Why Does My Steering Wheel Shake? (Causes & Solutions)

by Joshua Thomas

A shaky steering wheel on a smooth road can be stressful and scary. The steering wheel behavior is a sign that the vehicle has a problem.

Inspect the car and try to find out the problem. Failure to diagnose the problem may put the driver and the vehicle into a worse situation.

So, why does my steering wheel shake? The most common problems for a vibrating or shaking steering wheel are worn-out brakes, tire misalignment, suspension issues, speed, and engine issues.

The most incredible thing is that the vibrating steering wheel can be fixed and prevented from occurring in the future. But you will need to consider the services of a professional mechanic.

This article explains why the steering wheel shakes when turning, braking, and speeding on the highway. Take the time to read through and get to know if it is safe to drive with a shaking steering wheel.

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Why Does My Steering Wheel Shake? (Causes & Solutions)
Why Does My Steering Wheel Shake? (Causes & Solutions)

Reasons Why Steering Wheel Shakes at Low and High Speed

Common causes of steering wheel shakes include:

Unbalanced Tires

Most issues related to the steering wheel are caused by unbalanced tires. Some parts of the tires might be heavier than others and this might lead to steering wheel shaking.

The good news is that the problem can be felt while riding the vehicle at low speed. It is quite difficult to spot steering wheel shaking due to imbalanced tires while driving at a high speed.

Also, uneven tire wear can cause steering wheel vibration while riding the vehicle. The issue usually causes loose steering and suspension components.

You should have your tires balanced and all the loose parts fixed. It is the only way to improve the performance of your ride.

Wheel Misalignment

Incorrect positioning of the wheels can also cause steering wheel vibration. Inspect the tire treads and not how they are wearing out. This is the quickest way to identify and diagnose wheel misalignment.

Uneven tread wear brings imbalance to the vehicle and this enhances steering wheel shaking while driving. Considering wheel alignment is the best option. It will help stop the steering wheel from shaking.

Wheel alignment is achieved by fixing all issues related to suspension components. It will help to raise or lower the vehicle depending on the local driving terrain.

Issues with Brake Rotors

Worn-out brake rotors can also lead to the steering wheel shaking while braking. The issue might also result in vibration on the brake pedal whenever you are pressing to stop the ride.

Keep in mind that brakes are crucial components of a vehicle. Failure to fix these parts might increase the risk of an accident on the road.

Consult your service garage and get to know if the rotors need to be replaced or resurfaced. It is the only way to prevent road carnage and further damaging to your ride.

Worn-out Suspension Parts

Depreciated suspensions and alignment issues are the other reasons why the steering wheel shakes then goes away. The problem is more rampant in old vehicles than new ones.

Some of the common suspension components that need extra consideration are tie rods and ball joints. Failure to fix these components might result in severe steering wheel vibration at idle.

Stop driving the vehicle and call your service shop mechanic. It stopping the ride will help to prevent causing further damages.

Problem with Brake Pads

Worn-out brake pads are thin and make the brake pedal to vibrate while driving. Other symptoms associated with worn-out brake pads are steering wheel shaking and production of grinding sound.

The good news is that brake pads are replaceable. Taking your car to a professional mechanic shop will be a good idea. The expert will fix the issue by replacing the worn-out brake pads.

Engine problems are quite rare depending on the make of the vehicle. The occurrence of the issue normally makes the entire car vibrate and it is advisable to stop driving.

The shaking can be felt on the steering wheel. The engine issues are due to air induction and fuel delivery problem. The vibration can be stressful and scary since it is rare.

You should also note that a broken engine mount can result in the steering wheel shaking while accelerating the vehicle. Do not take the issue for guarantee since it could cause severe problems.

Worn-out Brake Calipers

Broken brake calipers are also responsible for steering wheel vibrations. But the issue is quite common among old cars than new ones.

The steering wheel shakes at 70 mph and starts producing a burning smell. It would be best to stop the vehicle and fix the issue. Driving the car with a shaking steering wheel and burning smell is risky.

Is It Safe to Drive with a Shaking Steering Wheel?

Some of the common issues that make the steering wheel shake are tire and wheel misalignment, worn-out suspensions, and engine problems.

These problems also reduce the performance of the vehicle. It will be frustrating and time-consuming to ride the car for either short or long distances.

So, is it safe to drive with a shaking steering wheel? No. The driver will have a difficult time controlling the vehicle on the road. The issue happens due to the failure of multiple parts in the ride.

Failure to fix the causes of steering wheel vibration might lead to road carnage. Always have the habit of stopping the car and calling a professional mechanic for assistance.

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In Conclusion

Driving on a good road should have a smooth experience. But steering wheel shaking is inevitable and it is said to be normal.

The steering wheel is known to connect the vehicle indirectly on the road. Any issue with the ride will be manifested on the steering wheel.

So, why does my steering wheel shake when I brake at high speeds? Well, it could be due to problems related to the wheels, suspension, tires, and engine.

Understanding the right cause of the problem will make it affordable to repair. Besides that, it will save the time of testing and diagnosing the entire vehicle.

It is unsafe to drive while the steering wheel is vibrating. Controlling the vehicle on the road will be quite daunting and increase the chances of causing road carnage.

Hire a professional mechanic to fix the steering wheel shaking and vibration issues. It is one of the ways on how to improve the performance and safety of your ride.

About Joshua Thomas

Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.

He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.

His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.

Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.

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