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Recently, my steering wheel started shaking at highway speeds, usually around 65 mph. The shaking comes and goes, sometimes it gets worse when I go faster, sometimes it disappears altogether by going a bit faster then slowing back down and vice versa. If the steering wheel is already shaking, then braking will make the steering wheel shake even more. Otherwise it doesn't shake as much (yes, I have slightly warped rotors).

 

Could this be attributed to a out of balance tire or should I have my front suspension and steering checked out?

 

RC!

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Def. need some more info.. but i would first double check the torque on the lug nuts, then probably balance the tires.

 

If that doesn't help, you'll have to dive into the suspension, my old car was pretty loose up front and some new tie rods (outer, then inner) helped out a lot..

 

I would think that your rotors would have to be really messed up to cause non-braking vibration... just a few thoughts.

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I had a similar problem of vibration above 65 mph, and it turned out to be a steel rim that was bent enough to prevent an ideal wheel balance on one wheel. I found this out by having the shop that had put on my four new tires rebalance all of the wheels about six months later, and they said at this time that one wheel wouldn't balance correctly. When the problem seemed unaffected by the initial rebalance, I bought a used steel wheel, had it mounted and rebalanced and the vibration problem was gone (even though I also have somewhat warped brake rotors too, this only seems to affect during actual braking).

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I agree with the ones that are saying balance, the two front tires are most likely the one's making steering wheel shake. This is a real common problem with my car because of going on and off road putting out mail.

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Sorry I didn't put in the details about my car (some people who have known me already know what kind of car I have... ). It's a 1996 Legacy Outback Wagon. 108K on the ticker. There are 3 Michelen XW4's, and one different brand to replace the old XW4 that had it's sidewall cut when I hit a newly installed granite curb in the city. The edge was quite sharp. While the replacement tire is a different brand, it's a take off and the tread pattern matches the XW4's. The tread depth of the replacement tire is slightly larger, but within tolerance for the AWD system. This is only temporary until I get 4 new tires for the car.

 

The shaking didn't occur until about 3 months after I had that tire installed. The shaking started about a month ago, and as I said, it came and went. I also had my car inspected a couple of weeks ago, and it passed inspection fine, so they didn't bring up any issues.

 

I'll retighten the lug bolts and see if that helps. Also want to mention, while the steering wheel was shaking, I let go of the wheel to see if it would drift, but it didn't drift at all.

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Try moving the 'new' tire to the rear.(is it on the front?)

 

'MOST' (I know, but really usually is) of this type problem is bad tires. Sometimes even a 'bulge or bubble or tread sep.' that isn't obvious unless the tire is off the ground. Might be worth jacking the car up and spinning them. Plus, as has been mentioned, that wheel could have put undue stress on the tie rod ends and the rack.

 

I also think any brake issue is secondary - fix the tires/steering first.

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A friend of mine had the same thing happen to him. He spent months trying to find out what the intermittant vibration was. He finally forked over a lot of money to get his tires balanced on a machine that applied a hydraulic roller to simulate the weight of the car against the road. This piece of balancing equipment told him that there was too much "road force" on one of his tires. That was a fancy way of saying that the tire was defective and out of round. He got a new set of tires, and the problem is gone.

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Start with balance the wheels. Things will improve for sure, and if there is still a vibe, you can diagnose it better.

 

100Nm on the lug nuts!

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One other thing you might want to consider. Sometimes this is caused by a dragging brake pad. When you have warped rotors, you have runout on the disk (the lateral wander of the disk when rotating). If your caliper isn't in perfect condition, then the brake pad will get tapped each rev of the wheel/disk. So, since you know already that you have warped rotors, you might as well get them surfaced, or replace them, and you might get 2 fixes for the price of one.

 

Another check for this, look at the brake pads. Is the inner or outer pad worn more than the other??

 

Dave

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