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Stephen D
Stephen D, Honda Mechanic
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 652
Experience:  5+ years managing an auto repair shop. Lots of Honda experience.
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Makes the steering wheel shake at low speeds, between 20 and 30 mph

Resolved Question:

What makes the steering wheel shake at low speeds, between 20 and 30 mph
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Honda
Expert:  Stephen D replied 5 years ago.

Stephen D :

Hello, thank you for choosing Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help with your steering wheel shake.

Stephen D :

You may have had a bad CV joint, but that will not commonly cause the symptom you describe.

Customer:

OK, the mechanic said that was what caused the shake, and didn't seem to help much

Stephen D :

If the shaking is limited to a certain wheel speed (20-30mph) it typically means that the wheels are out of balance.

Stephen D :

Have you had the tires replaced recently, or had the wheels balanced?

Customer:

So when I had one side up on the jack, there is a couple inches of play in the axle, no side to side play, just front to back, does that matter. No, haven't had anything doen with the tires recently

Stephen D :

The CV joints will have some play in them. That is how they function.

Customer:

So the out of balance would make the steering wheel shake side to side

Stephen D :

Yes, it can do that. How violent is the shake?

Customer:

It is a pretty violent shake, and then it stops when you get above 35 or so

Stephen D :

A good test is to rotate the rear wheels to the front. If the symptom is the same, you can look somewhere other than the tires.

Stephen D :

You could also have a warped wheel, or a bad tire. Both of these can cause similar experiences.

Customer:

OK, that is easy enough to do. What would be something else to look at if that doesn't help

Customer:

Tires look good and are only about 2 years old, but I suppose there could be something wrong with them also.

Stephen D :

Steering components, tie rods, wheel bearings, etc.

Stephen D :

Yes, sometimes tires will develop a 'bubble' in the sidewall that can cause shaking at low speeds.

Stephen D :

If this forms on the inside it is hard to detect.

Customer:

But with one wheel jacked up, couldn't I feel some play in the steering components. That's what I thought it was originally

Stephen D :

Not always. When driving, play that could not be felt can show up. I would look at each component individually. Use a large pair of pliers to move the tie rod ends in the steering knuckle. If they move at all, replace them.

Stephen D :

The first step is to eliminate the basics. You have done the axle. Rotate the tires and then inspect, inspect, inspect.

Customer:

OK, I guess I will rotate the tires first and see if that works, and if not, then look at the tie rods. Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX me enough to check out. Hopefully the tire rotation cures it. Thanks

Stephen D :

You can check the tire's roundness by jacking up the car and having a helper put it in gear. If you see any signs of out of round, that would be a red flag.

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