It’s vital that you feel in complete control of your vehicle when you’re driving, which is why unexpected steering wheel vibrations are dangerous, especially high speed steering wheel shake. All drivers should be aware of the common causes for their steering wheel shaking so they understand what to do should the issue ever occur in their car.
Common reasons for steering wheel shake
Usually the culprit behind a steering wheel vibration at high speed is your car’s wheels. If you’ve been in an accident recently, or even just jarred your wheels driving into a curb or over a pothole, it’s possible that they’ve been knocked out of alignment. This can cause a number of different issues with how your car runs if it isn’t dealt with. Luckily, a vibrating steering wheel is an early and obvious indicator that you should get your wheel alignment examined.
Your wheel balance may also be the issue if alignment doesn’t turn out to be the diagnosis. Unbalanced wheels can mean many different things: one or more of your tyres could be inflated incorrectly, the treads may have worn down unevenly, or the drivetrain itself could be damaged or misaligned. If the shaking happens consistently at around 80 kph, wheel imbalance is likely the source of the problem.
If you find that mostly your steering wheel shakes when braking, then your brakes make logical sense as the cause of the issue. Commonly, the brake rotors are at fault in this scenario. The brake rotor is a mechanical wheel that the brake pads push against when you press down the brake pedal to bring your car to a stop. If the rotor is worn out from wear-and-tear or damage, the brake pad won’t be able to clamp down evenly and you’ll notice that telltale shake in your pedal and up into the car steering wheel.
Is it safe to drive with a shaky steering wheel?
It’s difficult to know how concerned you should be about your car when it begins to act strangely, and what behaviour warrants a trip to the mechanic. With unexplained steering wheel shake, you should generally lean on the side of caution and bring it to a trusted mechanic as soon as possible.
If the issue is something minor with your car, then a mechanic will be able to stop it from becoming a major problem and costing you more in the long run. If it’s a serious issue already, it may not be safe to continue driving and should be taken to a mechanic as soon as possible.
How do you fix a shaking steering wheel?
Because it can be caused by a few potential issues with your car, there’s no simple solution for dealing with steering wheel shake. The most likely culprits will also require a mechanic to diagnose and fix (usually with a wheel alignment service).
The best thing you can do is to pay attention to what is causing the shaking. Watch out for:
- How fast you’re driving
- What condition the road is in
- If the shudder occurs when braking
Give your mechanic as much information as possible so they can figure out and solve the issue and get you back on the road in a much safer vehicle.
Your local mechanic can help
If your car shakes when braking, accelerating or for no clear reason at all, it could be a sign of something very wrong somewhere between the road and the steering wheel. The expertly-trained mechanics at Great Lakes Auto have years of experience diagnosing mechanical issues and performing quality repairs, and we’re ready to help you as soon as possible.