Easy step by step guide how to repair an automotive steering wheel that shakes,
this information is listed in order of popularity and pertains to most vehicles.
Difficulty Scale: 4 of 10
Before starting inspections or repairs, park the vehicle on level ground, lift
it safely using jack stands, transmission in park and the emergency brake set.
- When brake rotors become warped due to
heat from heavy braking, the steering wheel will shake as the brakes are applied.
To check for this problem rotate the brake rotor by hand, the rotor should move
freely without hard spots, to fix this problem the rotors must be re-machined or
Step 2 - When a tire is out of balance it can make
the steering wheel shake at highways speeds. Tire maintenance includes balance and
inspection for defects and cord separation. Tire's are manufactured in layers which
can be become weak and separate internally causing the front end and steering wheel
to shake when the brakes are applied driving down the road.
Installing Re-Machined Brake Rotor
Step 3 - If a steering tie rod is worn it will
allow play between the spindle and the steering which will shake the steering wheel.
Tie rod ends are designed to move each spindle and are the final portion of the
Tire Flat Spot
Step 4 - When a CV axle joint becomes worn it can
have hard spots and bind which will cause the steering wheel to shake. A CV axle
is design to transfer power from the transmission to the front wheels (front wheel
drive vehicles). Learn
Replacing Tie Rods
Step 5 - On vehicles designed with upper control
arms, bushings inside these arms can wear causing the steering wheel to shake.
Replacing CV Axle
Step 6 - If the suspension ball joints are worn
it will allow the spindle to wonder causing the steering wheel to shake.
Upper Control Arm
Step 7 - When an idler or Pittman arm wears it allows
excess movement causing the steering wheel to shake. To inspect an idler or Pittman
arm, have a helper turning the steering wheel slightly (jog) back and forth, if
excess movement (play) is observed from these steering components replacement is
A steering wheel should provide a steady and smooth motion when maneuvering the
Lower Ball Joint
Article first published 2016-02-04