Home / Car Symptoms / Top 5 Reasons Why Your Steering Wheel Shakes | Car Problems

Top 5 Reasons Why Your Steering Wheel Shakes | Car Problems


Tire balance issue or wheel alignment are considered the most common reason for the steering wheel to shake, especially when you are driving at high speeds. It is crucial to pay attention when you notice that your car starts to shake to avoid a car accident or a major repair later on.

Also, other common causes related to steering wheel shakes while driving are suspension issues and brake issues. Cars, SUV’s, Vans, and trucks are supposed to drive all of the time smoothly on smooth paved roads.

If you are continually driving on rough roads, you may not notice the telltale vibration that indicates something is not right with your tires, wheels, brakes, or suspension. Usually, the first indication is a slight vibration in the cars steering wheel at a particular speed.

5 Things That Causes Steering Wheel Shakes

The steering wheel is connected to the car’s power steering, the steering rack, and suspension, the wheels, tires, and brakes. The car vibration could be caused by the front or rear tires. Car owners should have their tires checked on the balance machine during regularly scheduled maintenance appointments for oil changes.

It is tough to deal with the issue of shaking steering wheel because it can many times lead to problems which are much deeper if you are not prepared to deal with them.

The driver should be able to figure out what is happening with the car when the steering wheel shakes while driving. You need to pay attention to why or what particular speed the car shakes so that it becomes much easier for finding out the real reason for the steering wheel to vibrate.

1. Wheel Issues

If the car is vibrating at a very higher speed, then there is a chance for this to be a wheel or tire alignment problem. Also, If you have trouble slowing down, then the issues have to do with the brakes.

There are chances for numerous suspension issues and even imbalances for contributing as it is something which can stay for over ten years. There are so many reasons which can add to this condition. Whether you have a brand new car or one that is several years old, wheel issues can be the source of vibrations.

Unbalanced tires or alignment that is not meeting the manufacturer’s specifications. Also, bearings that prematurely wear out can be an issue. These problems are usually caused by hitting large potholes, speed bumps, or the curb. Wheel bearing should last the lifetime of your vehicle. However, the bearings do wear out from time to time.

Wheel alignment

The alignment of your car is specified by the manufacturer and is designed to keep all of the wheels aligned with each other. Wheels in the front or back can become misaligned due to striking potholes, curbs and even going too quickly over speed bumps. A wheel vibrates and can be severely damaged by these events.

Unbalanced wheel

The majority of rims and tires are manufactured with slight imperfections. Tires spinning at highway speeds that are not perfectly balanced can wobble and cause vibrations that can be felt by the operator holding the steering wheel. Weights attached to the rim are used to perfectly balance the wheels and tires for high-speed travel typically over fifty miles per hour.

Wheel replacement

Tires with bald patches or are worn too much on one side should be replaced. These tires are not safe and generally cannot be perfectly balanced. Rims that are dented from hitting a pothole or curb also cannot be balanced. Both the tire and rim should be replaced if either of these conditions exists and cannot be properly balanced. Also, check the wheel hub to see if it needs to be replaced.

Bent Wheels

Mechanics investigate that shaking steering wheels can usually lead to wheel alignment problems of the vehicle. Trucks and cars can depend on the complex system of the working parts for the stability, but four tires are the ones who can keep the system in the balanced state.

It is suitable for the individuals to understand what is the actual issue so that they can quickly solve the car vibration in the steering wheels. If the wheel has gone through bent, then it affects the wheel socket rather than on tire which is placed to it. There are chances for the whole frame to shake during movement.

People who have got their automobiles with the issue of wheel bent might feel that the steering wheels actually shake little bit always and when they are accelerating this car vibration can increase significantly which clearly shows that it is due to the issue of the bent wheels. It is straightforward to get the problem of bent wheels solved so that you can ensure that the car can be in good condition.

2. Tire Issues

The shaky steering wheel can also be an issue created by other problems in the tire. In the worst-case scenario, even a flat tire can contribute to vibration in the steering wheel. If your car has got a flat tire, the common thing that you may notice may be the steering wheel is shaking when you are starting the vehicle. This slight car vibration can become violent and can spread all across the car. It can become worst as the driving progresses.

Often the tires of your car are the primary source of vibration while driving a vehicle. Tires and rims must be balanced to avoid vibration at high speeds. Occasionally tires can wear more on one side or the other. Have your tires rotated and have the suspension and alignment checked to avoid future problems and vibrations while driving.

Tires can also have a flat spot if the car has been parked for some time, especially in cold weather. Once it has warmed up from driving, the flat spot should disappear. These causes and fixes are relatively inexpensive compared to replacing tires and rims.

Front Tire Wears Out

As tires wear out, the tire may no longer be properly balanced. Front tires tend to wear out quickly. Have your tires rebalanced and rotate your tires to normalize the wear and tear on the tires if your wheel starts to shake scheduled maintenance to see if any lug nut is loosened.

The tire wears, and soft looking tires can also lead to similar kinds of issues. A broken belt can also be an issue in the case of radial tires. There are chances for the broken belts to create S shape of the tire tread or may bulge it in the tread line. There are chances for these two issues to result in shaking and wobbling of the steering wheel.

Tire Balance Issue

New tires and rims should always be balanced for high speeds before installation on your car. As the vehicle is driven and the mileage builds up, the tires may become slightly unbalanced. Also, your rims can also become unbalanced from hitting potholes and speed bumps. Wheel weights can also be lost. Have your tires rotated and rebalanced regularly.

There are chances for unbalanced wheel or tire to be the cause for the vibration or wobbling of the steering wheel. We strongly suggest for automobiles to keep tire and wheels balanced all the time.

Tire Pressures

Poorly inflated tires can overheat and do not wear uniformly. Overheated tires can even explode, potentially causing a severe accident. Maintain the manufactures recommended tire pressure for your car.

Also, keeping the tire pressures according to the owners manual will prevent wear and maintain equilibrium in the car. If a quadrant or a side of the vehicle is going through disproportionate wear or excessive wear, then it can lead to the shaking of the steering wheel. Checking the tire pressures for your car tires frequently can help you prevent steering wheel vibrating problems.

Rotate the Tires

Manufacturers recommend car owners rotate their tires regularly to ensure even wear on all tires. The tires and wheels should also be rebalanced at the same time to ensure that all tires are running smoothly.

Tire Replacement

If your tire pressure monitoring system consistently alarms you of low tire pressure, you might have to consider getting that tire replaced. More so if your car wheel shakes at low speeds. A bad tire can cause your braking system to overwork, and you can notice a burning smell every time you come to a complete stop.

Look for reputable tire brands if you need a replacement. Also, if the front of the car started vibrating, there is a probability that you have loose or worn suspension components that require a car repair. Even warped brake rotors can cause tire vibration. Your local auto care center will replace your tires and give you a free car wash.

3. Suspension Issues

A vehicle’s suspension is made up of various components, e.g., tie rods, ball joints, shocks, and rubber bushings. All of these components can become worn over time.

Also, even a brand new car’s suspension can be damaged by hitting a pothole particularly hard or going over a speed bump way too fast. If there is a vibration at any speed or if you hear a clunking noise, have your suspension checked by an expert.

Inner Tie rods

The inner tie rod along with the outer tie rod hold the wheel in a specific position that ensures that the tire and your car drive straight. Worn tie rods can cause uneven wear on a tire. Also, if your tie rods are not doing their job, you may hear a clicking or thumping noise when you hit a bump.

Outer tie rods

The outer tie rod works in concert with the inner tie rod. If either of these tie rods begins to wear or are damaged in some manner, your tires can wear unevenly, and you may have to replace the tires prematurely.

Ball joints

Ball joints are part of the suspension system and connect various components. Vehicle operators may find that the car wanders a bit on the road, tires can wear unevenly and there may be clunking noises from the front end as you pass over bumps in the road.

Control arm bushings

Most cars have a control arm bushing in the front and rear suspension. Also, most trucks and SUVs have two each as well. The control arm is the part that joins or connects the wheel hub to the frame of the vehicle with the actual bushing at the frame side of the arm. Worn bushings can cause vibrations, noises, and improper tire wear.

Shocks, struts, and springs

The shocks, struts, and springs provide a cushion to the vehicle as it passes over various bumps in the road. Shocks can begin to leak as the shocks age and lose their ability to cushion the car from the bumps in the road. If you find your car bounces up and down a great deal after going over a bump, have your shocks checked.

Worn suspension components

Worn suspension components of a car or the truck are complex will include shocks, pistons, and tie rods. It can keep the vehicle in the balance both in the case of stability and even energy output. Damage to any of these suspension components can lead to steering wheel shaking.

Most issues may include the corroded cylinders worn or wear cylinders, faulty tie rods, and also loose connection. These are some problems that can be harder for diagnosing and harder to deal with. It is not so hard for fixing them if you work with a local auto repair shop.

4. Brake Issues

There are chances for the people who have got so much trouble of the steering vibration during deceleration may be facing with a brake issue. The primary goal of the brake is to slow the entire vehicle down, and it is something complicated than just stopping the tires from spinning.

There are chances for the problems in the connections, cords and also pads with the brake can lead to the vibration of the steering wheel in such a way that you can quickly figure out the issue. Your cars brake system includes calipers, rotors, pads and the hydraulics that connect your brake pedal to the brakes.

Operators who feel pulsing or shaking when the brake pedal is depressed should have their brakes checked. The pads, rotors or calipers could be worn, or a caliper is stuck.

In addition to feeling a pulsing or shaking when the brake pedal is depressed, you may also feel shaking of the steering wheel. Failing brakes can be very dangerous and may not stop your car in time to avoid a severe accident.

Brake Caliper

Brake calipers are mainly responsible for pressing the brake pads against the rotors. Occasionally the calipers become stuck and do not release the pressure on the pads, causing the rotors and pads to overheat. If there is a burning smell, stop the car and have your brakes examined.

Worn Brake Pads

Worn brake pads have a metal element that causes squealing when the part touches the rotor. If you hear this sound, have your brake pads changed immediately. Worn pads can damage your rotors and cause vibration that can be felt when the brake pedal is depressed as well as to the steering wheel.

Brake Rotors

Older brake rotors sometimes do not wear uniformly. Overheated rotors can also warp. Both of these conditions can cause a vibration when the brake pedal is depressed. Also, the pads can wear in a non-uniform way causing further issues and vibrations.

Braking System

The braking system includes the parts just discussed as well as the hydraulic system that provides a power assist to the operator. Vibrations usually caused by defective or worn parts such as the rotors can further damage the calipers and even the suspension system.

5. Damaged or Bad Bearings

Wheel bearings are sealed and generally do not need to be serviced. However, the bearings do become loose on occasion. Once the bearings become loose, the hub becomes unbalance as it rotates. A bearing that is beginning to disintegrate can make a noise that makes a grinding noise like metal on metal.

Although the noise may sound like it is coming from the engine, operators touching their hand to the bearing area may find it hot after being driven. Bad bearings can cause the steering wheel to shake. The problems with the wheel bearing are quite similar. The car has got drive shaft, through which it transfers energy to the tires.

These are anchored with wheel bearings for balancing car’s weight with the movement of energy. If any of the bearings are not functioning correctly, then it can lead to the issue of imbalance in the pressure.

If you are having a pattern of steering wheel vibration that occurs when you’re driving straight and which stops when you go around the curve, then it means that it is the issue of ball joint which needs to be replaced.

If you wonder why the steering wheel is shaking while you are turning and is smooth when you are driving straight, then it is due to the issue in the tie rod – ends. You need to figure out what is the problem so that you can quickly solve that and get rid of the vibrating steering.

Other Common Steering Wheel Problems

car shakesThere are several other reasons your steering wheel may shake. For example, on older cars, the engine mounts may be loose or broken. Engines that are consistently running hard can also cause steering wheels to start to shake.

If the engine is running roughly and the check engine light is on, check the trouble code, confirm that the spark plugs are in good condition and that the car battery is fully charged. On vehicles with a drive shaft, vibration may be felt at various speeds.

Engine mounts

The engine mounts hold the engine to the frame of the car. If the engine mount is loose or broken, this may cause the steering wheel to shake, or even the vehicle to shake, especially when the car is accelerating. The entire vehicle can shake when an engine mount is broken.

Broken driveshaft

On vehicles with drive shafts, there are generally at least two U-joints which function as flexible joints as the suspension moves up or down. A worn or broken drive shaft can cause vibrations under the vehicle, abnormal noises, turning issues, and possible shuddering as the car accelerates.


What causes a steering wheel to shake when turning?

In most situations, bad bearings cause your steering wheel to shake while turning. The bearings connect the wheel to the hub and the axle of the vehicle.

When the bearings are beginning to go bad, the bearings can make a grinding noise especially when turning and could cause the wheel to wobble. Bad bearings should be removed and replaced to prevent further damage to the suspension and potentially severe accidents causing the airbags to deploy.

Why does steering wheel shake when I brake?

If your steering wheel feels funny when you brake, then it is likely something associated with the brakes that are causing it. Rotors could be warped; the brake pads could be worn abnormally, or the calipers could be seized.

Brake systems that are causing a shaking steering wheel to indicate that your brakes are deteriorating and should be repaired. Consult repair manuals if you plan to make the repairs yourself or take the vehicle into a repair shop.

Brake noises also indicate there are problems with your brakes. Bad brakes can affect how quickly you can stop the car and pose a potential safety risk.

Common reason steering wheel shake driving at high speed?

Usually, the tires can cause your car to shake when driving at high speed. The tires are generally no longer properly balanced. The balance weights may have fallen off. The tire may have changed due to normal driving. If the rims are damaged from hitting a speed bump or curb, the rims may have been damaged.

Any of these situations can cause the tire or wheels to become unbalanced and shake at high speeds. Have your tires rebalanced when your steering wheel starts to vibrate and before the tires cause more damage to the suspension system and wear the front wheel or rear wheel prematurely.

What is the common cause of steering shakes at low speeds?

Flat spots can develop on tires if the vehicle has been parked for an extended time. Flat spots are also usually caused by braking and locking up your wheels. Tires do not wear consistently when the suspension is not aligned properly.

Seized calipers and warped rotors can also cause car shaking at low speeds. Begin by checking the wheel and tire for signs of any of these conditions and have a mechanic check your brakes or re-balance your tires. Tires with permanent flat spots may have to be replaced.


If you notice that your wheel shakes violently, you should immediately pull to the left or find a local auto repair shop. A loose lug nut can cause the car to shake when you are doing highway speed. You have to make sure that your vehicle is safe to drive, especially if your car wheel shakes when brakes are applied.

Other reasons for steering wheel shaking and things your mechanic should inspect are the air bag, head gasket, and front suspension. For more information about causes and fixes, read our related articles. Checking the wheel periodically is recommended to ensure your car is safe to drive.

As you can see, there are many common causes of steering wheel shaking. Scheduled maintenance at a local auto repair center to tackle any reasons for steering wheel shaking moves and get your oil change as well. Front or rear wheel balancing is crucial to ensure your car is safe to drive.

If you need to purchase a new car, you should consider hybrid cars like the Honda CRV or Honda Pilot. They have excellent fuel performance, especially at lower speeds or adverse traffic conditions. For more car news, check our related articles.

Last Updated on: July 13, 2022

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