Unusual sounds or sensations in your car could be a telltale sign of an underlying issue. A steering wheel that vibrates or shakes is a common issue that can indicate a few different car problems. While you’ll likely need your mechanic to diagnose the cause, read on to learn more about the potential culprits of your steering wheel vibrations.
Tire and Wheel Issues
Problems with the tires are the most common reason for a shaking steering wheel. When tires are out of balance, the wheel typically starts to vibrate when you travel around 50 to 60 miles an hour and may stop vibrating at higher speeds. Start off by having your tires inspected to determine whether they need to be rotated, balanced, or replaced. You can also check the side of your tires for scuff marks, a sign they may have been knocked out of balance by impact with a curb.
Wheel bearings, which secure the wheel hub to the suspension system, can loosen over time, leading to vibrations felt in the steering wheel. This is a serious issue since the wheel can become completely disconnected from the vehicle if not repaired. A bent axle, which could occur during a collision, can also lead to steering wheel vibrations. Even slightly unbalanced or misaligned wheels can cause serious shaking. Uneven tire tread is another telltale sign of misalignment.
If the steering wheel shakes whenever you apply the brakes, worn or damaged brake rotors could be the cause. Rotors can become warped through the wear and tear of frequent stop-and-start driving. If this is the case, you’ll also feel vibrations through the brake pedal. If the brake caliper sticks, you’ll notice vibrations around 45 miles an hour that worsen as you increase speed, accompanied by a burning smell. Brake maintenance is usually recommended for vehicles that have at least 75,000 miles.
According to the YourMechanic blog, improper alignment of front-end components can cause steering wheel vibrations. Worn out or loose parts are the most common culprit. The constant velocity joint, which smoothly transmits power from the engine to the wheels, can cause shaking when it becomes worn. Other symptoms of this issue include a clunking sound during acceleration or braking and a grinding or clicking sound when turning the steering wheel.
When your engine isn’t running smoothly, it may emit a shudder that can be felt in the steering wheel. This could be caused by a clogged fuel filter, dirty air filter, or worn or malfunctioning spark plugs.
The good news is that most of these issues can be avoided with by sticking to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance plan for your Toyota. For convenient, trustworthy service in South County, trust the experienced, factory-trained mechanics at Weiss Toyota. They can easily diagnose and repair these and other issues so you’ll be enjoying a smooth ride again in no time. We offer amenities like a customer lounge with big-screen TV, free coffee and hot chocolate, free donuts on Fridays, a children’s playroom, and free wireless internet.
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