Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

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Thread: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

  1. #1
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    Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    Hi when I drive on highway, the steering wheel shakes at around 63-70 MPH. no shake at 80 MPH.

    does some one has idea or know why that is happening? and a way to fix this?

    The brakes are fine btw.


    84,200 mileage.
    newer tires in front, less thread tires in the rear.


    ****Update**** I rotated the tires myself. and now the shaking is gone! Thanks you all of you guys! The wheel is not balanced after all. Do i need get it balanced still?

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  3. #2
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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    Shaking in a specific speed range certainly suggests an imbalance problem to me. Normally that's a wheel/tire imbalance, but brake rotors can do it too... even if they are still fine for braking. Very new tires can still be out of balance, either because they were not properly balanced originally, or because they have been damaged since (such as by hitting a curb), or because of faulty tire construction, or simply because a balancing weight has fallen off.

    If looking for evidence of a missing weight, remember that they go on the inside lip of the rim as well as the outside, so you have to take off the wheel or at least look from under the van to possibly see where one might have come off... it's probably easier to just get them balanced again, and perhaps ask that the person doing the balancing check how much they were off-balance before removing the old weights and starting again.

  4. #3
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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    To check if it is a balance problem with the wheel or a rotor balance problem with the brakes, rotate the tires bring the rears to the front. It it is a wheel balance issue, the shake should go away (or change unless the rear tire(s) are exactly the same out of balance as the fronts were). If it goes away, have the tires balanced. If it is still there and remains the same, it is probably a rotor that is slightly off.

  5. #4
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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    Thank you for the suggestions/advice. I am going to go out now to rotate tires( putting the front in the rear and rear to front). since it free at pepboys

    and even though its a van, is it better to have the tires with the most tread to be put in the rear?

  6. #5
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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    Quote Originally Posted by oO Khanh Oo
    ... even though its a van, is it better to have the tires with the most tread to be put in the rear?
    Now that's the start of a debate...

    Like just about any front-engined vehicle, the Sienna is front-heavy and will certainly wear the front tires faster than the rear. Even with a heavy passenger and cargo load, the rear is rarely more heavily loaded than the front (the axle capacities are the same front and rear). That means that if the tires with more tread are put on the rear, the difference in tread will get even larger, rather than becoming more even; that's a reason to put the tires with most tread on the front. The Sienna is also front-wheel-drive, so in low-traction conditions (such as snow) having more tread in the front can be valuable to getting moving; that's another reason to put the tires with most tread on the front.

    On the other hand, some people recommend that for stability the tires with more traction (assumed to be those with the most tread in poor road conditions) should be on the rear, so the vehicle is less likely to spin around; I understand the reasoning, but don't do it that way.

    Maybe this should be in the Tires, Wheels, & Tire Pressure Monitors (TPMS) section?

  7. #6
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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    It sounds like a balance problem. "IF" it were me I would get all 4 tires balanced and yes ask to see how far out the tires were out before balancing as mentioned above. Also when the tire is beening balanced the person doing the job will tell you if a tire has some run-out on it too.


    Myself I like the best tires on the front (tread wise)
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  8. #7
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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    This sounds strange. The steering wheel wobbles at 70 mph, but does not at 80 mph. If the tire was out of balance, at higher speeds, the shaking would get worse, not better.

    I wonder if it could be your ball joints or CV joint?

    Does the steering wheel wobble when you apply the brakes at high speed?

  9. #8
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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    Quote Originally Posted by jh818
    If the tire was out of balance, at higher speeds, the shaking would get worse, not better.
    I don't think this is necessarily the case.

    As wheel speed increases both the force and frequency of the effect on the vehicle increase. The degree to which other parts shake depends on their own characteristics. Mechanical systems have a resonant frequency, the frequency at which they tend to vibrate; when an external force (such as due to a tire imbalance) is applied to them at about that frequency they respond with larger movements that at lower or higher frequencies. Once the wheel speed gets high enough that the imbalance force is well above the resonant frequency of any other parts, the shaking may reduce even though the tire imbalance force is still increasing.

    In addition to the theory, in practice I have certainly driven vehicles which shook through a specific speed range, and not slower or faster, although it has been years since that has happened to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by jh818
    I wonder if it could be your ball joints or CV joint?
    Shaking in a specific speed range may be due to something like a tire imbalance matching up with the resonant frequency of perfectly good steering and suspension systems, or due to defects in those systems such as loose joints or cracked structural supports.

    I agree that CV joints are another potential source, and might change their shaking behaviour with speed (since the fault would be excess play rather than simply imbalance), although it seems like a remote possibility if there is not also a clicking noise while turning.

  10. #9
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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    Definitely agree with the imbalance problem. I had two new tires put on last summer placed in the rear. When I rotated them to the front, my steering wheel started to shake all through out the speed range. I now have new tires and rims that are installed and balanced correctly and the shaking went away.

    Khanh, if you rotate the front to the rear, wouldn't the problem (imbalance) still be there? If so, then your tires would wear out prematurely. Your steering wheel shake would go away if you rotate the tires, but eventually you will have the rotate them back. I would take the tires back to have it re-balanced.

    I had a friend that had bought new tires for his MR2. He experienced the same symptom as you. The steering wheel would shake at around 70 mph, but goes away around 80mph. So he took the car back to the tire shop and they said that they did not feel any wheel shake and that he might have a misalignment. We knew it wasn't a misalignment because the car did not pull to the left or right and the problem did not show up until after the new tires. So my friend made them re-balance the tires and problem went away.

    So in summary, just take tires back and have them re-balance your tires, even if they try to give you some excuse.

  11. #10
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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    I would be interested in hearing anyone's explanation of how an alignment condition causes shaking of the steering.

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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    Quote Originally Posted by brian_bp
    I would be interested in hearing anyone's explanation of how an alignment condition causes shaking of the steering.
    The only thing that would cause a steering wheel shake as far as alignment is caster. For most vehicles this is not adjustable but ride height does have a play in this.

    Think of a shopping cart. It is stable at low speeds but when you go too fast the front wheels shake. This is too much positive caster.

    Too much positive caster will cause steering to shake. But again this is not adjustable.

    Ride height from front to rear will have a play in this. More weight in the rear will make the caster more positive and may cause a shake... this would be excessive.
    I can't think of any other way that an alignment would cause a shake?

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  13. #12
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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    Okay, I can see how more caster means more return-to-centre force and perhaps a higher natural frequency of steering oscillation, but it's hard to see it at a shaking rate, and there is a lot of damping to prevent uncontrolled oscillation. Interesting logic, anyway.

    The ride height difference front to rear might make a degree or so of caster; I don't think that's a meaningful difference.

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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    Quote Originally Posted by brian_bp

    The ride height difference front to rear might make a degree or so of caster; I don't think that's a meaningful difference.
    Agreed. Like I said it would have to be excessive. I have never heard of someone that had a steering wheel shake from an alignment only. Some places do an alignment/balance/rotate for a set price. This rules out that the alignment was the root cause of the shake.
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  15. #14
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    Re: Steering wheel shakes at high speed?

    I have the same problem, steering vibration arond 100 km/h, but only with one set of summer front tires proble disapear compleately. Thi set of tires are same size but a little (1-1,5 cm tread weadth) wider base and fleat (not curbed ) and this tires are old.

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