In this series of Q&A posts, we are using google’s autocomplete function to find the most commonly asked questions about cars and giving them each a definitive answer. Today we are solving the mystery of the shaking steering wheel. Click and all will be revealed.

Have you ever been driving your car and you feel the steering wheel start to violently shake? This can happen for a variety of reasons that each point to a specific type of required maintenance. Generally speaking, there are three different reasons why this might happen. Below we give you the symptom description and the solution to the problem. Luckily they are not only easy to fix, but even easier to avoid altogether.

 

Does the shaking go away after 100kmh?

The most common reason for a car to shake is related to tires. If the tires are out of balance then the steering wheel can shake. This shaking starts at around 80 kilometres per hour. It gets worse around 100kmh but starts to get better at high speeds.

Solution: This issue can be avoided by purchasing good quality tires and by having all of the tires carefully inspected when your car goes in for preventative maintenance service (your regularly scheduled oil change). If it is already shaking, come in for a visit and let us rotate your tires to even out the wear and smooth out your ride.

 

Does it shake while braking?

Sometimes brake rotors can be the cause of shaking. If your steering wheel shakes while you are braking then the problem could be caused by “out of round” brake rotors. This vibration can also be felt through your brake pedal.

Solution: The brake problem can be avoided by including brake caliper service when your brakes are due for maintenance. This is particularly important for vehicles that have over 100,000 kilometres on them. And like your tires, we will inspect your brake rotors at your regularly scheduled maintenance appointment.

 

Is it worst at high speeds? Do you smell burning?

Another common problem that can cause shaking is when a brake caliper sticks on. When this happens you will experience a vibration through the steering wheel starting at 75-80 kmh. It will get very bad the faster you go, and you will also smell a burning odor when you stop.

Solution: When this happens we will check to see if your tires are wearing unevenly, if you have a wheel out of round, or if one of your brake pads is more dramatically worn than the others. These are all signs of a sticking brake caliper and tells us what we need to replace to solve the issue.

 

The Common Thread: All of these issues are easily avoidable if you come in for your regularly scheduled oil change. We do a complete inspection at each service to get out ahead of these issues. The one thing you don’t want is to feel unsafe, especially at highway speeds. A smooth drive is worth its weight in gold.

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