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Why does my steering wheel wobble?

My steering wheel has a wobble, especially at low speeds. It just kind of jiggles back and forth maybe 1/4 inch. We had the wheels aligned and balanced, and had the tie rods, brakes, ball joints, bushings, axle, CV joints, and steering rack all checked. Everything looked good. We thought it was a bad tire, but the tire guy says they look fine. Now what?
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Comments

  • edited November 2010
    It still could be the tires.Try rotating them front to back.
  • edited December 2010
    I agree that it could still be the tires. And I agree that moving the tires to the rear, preferably one at a time, is a good way to find out.

    If the culprit is identified and is, in fact, a tire, a "road force balancing" will determine whether it can be saved by "indexing" or there's an internal defect. "Road force balancing" is a process by where the wheel is spun with road force simulated by a spinning drum pressed against the tread. It can detect imbalances and internal defects that regular machines cannot. "Indexing" is a process of compensating for a heavy spot on the tire (no tire is perfect) by placing that spot opposite the heavy spot on the rim. It isn't normally practiced anymore, but can save an imperfect tire.

    Chances are that the "tire guy" just checked the tread for erratic wear patterns and evidence of serious internal failure (like a bubble in the sidewall).
  • edited December 2010
    If there is play in the steering wheel, it could be the steering gear box. This is not a part you mention having looked at and can cause vibration during what is often a slow failure. Vibration might even be exclusive to low speeds.
    See if you have an inch or so of play in the steering. By this I mean, when you try to turn, you have to move the steering wheel an inch or so to turn either left or right before the car actually begins to turn.
  • edited December 2010
    Roadforceing the tires should correct the out of round tire position on the wheel, but also have the runout of the hubs checked and also are you stepping on the brake when you experience the wobble? check the brake rotors also.
  • edited December 2010
    I strongly suspect the problem is NOT tires. The usual speed where tire problems surface is 50 to 70 mph and you can't describe those speed sas "low".

    It might be wheel run out, but it coulkd also be some other compnent that rotates - like rotors.
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