Why Is My Steering Wheel Shaking?

Wobbling my car steering wheel and I am scared of driving

You might notice that your steering wheels are shaking when you are driving your vehicle.

This is not a common issue as many might perceive it to be, and you will need to consult an expert to examine the vehicle.

This is important because the vibration of the steering wheel might be brought about by an issue with the car that might get worse with time if ignored.

The steering wheel shaking might be brought about by either of the following:

  1. Warped rotors in the disc brake system
  2. Imbalanced tires
  3. Bad spark plugs causing engine misfiring
  4. A constant velocity joint that is worn out
  5. Bad brake callipers

You might notice that the steering wheel shaking on your vehicle occurs continuously from the moment you switch on your car up until you switch it off, when you are stepping on the brake pedal or when you are driving at a certain speed.

You will need to be keen to notice which point exactly are the vibrations occurring as this will be used by the mechanic to provide a solution for your car issue.

5 Common Reasons For Steering Wheel Shaking

1. Tires

The tires are connected directly with the steering wheel in your car.

Therefore, if they are malfunctioning, then this will lead to the steering wheel, developing issues such as the vibration that you notice.

The tires might either be unbalanced due to being deflated or having lower pressure than needed. They might also be having uneven treads which can be solved by rotating them.

2. Wheels Of The Vehicle

The wheel bearings are a significant cause of the shaking of the steering wheel.

They get worn out with time and will require to be replaced after some time; this will stop the vibrating if this is what is causing it.

When the steering wheel shaking is observed when you are making a turn only, then the issue might be with the wheel; the tie rod to be specific.

While the ball joints will cause the shaking when you are driving straight.

3. The Axle

The axle causes the steering wheel to shake especially when the vehicle has just been involved in an accident.

You will notice that as you increase the speed of the vehicle, the shaking of the steering will also increase. However, they will also be noticed when you are driving at low speed.

4. The Braking Parts Of The Vehicle

When your brake parts are damaged, then you will be able to notice vibrations in the steering wheel when you are applying brakes to the vehicle.

However, if the callipers are to blame, then the shaking of the steering wheel will occur when you are driving at high speed too.

5. Engine Issues

The engine might cause the steering wheel to shake at some point when you are driving the vehicle.

The exact issue might be with the air induction, with the fuel delivery system or the sparks that are in use. This will result in the vehicle not moving as smooth as needed.

Steering Wheel Shaking Situations

When Braking

This might be caused by using damaged brake pads or even warped rotors.

When the brake pads are used for long, and you ignore to have them replaced they will cause the steering wheel to shake as well as other abnormalities.

The rotors might also get warped because they have been used for braking in a bad manner, such as when the brakes are too sharp or when you apply excessive braking.

You can also learn about why does your car shake when you break besides a steering wheel.

When Driving

If you notice the vibrating of the steering wheel when you are driving your vehicle, then the issue might be caused by using unbalanced tires in your vehicle.

The tires need to be in good condition for them to be balanced.

This would be maintained if the treads are even and that the weight is evenly distributed on each of the wheels of the vehicle.

The callipers may also cause the steering wheel to vibrate when driving.

This happens when it sticks on, and it can be noticed if you are driving at a relatively high speed.

This will be the case if you notice a burning smell indicating faulty callipers.

When Slow Driving

The suspension of the vehicle is the culprit to blame for the shaking of the steering wheel when you are driving slowly. You will be able to notice this as soon as you start moving with the vehicle.

Driving at low speeds will cause shimmying while bushings are one complication that will cause the steering wheel vibrations when you drive at low speeds.

When Turning

If your vehicle has loose wheel bearing, then this will cause shaking that will exclusively occur when you are making a turn with the vehicle.

It is important for the servicing of the vehicle to change the wheel bearing on a regular basis.

You can always check the condition of your vehicle’s wheel bearing and have them changed when you can.

How To Prevent Shaking Your Steering Wheel

As seen above, the shaking of the steering wheel is not a normal thing as they can lead to damage to other components of the vehicle.

You can take preventative measures to prevent dealing with costlier repairs in the future.

You can prevent the steering of the steering wheel through:

  1. Rotating the tires of the vehicle after a specific mile covered. This will help them balance when you drive.
  2. Get quality tires. The recommended ones are the season-appropriate tires.
  3. Check the tire pressure regularly and have the adjusted when needed.
  4. Hand-torquing of the wheels will deal with preventing damage that arises from working with lug nuts that are either too tight or just loosely set
  5. Get the computerized wheel alignment whenever you can .
  6. Avoid damages that will require an alignment such as avoiding potholes or going roughly over bumps.
  7. Check for losing parts on the vehicle and have that verified or adjusted.
  8. After some miles, say 5000 miles, take the vehicle for evaluation by an expert.

How To Fix Steering Wheel Shaking

you can fix a simple issue causing the shaking of the steering wheel using the following steps below. This will help if the tires are causing the shaking of the steering wheel.

  1. Jerk up the car.
  2. Check the two front wheels for any visible damage; holding them at the sideways or up and down.
  3. Swap the tires, taking the front to the back and the rear ones to the front.
  4. Take the car for a test drive and look out for any shaking in the steering wheel.
  5. If you notice that the steering wheel does not shake any more, then the issue was with the front tires.
  6. The swapping of the tires ensures that you are able to correct the unbalanced nature of the vehicle; hence the shaking is verified.

For more details, you can watch this video:

Q&A

Now you know why your steering wheel is shaking and how to fix it. I also wrote some questions my readers are interested in learning about.

I highly suggest you read to get out of the most benefits from my blog!

What Does Steering Wheel Shaking Mean?

If you notice that your steering wheel is shaking, then there are a number of issues that this might mean.

  1. For one, the issue might be with the tires of your vehicle. They might not be as they are supposed to be, and this might be the case if they are not balanced. You will notice this when you are driving at a specific speed, like 60mph. You can avoid this by properly maintaining your vehicle tires and going for top quality ones.
  2. When you step on the brake pedal in your vehicle, and you notice the steering wheel vibrating, then the brake rotors might be worn out. When the disc brake system, which comprises the rotors and brake pads, are not well maintained then the complication is passed to other parts of the car. This will be noticed in either the steering wheel or the brake pedal when you step on it.
  3. The brake calliper is another issue that might cause shaking or rather vibration of the car. If it sticks on, which is not wanted, then it is probably faulty. As this happens, a series of vibrations will be passed from the callipers to the steering wheel, and this will be noticed at specific driving speed. Regular servicing of the brake callipers would help prevent this.
  4. The constant velocity joints might be worn out and will need replacement. This might just be the cause of your shaking steering wheel.

Is It Safe To Drive With Shaking Steering Wheel?

No, it is not safe to drive in a car whose steering wheel is shaking. This is because of the reasons that might be causing this.

You will need to get your vehicle checked by an experienced mechanic to tell what exactly is causing the shaking of the steering wheels of the vehicle.

When the reason for the shaking of the steering wheel is that the rotors or the brake callipers are damaged, then this is a cause for alarm.

You will not be safe in any way as the brakes might fail any time, and this might lead to a collision which will be putting both you and whoever else is in the car at risk.

You will need to have the disc brake system repaired to avoid any other complications that arise with it being ins such a poor state.

You should know that the shaking of the steering wheel is not actually a risk for you and whoever is in the car. As it might not present any direct harm to either of you.

Rather, it will cause you to get exhausted when you drive for a significant number of hours.

Your hands might feel weary and all as in the case of holding onto something that is vibrating at a high frequency.

All in all, you will need a mechanic to evaluate the condition of the vehicle and advise if immediate repair is required so that you and your passengers are safe in the vehicle.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix Shaking Steering Wheel?

As discussed above, there are many reasons that cause the steering wheel of a vehicle to shake continuously when you are driving.

Fixing the shaking or vibration of the steering wheel will be done by solving these particular issues.

The cost for either of the repairs are highlighted here:

1. Cost Of Fixing Brake Rotors

When the rotor is the issue, it might be warped, and you can notice this if the shaking only happens when you brake the vehicle. You can get this fixed for a price ranging between $30 to $60.

You could decide to get replacements as the brake rotors get worn out with time and will need to be replaced after some miles.

2. Cost Of Fixing A Constant Velocity Joint

If the issue arises from constant velocity joints, they might be worn out and will need to be replaced. This can be done with a price ranging from $200 to $400.

Another issue that has been mentioned above is the imbalanced nature of the tires.

You will need to have them replaced especially if you notice that the vibrations are prominent at specific driving speed.

Another solution alternative is to replace them if they have uneven tread on the surface; this will make them roll unevenly, which is bad for the moving of the vehicle.

Dealing with this issue will cost between $50 and $200.

3. Cost Of Fixing Spark Plugs

When the issue is that the spark plugs in the combustion chamber of the engine are causing misfiring, you might need to replace the specific spark plugs.

These are usually replaced in sets, so if your engine uses six spark plugs, you will need to get six correctly gapped spark plugs.

Depending on the model and year of your vehicle, you will have to pay an amount ranging between $90 to $500. Check the top 10 best spark plugs here.

Some models of cars use costlier spark plugs, and this might be expensive for them than others.

Conclusion

As seen in the above scenarios, the steering wheel is seen shaking because of a number of issues.

You will need to verify each of the issues, and you will be able to use your vehicle without the worry of the shaking of the steering wheel.

Sources:

1. CJ Pony Parts – https://www.cjponyparts.com/resources/steering-wheel-shakes
2. CarTreatments.com – https://cartreatments.com/steering-wheel-shakes-causes/

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

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