why does my steering wheel vibrate at high speeds

Have you ever been driving your car and it shook so much you felt like you were on an amusement park ride? Well, here are three common problems that can cause a car to shake. The most common reason for a car to shake is related to tires. If the tires are out of balance then the steering wheel can shake. This shaking starts at around 50-55 miles per hour (mph). It gets worse around 60 mph but starts to get better at high speeds. Sometimes brake rotors can be the cause of shaking. If your steering wheel shakes while you are braking then the problem could be caused by "out of round" brake rotors. This vibration can also be felt through your brake pedal. Another common problem that can cause shaking is when a brake caliper sticks on. When this happens you will experience a vibration through the steering wheel starting at 45 to 50 miles per hour. It will get very bad the faster you go, and you will also smell a burning odor when you stop. The good news is that these problems are easily avoided or corrected. The tire problem can be avoided by purchasing good quality tires and by having all of the tires carefully inspected when your car goes in for preventative maintenance service. The brake problem can be avoided by including brake caliper service when your brakes are due for maintenance.

This is particularly important for vehicles that have over 75,000 miles on them. And, like your tires, have all of your brake pads inspected as part of a regularly scheduled preventive maintenance program. In fact, by sticking to your manufacturerвs scheduled maintenance program, you can avoid or predict these problems. Normally, the brake and tire inspections are performed when you have an oil change. In the case of customers who put very little mileage on their cars, this will be performed at the six month vehicle check-up. Tires wearing in a strange way or having a wheel that's out of round can both be signs of what's causing a vibration issue. If one of the front or rear brake pads (out of four) is seen wearing more than the other, this is a sign that the brake caliper is sticking. There are many other things that can cause your car to shake. Please use the
on our website. This will help get to the root of the problem quickly and efficiently. Or, you can download a form we developed specifically for this problem by clicking the button below. Either of these can be taken to your auto shop to help in correctly identifying the problem. Need to stop your car from shaking?

Make an appointment and we'll check it out. Issues involving steering wheel vibrations problems usually are most noticeable at one or two narrow speed ranges (5-10mph and 60-70mph), and will decrease significantly, and in some cases, even disappear outside of these ranges. The amount of vibration caused by worn tires will often be seen over a broader speed range if the tire is worn more. The severity of the vibration is directly related to the vehicles speed. Also, the speed range at which the vibration is felt is also directly related to the amount of wear the tires have endured. At low speeds sometimes a "wobbles" can be felt. These are mostly caused by bent wheels, tires with shifted belts (also referred to as "runout"), and suspension/alignment issues. Tire or Wheel Quality A quick indication of either a poor quality wheel or tire is usually seen by the use of a lot of weights used when balancing the wheel/tire combination. When using a higher end tire on a "straight" wheel you should need somewhere around. 5oz of weight per wheel. Tires of inferior quality are often seen with weaker tread layers and belt seating. and may simply just be out of round. Damage When a belt is broken inside of a tire it will cause the tire to "bounce" since it is unable to keep it's form.

Think of a tire without a broken belt as a baseball, and the tire with a broken belt as a stress ball. Below is an image of a tire with a broken belt. You can see the bottom of the tread is 100% worn while the top of the tire still has tread left. This was caused by the "bouncing" condition. With a slipped belt in a tire it will cause the tire to "wobble" and the steering wheel to shake. Here is a image of a severely slipped belt. Wheel Balance (out of round, bent, excessive wear, uneven tread, etc) Usually, neither tires nor wheels are perfect. This is the reason why wheels are balanced whenever tires are replaced and then, rebalanced periodically as they wear. Driving with unbalanced wheels long enough can and will cause flat spots in the tire, which will then always vibrate. Performing a static balance is just not good enough. Balance should always be checked at driving speeds this is known as dynamic balancing. The wheels are removed from the vehicle and one by one put on a Balancing Machine where the mechanic will enter in the appropriate measurements and then the machine will spin the wheel and printout location and amount of weight needed in order to properly balance the wheel.

Also, if the wrong type of weights for your wheel type are used, they are likely to come off, giving you an instant balance problem. Read more: Suspension Alignment Suspension Excessively worn suspension components will cause effect the way in which the tire contacts the road. This is due to the fact that if any component (ball-joint, tie-rod, wheel bearing, etc) has excessive play it makes the position because it may make maintaining proper alignment impossible. It may also cause other problems not related to wheel balance and wear. Alignment Maladjusted Camber will not directly cause a vibration, but it can cause uneven and/or rapid tire wear. In turn effect the balance/smoothness of a tires rotation. A lot of mechanics will insist that an improper toe adjustment will not be the cause of a steering wheel vibration, but I remain skeptical. Even if I'm wrong it will still certainly causes rapid and uneven tire wear. Caster has no effect on tire wear but it will effect steering wheel's ability to return after making a turn. Bad alignment is the cause of many tread wear problems that will create vibration issues even if the wheels are perfectly balanced.

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