Five Reasons for Steering Wheel Shakes

steering wheel

The vast majority of drivers have experienced steering wheel vibrations at one time or another. Car parts can break or fail after continued use, and it’s not uncommon for vehicle components to need to be replaced.

Because your steering wheel is your connection to both your car and the road, your first indication that something is not right with your vehicle may be initially noticed through steering wheel shakes… The top reasons for a steering wheel to start shaking while you’re driving are:

1. Tires – Because the steering wheel is used to direct the wheels, tires that are out of balance are likely to cause vibrations in your steering system. With this problem, you are more likely to feel the shakes at higher speeds than lower ones. Proper inflation and regular rotation of your tires will help you avoid this issue.

2. Wheel Areas – Another culprit for steering wheel shakes could be the wheels themselves. While wheel bearings can last the duration of your vehicle’s lifetime, sometimes they wear out or get damaged. Simply replacing them will solve this problem.

Tie rods and ball joints can become problematic as well. If your car shakes only when you’re turning corners, your tie rods might be bad. If shaking occurs only while driving straight, it is likely the ball joints’ doing.

3. Brakes – Malfunctioning brakes can cause violent shaking throughout the steering system when you try to slow down or stop, indicating that the rotors might be warped or worn out. While you can try skimming the brakes, you may have to have them replaced completely.

4. Axle – If your car has recently been in an accident and you’re noticing vibrations, your car’s axle may have gotten bent or damaged. In this case, the faster you go, the more your steering wheel will shake. If the steering wheel randomly jerks to the right or left, it could be a red flag that your driveshaft is damaged. In this scenario, avoid driving your car and have it towed to a reputable mechanic to be fixed immediately.

5. Engine – Any problems that cause your engine to shake will most likely be felt throughout the entire car, but you will feel it most prominently in the steering wheel. While this is rare, these distinct vibrations can occur if there are problems with fuel delivery, air induction, or spark-related issues.

If you have any further questions about your steering system or anything else relating to your vehicle’s health, be sure to give our ASE-certified technicians a call at 262-968-3324!