Rim Repair News

Why is My Steering Wheel Shaking?

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Shaky steering wheel
Most drivers know what a shaky steering wheel feels like. But for those who have never experienced one before, a wobbly steering wheel can be alarming, to say the least. 

Though often caused by the normal wear and tear cars endure, a steering wheel that’s shaking can also be one of the first symptoms of a much bigger issue. Knowing the most common reasons for shaky steering wheels can give you an idea of what the underlying issue is and help you decide when it’s time to visit a professional.

1. Unbalanced Tires

Many cases of steering wheel shake can be traced back to tires that are out of balance. Unbalanced tires shake within a certain speed range, typically between 50-60 mph. If you experience a shaky steering wheel outside of these speeds, it’s probably being caused by something other than tire balance.

Tires usually become unbalanced because they are wearing unevenly. Even the smallest difference in tire wear can affect your car’s ride and, by extension, the feel of the steering wheel.

Tires can wear unevenly for a variety of reasons, the most common is that they were not balanced properly. RGX’s laser balancing technology ensures the perfect wheel weight placement and takes the guesswork out of tire balancing. Uneven tire wear can also be an indication that you’re driving on a bent wheel - a much more serious issue.

Another reason your tires might wear unevenly is that they were never very good tires to begin with. If that’s the case, you might consider learning more about how to pick the best tire for your car. RGX Service Advisors can help you with purchasing the right tires at a discounted cost and scheduling an expert installation. Finally, tires that aren’t inflated properly can also cause uneven wear. 

2. Wheel Damage

Wheel damage is typically caused by some kind of accident. It doesn’t even have to be a major accident, because something as small as hitting a pothole or scraping a curb can damage your rims and cause a wobbly steering wheel. Thankfully, the experts at RGX Rim Repair have you covered. We can straighten your wheels or repair cosmetic damage to your rims at any of our North Carolina locations. 

It is important to note that even the most minor accident can damage the axles, wheel bearings, ball joints, or tie rods that connect your wheels to the car. If you have been in an accident, or if you’ve had your rims repaired and still have a shaky steering wheel, you should have your car inspected by your mechanic to assess additional damages.

3. Warped Brake Rotors

Worn out brakesIf you notice that your steering wheel is shaking only while you are braking, there’s a good chance it’s because your brake rotors are the issue. In this instance, you may notice a shaking sensation in your brake pedal as well.

Most of the time, brake rotors simply start to wear out and result in a little steering wheel wobble. Sometimes though, brake rotors can warp and become uneven, resulting in a more significant steering wheel shake.

Warped rotors can be caused by incorrect installation, but they can also be caused by heat. High-speed driving or braking can cause your brake pads to get hot. Contact between super hot brake pads and brake rotors can cause the metal in the rotors to soften, warp, and make your steering wheel wiggle.

4. Worn Brake Pads

If you check your rotors and find that they aren’t warped, the next most likely culprit of steering wheel shake is your brake pads.

Brake pads are made of a blend of metals that is softer than the metal used to make brake rotors. As a result, brake pads wear out more quickly than rotors do and need replacing more often. Unfortunately, like your wheels and rotors, brake pads can wear unevenly, so one may need to be replaced sooner than the others.

If this is happening in your vehicle, you should visit your mechanic because when one brake pad wears down faster than the others, it’s usually a sign that something is wrong with your brake calipers. 

5. Sticky Brake Calipers

Old, worn-out brake calipers can certainly cause issues, but if you’re noticing steering wheel shake, and it’s not your pads or rotors, it’s probably the result of sticky brake calipers.

There are a few ways to tell if your calipers are sticking. One is that you’ll notice your steering wheel is shaking at high speeds, even when you aren’t breaking. This kind of wheel shake generally starts at around 45 mph and gets worse the faster you go. Sticky brake calipers are also frequently accompanied by an unpleasant burning smell when braking. If this happens, stop driving the car as soon as possible and make an appointment to have your calipers inspected.
Whether you need new calipers or not, don’t forget that RGX Rim Repair offers professional brake caliper restoration. Choose from a variety of colors to give your calipers a fresh look and make sure your car stands out!

The best way to prevent all of these issues, from worn tires to sticky brake calipers, is to have your car inspected regularly. If you aren’t sure when to have an inspection done, check the manufacturer guidelines in your owner’s manual. Alternatively, you can simply ask your mechanic to inspect your car each time you change your oil.

Once you’ve resolved your shaky steering wheel, why not treat yourself and your car? In addition to fixing rim damage and straightening wheels, RGX Rim Repair also offers chrome rim plating, ceramic rim coating, wheel customization, and factory wheel replacement in Charlotte, NC, Wilmington, NC, Fayetteville, NC and in the Greensboro/Triad area. Give your car the love it deserves - schedule your wheel customization today

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