What does it mean when your steering wheel shakes while driving or braking? Find out why is your steering wheel shaking and what you can do to fix it.
Left unchecked, a shaking steering wheel often gets worse over time. If you have this problem, you may be able to continue driving for some time, but you should have it checked right away because it could be a malfunction that affects the safety of your vehicle.
To troubleshoot, repair and maintain your vehicle, you'll need diagnostic and repair information that is specific to your car or truck. For this I personally use and recommend ALLDATAdiy. With full manuals for over 30,000 vehicles online, you will find an exact match for your vehicle's year, make and model.
Besides being cheaper than a factory manual, they also offer step by step repair instructions and detailed diagrams beyond what is found in most printed manuals. Click here for a sample of their diagnostic and repair information.
To help you figure out what's wrong, I have listed the common problems that cause steering wheel shakes below:
This is the most common cause of a steering wheel shaking while braking. I would say that about 99% of the time a warped rotor is causing your steering wheel to shake 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.
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.
If your steering wheel shakes while driving and not when you are stepping 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.
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 confirm this is to
have the alignment checked.
If you still have any unresolved vehicle problems or questions, you can ask an auto mechanic online. For expert answers specific to your vehicle's make and model, I recommend JustAnswer Car. They have a large pool of certified mechanics to answer your questions for a small fee and you can also browse their answers to other users for free.
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