why does my car wobble at high speeds
John Linden: Hi! I'm John Linden, Master ASE Certified Technician and North America Training Manager for Midas International Corporation. Today I would like to talk to you about some possible causes for steering wheel wobble. If the steering wheel shakes or wobbles as you're driving, need to have a check as soon as possible, because it could indicate a serious issue. A shimmy shake or a wobble usually indicates a part is bent, broken or even missing. If the steering will shake when you start to apply the brakes, it usually indicates a break issue. Most brake problems need to be evaluated by your local mechanic and shouldn't be dealt with by do-it-yourselfers. If the steering wheel wobble happens while you're driving with your foot off the brake pedal, it could be something as minor as a missing wheel weight. This causes the tire to be out of balance. To fix this, the only thing you can do is to have tire checked and rebalanced. Balancing the tire requires expensive equipment and should only be done at a reliable repair facility. If you notice the shaking just after hitting a pothole or curb is most likely a bent part. No matter what the cause of a shaking steering wheel, you should have it checked as soon as possible to help you stay safe on the road.
Issues involving steering wheel vibrations problems usually are most noticeable at one or two narrow speed ranges (5-10mph and 60-70mph), and will decrease significantly, and in some cases, even disappear outside of these ranges.
The amount of vibration caused by worn tires will often be seen over a broader speed range if the tire is worn more. The severity of the vibration is directly related to the vehicles speed. Also, the speed range at which the vibration is felt is also directly related to the amount of wear the tires have endured. At low speeds sometimes a "wobbles" can be felt. These are mostly caused by bent wheels, tires with shifted belts (also referred to as "runout"), and suspension/alignment issues. Tire or Wheel Quality A quick indication of either a poor quality wheel or tire is usually seen by the use of a lot of weights used when balancing the wheel/tire combination. When using a higher end tire on a "straight" wheel you should need somewhere around. 5oz of weight per wheel. Tires of inferior quality are often seen with weaker tread layers and belt seating. and may simply just be out of round. Damage When a belt is broken inside of a tire it will cause the tire to "bounce" since it is unable to keep it's form.
Think of a tire without a broken belt as a baseball, and the tire with a broken belt as a stress ball. Below is an image of a tire with a broken belt. You can see the bottom of the tread is 100% worn while the top of the tire still has tread left. This was caused by the "bouncing" condition. With a slipped belt in a tire it will cause the tire to "wobble" and the steering wheel to shake. Here is a image of a severely slipped belt. Wheel Balance (out of round, bent, excessive wear, uneven tread, etc) Usually, neither tires nor wheels are perfect. This is the reason why wheels are balanced whenever tires are replaced and then, rebalanced periodically as they wear. Driving with unbalanced wheels long enough can and will cause flat spots in the tire, which will then always vibrate. Performing a static balance is just not good enough. Balance should always be checked at driving speeds this is known as dynamic balancing. The wheels are removed from the vehicle and one by one put on a Balancing Machine where the mechanic will enter in the appropriate measurements and then the machine will spin the wheel and printout location and amount of weight needed in order to properly balance the wheel.
Also, if the wrong type of weights for your wheel type are used, they are likely to come off, giving you an instant balance problem. Read more: Suspension Alignment Suspension Excessively worn suspension components will cause effect the way in which the tire contacts the road. This is due to the fact that if any component (ball-joint, tie-rod, wheel bearing, etc) has excessive play it makes the position because it may make maintaining proper alignment impossible. It may also cause other problems not related to wheel balance and wear. Alignment Maladjusted Camber will not directly cause a vibration, but it can cause uneven and/or rapid tire wear. In turn effect the balance/smoothness of a tires rotation. A lot of mechanics will insist that an improper toe adjustment will not be the cause of a steering wheel vibration, but I remain skeptical. Even if I'm wrong it will still certainly causes rapid and uneven tire wear. Caster has no effect on tire wear but it will effect steering wheel's ability to return after making a turn. Bad alignment is the cause of many tread wear problems that will create vibration issues even if the wheels are perfectly balanced.
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