Steering Wheel Shaking

Steering Wheel Shaking – Possible Causes & Information

In Driving by Magnus Sellén9 Comments

steering wheel shakingThere are a few things that are more annoying than a shaking steering wheel while you are driving.

A shaking steering wheel is bad for your car, and it may wear out bushings and other suspension parts very fast. This is why you should fix a shaking steering wheel as quickly as possible.

In this article, I will teach you the most common causes of a shaking steering wheel and how you can fix it as fast as possible.

Possible Causes of a Shaking Steering Wheel

There are many different causes when a shaking or vibrating steering wheel occurs, but I will list the most common ones and show you in which direction you should start troubleshooting. This is a general list of possible causes.

Go further down in the article to find the topic that fits you the most.

  1. Unbalanced/Damaged Wheels, Tires, Rims (Most common)
  2. Unbalanced/Damaged brake rotors
  3. Worn bushings/Front suspension parts
  4. Unbalanced/Damaged Driveshafts (If front-wheel drive)
  5. Unbalanced/Damaged Cardan/Prop shaft (If rear-wheel drive/4wd)

Steering Wheel Shaking at High Speeds

If your steering wheel shakes at high speeds and you feel no more or no less shaking when braking or accelerating, the most common problem is unbalanced tires or damage to one of your wheels.

If you feel heavy shaking in the steering wheel when driving, the problem is most likely with one of the front wheels.

Check the tires & rims

damaged rim

Jack up your front wheels and turn them in the air while checking the tires for bumps. The tires may separate, and the tire may get bumps that make your steering wheel wobble. Also, look for rough marks and damage to the rims.

If there is a lot of dirt on the rims, clean it and try again. Check that your tire pressure is correct with a tire pressure meter. If you want to buy one, you can check out one in our article Best Tire Pressure Gauge.

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Switch the front and rear wheels

You can try changing the front and rear wheels to see if the problem changes or disappears. If you notice a difference, you probably have an unbalanced tire.

Check front suspension

Check your front suspension for worn bushings, or damaged or loose parts. Try pushing both front wheels in all directions when the front is jacked up to check for strange noises.

Balance the wheels

If you find no damage to the tires or rims and no loose parts in the suspension, the wheels may be uneven and unbalanced. If you check the inside or outside of the rim, you may see some mounted weights. These weights are used to balance the wheel. Sometimes the balancing weights loosen and fall off, causing the wheel to become unbalanced.

To balance with new balance weights, you must use a wheel balancing machine. Most workshops have such a machine and the costs are often not that high, about $20-100 depending on where you live.

4wd and rear wheel drive cars

If you have a rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive car, the shaking is usually caused by an unbalanced Cardan shaft when it occurs during acceleration. This can be difficult to diagnose without a balancing device, and you should always check the above before replacing the Cardan shaft.

What you can do is check the joints to see if they are damaged. If you have a damaged joint, you can often just replace the joint, but it is difficult to balance it 100%. Therefore I recommend that you have this done by a garage, or replace the Cardan shaft entirely.

Steering wheel shaking while braking at high or low speeds

If your steering wheel only shakes while you are braking, there is most likely a problem with your front brake discs. If you can feel the vibrations while braking, but not in the steering wheel, the problem may be with your rear brake rotors.

Inspect for any damages on the front brake rotors

worn brake rotor

Jack up the front of your car and check the front discs for damage or rust. It is important to check the inside of the discs. You can also do this easily by removing the tire for inspection.

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In many cases, the disc itself will have become unbalanced (especially on BMWs) and caused shocks and vibrations in the steering wheel. If the discs are in good condition and there is a lot of material left over, you can give the discs to a garage so they can turn them for you. But with my experience, it is often cheaper and will give a much better result if you buy new discs and replace the old ones.

Inspect the front suspension

The shaking during braking could also be caused by a worn bush in your front suspension. This is not an everyday problem, but it may be worth checking the brake discs before you go ahead and replace them.

Steering Wheel shaking on acceleration

If your car only shakes when accelerating and you have front-wheel drive, a possible cause is an unbalanced driveshaft or CV joint. Check if the driveshafts and CV joints are damaged. Check if you feel any play that should not be there.

If you have a rear-wheel drive and can feel vibrations when accelerating, but not in the steering wheel, there is most likely a problem with the rear driveshafts or Cardan shaft.

In my experience, this could be hard to diagnose with the right tools, and even with them! I can almost certainly tell you that if you feel a massive increase in vibration when you accelerate heavily, there is a problem with the driveline.

Give the driveshaft to a real professional for an accurate diagnosis, or replace it if you feel confident doing so. Finding out whether it is the left or right drive shaft can be difficult without balancing.

Steering wheel shaking while turning on acceleration

Steering Wheel Shaking CV jointIf your steering wheel is shaking only when you are turning and accelerating, it is most likely a worn out CV joint. You can probably also hear some sort of clapping noise from them.

If you hear that sound, check the CV joint gaiter for any leaks. If grease is leaking out from the gaiters, and water pours in, the joints will get damaged quickly, and you will probably have to replace the CV joint. Sometimes you can replace the gaiter and fill it with new grease, but it’s often just a temporary solution, and after a few miles, the sound will come back.

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Test if it’s the left or right CV joint

Drive to a parking lot, turn the steering wheel to the left as far as possible and start accelerating. When you do this, you will hear the sound and you can probably tell whether it is the left or right CV joint.

Conclusion

The most common cause of shaking in the steering wheel is an unbalanced wheel or a damaged tire or rim. Always start by checking these parts, if the shaking is consistent. Balancing your wheels at a workshop is often not that expensive and could be worth it, even if there is another fault. Uneven front brake discs are a common cause if the steering wheel is shaking when braking.

If you have any other kinds of shaking from your steering wheel and can’t find it in the article, you can comment down below, and I will answer your question as fast as possible. You can also tell your story of how you fixed your shaking problem.

If you have any other questions about this topic, leave a comment down below!

Hello I'm Magnus, the owner and the writer of this website. I have been working with cars since I was 16 and I'm specialized with in-depth Automotive diagnostics. Also been driving drifting for the last 6 years. I'm here to give you answers to all your automotive questions and I hope that you enjoy our content.

9 thoughts on “ Steering Wheel Shaking – Possible Causes & Information ”

Comments
  1. I have Mercedes E300 2012 steering is is shaking and knocking sound when turning right and left while the car stop otherwise when I’m driving the car nothing happened. I already changed steering box then the knocking sound disappeared but still it is shaking when turning right and left only while the car is stop.by the way after changing the steering box the steering wheel become little harder while turning right and left. Please advice if you have any previous same story.

  2. I have a 2012 Dodge Journey RT AWD. The wheel often shakes after accelerating or going up or down hill. I feel vibration also through the seat of my car. The drive shaft has been replaced, wheels checked and balanced and it’s been aligned. I had the same problem with my winter wheels on. I’ve been back and forth to the garage and not getting anywhere. Hope you have so e advice that might help? Thanks, Steve

  3. 2014 RWD Auto BMW, felt steering wheel vibration when accelerating during coasting from rpm 1200-1400 most prominent in high gears between speed 60-80kmh. Its always the range of 1200-1400rpm. Had replaced propeller shaft guibo and center bearing. Still the same.

  4. Hello, I have a E350 2010 Mercedes. Recently i had my left wheel damaged due to a hole which resulted in a minor deformation. I went and fixed the wheel and put back the tire. Additionally i had to change the suspension on the same side of the damaged wheel. After that i started getting vibration and shaking in my steering wheel, so checked wheels (with the tires on) and the needed re-balancing by adding weights with the hope to stop my steering wheel from shaking. Unfortunately the steering wheel is still shaking around 55 to 80 Km/h.
    Could you please advise me on what can i do to fix the problem?
    ps: no shaking while braking, no shaking above 80km/h, no shaking while neutral on downhill, not going left or right by it self.
    Thank you
    Best regards

  5. Hi I have an iveco van mwb I’ve got a shaking in the steering wheel at all speeds,I’ve had new tyres changed rear wheels to front had new wishbones both sides new discs and pads and it’s still there could ut be the inner joint on the steering rack?

  6. Hi i have Toyota yaris 2008 Le and the car shakes when start moving after it stops,like after 40km stops shaking, and also shakes when i brake at low speeds, I replace so many times the rotors and the pads and nothing change ,any help thanks.

  7. Honda awd steering wheel shakes at speed of 55 or more then stops after after several miles. Also after shaking stops and speed lower will shake for 5 miles with the reduced speed. Then drives fine at any speed.

  8. I have a 2017 Nissan Sentra and the bottom of my steering wheel vibrates in park and feels loose, I can even hear a small vibration coming from the bottom of it in park just by tapping on it and it seems to only happen when the steering wheel is straight

  9. I am having nissan sunny 1998 model,my steering wheel is shaking sometimes at 100km/hr,I check balancing,alignment,tie rod,engine mounting etc
    But still cant find the solution

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