If your vehicle's steering wheel is shaking, it can raise a lot of alarm bells. A shaking steering wheel can signify many things, some more serious than others. But is it safe to continue driving if your steering wheel is shaking?
The answer to that question depends on what is causing the shaking. Nonetheless, it is a sign that you must see a certified mechanic as soon as possible. A shaking steering wheel when driving could be due to the following issues:
- Warped Brake Rotors
- Problems With Brakes
- Tires Need To Be Aligned
- Tire Out Of Balance
- Bad Suspension
- Bad Wheel Bearings
As you can see, there are several culprits as to why your steering wheel might be shaking. In this article, we will take a closer look at each of these potential causes so that you can better understand what needs to be done to fix the problem.
In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about a shaking steering wheel, so read on!
Should I Keep Driving If My Steering Wheel Is Shaking?
Car problems are never fun. They are a sure sign that your pocketbook is about to take a hit. But, of course, the biggest concern is always safety. So, if your steering wheel is shaking, you might wonder if it is safe to keep driving.
The answer to that question depends on what is causing the shaking. It also varies depending on the severity of the shake.
Either way, going to a certified mechanic is always the best bet. They will be able to diagnose and fix the problem correctly.
If you don't, you risk causing more damage to your vehicle, which will cost you even more money in the long run. You also pose a risk of something happening to you or your passengers while driving, which is the last thing anyone wants.
With that being said, let's look at some of the possible causes of a shaking steering wheel so that you can be more informed about what might be going on with your car.
Warped Brake Rotors
One potential cause of a shaking steering wheel is warped brake rotors. When your brake rotors become warped, it can cause your steering wheel to shake when you apply the brakes.
Over time, brake rotors wear down and lose their shape. As a result, the brake pads can't grip them as well, and they start to vibrate.
If you notice your steering wheel shaking when you brake, it is a good idea to take your car in and check the brake rotors. In some cases, they can be resurfaced. But if they are too damaged, they will need to be replaced.
Replacing brake rotors is not a cheap fix. But it is much less expensive than replacing the entire braking system - which is what you would be looking at if you let the problem go.
Problems With Brakes
In addition to the rotors, there could be other problems with your brakes that are causing the steering wheel to shake.
For instance, your brake pads might be worn down. Or there could be a problem with the brake caliper.
Sometimes, brake calipers will stick. When this happens, it can cause the brakes to drag. This will make your steering wheel shake when you apply the brakes.
Another possibility is that there is air in the brake line. This can cause the brakes to feel spongy when you press down on them. As a result, your car may not stop as quickly as it should, and your steering wheel may shake when you brake.
Your brakes are vital to the safety of your vehicle. So, if you think there might be a problem with them, it is essential to have them checked out as soon as possible.
Tires Need To Be Aligned
Another potential cause of a shaking steering wheel is that your tires need to be aligned. When your tires are out of alignment, it can cause them to wear down unevenly. As a result, they will start vibrating, which will be transferred to your steering wheel.
If you recently hit a pothole or a speed bump at a high rate of speed, that could be enough to knock your tires out of alignment.
Tire alignment is a relatively inexpensive fix. And it is one that you will want to take care of sooner rather than later. The longer you let your tires stay out of alignment, the quicker they can wear and cause other issues.
Tire Out Of Balance
Your tires must be balanced to ensure that weight is evenly distributed around the tire's circumference. When they are out of balance, it can cause them to vibrate. And that vibration will be transferred to your steering wheel.
There are a few reasons your tires might become out of balance. The most common is simply due to wear and tear. Over time, your tires will start to lose their balance.
Like a misalignment, your tires can become imbalanced if you hit a pothole or a speed bump at a high rate of speed. This can cause you to lose wheel weight and throw your tires out of balance.
You typically notice the steering wheel shaking at higher speeds if your tires are imbalanced. This is because the imbalanced tires create more resistance, which causes them to vibrate more.
Like other mechanical parts, your suspension components will wear down. As a result, your steering wheel may start to shake when you drive at higher speeds [45-55 mph].
One of the most common suspension problems is tie-rod ends and ball joints. Since these components connect your steering system to your wheels, they play a vital role in your vehicle's handling.
If these components are damaged or worn, it can cause the steering wheel to shake. In addition, you may notice that your car is pulling to one side or the other when you drive.
This is a common reason your steering wheel shakes and should be addressed before it causes any further damage to your vehicle.
Bad Wheel Bearings
While it's not as common as the other culprits on the list, bad wheel bearings can cause your steering wheel to shake.
Wheel bearings are located between the hub and the spindle. Their purpose is to allow your wheels to rotate freely.
However, over time they can become worn out or damaged. When this happens, it can cause the bearings to seize up and make turning your wheels difficult.
This can be very dangerous while driving, as it can cause your wheels to lock up. As a result, you may lose control of your vehicle.
If you notice your steering wheel shaking, the car is making grinding noises, or there is a lot of play in your steering, it is essential to check your wheel bearings as soon as possible.
What Does It Mean When Your Car Has A Death Wobble?
The "death wobble" is a scary phenomenon that can affect Jeep Wranglers and other four-wheel drive vehicles. It is characterized by a violent shaking of the steering wheel, which can happen at any speed.
Several factors cause the death wobble, but a damaged or worn suspension component is the most common. When one of these components is damaged, it can cause the whole system to become unbalanced.
This can lead to a build-up of vibrations that will eventually be transferred to the steering wheel. The death wobble is not only dangerous, but it can also be challenging to fix.
If you are experiencing a death wobble, grip the steering wheel tight, and pull over slowly and carefully to avoid losing control of your vehicle. Once you are stopped, turn off the engine and assess the situation.
Call a tow truck and take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic. Do not attempt to drive the car any further, as this could cause additional damage to your vehicle and possibly put you and others in danger.
What Does It Cost To Fix A Shaking Steering Wheel?
Unfortunately, until you have your vehicle diagnosed by a certified mechanic, it is difficult to say how much it will cost to fix your shaking steering wheel.
The price will depend on the underlying cause of the problem. For example, a tire alignment or balance is a relatively inexpensive fix. However, the cost can be much higher if the problem is due to worn suspension components.
Similarly, if your wheel bearings need to be replaced, the cost will be higher than if you simply need a tire alignment.
With that said, you could be in the low hundreds or even thousands of dollars to fix your shaking steering wheel, depending on the severity of the problem.
At the end of the day, a shaking steering wheel signals something is wrong. If you are driving and your steering wheel starts shaking, you must immediately take action and see a certified mechanic.
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