I don’t know how many emails I get each day from readers asking me if their car needs a front end alignment because the steering wheel is shaking while they are driving on the freeway.
In most cases, if you can drive out of the shimmy you feel in the seat OR in the steering wheel it’s a tire balancing problem. What I mean is, if you feel the shimmy at 40mph but at 60mph its gone or much better, it’s probably due to your tires needing to be rotated and balanced.
If you feel and see the steering wheel shaking from side to side, its a problem with the front tires. You can try moving them to the rear of the vehicle after you balance them to lessen that feeling.
SUV’s and trucks usually have a feeling in the seat or a cup in the cup holder will shake from side to side more so than the steering wheel shake.
This is because the tires used on most trucks and SUV’s these days are more “aggressive” with their tread patterns than a passenger vehicle with a smoother highway friendly pattern.
There is not much else to do expect replace the tires if after balancing you still have that shimmy. Sometimes after you rotate the tires around they will wear down the high spots and calm down the shimmy, but its going to be slight.
Try and rotate and balance the tires more often to prevent the issue from happening in the first place.
Rotate and balance every 12,000 miles or 3 oil changes for maximum tire life.
Here are two videos that should be helpful to you, this one is about tire wear patterns and what you SHOULD be looking for on your tires.
This video is about tire balancing issues I had in my personal vehicle and how I was able to drive out of the shimmy. simple test you can do yourself.
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