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Steering Wheel Shakes When Turning – What Could Be Wrong?

A steering wheel that shakes when you turn your car may not be a good sign. What could be wrong? We consulted with the car experts to give you an in-depth understanding of what is causing the problem and provided solutions.

The first step toward solving a shaking steering wheel when turning is to diagnose the problem, some of which include:

  • Faulty wheel bearings
  • Defect or bulge in the tire
  • Load on power steering
  • Low steering fluid
  • Faulty CV (Constant Velocity) joint
  • Faulty right or left front
  • Bent wheel
  • Faulty steering damper

Your car should not vibrate or shake when driving or turning the steering wheel. Keep reading as we discuss several causes of your steering shaking when turning and how to solve each problem. Included are the costs of repairing your car with this type of problem.

Speeding on a highway - point of view, first person perspective, Steering Wheel Shakes When Turning - What Could Be Wrong?

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What Is Causing Your Steering Wheel To Shake When Turning Your Car?

Man hands holding steering wheel, driving a car through slight turn, close up

Don't take lightly when your steering wheel starts behaving out of the norm when you turn it. The following are the causes of this problem and what to do about it:

Faulty Wheel Bearings

This is a car wheel hub bearing assembly that you can find on Amazon.

The wheel bearings help your car wheels to rotate smoothly as you drive. If for some reason, you have neglected lubricating them, you will notice your steering wheel shake while turning the car. To solve this problem, make a point of cleaning and lubricating the bearings every so often.

Another reason your steering could be shaking when turning is because the bearings are worn or damaged. In such a case, have a mechanic replace them. 

Defect Or Bulge In The Tire

Tire swelling due to expiration

Your tires and the components in the front end will experience more stress as you turn your car than when driving straight ahead. Therefore, inspecting the tires and the front end may be a good idea.

You may discover a bulging tire that may have been caused after accidentally hitting a pothole or curb. A tire bulge can also occur due to over-inflating or under-inflating it.

Your tire being in such a condition can cause your steering to shake while turning. Furthermore, you could cause an accident. The solution is to replace the tire as soon as you notice a bulge or any defect. 

Load On Power Steering

If there is a load on the power steering, it can lead to the steering wheel shaking while turning. One way of being sure the problem is in the power steering is that it shakes when your car is not moving and when it is stationary. 

Low Steering Fluid

This is connected to the power steering. Check the steering fluid and if it is low, add more like the one shown above till the required level. 

Low fluid is usually caused by a leak somewhere in the system. Therefore, you need to take your car to a mechanic to look for any leaks and seal them. It's important to do so because a fire can break out due to leaking steering fluid.

Faulty CV (Constant Velocity) joint

If you experience this problem only when you are driving, test what happens at low speed and also at high speed.

A clunking sound or shaking steering when driving at low speed indicates a problem with the CV or Constant Velocity joint. 

The CV axle in your car has a velocity joint at each end. One is connected to the wheel hub, and the other to the transmission. As you drive your car, the CV joints allow the axle to continue spinning as the suspension moves up and down. 

The CV joints are covered with a rubber boot that looks like an accordion that keeps the grease in and keeps out dirt and water. When the rubber gets damaged and is ripped open, the grease flows out and allows water and soil. This is what causes the wear and tear of the joints, which later produces a clicking sound. It also causes the steering to vibrate as you make a turn.

Check out this CV axle on Amazon.

The CV axle like the one shown above can last for a very long time, but you will need to replace it when it wears out. Sometimes, if there's only a minor cut on the rubber, you can save the whole axle by repairing the rubber.

The video below explains how the CV joints work and how they cause your steering to vibrate after they wear and tear:

Faulty Right Or Left Front

After testing your car at low speed, try turning left and right at a sufficiently high speed. If it shakes as you turn left, the problem is with the right front. And, if the shaking increases as you turn right, the issue is with the left front. 

Have a look at these tie rods on Amazon.

This means the tie rods, the part that links the steering to the wheel, could be worn out. Have them replaced. Also, as shown below, one or more of the lug nuts on your reel could be loose. You can fix this quickly by tightening the nuts. 

Check out these lug nuts on Amazon.

Bent Wheel

A bent rim leads to an unbalanced tire and causes the steering wheel to vibrate. You can also feel the shaking spread to your seat if the rear rim is bent. Whereas car experts can repair a bent rim, it may be best to replace it. 

You can have a steel rim repaired if this is the only problem your car has. Replace your rim if it is made from alloy. This is because a slight bend can crack even more if you try to repair it.

Have a look at this steel rim on Amazon.

Faulty Steering Damper

This is a steering damper that you can find on Amazon.

A steering damper like the one above looks similar to a shock absorber. If your car is modern, it is most likely fitted with a steering damper. They are installed horizontally, stopping you from experiencing the effects of hitting a pothole.

It also prevents you from losing your hold on the steering. If a steering damper is faulty, it will cause your steering to wobble as you turn and may need replacement.

Below is a short video that shows you which part of your vehicle the steering damper is installed:

Cost Of Repairing Steering Wheel Problems

Steering wheel repair

Your car model will determine the cost of replacing a wheel bearing. The tricky bit with this is that replacing the wheel bearing is a complex and labor-intensive job. A new wheel hub is much easier to fix but will cost you more. 

In a nutshell, the cost of replacing a wheel bearing ranges between $50 and $120. Replacing a wheel hub costs between $200 and $500.

The average tire replacement cost is $148, while labor might cost you between $22 and $24 per tire. If your CV axle is faulty, it will cost you between $100 and $500 for a part. Labor costs to replace it can cost between $137 and $172.

The price of replacing a bent tire rim with a new one is at least $200 up to $500 per wheel while replacing a steering damper is from $200 to $300.

As always, check that you buy good quality car parts, or you will spend more than you anticipated. In addition, don't attempt to do the repairs yourself if you don't have the necessary skills. You might spend more.

In review

Car mechanic removing old airbag, repairing car in service center

A shaking steering wheel while turning is an indication that there is a problem with your car. To solve the problem, you need to find out what is causing it in the first place. There are many reasons this issue would occur, and we have outlined them here and provided solutions.

The costs involved with solving this steering problem vary with the model you drive and the cost of parts and labor. It can be cheaper to do the repairs yourself but don't try if you don't have the skills. Be careful when purchasing the parts to ensure you only buy good quality. You can save a lot of money by doing this. 

You are welcome to read more of our previous posts related to this topic by clicking the links below:

Steering Heel Hard To Turn Right But Not Left

Steering Wheel Shakes When Accelerating What Could Be Wrong