28 August 2020 ·

My steering wheel is shaking: what should I do? | Phil Gilbert Kia

A shaking steering wheel is not something to ignore. But you know that, and you’re doing the right thing by doing your research. At Phil Gilbert Kia, we’re always keen to help our customers understand their vehicles a little bit better.

If you’ve noticed a shake in your steering wheel, even just enough to catch your attention, it’s important you get it checked out by a qualified professional. At Phil Gilbert Kia, we can get you sorted with a car service at one of our two vehicle servicing locations.

But here below we’re just going to outline some of the more common causes of steering wheel shake, and what you should be on the lookout for.

Wheel alignment

You’ll have heard about it before, but wheel alignment is important, and not just to your mate that is right into motorsport. Wheel alignment refers to how well your wheels run true to the line you want them to run in. If one or more of your wheels has fallen out of alignment, you can expect that you’ll have a few problems.

Steering wheel shake is one of these problems. When a wheel is ‘toed-out’ or ‘toed-in’, it’ll find itself trying to drag your steering either left or right. This plays out as a shake in your steering as your car fights itself to travel in a straight line. Getting your wheels aligned eliminates this tension by making sure that every tyre is rolling well together.

Wheel bearings

If your steering is only shaking through turns, it might be worn out wheel bearings that are to blame. A wheel bearing is the assembly that secures the hub of your wheel to your vehicle’s suspension. They’re what allow the wheel to roll freely and in a line that lets you handle inputs with your steering. Wheel bearings can be worn down over time by regularly driving rough roads, poor wheel alignment, or even a lack of lubrication. They can also be damaged by running over curbs, potholes, or speed bumps.

If a wheel bearing is damaged or worn down, the wheel itself can wobble back and forth. Running in an ‘S’ shape along the road that can pass a wobble straight up to your steering wheel. This S shape becomes more intense when a wheel is laterally loaded – such as when driving through a turn. 

Worn steering or suspension

Wheel alignment and wheel bearings might be the first ports of call. But if everything looks alright there, then it might be your suspension or even your steering that is at fault.

Steering assemblies and suspension are complex things. They’re also tasked with handling some high stress tasks, and any little bit of play in the way they’re put together can cause problems.

We don’t recommend getting into it yourself unless you really know what you’re looking at, but your mechanic will be searching for any signs that something has come loose, or has worn out.

Worn brakes

Brakes are the last of the common causes of steering wheel shake. If you’ve noticed that the shake you’re feeling through your steering wheel is at its worst when under breaking, it might be that you’ve got an issue with your brake assembly.

There are a couple ways that your brakes can play up like this – but virtually all of them relate to wear and alignment (that word again!). Your brakes have a disc in them that gets clamped down on by a caliper, this is what slows the wheel and ultimately you too. But if the disk is at even the slightest angle to this caliper, it will eventually wear an uneven pattern into the disc, and leave it uneven.

That uneven shape will make your car shudder through braking as your calipers try to bite down on the disc. This can also be caused by build up on the disk (which can often be cleaned off), but more often than not, your brake disks need to be replaced.

Get Your Car Serviced with Phil Gilbert Kia

A shake in your steering wheel might only require light work to fix, but it definitely isn’t something you should ignore. Get your Kia checked out with the team at Phil Gilbert Kia. We offer car servicing that will tell you everything you need to know – and have your Kia running like a dream.

To find out more, give us a call on 02 9735 8400 or book online today!