Why Does My Steering Wheel Shake When I Drive?

When the steering wheel is shaking while driving, it can be concerning. Why does the steering wheel shake? It can rattle for different reasons, but the most common include unbalanced tires, a misalignment, bad wheel bearings, bad tie rods and control arms, or bad shocks and/or struts.

Unbalanced Tires

Common causes of unbalanced tires include hitting potholes, dents in the wheels or rims, and uneven tire wear from a misalignment.

Unbalanced tires look uneven in size or may be scuffed at the unbalanced area on the tire. They may also have uneven tire wear from the unbalanced weight or from a misalignment. If you suspect the tires are unbalanced, a professional shop offering services can inspect and rebalance them.

Worn Wheel Bearings

Sometimes worn wheel bearings can loosen the hub over time, which can cause vibration in the wheels that is felt in the steering wheel. If you suspect the wheel hub or bearing is the cause, an easy way to test it is to jack up the vehicle with a jack and jack stands and press the tire in and out at the 3 and 9 o’clock position. If you hear clunking or feel excessive play in the tire, the wheel hub assembly or bearings may need to be replaced. If the tire feels firm, try again at the 6 and 12 o’clock position.

Worn Tie Rods, Control Arms, and Other Steering Components

A shaking steering wheel can also occur from a loose or worn steering component part, which can cause a misalignment, or the steering wheel can shake from misaligned wheels.

If you suspect a steering issue is causing the shake, inspect the steering components and bushings for wear, tear, leaking, and looseness. An integral part may need to be replaced. Once the repair is complete, have a professional shop perform an alignment or do it yourself.

Bad Suspension Parts

Leaking struts and shocks, worn bushings, and damaged springs can all contribute to a shaky steering wheel. If any of these components of the suspension system are damaged, since they are interconnected with steering components, the steering wheel could vibrate. If this is the cause, replace the suspension parts soon. We recommend replacing shocks and struts in pairs for a safer ride and better performance and ride comfort.

If your steering and suspension parts are worn or a bad wheel bearing or hub assembly is contributing to a shaky steering wheel, check out what we have in stock and save on quality, direct-fit parts with long warranties.

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