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Matthew Wright

Weebles Wobble But Your Wheels Shouldn't

By October 29, 2006

Follow me on:

I was in the car with a friend today and as we drove down the highway, I noticed his voice start to warble. It was slight, but when I stopped and listened, you could hear it go up and down with every syllable. He said no, but it came out "no-OH-OH-Oh-oh." Then I looked at his hands on the wheel and saw why. His steering wheel was vibrating. I asked him about it and learned that between 60 and 65 mph, he got the shakes. No big deal, right? Well, yes and no.

First things first, if your car was fine yesterday, and is shaking today, get out and check the tightness of your lugs (the bolts that hold your wheels on). There's nothing like being passed on the highway by one of your own wheels, especially when fate lets another half a block pass before the wheel-less side of your car hits the pavement. It'll take years off your life.

But let's say you have a typical vibration that shows up around 55 or 60 mph. This is definitely not something you need to rush to the shop about. It's certainly not good for your car. All that shaking can cause premature wear on your tires and suspension components, but it's a slow death that you can wait a week to address, if you must.

Perform a few checks, including tire pressure and wheel balancing, to see if it's something that's an easy and cheap fix. If that doesn't help, it's time to visit the repair shop. Their diagnostic machines can tell you in five minutes what it would take you and me a month of replacing things that aren't even broken to get to.

Comments
December 21, 2006 at 5:53 pm
(1) Adam says:

I’ve had this problem on a number of imported cars. The problem was due to a mismatch of tire wear.

If you have this problem and balancing, rotating tire, etc, doesn’t work, replace ALL 4 TIRES at the same time.

I have had 3 vehicles, a Volvo 740, Volkswagen Passat, and Ford Crown Victoria all fall prey to wheel wobble at some point. The volvo was by far the worst because of the tight rack-and-pinnion steering.

As a guideline, replace all 4 tires when you need to replace 1 or 2.

December 23, 2006 at 12:32 pm
(2) Craig says:

Adam sounds like a tire dealer. It’s a big waste of money to replace tires that aren’t yet worn out. Yes, they should generally be replaced in pairs on same axle. But all four when only one is worn out? Wrong. If a tire is round, properly balanced, and has adequate tread remaining, I’m in favor of getting my value out of the tire!

December 31, 2006 at 9:06 pm
(3) Victor says:

Out 1994 Toyota Camry wobbles so much, we have had all four tires replaced- twice! They thought it was warped wheels, so we bought 4 new wheels-still bad.Then to Toyota dealer, they said engine mount needed replaced! relaced.Same issue! At 60 miles an hour it quits?Any suggestions?

January 5, 2007 at 1:15 am
(4) autorepair says:

Victor, have you checked your brake rotors? Not sure about Camry, but I know the Tundra suffers from easily warped rotors that make it shake and shimmy. Before I started looking at engine mounts I would make sure all of my suspension bushings were tight.

January 26, 2007 at 10:51 am
(5) Rick says:

I’ve this same problem on a ’93 Ford F-150 4WD, replaced tires, brake pads & shoes, drums, rotors, balanced the driveshaft, and called in an exorcist. The problem still remains. a rolling vbration @ 60-70 MPH, and severe shuddering on braking. Thanks to Autozone for lifetime warranties!

June 19, 2007 at 9:16 am
(6) Bill Boyden says:

I have a ’93 Villager that the front passenger tire wobbles, it starts right as I begin moving, any suggestions besides tires?

September 16, 2007 at 7:31 pm
(7) Carol says:

I have a 2001 Camery. We just replaced the front brake pads and new rotors. I took it back to where I got the tires 2 years ago and they rebalanced and rotated the tires. Car still shake at 65 but 62, no shakes. What is my next step? Thinking about it the car I’ve owned about 4 years and it always has had this shake, even with new tires 2 years ago.

November 8, 2008 at 6:53 pm
(8) Jack says:

i have a pontiac montanna 99 same as victor checked rotor looks fine though could it be my tie rod end or something in that are pads are good also

November 1, 2009 at 1:58 pm
(9) Marvin says:

I just bought an 03 Tundra Access Cab. The steering shakes quite a bit from 58 to 66 mph. At 70 mph, everything feels pretty good. I did have the wheels balanced but did not have the alignment checked. Tire pressure is fine. Any suggestions.

June 2, 2013 at 3:54 pm
(10) Dan says:

Obviously no one realls knows what the causes are and can only guess. I also have the same problem and has been going on for far too long. I have a 2000 Chevy 1500 Silverado that runs perfect with this one exception. I have (over the years) tried all of these solutions and nothing has worked. The last two things that I can think to do at this point is to try rotating my wheels (again) to see if the vibration migrates from the front driver side wheel, where it has always been felt. If it doesn’t, I can only assume that the there is something wrong with with my steering system somewhere, whether it be the steering box, ties rods, etc. It all seems fine during inspection but can anyone really see what these components are doing at high speeds? No.

If I have any success with these proposed fixes, I’ll be sure to spread the word. Also, please note that I have another brand new set of tires, rotors, pads and calipers all around…and the tires ARE balanced.

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