Steering wheel shaking: learn to identify the cause of vibration in the steering wheel

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Do you want to ask your questions about vibration on the steering wheel?  So you are in the right place. In today’s article, I will explain what causes it, how to solve it, and much more about this problem.

Cars can be considered one of the greatest inventions of all time. This machine really has attributes that have been improved every year in order to make it easier and more comfortable to move around on streets, avenues, and roads. However, like any other machine, it needs special care so that it lasts for a long time.

Things like changing the oilcalibrating tires, and being very careful when filling up are just some of the maintenance that the car needs to go through to at least ensure more safety for the driver. But, some warnings are given, and we often don’t even notice, such as vibration in the steering wheel, which can indicate significant problems.

If you want to know more about the subject, I bring the answers to the main questions about the vibrating steering wheel below.

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Shaking the steering wheel can cause health problems

Many people consider that the vibration in the steering wheel is only due to time and use of the car, but it is not quite so. This “warning” that the vehicle is sending can cause several problems if it is not checked as soon as possible.

Believe me: in addition to the danger of driving a car with a problem, this vibration makes, even unconsciously, drivers feel more tired. The force, which in most cases is small to keep the steering wheel stable, over time physically wears the driver down. A trip of more than 2 or 3 hours, for example, will interfere with performance, causing pain in the arms and shoulders.

That’s why it’s important to stay tuned and find the cause as soon as possible.

Main causes of steering wheel vibration

This is actually quite simple. Drive to a place that is flat, straight, and free of potholes. Keep an average speed and start analyzing. It will be very simple to notice the steering wheel shaking or throwing the car to one side, even more, if you don’t force it.

If you notice this, go to your mechanic as soon as possible to do a more detailed check and fix this problem. In general, this can be an alignment and balance issue. And do you know the difference between these two maintenances? 

Car needs to be aligned and balanced

Lack of weekly calibration, in addition to the constant friction that tires often suffer from potholes and unevenness, not to mention the wear caused by excessive heat, lack of pressure, or sudden braking are just some of the reasons for the lack of balance in the tires. To solve this type of problem, aligning and balancing the car is the first alternative that all drivers should take.

Balancing, in fact, is the most important maintenance, as it is intended to make the wheels turn without vibrations. This directly influences driving comfort, ensuring the necessary safety to drive. The alignment and balancing procedure takes no more than an hour and has incredible benefits.

The alignment part is used to adjust the angles of the wheels, keeping them straight in relation to the ground and parallel to each other. It is important maintenance, as it guarantees the stability of the car in curves and other maneuvers that require greater mobility. In addition, it prevents uneven tire wear and you feel the difference in your pocket!

Suspension problems

Another problem that can be indicated by vibration in the steering wheel is the suspension. Any component of a vehicle’s suspension system can cause vibrations in the steering wheel, but in particular, keep an eye on the shock absorbers, pivots and steering bars, and stabilizer bars.

These components can not only cause vibrations but also accidents. A shock absorber without gas or oil will leave the vehicle’s wheel at the mercy of the springs. That way, when you pass an irregularity in the track, the wheel will move uncontrollably up and down, driven by the spring. This will make the steering wheel vibrate… a lot!

In the case of pivots and stabilizer bars, the problem may not be so apparent. Light vibrations and small bumps when steering can be signs that the pivots have already given what they had to give. The stabilizer bar, if it is bent or badly positioned, will directly interfere with the vehicle’s handling, making the steering wheel heavier in some curves and even locking it.

The same goes for the steering bars. They are responsible for making the car steer and change direction. Any problem with them will cause you to be unable to use the vehicle’s steering wheel. Vibration in the steering wheel may indicate that they are bent or about to break.

Tire calibration

Tire inflation is another point that can cause steering wheel vibration. Every car offers the driver the precise number for the tire inflation, whether when the car is loaded with luggage or cargo, with many people, or even empty. Putting too many pounds on the tire or riding with it deflated can cause vibrations and judder. Keep the numbering as indicated in the manual.

Another problem that can be related to the tires and wheels is poor fixing. When you run in or even change a flat tire and don’t fit them accurately and tightly, it can cause instability in the car and cause some shakes, both in the steering wheel and in the car as a whole.

engine problems

This is an option that is usually unveiled by specialists, as they are more specific cases. If the steering wheel vibrates at a standstill, the vibration may be associated with the propeller not getting enough air or gasoline. The problem can also be connected to the spark plugs or the fact that their cables are not well connected or have a defect that needs repair.

The most common symptoms of noticing these vibrations are constant accelerations. If the case is more serious, the car may even shake and further damage the steering. If the case is less severe, these vibrations can be felt on the steering wheel especially if the car has power steering. This is because the oil pump that feeds the system will malfunction due to engine failures.

brake problems

Does the steering wheel shake when braking? Certainly, the vibration in the flywheel is linked to the rotors. And this type of problem needs to be solved as soon as possible, because the more the driver forces to brake the car, the greater the chance that the brakes will overheat, causing the rotors to give in and even break.

In this case, the vibrations in the flywheel can be caused especially by the brake disc warping or – in a much rarer case – when a piece of the brake pad comes off, causing an imbalance in the force with which the disc is pressed and causing vibration.

Take the car to a trusted mechanic, as these are parts that are directly linked to the vehicle’s safety. You will probably have to pass or even change the discs and drums, depending on the type of brake that your car model uses.

axle problems

A car rotates perfectly because of the axles. If they have a problem, signs will appear, such as vibration in the steering wheel. These components may not necessarily be worn out over time. They can be damaged in a crash or collision.

At high speeds, the steering wheel starts to shake, as this is an important part and is responsible for transferring the power from the engine to the wheels, making very fast rotations. If this part is not in perfect working order, the axle will vibrate when the car is in motion. This problem usually reveals the “hidden past” of many used cars, when the former owners had an accident before selling it and did not pass the information on to those who bought the vehicle.

Another part that can cause vibration in the steering wheel is the CV, but when it is worn or damaged, either by the natural wear of the part or by the action of dust from the streets or other types of dirt, you will hear a noise as if a piece of metal was breaking as the wheel turns.

Does your car have vibrations in the steering wheel? Stay tuned and follow our tips, they can avoid future headaches and even accidents. Share with your friends, who knows, maybe they are also having the same problem?

Avoid unforeseen events: quote your insurance 

Have you ever thought if a problem occurs in your car and you don’t have  Geico insurance with 24-hour assistance? What if you have your car stolen, stolen, or have an accident that results in a total loss? All of these are events that may be covered by insurance.

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