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My Steering Wheel Shakes When Braking: 4 Potential Causes & Solutions

subaru logo on steering wheel

A steering wheel that shakes while braking is a concerning scenario caused by various issues with your alignment, suspension, and brakes.

Regardless of the cause, it is a sure sign that there is something wrong with your vehicle, and it may be too dangerous to continue to drive. The good news is that this can be easily fixed. It is vital to take note of exactly how and when your steering wheel shakes and how quickly it becomes worse., These are facts that will help a professional mechanic diagnose and solve the issue.

car and road divider

The 4 Potential Causes of Your Car Steering Wheel Shaking

There are multiple answers to this question. However, we’ve included the most common causes of a shaking steering wheel.

1. Tire Alignment and Tire Balance

wheel alignment
Image Credit: ThamKC, Shutterstock

A faulty alignment is the most common cause of a shaking steering wheel. If your tires are misaligned or out of balance, they will likely send vibrations through your car and to your steering wheel. This is because your vehicle is designed so that all four tires contact the pavement equally. The alignment can be altered over time due to poor road conditions, obstacles in the road, and rough driving.

The first thing that you should check if you think the alignment is the problem is whether all of your tires are properly inflated.

If they are not, the lack of balance will affect your ability to steer your car properly. This will cause your suspension system to work harder than it needs to. It is a good idea to have your tire balance and rotation checked every 10,000 miles or a period recommended by your car’s owner manual.

2. Worn Brake Rotors

Rotors are discs that your brake pads clamp down on while stopping your car. They have the potential to wear out and become warped if they have been installed incorrectly If this is the problem, your auto mechanic will need to take a look to determine if your brake rotors will need to be replaced, adjusted, or resurfaced. The issue could also be with the brake pads themselves.

3. Worn Suspension Components

Closeup view of a truck's front disc brake with visible suspension system.
Image Credit: Chettaprinn P, Shutterstock

Your car’s suspension components are part of a system that connects your vehicle to its tires, and any one of these components can become loose and cause your steering wheel to shake..

If you think that suspension troubles are likely the cause of your steering wheel issues, you will need an inspection from a mechanic to determine which suspension component is failing.

4. Faulty Dry Guide Pins

Dry guide pins could also be the cause of a vibrating wheel when stepping on the brakes. As a vital part of the brake capillary, dry guide pins must be cleaned and lubricated in order to work effectively. They can cause the capillary to stick if they become dry or corroded, resulting in steering wheel vibrations.

car and road divider Conclusion

Determining the cause of your vibrating steering wheel is important.. However, what is more essential is that you get the issue fixed immediately. A shaking wheel is a safety issue that is more affordable to fix when you notice the problem early. Failing to repair a faulty component can lead to more expensive repairs in the future.

Featured Image Credit: 5033181, Pixabay


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