My steering wheel vibrates

My steering wheel vibrates

My car has 60000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Steering wheel vibration can be caused by a few different issues or components. If the front tires are out of balance, the imbalance will cause a vibration typically felt and seen in the steering wheel. If a tire is out of round with a possible belt shift, the same vibration can be seen and felt. Tires of a softer rubber compound can temporary "flat-spot" when parked for a few hours or overnight. This can cause a vibration that can be seen and felt in the steering wheel for several miles after first getting in the vehicle, then disappear as the tires warm up. Also, if either of the front wheels are bent or damaged, the same type of vibration can be seen or felt in the steering wheel. Have a certified technician inspect and diagnose your vibration issue to find the correct cause.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

The rotors should be replaced in order to fix this problem. Worn brake pads are another major cause of steering wheel shaking in an Audi. If they are uneven or misaligned with the caliper, attempting to brake may cause this vibration and shaking. In this case, the pads should be replaced.
Any unusual shaking or vibrating forces coming from the engine is cause for concern. It could be something as simple as old spark plugs producing an uneven power delivery, it could be something serious like worn or broken engine mounts, or it could be even more serious in the case of internal engine damage.
A creaking sound when turning your steering wheel may be nothing more than a sign that your suspension system needs lubrication, but it may be a sign of something more serious, including tie rod damage, power steering rack damage, or a failing strut/shock.
Bad Bearings — Friction from bad bearings or inadequate lubrication can cause a shaky steering wheel. If bearings are the cause, you`ll notice that the shaking only occurs as you turn the wheel. To solve this problem, you can oil the bearings, or schedule a service appointment to replace them if there`s damage.
Unbalanced tires can impact your suspension and axle, which leads to steering wheel vibrations. This issue can be repaired (or prevented) with a routine tire balancing service. On average, your tires should be balanced every 10,000-12,000 miles.
The most prevalent cause of vibration is problems with your wheels or tires. The potential problems include improper wheel and tire balance, uneven tire wear, separated tire tread, out of round tires, damaged wheels and even loose lug nuts.
Wheel Balance

When your car vibrates every time you drive at 50-70 mph, it is most likely that your wheels are out of balance. The vibrations will emanate from the steering wheel across the seat and through the vehicle`s floor.

Worn Ball Joints

Ball joints enable the movement of the suspension control arms and steering knuckles. To move smoothly, it`s crucial that these joints remain lubricated at all times. If they become dry, they may start making squeaking or crunching noises when you turn the steering wheel at low speeds.

A creaking sound when turning your steering wheel may be nothing more than a sign that your suspension system needs lubrication, but it may be a sign of something more serious, including tie rod damage, power steering rack damage, or a failing strut/shock.
Failing Power Steering Pump: If your power steering pump is beginning to die, it could very easily cause these symptoms. As the pump fails, it produces less and less pressure for the power steering system, causing vibrations, shudders, whining noises and more.
Tire Issues

Your steering wheel may be shaking if your tires are out of balance. Drivers normally notice shaking around 50-55 mph, but this can happen sooner, for instance, if your front tires are losing air or sustaining breaks and cracks. Many of our customers report shaking gets worse around 60 mph.

While a shaking steering wheel is a common sign of alignment troubles, these vehicle issues carry other revealing signs: Consistent Shaking: Alignment issues will cause constant vehicle vibration, no matter whether you are braking, accelerating, or maintaining a consistent speed.
If you feel a slow shake, it`s likely that your wheel was bent to the point it can`t drive straight. If you feel a fast, vibrating shimmy, hitting the bump may have knocked your vehicle`s weight off, and now a tire is out of balance.
If the joint on your intermediate shaft has failed, this can cause the steering wheel to shake at certain speeds. If the intermediate shaft joint has failed, the entire intermediate shaft will require replacement to resolve this issue.
A vehicle that is operating normally should measure at about 1,000. When a vehicle`s RPMs fall below or are increasingly higher than normal, especially if the car vibrates when idle, something is not right.
Products like Dynamat and Hushmat are made to absorb vibrations and noises, giving you a reduction in distracting sounds. Using Dynamat to quiet vibrations can reduce your car`s noise by at least 3 dB, which is like virtually doubling your amplifier`s power rating in terms of gaining musical clarity and definition.
Regular road vibrations create a form of friction that, over time, will wear down two surfaces that are buzzing against one another or loosen mechanical fasteners like clips and screws. Reduce the slow degradation of these surfaces by interrupting the contact between hard surfaces with soft automotive foam tape.
Tires out of Balance

This is the most obvious and the most common reason that you might experience a shaking steering wheel. If your tires are out of alignment or out of balance, they may send shakes through your vehicle and to the steering wheel.

Wheel balance

Tyres that are out of balance will cause a vehicle to vibrate at higher speeds (usually around 50–70mph). A tyre is out of balance when one section of the tyre is heavier than another.

Low Power Steering Fluid: If you hear a squealing noise while turning the steering wheel, it may be an indication that the power steering fluid is low. Fluid may become low because of a leak. You can check under the engine for leaks by looking for red or pink liquid, the typical color of most power steering fluids.
A creaking sound when turning your steering wheel may be nothing more than a sign that your suspension system needs lubrication, but it may be a sign of something more serious, including tie rod damage, power steering rack damage, or a failing strut/shock.
There`s a Leak in Your Exhaust System

Another common cause for your car sounding like a helicopter or airplane while driving is a leak in the exhaust system. Your exhaust system is meant to carry harmful fumes out of the engine, through a contained system, and away from your car.

Loose brakes If the brake pedal is loose or the brake rotor is damaged or bent, the steering wheel will start vibrating as soon as you apply the brakes of your car. The wear and tear of brake callipers too can cause vibrations in some instances.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Steering wheel does not center
ANSWER : The problem to me sounds like you have worn out bushings that hold the power steering rack and pinion assembly. This is why your steering wheel gets off center in the direction of the turn. Have the steering inspected and the bushings replaced if they are bad. You should have no problems then.

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Slight vibration and a humming noise coming from steering column and the front wheels
ANSWER : Based on the symptoms you are describing, you may have a wheel bearing that has developed some free play and may also have dried out. This can cause both a vibration and a humming noise. If you have altered the size of the tires or wheels in any way and the tires are wearing improperly, this can also result in a traction control light, a humming noise, and vibration in the steering wheel. I would recommend having your truck inspected by a qualified professional to determine the cause of this issue. Consider YourMechanic as this inspection can be done from your home or office.

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Periodically vibrating steering wheel at interstate speeds
ANSWER : Vibration at that speed is often related to the tires. It could be that one or more of the tires are out-of-balance, or that they have worn unevenly and now have a bad pattern worn into them. Vibration can also be related to bad shocks, and your description of the periodic nature of the vibration makes me think that is where you’ll find your trouble. But the thing you describe that is the most concerning is the incidence of freeplay in the steering wheel. This could mean that one of the tie rods is wearing out and it could be dangerous.
You’d better not put this one off. You need to have the front suspension inspected by a professional. YourMechanic can send a technician to your home to inspect the steering and suspension and advise you on what needs to be done.

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My steering wheel squeaks when turning left
ANSWER : The problem does need to be fixed. The steering wheel shaft may be binding in the steering column. You may also have another problem with the front end if the squeaking noise is not coming from the steering column. If the column is squeaking then you should have a mechanic come look at it and diagnose the issue. Only a qualified mechanic should inspect it since the air bags on the steering wheel may need to be removed to diagnose and complete the repairs. A certified mobile YourMechanic can come examine the problem at your home or office.

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What’s causing steering wheel vibration?
ANSWER : Hello. If you suspect a rotor is warped or has thickness variation, you can quickly determine this by using a dial indicator to measure the runout of the rotor as installed on the car. The run out should only be a couple or several thousandths of an inch.

If the suspension is not "tight", you can get vibrations of all sorts when you apply the brakes. So you have to check the tie rod ends, ball joints, wheel bearings, strut mounts, and so forth for play that is beyond specification.

If the issue is a defect in the rotors, one way to avoid defects is do not buy rotors made in China (see Federal Mogul press release in last 5 years warning consumers about this). The best rotors will be those supplied by Nissan. Otherwise, buy name brand rotors from a reputable parts store.

Also, if you do not carefully torque the wheel lug nuts with a torque wrench in SEQUENCE, and to the exact value specified in the shop manual, you will distort the rotor mount area of your new rotors thus setting the conditions for the symptom you are describing.

If you would like to have this all looked at for you, have a qualified professional, like one from YourMechanic, inspect the steering vibration to ensure the correct repairs are made.

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Problem with steering on one side only.
ANSWER : Hi there. The power steering system has a control valve that sends the fluid through the rack and pinion system. The valve maybe plugged up and causing the fluid to not return to the reservoir fast enough.

For the alignment issue, check all of the suspension and see what is loose or could be damaged. I recommend having an alignment performed on the vehicle after replacing any suspension or steering parts. If you need further assistance with your alignment, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

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Vibration on the steering wheel
ANSWER : Hi there. It definitely sounds like you may have a bad wheel bearing. Try cross rotating the front tires to be sure you don’t have a defective tire; if the vibration switches sides, then it’s in the tire. Brake rotors have also been know to cause vibrations while rolling in rare occasions; this happens when run out of the hub is excessive and extreme. I’ve only had one brake rotor cause a vibration while driving and not using the brakes in my twenty one year tenure. This can be determined in the same manner as cross rotating the front tires; simply move the rotors from one side to the other, test drive, and verify whether the vibration switched sides. If the wheel bearing is bad, it will definitely need to be replaced before the situation becomes more serious and a safety concern. I strongly suggest having a qualified technician perform an inspection to avoid replacing unnecessary parts. Your Mechanic has several available technicians that can assist you with a vibration inspection.

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steering wheel won’t unlock my key turns only to turn lights on but that’s it can’t unlock steering wheel to start the car what to
ANSWER : The steering lock may not be unlocking either due to a faulty ignition lock housing or more commonly as the cars age a faulty spring at the steering wheel on the under side of the column. If the ignition lock housing is the issue the housing can be replaced. It s a bit tricky as the mounting bolt has break off heads and generally need to be driven out with a punch. If the lock is not disengaging because of a faulty spring on the ignition lock many owners have had the spring removed by having it drilled out of the housing. However, removing the spring may permanently disable the steering lock. The last option would be to replace the steering column. You may want to enlist the help of a mechanic who can recommend the proper repair for your situation.

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