So let’s get started.
What Can Cause A Steering Wheel To Shake and Vibrate?
The two most common reasons for a shaky steering wheel are either warped brake rotors, which will cause your steering wheel to shake when you brake.
Another reason is imbalanced tires that can cause your steering wheel to shake while travelling at high speeds.
Despite this, there are several reasons for a shaky steering wheel. You may narrow down the problem by thinking critically about how and when your steering wheel shakes. As aggravating as it is, shaky steering wheels are often a sign of a bigger problem.
What Causes a Car to Shake?
Shaking in your car’s steering stabilizer may be hazardous as well as annoying. Identifying the source of vibration is critical to getting it fixed most effectively. Vibration may be caused by a variety of things, from loose wheel nuts to improper wheel alignment.
If your car is shaking, it’s an indication of some problems with the wheel or tires. However, you should check your car as soon as possible if you’re facing anything like that.
Tires can be another reason for vibration, as we mentioned earlier. There might be a lot of reasons for this.
The most common cause of blowouts is a tire that has been damaged or deformed. If you spot a bulge on its sidewall, replace the tire immediately to avoid a high-speed accident. Tire kerbing or a deep pothole are common causes of damage.
That’s why how you take care of tires is an important factor. Uneven tread wear may occur if your tires are either under or excessively inflated. The tires might be swapped out for new ones, but it’s crucial to keep an eye on the pressures to avoid issues.
So now we can clearly say that there’s no one particular reason for vibration or shaking in your car. As there might be multiple reasons now, we’re going to learn some of the most common causes of a shaky steering wheel.
Why Does My Steering Wheel Shake: 8 Common Reasons
You and your car will be safer and more secure if you take action quickly. The following are the most typical causes of steering wheel vibrations.
Reasons#01: Imbalanced Wheel
While replacing a new tire in your wheel rim, you have to make sure weights are evenly distributed. As a result, the wheel is referred to as being “balanced” and requires specific equipment to do this.
With that being said, your steering wheel may shake if a wheel isn’t properly balanced. In contemporary automobiles, this is a concern because of their lightweight and low-profile tires. If you want to prevent future issues with your vehicle’s shocks, struts, suspension, and steering, you need to address this issue now.
Reasons#02: Misaligned Wheels
The steering wheel might tremble if your wheels are out of alignment. Driving over potholes, climbing kerbs, and going over speed bumps too quickly might cause this difficulty.
When you bring your car in for an inspection, the mechanic will look at the tread depth of your tires. Uneven tread, such as greater wear on the inside than the exterior, is a sign of misalignment. If they can align your wheels and axles, then the issue will be resolved.
Reasons#03: Problems with the Wheels’ Hub Bearings
Shaky steering might occur if your wheel hub bearings need to be maintained or replaced. The bearings allow the wheels to revolve and support the vehicle’s weight by attaching to the axle or hub assembly. As a result, you may hear unusual sounds.
Reasons#04: Suspension-Related Concerns
The suspension system, which connects the wheels to the car, is rather complex. Driveshaft misalignment and shaking might occur if this part is worn or rusted.
When you accelerate or hold a certain speed, steering wheel shaking caused by a suspension problem usually escalates. Having a professional examine the whole suspension system will allow them to locate the issue.
Reasons#05: Brake Caliper
If your brake caliper sticks, your steering wheel may wobble as a result of your car’s braking system. If you’re traveling fast, the shaking will be stronger on this section of the brake than everywhere else. A burning smell coming from your automobile is another telltale sign that something is wrong.
It’s rare for brake calipers to stick, and when it does, it’s usually due to debris or an error made during the replacement of brake pads or rotors. Clean up any debris if it’s the source of the issue; otherwise, take it to a store for repair.
Reasons#06: Axle-Related Issues
The axles in most modern automobiles are half shafts since they have front-wheel drive. When they go bad, you’ll hear a distinct ticking sound whenever you tilt your head. You may feel a vibration in your steering wheel, although the issue is generally audible before you feel anything.
Some axle problems can cause shaking of the steering wheel and sometimes of the whole car, but this is an exception. A steering wheel shaking may be caused by an uneven axle shaft, which is more frequent in rear-wheel-drive automobiles.
Reasons#07: Difficulties with the Braking System
A shaky steering wheel while using the brakes is a strong symptom of brake system trouble. Weakening of the brake pads or shocks, or a fault with the discs, might be responsible for this.
In order to determine the root problem, a skilled technician will need to analyze all of the brake components. There’re several ways to fix a brake issue, including cleaning, tightening, or replacing worn components.
Reasons#08: Vibration In Steering Wheel
If the steering wheel shimmies all of the time continually—or starts to tremble as you go to greater speeds—it is possible that the issue is in another place. Continuous shaking may be caused by various factors, including uneven tire tread wear, suspension difficulties, or the need for a computerized wheel alignment.
What To Do When Steering Wheel Shakes?
Begin by driving your car under a variety of situations to see whether the problem happens at low speeds, highway speeds when accelerating, while braking, at a standing idle, or while turning left or right (if applicable).
It may also occur under various circumstances, such as while accelerating or driving at highway speeds. Knowing this will assist you in eliminating certain things from your shopping list. It’s not likely that a minor vibration in your steering wheel occurs only while the vehicle is idle and not under any other conditions. This indicates that a problem with wheel balance or a faulty tie rod.
Once you’ve identified when the vibration happens, attempt to reproduce it as closely as possible, making a mental note of the exact moment it begins and when it ends. It may be progressive in certain circumstances.
How To Diagnose A Shaking Steering Wheel
Here we’ve listed some places that you should check to diagnose why your car is shaking.
1. Rapid Shaking
There are several types of shakes, but steering wheel vibrations are the most prevalent. As your car speeds up, you’re more likely to feel this sort of shaking. Even if the steering wheel begins to tremble, the degree of vibration is variable. Many of your car’s components, including the tires and gearboxes, are at risk of premature wear due to this shaking over time. The following items, listed in order of importance (and expense of repair! ), should be examined:
- Wheel Stability:
Rebalance your wheels by taking them to a tire shop. Vibrations may be caused by a wheel that is out of balance. You may save a lot of money if this is your issue.
- Shock Absorbers and Struts:
Having worn struts or shocks might lead to a shaky, bouncy, or porpoise-inducing ride.
- Bearings for the Upper Struts:
Under the hood, you can reach the top of your front (and occasionally rear) shock towers. This is something that almost all full-service tire shops can do—yet another source of noise and vibration.
- Ball Joints:
Ball joints enable your suspension to move up and down and side to side while maintaining its tightness. Shaking is a given when they’re worn.
- Rod End:
Using tie rods, you may link your steering rack to your wheels (basically). The tie rod ends must be able to move up, down, and from side to side to function properly. They ensure that both wheels are always moving in the same direction. Vibrations are a common symptom of wheels attempting to travel in various directions.
2. Accelerating While Shaking
Acceleration-induced vibration might be a little unsettling. The first item to check if the vehicle shakes when you push the gas pedal is the following:
- Transmission fluid:
All kinds of acceleration jerks are possible when the transmission fluid level is too low.
- Universal Joint:
Your driveshaft’s U-joint might wear out, resulting in excessive play. This is particularly noticeable while accelerating and must be fixed before you find yourself trapped.
3. Shaking While Idle
Suppose your vehicle rattles before you put it in gear, or while you’re stopped at a traffic light, anything linked to the engine is likely malfunctioning. Keep an eye out for the following:
- Motor Mounts:
If your motor mount is damaged or worn out, it will cause your engine to move about excessively. When the engine is running at a low RPM, it may get rather bouncy. Depending on the car, this might be a simple or big repair.
- System of Fuel:
If the engine’s revolutions per minute (RPM) are inconsistent or decrease unexpectedly, this might result in a shaking or tremor. Check your fuel system to check whether this is the source of the issue.
How Do You Fix A Shaking Steering Wheel and How Much Does It Cost
Earlier, we’ve mentioned some places where you should check if there’s any problem. If you diagnose any source of the issue, get it checked by experts cause ignoring the steering wheel’s problem is not wise.
If your steering wheel only rattles while you turn, the most probable cause is a problem with the bearings. Usually, a simple cleaning would solve the issue, but replacement may cost up to $430 if damaged, not counting labor charges.
Suspension components, particularly in older vehicles, are prone to failure with time. Suspension shaking is more common at slower speeds (45 MPH). It’s important not to put off suspension repairs when they occur. This sort of repair might range in price from $1000 to $5000 depending on the situation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. Is It Safe to Drive with a Shaking Steering Wheel?
A) Despite the fact that you may continue to drive your vehicle while the steering wheel shakes, it does imply that you should consult with a professional mechanic immediately.
Q2. Can A Bad Alignment Cause Shaking?
A) Your car and steering wheel may shake if your tires are out of alignment or out of balance, which may be caused by improper tire alignment or balance. Shaking caused by out-of-balance tires is most likely to begin while you’re travelling at speeds of 50 miles per hour or quicker, but it may become less obvious as you reach greater speeds.
Q3. What Is Wrong If My Car is Shaking?
A) Generally speaking, vibration is produced by an out-of-balance or damaged tire, as well as a bent wheel or a worn driveline U-joint. The automobile may rattle in an up and down motion as it moves forward and back. In certain instances, vibrations may be felt through the seat, the steering wheel, and even the brake pedal. In the case of vibrations generated by faulty or imbalanced tires, the cure might vary from tire balancing to the total replacement of the wheels and tires. If your automobile rattles when you brake, the most probable cause is a problem with the braking system.
Q4. Can A Bad Ball Joint Cause Shaking When Braking?
A) An old ball joint may cause the steering wheel to wobble, particularly noticeable while braking hard. When the ball joint has considerable wear, this is the situation. During braking, you can hear some noise coming from the front end. Your tire will certainly move back and forth if the ball joint has excessive play.
Q5. Why Is My Car Shaking When It Idles?
A) Sitting in traffic and feeling your vehicle shake as it idles is one thing; however, it might also be an indication of engine trouble. Loose engine mounts are a typical source of idle shaking. Alternately, shaking when idling might be a sign of worn-out spark plugs, a damaged timing belt, or poor fuel injection.
Q6. What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Tie Rod?
A) The most common indication of faulty tie rods is a vibration or shaking in the steering wheel. You may also hear clunking and rattling, particularly while turning slowly. These noises are created by worn-out tie rods.
Q7. Can Bad Tie Rod Cause Wobbles?
A) If the tie rod end breaks or loosens, the suspension elements will also loosen, causing vibrations and rattles in the steering wheel while driving. The steering wheel vibrations grow with speed and cornering.
Q8. How Expensive is to Replace a Tie Rod?
A) A typical set of tie rods will cost anywhere from $40 to $120, with inner tie rods costing more than outer tie rods. When purchasing tie rod assemblies for certain automobiles, the inner and outer tie rods are offered single units. The cost of labor to replace tie rods varies depending on whether the inner or outer tie rods are replaced.
Hopefully, till now, you’ve got to know that what does it mean when your steering wheel shakes. From now if you ever face any situations as we mentioned above, you’ll diagnose the problem on your own.
Not to mention that you have to take care of your car as soon as possible after finding out any of the above causes. Otherwise, it might get too late to be solved.