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Steering wheel vibration on Highway? Need an alignment?

| Car Maintenance, Safty, Sri Lanka | January 12, 2014

Steering wheel vibration on Highway? Need an alignment?

Your car shakes while driving down the highway, the steering wheel vibration is driving you crazy, and without even realizing it, it’s causing you to feel tired. It can be quite exhausting holding onto a steering wheel that is violently shaking or even shaking just a little. You need an alignment on your car, right?

Wrong! We hear this from people all the time; they pull into the garage and say “I need to have an alignment on my car because my steering wheel is shaking while driving on the highway.”

The truth is an alignment has nothing to do with your car shaking or your steering wheel vibrating. If you tell your mechanic you need and alignment, and they don’t ask the question “why” find a new mechanic. A good mechanic will always ask why you need work done on your car, they do this to extract more information from you as a customer, so they can make an educated decision whether or not you really need the work done or not. Fixing the problem on the first visit to the garage is a top mechanics goal.

The number one reason your tires shake or your steering wheel vibrates is simple, your tires are out of balance. Tires take a beating, hitting potholes, bridge expansion joints, and curbs are just a few examples of tire abuse. Hitting any one of these objects could knock off a wheel weight, dent a rim, or cause a bubble in the sidewall of the tire, causing it to be out of balance. If you lose a wheel weight, it’s an easy fix; you just need to have your tire balance at the local garage or this service can be obtained at a regular wheel alignment center. But you need to be specific and mention about your problem and that you need to balance your wheel as Sri Lankan mechanics are hearing this problem very recently. Denting a rim or causing damage to a tire could end up costing you more money than a simple tire balance.

Another common cause of steering wheel vibration or car shake is having something logged in a tire like a large bolt or any metal object picked up from the roads surface. Tools like wrenches and screwdrivers that have impaled a tire; it’s not common, but it does happen.

Low tire pressure is another common cause of steering wheel vibration or car shake. Having low tire pressure can cause a number of problems like; poor fuel mileage, abnormal tire wear, vibrations, blowouts, tire edge wear, chopping, and the list goes on. A quick check of your tire pressures can benefit you in many ways, and could actually save you money in the long run. When the temperatures outside start getting colder or drop below 30 deg, its recommend raising the tire pressures about 3 psi than where you would normally keep them. Cold outside temperatures will cause the tire pressures to drop, so keep an eye on your tire pressures in colder temperatures.

If your tires are worn to the point where the steel belts are visible on the tread surface, it’s highly recommend changing them immediately, this is definitely the cause of you steering wheel vibration or your car shaking. If you continue driving on bald tires, you’re risking your life and flirting with disaster, having a tire blow out at highway speeds is extremely dangerous, especially if it’s a front tire. Do a quick check to see if its bald tires causing your steering wheel shake, you need to physically look at each tire. Turning the steering wheel to one side will give you a better view of your front tires tread surface. You will need to get on your hands and knees to check your rear tires closely.

Having and alignment done on your car will not stop a steering wheel vibration or car shake. Alignments only realign the tires so they are all pointing in the proper direction while driving down the road. Having an alignment at least once a year is good preventative maintenance for your vehicle, if you live in an area with poor road conditions like potholes and large cracks in the road surface or you drive extensively on dirt roads, I highly recommend an alignment once a year.

(Source: eddiecarrara.hubpages.com)