Steering Wheel Shakes When Going Over Bumps

Steering wheel shakes when going over bumps? Find out why this happens and what you need to do.

Frequently used cars are likely to hit a pothole. You might be driving on icy roads in winter, and that can affect several parts of your car. You can start to feel the vibrations in the steering wheel and the front tire when the wear and tear increases. 

If the steering wheel shakes when hitting bumps, there might be a mechanical fault with your car. It can also be due to a manufacturing defect. Read on to understand why the steering wheel of your vehicle might be shaking. 


Steering Wheel Shakes When Going Over Bumps

Why Does My Front Tire Wobble When I Hit a Bump?

Your car might hit a road bump, and usually, that’s not an issue. As long as you maintain your vehicle and get it serviced from time to time, it will not be a problem. However, if you notice that the car is wobbling every time it hits a bump, then it’s going to be a problem. 


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What kind of bump?

You should also take into consideration what kind of a bump you’re hitting. For example, if you drive at high speed and hit a large pothole, your car may wobble. 

Please take it in for an inspection when it does, but the bump might not do much damage. If the front tire is wobbling every time you hit even the smallest of bumps, then there might be some issues with the suspension or other vehicular parts. 


If there is wear and tear of the suspension, transmission, tires, or brakes, a small road bump can cause a lot of damage. 

Wheel Damage

At times, the wheel might be bent and out of shape. When this happens, you cannot drive straight. So if you hit a bump, you are likely to notice the tire shaking. If the wheel is bent, then the shaking will be slow and not too fast. 

However, it can also be fast, and you might feel the steering wheel vibrating when the front tire wobbles. It usually happens when the weight of the vehicle is off. If you hit a large pothole, it might throw the weight off and disbalance the front tire.  


Steering Wheel Shakes When Going Over Bumps

What Causes a Shimmy in the Steering Wheel?

A shimmy is when you feel a fast vibration in the steering wheel. It usually happens when you hit a large road bump. So it would help if you had your car checked and serviced at regular intervals. Take a look at the most common causes of shimmy in the steering wheel. 

Unbalanced Tires

The dynamic wheel and tire balance depend on the wheel assembly distribution and the tire mass distribution. The balance is also related to the condition and reaction of tires while spinning. 

Unbalancing is usually because of a manufacturing defect and can cause vibrations or a shimmy in the steering. You can use a tire spin balancer to check the inconsistency in the wheel assembly and mass of the tires.  

Radial Force Variation

Changes in the structure of the tire can cause a shimmy in the steering wheel. If there is any problem with the construction of the textile or steel belts in the tire, it will lead to issues with flexibility and elasticity. 

Sometimes the belts might be broken, and the wheels bent. All of these issues result in a vibration. Due to the radial force variation, these vibrations increase as you pick up speed while driving. You can measure radial force variation with a spin balancer and bring it to a usual level to prevent vibrations. 


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Shaking Brakes

Do you notice a shimmy in your steering wheel when you apply the brakes? It might be due to some problem with the braking system of your car. There might be a mechanical or hydraulic issue with the brakes. 

Such a fault causes the brakes to drag or warped rotors in your vehicle. Replacing these brakes with new ones is a solution to stop the shimmy. You can also ask your nearby garage to fix the rotors. 

If you want to check if the shimmy is due to a fault with the brakes, you should check if the pads and the caliper sliders are moving as expected. If the movement is smooth, there will be no dragging. 


Steering Wheel Shakes When Going Over Bumps

Worn Out Suspension Parts

Damaged suspension parts often affect the brakes and the wheel balance. If you already have any issues with the tires of the brakes, the worn-out suspension will increase the severity of those problems. If the suspension is damaged or worn out, the car will wobble when it hits a road bump. 

The same thing happens if you have a worn-out shock absorber. To understand if any suspension parts are loose or damaged, you should take your car to a service station for inspection. The mechanics will check if the tie rod ends, upper and lower ball joints, bushings, and idler arms are all good.   

Combination Issues

Usually, combination issues occur due to malfunctioning joints or other combination parts. If there is a problem with your car’s shock absorber or a joint, the tires may be affected and scalloped. 

Scalloped or cupped tires can cause a shimmy in the steering wheel. Unfortunately, it won’t help if you take out the tire. You will have to repair or replace the joint and change the tire to see actual results. 

Is It Safe To Drive With a Shaking Steering Wheel?

You can safely drive a car when the steering wheel is shaking slowly. However, if the vibrations increase and become more intense, you should immediately take your vehicle to your garage. 

Faults in different parts of your car can lead to overheating, lousy steering, and even complete breakdown. Such issues will make you prone to accidents on the road. To avoid safety issues, maintain your car correctly and repair or replace damaged parts as soon as you notice them. 


Steering Wheel Shakes When Going Over Bumps

Wrap Up

You’ve come to the end of this article. There’s no need to panic. All you should do is take your car to a service station and get it fixed. Share your experiences in the comments below, and don’t hesitate to give this information to others! Use the information to understand if and why there is a shimmy. 

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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