Why Is My Steering Wheel Shaking? (Low & High Speeds)

A shaking steering wheel can be annoying, especially during long road trips. Here're the most common reasons why your steering wheel is shaking while driving or braking

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So your steering wheel shakes when you are driving your car?

This is actually a very common issue that a lot of people just ignore.

It is actually a terrible idea to ignore this problem because it can wear out other suspension parts fast, which will result in even higher repair costs.

The most common reason for a shaking steering wheel is unbalanced or damaged front tires or rims. It can also be due to faulty brake rotors, especially if it happens when braking. Other causes are bad wheel alignment or other bad suspension parts.

Here is a more detailed list of the 5 most common causes of steering wheel shakes.

6 Causes of Steering Wheel Shakes

1. Bad Front Tires

Damaged Tire

The most common cause of a shaking steering wheel while driving is, without a doubt, a damaged or unbalanced tire.

After installing a tire on the rim – you balance it with weights to make sure that it is perfectly balanced.

These weights could come loose after a while and cause a shaking steering wheel if the front tires lost the weights.

It can also be caused by damage to your tire. Inspect the front tires for any damages and if you can’t find any – let a tire shop balance them for you.

This is the most common cause for both low speeds and high speeds. If it shakes at low speed though, it is more likely a damage to your tire.

2. Rim or Wheel hub

Damaged Rim

Another widespread cause is a damaged rim if you have been in a small accident or are often driving on bumpy roads.

Small damages can be repaired on the rim, but you will maybe have to replace the whole rim if it is major damage.

3. Brake Rotors

Damaged Brake Rotors

If your brake rotors got rusty and worn out, there is a big chance that the brake rotors are the cause of your shaking steering wheel, especially if you overheated the brake rotors at any time.

This can easily be checked by slightly press the brake pedal at higher speeds – if the problem gets worse, it is a big chance that the brake rotors are your problem.

RELATED: 6 Causes of a Steering Wheel That’s Hard to Turn

4. Wheel alignment

Wheel Alignment

A faulty wheel alignment can actually cause the tires to steer in different directions and therefore starts to bump around and create a shaking steering wheel.

This can especially happen if you also have other worn out suspension parts at the same time.

5. Control arm bushings

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The control arm bushings hold the tires in a fixed position to make sure they won’t start wobble at higher speeds.

This can happen especially while you are braking the car if these bushings are worn out.

6. Tie rod ends

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The inner and outer tie rod is also holding the wheel in position while driving at higher speeds. It is pretty common that these rods get worn out and will not hold the tires at a fixed position.

It is not very common, but if you have tried everything else, there is a chance that you should check the tie rod ends.

RELATED: Car Shakes When Stopped Or at Idle – Common Causes

2 Causes of Steering wheel shakes while braking

Another problem can occur, and that is when the steering wheel shakes only while braking your car. Here are the 2 common reasons for this.

1. Front Brake Rotors

The most common cause of a shaking steering wheel while braking is, without doubt, the front brake rotors.

This is especially likely if you by any time overheated your brake rotors or if they are very rusty after standing for a long time.

Unbalanced brake rotors happen to many new cars and are a rising problem on cars like BMW & Audi.

2. Control arm bushings

If you replaced the front brake rotors and the problem still exists, there is most likely a problem with your front suspension parts like the control arm bushings or a worn-out tie rod.

Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of MechanicBase. He has been working as a mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.