Why Does my Car Shake?

tire balancingSo I got this small problem with my car Austin, and I am hoping you can help me figure it out.  When I am driving on the freeway say about 60 MPH the steering wheel starts to shake back and forth and I get this vibration in my seat.  It only seems to happen about the 60-65 MPH area and nothing else.  Could this be a bad strut or a wheel bearing?  Car is a Chevy Tahoe.

Thanks

Deanna

Hey there Deanna,

I would bet you have a tire balance issue…or lack of proper balance I should say.  The characteristics are: a vibration or “shimmy” in the steering wheel and in the cab of the vehicle that is present at one speed, like 60-65 MPH but goes away or gets noticeably better at 70 MPH.  I would start with removing all wheels from the vehicle and rotate and balance them. Put the oldest or most worn tires on the rear of the vehicle to help reduce vibration in the driver seat and steering wheel.

Now, if you go to just about any tire shop they will put the best tires on the rear, and their reasoning is to help make sure the best tire tread is there to keep the vehicle from “fish tailing” or sliding when driving on a turn in wet weather.  Hey, I agree with them kinda, but it has to be raining/wet and you have to be going around a turn at excessive speeds.

I personally drive more in just normal weather in a straight line down the highway than on turns in the rain, so I want the smoothest ride I can get during 80% of my drive time.  If your tires are worn, or have more than 50K miles on them chances are you are due for a new set. These larger SUV and truck tires are HARD to keep evenly worn and in balance so they always tend to be a little rough and slightly shaky when they start to wear down.  If you replace the tires, try using a more relaxed tread, like an “all season highway” tire with less mud grip look to it.

The more aggressive looking the tire is the more vibration and tire noise you will get as the tire wears down. If you just use this vehicle for everyday highway driving I would get a nice soft and quiet highway tread over an off-road tread design. If this is a 2 wheel drive vehicle a “mud grip” tire will get you stuck just as easily as a highway tread design.

Here is a video I made of my wife’s car having wheel balancing issues.

Hope this helps
Austin C. Davis

Posted in: Tires

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Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."