Reasons The Steering Wheel May Be Shaky

If your car trembles like a newborn colt in a snowstorm, that's something you'll likely want repaired right away. It's the kind of thing that doesn't exactly inspire confidence. What's worse, it can be caused by a wide variety of issues, so it may be hard for you to diagnose or understand what's happened to your vehicle. That's where we come in! Below, we'll tell you about five of the most common reasons your steering wheel shakes as you drive. Then, come get expert service for your Toyota from the team at Capitol Toyota in Salem.

This machine helps our technicians balance your wheels for a smooth ride 

5. Bent Rims

If you strike a pothole at speed, that can damage your wheels -- causing them to come out of round, which can cause a shaking sensation in your vehicle as you drive. Potholes aren't the only thing that can cause your rims to bend, but they're the most common cause. When the flat or dented spot on the wheel makes contact with the ground, it can translate a shock up through the vehicle's suspension and into the steering column and the steering wheel. The faster you go, the more frequently the wheel will vibrate, which can make the vibration worse the higher your speed.

A shaking steering wheel can be uncomfortable and make your drive more fatiguing 

4. Bad Tires

If the wheels themselves aren't damaged, you can still suffer a shaking steering wheel due to bad or poorly balanced tires. Tires with flat, bald patches or scalloped wear can make vibrations in a similar way to bent or damaged rims.

You may also need tire balancing service. Even if the tires are in good shape, if they're poorly balanced -- usually because of incorrect installation process -- they can cause your steering wheel to vibrate and shake as your vehicle gets to highway speeds. Fortunately, wheel balancing is a fast and easy service that simply involves attaching small weights to the rims to get the wheels perfectly balanced.

A repair to your vehicle's suspension system may be necessary to fix a steering wheel that shakes 

3. Worn Brake Rotors

Does your steering wheel shake, but only when you step on the brake? That's likely due to damaged brake rotors. Over time, the surface of your brake rotors can come out of true with the direction of your wheels and the brake pads. As a result, the brake pads will rise and fall along the imperfections of the brake rotors when you step on the brake pedal. This will cause your vehicle to shake as you brake. Once again, this is a relatively easy problem to fix! You'll want to have a technician resurface your brake rotors on a tool called a brake lathe. Or, if the rotors are severely worn, they may need to be replaced altogether.

2. Worn Suspension Components

On a typical front-wheel drive, front-engined passenger car, the front axles, steering system and suspension are all intimately connected. Worn suspension or steering system components can come loose and begin to shake or vibrate as you drive. And if you find your vehicle shakes particularly when accelerating hard or at highway speeds, that can even be caused by a worn rear suspension. You'll likely need the help of a professional mechanic to identify the malfunctioning component and install a replacement.

However, you may be able to diagnose a suspension problem yourself. Simply jack one corner of the vehicle up, and attempt to shake the wheel from side to side horizontally, then up and down vertically. Do this for all four wheels. You shouldn't hear any clicking noises and should feel no play in the wheel no matter which direction you shake it. If the wheel can be moved slightly side to side or up and down, that's probably where the shaking is coming from.

1. Broken Engine Mounts

While uncommon on your typical passenger car, you may find your car shakes unpleasantly even while you're sitting still with the engine running! The engine has a lot of moving parts, but it's designed to be balanced and mounted to the vehicle's frame so that it runs smoothly. These special motor mounts should absorb all the engine's vibrations -- but if they break, the engine can shake the whole vehicle as it runs. If your car shakes dramatically at a stand still, you may need the engine mounts replaced.

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Capitol Toyota

783 Auto Group Avenue Ne
Directions Salem, OR 97301

  • Sales: 503-399-1011
  • Service: 503-399-1011
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