Many motorists have at one point or another experienced steering wheel shakes. It may not be the most frightening experience, but it sure does cause a bit of alarm, or is annoying at the very least. While many may overlook the shaking, it is important to know that with time, the problem only gets worse. Sure, you will be able to keep driving, but you can only ignore the problem for so long. Eventually, you will have to deal with it. There are varied causes of a shaking steering wheel and most of them can be dealt with easily and cheaply. However, if you procrastinate getting your car examined and repaired, the cost of repair will most likely increase with time. Here are 5 most common causes of steering wheel shakes and how you can deal with them:
Most Common Causes of Steering Wheel Shakes
1. Unbalanced Tires
Unbalanced tires are the most common cause of shaky steering wheels. If you have unbalanced tires, you may experience the shaking sensation not only on your steering wheel but in the entire car. The shaking is especially noticeable if you are driving at 50- 60 miles per hour, but it eventually stops at higher speeds. Tires become unbalanced with use, or even because of bulges. Whichever the cause, it is important that you get your tires balanced soonest possible. In fact, most mechanics will balance the wheels for free. You really have no reason to delay getting those wheels balanced.
2. CV Joints
Constant velocity joints, also known as CV Joints, are very vital to the movement of your car. They are used to transport torque and power from the engine to the wheels. They allow the wheel to turn and bounce. If any of these joints becomes worn out, then you will experience the unpleasant and worrying vibrations on your steering wheel and car in general as you drive. You may also hear a disconcerting clunking and grinding noise when you turn. The best way to solve the problem is to have the joints replaced by a qualified mechanic. It will save you plenty of trouble in the future.
3. Warped Rotors
Rotors are essential to the braking of your car. The very nature of breaking produces plenty of heat, which is dissipated through these rotors. Because of the variation of temperature that the rotors experience, they become warped very easily. Besides becoming uneven, they can also become worn out very fast. If every time you step on the braking pedal the car starts vibrating, then you probably have warped rotors. Get those rotors replaced and you will not have to grapple with the worrying probability of losing control of your car when driving.
Another common cause of steering wheel shakes and car vibrations is having faulty sparkplugs. The sparkplugs create the tiny spark that is essential to the ignition in the combustion engine. If the sparkplugs misfire, the steering wheel starts shaking, and so does the entire car. Faulty sparkplugs need to be replaced at the earliest opportunity.
5. Unaligned tires
Tires can get unaligned by virtually anything- hitting bumps or potholes or even driving on poor roads is enough reason for the wheels to get unaligned. They can be the cause of your shaky steering wheel and the irritating car vibrations. Unaligned wheels can cause wheels to wear unevenly, which further contributes to the shaking of the steering wheels. It is not easy to tell whether or not your wheels are unaligned- the misalignment is almost always imperceptible. However, if you suspect that unaligned tires are the reason why you have a shaky steering wheel, then it is best that you get them aligned sooner than later. Tires that are pointing in the wrong direction can be a constant source of headache, and the cost of alignment isn’t worth the worry.
In addition to these 5 most common causes of steering wheel shakes, there are many other reasons why a car steering wheel shakes. Some include worn suspension parts, loose wheel bearings or the accumulation of mud and debris on the tires. One cannot overemphasize the need to get your car assessed and repaired at the earliest opportunity. You could even buy a DIY manual and fix the problems yourself if you feel up to the task. Whichever your choice, just ensure that you execute it soonest possible. You will save yourself plenty of frustration and some money as well.