When your car is healthy, it will drive evenly and smoothly in all cases, especially if road conditions are normal. If the steering wheel vibrates occasionally, there’s no reason to worry, but if a component gets out of whack, it could translate to consistent steering wheel vibrations. Here are other vehicle problems that manifest themselves through your steering wheel:
To diagnose wheel issues, start with wheel bearings. If the steering wheel shakes while driving straight, it’s usually the ball joints, and if it shakes when you turn, the problem is more likely the tie rod ends. Although these parts can last as long as the car, in some cases they wear out early.
In most cases, the source of steering wheel vibration is the tires (since one directly controls the other), and the problem can usually be fixed with a quick tire balance. Under or over-inflation could also cause issues, so ensure all tires are properly inflated. If you check the tread and it’s lower than the recommended mark, replacing them is probably the only way to right steering wheel issues.
Although engine trouble can cause shaking throughout the vehicle, you probably notice it first in the steering wheel. Fuel delivery, air induction or spark related problems can negatively-affect smooth driving, resulting in a vibration that comes from the engine compartment. A broken engine mount can also lead to steering wheel shaking, commonly when you accelerate. To have engine trouble properly diagnosed, take your car into a technician as soon as possible.
Has your vehicle been in a recent accident? If so, your trouble might be a bent axle or broken driveshaft. If you feel jerkiness when you’re not steering, take note. This problem should not be ignored, and a full evaluation by a professional will help uncover and repair the damaged components.
If bad brakes are to blame, the shaking will primarily happen as you engage the brakes. In some instances, however, a stuck caliper will make the steering wheel vibrate at high speeds.
Whatever the source, your steering wheel shouldn’t shake when you drive. If you notice this common symptom, your best hope for avoiding further damage is taking your car in immediately.
For all your vehicle’s maintenance and service needs, call the experts at Heath’s Auto Service in Flagstaff at 928-233-9335 and schedule an appointment today!