Why Is My Steering Wheel Shaking? (11 Reasons Why)

Few things in life can be as frustrating as a steering wheel that starts shaking out of nowhere when you’re driving.

It can be a baffling thing, so you’re probably wondering what could be causing the steering wheel to shake while you’re driving. Here’s what I found!

Why Is My Steering Wheel Shaking?

Your steering wheel may be shaking because of tires that are either out of balance or misaligned. Moreover, issues with the rotors, brake caliper, and axles may be causing your car’s steering wheel to shake. Damaged components and obstructions on the tires and drive shaft may also be the reason why your steering wheel is shaking.

Keep reading if you’re interested in learning why your steering wheel is shaking!

1. Wheels Out of Balance

One of the reasons why your steering wheel may be shaking is that the tires are out of balance.

Generally, the weight of a car is meant to be distributed evenly between all its tires.

However, manufacturer defects and regular wear while driving may cause tires to be uneven, which results in more weight being put on one tire, which puts the tires out of balance.

When this happens, you may find that your steering wheel will start shaking or become hard to control.

As such, you should get your tires balanced to address this. 

2. Misaligned Tires

Aside from unbalanced tires, misaligned tires may also be causing your steering wheel to shake.

Typically, a car will have all its tires pointing in the same direction when it is brand new.

With that said, your tires may shift inward or outward if you drive on rough roads frequently; your tires are out of alignment when this happens.

In this case, the misalignment may eventually lead to your steering wheel shaking while you drive, which can make for an unpleasant driving experience.

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3. Warped Brake Rotors

Aside from problems with your tires, warped rotors may also cause your car or steering wheel to shake when braking.

Ideally, your car’s ability to slow down and stop depends on the friction between the brake pads and the brake rotors.

However, friction from braking creates heat and makes your brake rotors’ metal more bendable.

As a result, your rotor may then be damaged by contact with your brake pads, and in turn, cause your steering wheel to vibrate as you brake.

4. Stuck Brake Caliper

Another part of the brake system that can cause your steering wheel to shake is the brake caliper.

Normally, the brake calipers are responsible for pushing the brake pad down onto the rotors, which allows your car to gradually slow down when you brake.

However, the brake calipers can get stuck from insufficient brake fluid, preventing the calipers from pushing down on the brake pads.

Therefore, this can cause your steering wheel to shake when as you step on the brake.

5. Suspension Issues

Aside from my points above, problems with the components of your suspension system may be causing your steering wheel to shake.

Typically, a misaligned suspension system won’t make the steering wheel vibrate.

However, it will result in abnormal tire wear, which will cause the tires to vibrate.

Additionally, the most common causes of steering wheel vibration are loose suspension components like bushings and mounts.

Therefore, these vibrations are usually felt at low speeds and are most likely to be more noticeable when turning into a driveway or parking.

6. Problems with Axles

Problems with Axles

In addition, damaged axles may also be the reason why your steering wheel shakes.

Generally, the driving force from the engine is transferred to the wheels by axles.

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Furthermore, your car is propelled by the wheels turning in the opposite direction of the axle.

However, a damaged axle can cause your car—and the steering wheel—to shake.

Moreover, as you travel at faster speeds, this shaking normally gets worse, so it’s critical to fix axle problems as soon as possible.

7. Damaged Drive Shaft

Additionally, a damaged or faulty drive shaft may be causing your steering wheel to shake.

Generally, the drive shaft is responsible for transferring the torque from the transmission into the tires of your car.

However, the drive shaft may be damaged due to shock or an accident.

Furthermore, these may cause the U-joints and other components that secure the drive shaft in place may result in more vibrations.

As a result, these vibrations may travel up to the steering wheel and cause the steering wheel to jerk hard and vibrate regardless of the speed at which you’re driving.

8. Debris Stuck on Tires

Aside from drive shaft problems, debris on tires may also be causing your steering wheel to shake.

As I previously mentioned, tires are structured such that all the tires are meant to bear the weight of your car evenly among them all.

Because of this, your tires may become unbalanced if a large pebble or other debris lodges into the grooves on a tire.

Thus, this may result in the steering wheel shaking while you drive until it becomes dislodged from your tire.

9. Bad Wheel Bearings

In addition, faulty wheel bearings may also be causing your steering wheel to shake.

Generally, wheel bearings are designed to secure the wheel hub to your car’s suspension, and as such can cause your steering wheel to shake if it’s damaged or not oiled enough.

In this case, wheel bearings may become worn through frequent use of unpaved roads or from changes made to the steering or suspension systems.

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All in all, these things may result in a vibrating steering wheel and shaky steering.

10. Damaged or Loose Power Steering Belt

Aside from the points above, problems with the power steering belt may also be causing your steering wheel to shake while idling.

In this scenario, the power steering belt, which controls the power steering pump, may slip off or become damaged from excessive heat or significant wear.

As such, this can result in shaky steering, which makes for an unpleasant driving experience.

Moreover, these power steering belt issues are accompanied by screeching noises upon starting your car, so you should bring your car in once you observe this.

11. Failing Power Steering Pump

Just like the power steering belt, a faulty power steering pump may also be the reason why your steering wheel is shaking.

Generally, the power steering pump pressurizes the hydraulic fluid used by the power steering system to allow you to easily turn the steering wheel as you drive.

However, when you have a low level of power steering fluid, this can cause the pump to fail over time.

As a result, you’ll likely experience resistance and shaking when you turn the steering wheel. 

To know more, you can also read our posts on why Toyota Venza was discontinued, Windshield wipers not working, and Honda Accord not starting.

Conclusion

There are several reasons why your steering wheel may be shaking, and this can include unbalanced or misaligned tires.

Moreover, a shaking steering wheel may be a symptom of more serious problems, like damaged suspension or steering systems.

As such, you should have these parts checked at your local service center to avoid these problems from progressing and causing further harm to your car.

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