A shaking steering wheel can be frustrating to deal with when you’re driving from one place to another in your car. This is an annoyance that you might choose to ignore because you have places to go and a schedule to keep on, but a shaking steering wheel can be an indication of serious issues that you should handle promptly. A lot of the culprits of a shaking steering wheel are related to your tires and these are issues that you can have fixed so that your car continues working properly. Here are some reasons why your steering wheel is shaking.
Why is my Steering Wheel Shaking
If you’re dealing with a tire imbalance then you need to go to a mechanic or tire technician to balance them. You can also balance them yourself if you’re comfortable with that. Tire imbalance is what happens when the weight of a tire is distributed unevenly around the tire- wheel circumference. The lifespan of your wheels, suspension, and tires are all dependent on the balance of your tires.
If you do choose to go to a mechanic to fix your tire imbalance, then here’s what they’ll do. The mechanic or tire technician will put your wheel tires units on a balancing machine one at a time. The unit will spin it around and then it will diagnose it to find out where the stiffer spots are. It’ll also measure the vibration that goes through it. The results on the machine will tell the technician whether the tire is balanced or not. If it isn’t balanced, it will tell them where to apply weights.
The specialist will then put steel, zinc, aluminum, or layered elements opposite of all the stiff spots to balance it out. The process usually takes an hour for all four wheels. Sometimes the tire needs to be rotated on the wheel because the weight isn’t enough to fix the imbalance. Other than that, if you have an hour or two of your day you can schedule a tire balancing appointment at your local tire technician.
The cost of something like this is usually around 15 to 80 USD for four wheels. The amount varies depending on the location, warranty, tires and any other procedures that happen with it. The average price is 10 USD per wheel at a tire shop and 12 to 14 USD at a car dealership. Some shops will give free services of mounting, balancing and rotating if you bought the tires from them. You also might want to ask about any lifetime services that you can get from them if you purchased tires from them. Keep this in mind so that you can save some money later on.
If you want to balance tires on your own then you’ll need a balancer. You’ll also need a screwdriver with a flat head (View on Amazon), a lug wrench, and a car jack (View on Amazon) so that you can remove the wheel. Wheel weights might also be necessary. Here are the steps that you need to follow.
1. Remove all of the weights that you have on your wheels before rebalancing them.
2. Remove the wheels from the vehicle.
3. Clean off all the debris and dirt from the tread, the rest of the tires and the rim. Wash them if needed and let them dry.
4. Place the assembly on a balancer and follow the manual of that balancer.
5. Use chalk to mark spots where you need to put the weights if the tires are out of balance.
6. Add the weights on the tire and recheck the balance.
7. Address the tires until they move smoothly and stay in a perfect line.
8. Put the wheels back on the vehicle by tightening the lug nuts.
Lower the jack and now drive in the car with your newly balanced wheels.
Are the steps that you need to take if you’re doing it without a balancer.
1. Choose which will might be causing imbalance.
2. Remove all the weights from the wheel.
3. Clean the wheel thoroughly by removing any debris from the thread. Let it dry.
4. Put the weight on the 12 o’ clock position on the wheel. Rev the car to the speed when the vehicle would usually start vibrating. Increase the speed by 5 or 10 miles per hour at a time.
5. If the vibration is still occurring, replace the weight at 45 degrees from where you initially positioned it. Accelerate to the same speeds and listen for any vibrating. Add more weight to that spot if the vibrating speed moves higher.
6. If you didn’t get rid of the vibrations, move the weight 45 degrees further and continue rubbing it at those speeds.
Eventually you’ll find the spot and add more weight to that area if necessary. The balancing will be complete once you get rid of the vibration. This is a more tedious way to do it. Using a balancer or taking it to a technician might be the better way to do this.
Tire wear is another reason why your steering wheel is shaking. There are a lot of different kinds of tire wear that you should be on the lookout for.
One type is overinflated tires. Your tire tread can wear in the center of the tread pattern and this will let you know that the inflation pattern is too high. Too much pressure can cause the contact patch to shrink and this causes the center of the tire to carry the entire weight of the car. If you notice that’s happening, the best thing to do is replace your tire because chronic overinflation can’t really be fixed.
If you have under-inflated tires than the tire tread wear on the edge of the tire won’t usually indicate that the inflation pressures are lower than they’re supposed to be. When a tire is underinflated, the contact pads hold the load is carried on the outside edges of the patch. This can be hard to deal with so you can try filling your tires with air or you can replace the tire if you noticed other signs of wear.
Tire feathering is another type of tire wear that you might be dealing with. The indicator of this is an excessive positive or negative toe angle. You might even see scuffing. They can be detected if you stroke your fingertips across the edge of the tread bar or truck block. The feathered edge on the inside of the tread bar means there’s an excess wear and a feather edge on the outside of the tread bar means there’s a toe out. It was usually affected by changes in camber and caster angles and it’s usually the last angle to be adjusted during the wheel alignment process. Any change in camber and caster angles will affect the tires immediately. The tire geometry can be greatly affected by changes in suspension height. This is a little complicated to deal with so you might want to take it to a tire technician. They can tell you if it’s too excessive and whether you need a new tire.
Tire wear comes in many shapes and sizes and oftentimes the best thing that you can do is replace your tire.
One of the main reasons why your steering wheel is going to start shaking is because of you failing to maintain your vehicle often. Failing to maintain your vehicle often can result in failures and in this situation it’s your steering wheel that has been affected. Maintaining and looking after your vehicle is something that you need to do regularly unless you’re going to experience a lot of symptoms in your car.
If you want to avoid steering problems or other issues and save $100s of dollars that you’ll spend at the auto repair shop, you’ll need to service your vehicle often – you can use our mechanic-rated Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual to do this. It’s basically what mechanics use to go through your vehicle to check if there are any problems that need fixing. As soon as they notice the most minor problem, they’ll ask you to fork out some money even though it’s a problem you can fix yourself in minutes – the manual will teach you how to maintain your vehicle every few thousand miles and it’ll teach you how to fix minor problems that mechanics will ask you to pay for; saving you money in the long run.
A lot of our readers have the Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual printed on their garage wall and 92% of them haven’t visited the auto repair shop in the last year because they know what to do to avoid problems. All it takes is giving your vehicle a little attention every few thousand miles and you’ll never spend money at the workshop again.
If you live in a place that gets really extreme winters, you’ll want to be careful. Colder temperatures can cause tire pressure to drop 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit drop in air temperature. Getting a tire pressure warning light on a cold morning doesn’t mean that you have a hole in your tire. The cold weather is probably making your tires run low on pressure and you need to fill them up as soon as you can.
Driving a few miles to get the tire warmed up will probably cause the warning light to turn off. Even if it goes off for now, you need to check your tire pressure daily with a gauge and make sure you fill them whenever you can. This is a simple fix because you can probably fill the tires on your car.
Snow Packed Wheels
This is another issue that you might run into if you live in a place where it has extreme winters. You might not realize that the snow packing into your tires is a big issue. If you leave the snow in your tire or the wheel, it can turn to ice. The ice will continue growing. This will cause a few problems, and this might be why your steering wheel is shaking. It also might cause your car to feel shaky, get premature wear, get a stiffer suspension, and get other damage to your car.
To be safe, you should take off the slush and build up snow as much as you can. You can use your ice cream or if it’s already hardened or even a shovel to chip away at it until your tires are clear. This will just make sure that it’s safe to drive.
If your steering wheel is shaking, this can be an indication of a leaking tire. A slow leak in your tire is probably hard to notice because there might not be any obvious damage oh, but either way you’ll end up with a flat tire if it happens gradually. This is a repair that can sometimes be done at home, but you might want to consider taking your car to a tire technician. Your belt in tire pressure monitor system might notify you of lower pressure in one of your car tires, but if your car doesn’t have that system then you might notice a change and ride quality. This is where your steering wheel shaking might be an indicator.
You can apply a bead sealer if you want to or you can take it to a tire technician so that they can put a patch on it. If it’s a serious leak and it can’t be patched up, you might need a replacement tire, but you never know until you take it to a tire technician.
While most of these fixes can be done at home, some of them require the expertise of a tire technician. Never be afraid to take your car into a tire technician so that they can fix what’s occurring. Your steering wheel shaking might be an indication of some issues with your tires or other parts of your car. Never ignore any abnormal feelings that you feel in your car because you understand how your car usually is. Once you get this fixed, you’ll be really that you are now driving a safer vehicle.