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Jeep Cherokee Shimmy

Last week I had the front and rear brake pads and rotors replaced on my 1998 Jeep Cherokee. Since then I’ve experienced a shimmy on the steering wheel when traveling between 50-60 mph (I don’t have the problem at lower or higher speeds). I added some air to the tires, but it made no difference. Does anyone know what may be causing this limited shimmy symptom, and is it possibly related to the brake job?

If the shimmy is present all the time at 50-60 MPH, and not just when you hit the brakes, I’d be looking for a recent tire failure. See if there is a bubble or bulge in any of the tires. Check treads as well as sidewalls. It could also have picked up some mud on the inside of one or more wheels. After it stopped, the mud could have slumped to one side and dried in place.

In addition MG’s suggestions, take a look at the tread. If there is a wavy area, that could be a tyre defect.

One method to help pin it down is to rotate the tyres front to back. If the situation changes (not likely go totally away, but just feel different) that would point to the tyres or wheels. Did you hit a curb recently?

I would tend to look at the brake work since it appeared immediately after that.

But try rotating the tires to see if the problem changes. If it does, then you can concentrate on tires and wheels. If it doesn’t then, it’s not likely tires and wheels.

You’ve Received Good Advice. I’d Like To Add To It. Could Wheels / Tires Been Reinstalled In Different Locations On The Jeep When The Brakes Were Done ?

You could have had a slightly wobbly or out of balance tire or two on the rear that didn’t cause a very perceptible shimmy back there. However, moved to the front it would be more noticeable, through the steering wheel.

You could try a 4-wheel balance and while being balanced have the lateral and radial run-out of the tires / wheels checked. Balancing won’t cure a wobbly or defective tire or wobbly rim.

Also, it’s important and part of any brake job to thoroughly clean away corrosion / dirt from the vehicles hubs and road wheels prior to reassembly. This takes some effort if done correctly and usually calls for cleaning with a rotary wire brush. Failing to do this could cause a slight wobble and car manufacturers warn that it could lead to loosening lug nuts.

How old (in years) are your tires ? What is their condition ? Are new tires on the horizon ? I ask because if new tires are imminent then that would be a good time to approach this issue.