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Vibration in the Steering Wheel

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Vibration in the steering wheel or also known as steering shimmy is defined as the vibration in the rotational direction of the steering wheel the vehicle is running at a certain speed.

Vibration in the steering wheel is caused of the following

1. Tire malfunction (radial runout, unbalance).
2. Condition of road surface.
3. Brake system malfunction.
4. Steering system malfunction.
5. Suspension system malfunction.
6. Wheel alignment malfunction

Car troubleshooting

Vibration in steering wheel happens when there is an imbalanced front wheel or a loose front end parts. Usually an imbalance front wheels is more likely to happen than a loose front end parts, the wheel will become imbalance when the weight of the wheel is not distributed evenly throughout the wheel, it means that there is a heavy spots somewhere on the wheel making it to rotate unevenly that triggers vibration especially when a car reached a certain speed. This vibration may then be transmitted into the steering wheel through the steering linkage.

A tire malfunction is the most likely cause of steering shimmy among the causes listed above. Why does the steering shimmy occur with an unbalanced tire? Vibration caused by an unbalanced tire is transmitted to the steering wheel via the steering system, which results in steering shimmy.

As you may not know a wheel is usually imbalance but it is corrected during assembly by adding a certain “wheel weights” to become balance. During running the wheel weights may falls off, when this happens the wheel will become imbalance.

On the other hand, another cause of vibration in steering wheel is a loose front end parts such as tie rods and ball joints. Those parts will vibrates when loose, and the vibration will become severe especially when the car runs at certain speed.

What to do? The first thing to do when vibration in steering wheel happens is to have the front wheel balanced. Usually this fixed the problem. But if the problem still occurs after wheel balancing then it is time to bring the car to a shop and have a mechanic inspect the front end of the car for any looseness and repair if necessary.

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