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A shaking steering wheel is a sure sign that a problem exists with an automobile. The symptoms of many front-suspension troubles are often first indicated by a slight vibration or a full-fledged shaking wheel. Front ball joints, tie rod ends and bad wheel bearings can all lead to a shaking wheel. Other problems can be a bad tire, wheel or an out-of-balance wheel assembly. On some older automobile and truck suspensions, this sign can indicate a bad king pin.
Most drivers can notice a change in the feel of their automobile through a shaking steering wheel. Many drivers are able to decipher which side the problem is on just by the feel of the steering wheel. In most cases, the shaking can be investigated by changing the driving methods such as speeding up, slowing down and steering left and right. Any change in the symptoms should be duly noted and reported to a mechanic. This will aid greatly in finding the source of the problem and could potentially save money in saved diagnostic time.
Most often, a shaking steering wheel felt in any vehicle is related to a tire problem. Soft, flat or bulged tires will typically cause the wheel to shake and wobble. This movement is felt in the form of a shaking and jumping steering wheel in the driver's hands. Other tire problems that can cause steering problems are unique to radial tires and are found in the occurrence of broken tire belts. Broken belts within a radial tire can cause the tire tread to take on an S-shaped form or simply to bulge out in the tread line; either issue will cause the steering wheel to shake and wobble.
A slight vibration felt in the steering wheel is often indicative of out-of-balance tires or a bent wheel. A steering wheel that shakes while driving straight, but stops when going around a curve, is commonly a warning that a ball joint is in need of replacement. Conversely, a steering wheel that is smooth while driving straight and becomes shaky when going around a curve is often a sign of bad tie rod ends. Any shaking in the steering wheel is a sure sign that the vehicle should by seen by a mechanic before being driven further.