Why Does my Steering Wheel Shake?

steering wheelHaving a shaking steering wheel shake is a really annoying thing to drive with.  It rattles your watch along with your whole body and can make a trip longer than a few minutes a chore.  If you’re asking “why does my steering wheel shake?” then our guess is this has been going on for a while.

Besides knowing that most of us are a little slower than we should be to repair small problems with our cars like this, we also know that shaking steering wheels are usually problems that creep up on us.  Sure a big pothole or a slide into a curb can make your steering wheel start shaking instantly but usually, it’s a gradual slide towards bad vibrations.

Why Does My Steering Wheel Shake?

  • Warped brake rotors
  • Unbalanced tires
  • Steering component issues

The top reason for why your steering wheel is shaking is warped brake rotors.  Almost all vehicles on the road today have disk brakes on the front wheels and when the front brake rotors warp they will shake your steering wheel as you brake quickly.  This is especially true after a hard stop like a highway off-ramp or a long hill but if your rotors get really bad they can even cause steering wheel shake when the brakes aren’t applied.  The best way to check for this is to have your rotor runout checked by a mechanic.

Anytime you get new tires mounted on your rims the tire shop will balance them.  Sense tires and rims aren’t perfectly symmetrical there will always be a heavy spot.  Like having an unbalanced ceiling fan causes the whole fan to wobble an unbalanced tire will cause your whole car to wobble.  Tires can become unbalanced from normal wear but also if the balancing weights fall off or from an impact to your rim.  The best way to check for unbalanced tires is to either get them balanced or rotate your tires and see if the vibration feeling shifts from the front of your vehicle to the back.

The last reason for your steering wheel shaking is from issues with your steering components.  If the shaking gets really bad the phenomenon can be referred to as “death wobble”.  This wobble comes from extremely worn steering components that allow the front tires to shake back and forth violently.  This extreme level of wear can come from low-quality steering components, lots of miles, or an impact on your steering.  In less extreme cases of wobbling, you may just need to have your steering system aligned to get your front tires pointed in the right direction.

If you’ve got a shaking steering wheel it’s important to get the problem checked out and fixed.  A shaking steering wheel can make your vehicle dangerous to operate and can also lead to accelerated wear of your steering components, shocks, and tires.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

2 responses to “Why Does my Steering Wheel Shake?

  1. Heyy there, I’ma individual that hasn’t done much with cars outside of basic maintenance and auto body,
    But I am very good with my hands and a quick learner, with that said we have a 2006 Honda Odyssey that shakes while breaking every now and then, but alot more as of late, also stalls at times when trying to accelerate, over heated once so changed radiator and a few sensors…. Still happening with the stalling and shaking
    ..

    HEEEELP

    1. Albert-

      Thank you for asking about your Honda Odyssey. If you are noticing the shaking more intensely when braking or when the vehicle is stopped, you could have broken/damaged motor mounts. We recommend bringing the vehicle to an ASE certified mechanic right away for possible replacement.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

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