It’s one thing for your steering wheel to shake while you are off-roading or on a rough road, but it is quite another for the same thing to happen while you’re cruising on a smooth highway. Unless your vehicle is semi-autonomous, a shaking steering wheel is a sign of a problem. Let us take a quick look at some reasons why your steering wheel may be shaking.
Wheels Out of Balance
This is by far the most likely reason why your steering wheel is shaking. If your wheels are out of alignment, your steering wheel – and the body of your car – will keep shaking. You’re more likely to notice the problem at speeds above 50 miles per hour.
Suspension problems are another likely reason why your steering wheel is shaking. The problem is more likely to be caused by worn ball joints or tie rods if your vehicle is old. Unbalanced axles are also a possible but less likely culprit. If your vehicle is newer, tire problems – a bulge, uneven wear, or a flat – are likelier possibilities. Unfortunately, suspension issues also tend to throw wheels out of alignment, making the shaking problem even worse.
Worn Brake Rotors
If your steering wheel shakes mostly while braking, have your brake rotors checked. These components can sometimes wear out unevenly and develop undulations, which cause shaking when you brake. Other culprits include improperly installed braking rotors and worn brake pads.
Seized Brake Calipers
Seized brake calipers can also cause your steering wheel to vibrate. In normal circumstances, brake calipers press brake pads against the rotor when you slow down or stop and disengage when you lift your foot off the pedal. In rare cases, these calipers can seize and keep brake pads gently pressed against the rotors, making handling more difficult and causing your steering wheel to shake. You’re more likely to notice the problem when driving, unlike the case with worn brake rotors, when the shaking is more apparent during braking.
A shaking steering wheel is a sign of a problem – often with your tires, suspension, or braking system, as we have seen. Other issues, such as defects in your engine, can also shake your vehicle, and you’re likely to feel the tremors through your steering wheel. Because the underlying causes of the shaking aren’t always obvious, it is a good idea to let professionals diagnose the problem. Of course, they will help you solve it as well. All the best!