5 Causes of Steering Wheel Shakes at Low and High Speed

You have probably been in a driving situation where your steering wheel starts to shake, whether you’re driving at high speed or low speed. This is not supposed to happen because a properly working car on a flat road will drive smoothly and evenly the whole time. Of course, there will be the occasional vibration in the steering wheel or a bumpy road that causes the steering wheel to shake. But if the shakiness becomes a regular occurrence, then you could have a broken part or component inside of the car that is throwing it off balance.

Top 5 Causes

To understand why the steering wheel is shaking at low and high speed, you need to understand all the main causes of this kind of shakiness. Below are the 5 main causes of steering wheel shaking while driving at high speed and low speed.

  1. Unbalanced Tires – This is the most common cause of steering wheel shakiness and the first cause that you should consider checking out. If you have a tire with low air pressure or tire treads that are worn out, this will cause your tires to be out-of-balance with each other as they’re touching the road. Since the steering wheel controls the direction of the wheels which hold the tires, then this out-of-balance state will cause the steering wheel to shake.
  2. Wheel Issues – The second most possible cause of steering wheel shakiness is problems with the central wheels which hold the tires. The wheel bearings are supposed to last forever but check them anyway just to make sure they’re not the problem. Wheel bearings have been known to get worn out. Also, inspect the ball joints and tie rod ends too. Usually, shakiness that only occurs while making a turn will be because of bad tie rod ends. If the shakiness occurs only when driving straight, then it is the ball joints that are at fault.
  3. Brake Issues – If you have bad brakes which result in aggressive steering wheel shaking when you step on the brake pedal, this means you likely have worn out rotors. You should also check the brake caliper too because that can cause steering wheel shakiness, especially in older model cars.
  4. Axle Damage – Cars tend to have axle problems if they’ve recently been in an accident and their steering wheel started vibrating soon after. Anytime you have an axle that is damaged or bent, it will result in steering wheel shaking as you travel at high speeds as well as low speeds. If your driveshaft is broken, then you may experience the steering wheel randomly jerking to the left or right by itself.
  5. Engine Problems – The final possible cause is problems with the engine. The first sign of engine trouble is when the steering wheel shakes. As the problem gets worse, the entire vehicle will start to shake. If it gets to that point, then you know it’s the engine that’s at fault. It may not be a huge issue either. Perhaps there is an issue with the electric spark or fuel delivery in the system.

Read also: 7 Common Causes Car Loses Power When Accelerating

This list of causes goes from least serious to most serious. A lot of people who experience a little steering wheel shakiness don’t think much about it. Even if the shakiness starts to pick up, they may hold off going to the mechanic because they don’t want to spend the money to get the problem fixed. But the longer you wait to fix the problem, the more damage it will cause to your tires, brakes, wheel components, axle, and/or your engine. Then you will have to spend a lot more money to get all these things fixed or replaced. So, get the problem checked out as soon as you notice the shakiness.

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