Reasons Your Steering Wheel Vibrates As You Drive

6 Reasons Your Steering Wheel Vibrates As You Drive: Auto Care Tips From Mercedes-Benz Of Temecula

A shaking steering wheel is a common symptom you might experience on your car. Trouble is, it can have many, many different underlying causes. We'll outline six of these possible causes below. In most cases, this problem is relatively affordable to address and quick for our technicians to diagnose. However, the list below isn't exhaustive. To find out what's gone wrong on your car, head to our service center for an in-depth diagnosis.

6. Poor Wheel & Tire Balance

If you've ever looked closely at the inside of your wheels, say, while changing a flat roadside, you may have noticed little weights secured to the inside of the rim. The purpose of these weights is to balance the wheels. If they're not precisely balanced, the vehicle may shake and vibrate as you drive. This is probably the most common cause of a shaky steering wheel and perhaps the easiest to address. If any of the wheel weights was moved or dislodged accidentally or from a piece of road debris, the wheel will become unbalanced. To begin diagnosing this problem, a test of wheel balance and alignment should be performed.

Wheel And Tire Close-Up
Installed Brake Rotors

5. Damaged Wheels

No matter how precisely they're balanced, wheels that have become cracked, bent or flattened can cause serious performance issues, including shaking as you drive. A rim may become cracked or bent due to a harsh impact with a deep pothole, hopping a steep curb or in a collision with another vehicle. We'll also check your wheels for signs of damage. Damaged wheels will likely need to be replaced to restore expected safety and performance.

4. Warped Brake Rotors

Does the vibration only occur while braking? It could be a problem with the brake system, such as warped, glazed or cracked brake rotors. The brake rotors have a perfectly-flat surface onto which the brake pads press down, creating friction to slow down your vehicle. If the brake rotors become damaged from heavy track-day driving, long downhill commutes or overheating, the surface of the rotor may become deformed. The brake pads will ride along these deformations, shaking the whole vehicle. To get this problem fixed, we can either resurface your existing brake rotors or simply replace them. New brake rotors are a common maintenance item on older vehicles to keep them performing like new.

3. Damaged Steering Or Suspension Linkage

From tie rods and ball joints to suspension bushings, springs and struts, anything loose or damaged in the steering or suspension system could cause the vehicle to shake. In particular, if you notice the vehicle has shaking and vibrating noises that come with a clunking or clicking noise, that could point to an issue in this area. Naturally, anything loose that's connected to the steering wheel could cause the wheel to shake and vibrate as you drive. A technician can inspect all the linkages to locate the problem and replace the offending component.

2. Bad Differential, Driveshaft Or U-Joint

The driveline of the vehicle can also cause the vehicle to vibrate if components are loose or unbalanced. Power generated by the engine is sent through the transmission and then to the rear wheels via a differential, u-joint and driveshaft. While these components can last the life of the vehicle, they can wear out and require replacement or service if the lubricating fluid goes bad. An unbalanced driveshaft or a loose u-joint can cause the steering wheel to vibrate, but you'll likely also feel this sensation in the seats if the driveline is to blame.

Vehicle Alignment Tool

1. Poor Wheel Alignment

If you find the steering wheel seems to be shaking and fighting against you as you steer, that sensation could be caused by poor wheel alignment. All the wheels should be aligned to factory spec, so all the wheels work in concert for smooth performance. Over time, road forces can cause the wheels to come out of alignment with one another, which can cause these unpleasant driving sensations.

Since a vibrating steering wheel can be a symptom of many different underlying causes, get a full diagnostic from a factory-trained expert at Mercedes-Benz of Temecula.

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