The Mysterious Case of the Vibrating Vehicle
There comes a point in every driver’s life when they suddenly notice the steering wheel vibrating. Not only is the sensation unsettling, but it also makes driving downright uncomfortable. Here are a few reasons your ride may have started to shimmy and shake during your daily commute.
The Road is Uneven
If the vibration suddenly starts and stops, you’re in luck. This on-again-off-again vibration likely has very little to do with your car and everything to do with the road’s surface. The best way to determine if a bumpy road is causing the steering wheel vibration is driving over that same section of road again and seeing if the vibration resumes and ends at the same point.
Your Tires Need Replacing
More often than not, a vehicle’s vibration indicates that there is something wrong with one or more of the tires. The issue could stem from one tire being underinflated, an alignment issue, the tires being out of balance, or an alignment problem. In most cases, when the vibration stems from a tire issue, the vibration will get steadily worse as your speed increases.
Did you notice the vibration after your car had been involved in an accident or after you hit a bad pothole or curb? If so, it’s highly likely that the vibration is your car’s way of letting you know that there is an axel problem. Once again, in this case, the vibration will grow steadily worse as your speed increases. You really need to get the car to a mechanic so they can lift it up and see if the axle is bent.
The U-Joint is Bad
If the vibration seems okay while you’re traveling at a decent clip but puts in an appearance while you deaccelerate, you’ll want to ask your mechanic to check out the car’s u-joint. The good news is that this is a correctable problem. The bad news is that ridding your vehicle of the irritating vibration usually involves replacing the entire driveshaft.
Do you only notice the vibration when you use your brakes? If so, the problem is likely that your vehicle’s brake rotor has either worn out or become completely warped. The good news is that this is something that’s easily replaced. The bad news is that you need to do so right away. Driving with a bad brake rotor is extremely dangerous.
Sometimes the vibration is caused by an engine issue. When the engine is to blame for the vibration, the issue is usually connected to bad spark plugs or clogged filters. All of these issues are easily correctable and will usually be resolved by a simple tune-up.