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When you spend a lot of time behind the wheel driving to work, school, or just around town, you know what feels normal and what doesn’t. A shaky, vibrating steering wheel definitely does not feel normal! If you’ve noticed your steering wheel shaking while driving or braking, it could be a sign that something’s wrong with your vehicle. You don’t want to ignore these vibrations because they can become more severe, expensive problems down the road. So, what’s up with these bad vibes?
Let’s look at some of the common reasons why your steering wheel may shake while you’re driving or braking:
Driving with one or more unbalanced wheels is like wearing two different shoes — uncomfortable! Ideally, weight should be evenly distributed among all four tires. However, as tires wear, the weight distribution can change and alter the rotational balance of the wheels. Because of this, you may begin to experience shaking or vibrations when driving at higher speeds. Luckily, you can correct this situation with a routine wheel balancing service to help ensure a smooth ride and improve tire longevity and performance.
In some vehicle designs, bearings secure the wheel hub to the vehicle’s suspension, allowing the wheels to turn properly. If your steering wheel shakes when turning, your wheel bearings may be inadequately lubricated, worn, or improperly adjusted. Have you been driving on rough roads or hitting potholes or other hazards recently? If so, you may have damaged your wheel bearings along the way. To solve this issue, you may need to service your wheel bearings, have them adjusted, or (in a worst-case scenario) replace your damaged bearings.
A steering/suspension alignment helps ensure that the tires connect with the pavement at the proper angles. Over time, rough road conditions and other hazards can throw your car out of alignment, potentially leading to those bad vibrations in your steering wheel.
Your vehicle may also be out of alignment if you notice it pulls to either the right or left when the steering wheel is in the straight-head position. Additionally, you’ll want to check your tires’ tread because misaligned vehicles often cause uneven tire wear. If you experience any of these issues, don’t delay! Visit your nearest Jiffy Lube service center, where a trained technician will help ensure your vehicle rides smoother and safer.
Is your steering wheel shaking when braking? There’s likely a problem with…well…your brakes. The brake rotors/drums may have begun to wear down, lose shape, and warp. If so, you’ll typically feel vibrations through the steering wheel and the brake pedal as you press your foot down. Regardless, something’s wrong with your braking system, so you should get a professional assessment as soon as possible.
The suspension system is made up of shock absorbers/struts, ball joints, coils, springs, and other components to help maintain the relationship between the vehicle’s body and wheels. Ultimately, this relationship helps make your vehicle smoother to ride and easier to steer.
But just like any relationship, things can get a little rocky. If a suspension part becomes worn or loose, it may throw off your handling, leading to a shaky steering wheel. You’ll typically notice serious vibrations after your vehicle accelerates to highway speeds.
A shaking steering wheel usually happens when you’re either accelerating at high speeds or braking. If your steering wheel is shaking when accelerating, it might be due to vehicle misalignment, unbalanced wheels, or suspension system issues. If your steering wheel is shaking when braking, there may be a problem with your brake system components.
Whatever the case may be, shake it off and visit your local Jiffy Lube. Our trained technicians can diagnose your car via a visual inspection and test driving. Then, you’ll be back on the road in no time! And, of course, all service is performed according to your manufacturer’s specifications to help you get the highest performance from your vehicle.
Please note: Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube service center or visit jiffylube.com for specific services offered.