› Steering Wheel Shakes

"Steering Wheel Shakes' Diagnosis

If your steering wheel shakes you've probably noticed it get worse over time. This problem is something that you should check right away. You can probably figure out what is causing it by yourself by reading my guide below. Keep in mind that you may be able to drive for a while with this problem happening, but you should at least try to figure out what is causing it since it could be something important that will affect the safety of your vehicle. Let's take a look at the common causes of this problem along with a few of the most common fixes. 

Common Causes of Steering Wheel Shaking

Steering Wheel Shakes

There are several things that are very common causes of the steering wheel shakes problem. I'll talk about the first in more detail since it is the most likely problem. 

  • Warped Brake Rotors. This is a very common cause of a steering wheel that shakes while braking. I'd say that about 99% of the time a warped rotor is causing your steering wheel shakes when you step on the brake pedal. Most of the time you will also notice a shaking or pulsing in your brake pedal as well. When it gets really bad you can drive slowly down a hill and put your brakes on very lightly, you will probably feel the brakes catch then let go as you drive. The reason this happens is because the surface of your brake rotors wears down over time and gets too thin. This causes them to not be able to dissipate the heat generated by braking that they used to be able to when they were new. When the rotors are constantly being heated and then cooled it causes them to warp. This makes it so when you apply the brakes the brake pads will pulse in and out as they follow the rotors warpage. The only good way to fix this type of problem is to replace the brake pads and rotors. 
  • Uneven or Unbalanced Tires.  If you have a problem with the steering wheel shaking while driving and not when you are pressing on the brake pedal then you might have a tire problem. All tires need to be balanced before they are installed on vehicles. Sometimes these weights fall off after being used for a while. If this happens then you might notice your steering wheel shaking when you go more than 20-30 miles per hour. To check if this is the problem you can simply have your tires re-balanced. Many tire shops will do this for free. Another thing that happens is sometimes the tires come apart inside and cause a bulge. This bulge will cause the steering wheel to shake. You can usually see the bulge just by looking at the tire and running your hand over it. 
  • Alignment Problems. If you drive on rough roads and have not had an alignment for a while this could be the cause of your steering wheel shake problem. A vehicle that is out of alignment will usually cause the tires to wear uneven and this can cause the shaking problem. The only way to check this is to have the alignment checked. 

The most common fix for a steering wheel shaking problem.

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