I had posted this problem before but I did some further inspections.
At low speeds say 20 mph or less the steering wheel sort of twiches
back and forth perhaps an 1/8 of an inch. Most noticeable when turning
or backing up. I have checked the tires and wheels for roundness ,
bulges and being bent. I shook each wheel both back and forth and up
and down. There was no looseness. I visually inspected all of the
front suspension parts. I am at a loss as what next to check.
At least one of your tires is out-of-true. Out-of-true means side-to-side
displacement. Out-of-round means up-and-down hop.
This does NOT mean the tire is necessarily bad, but most likely simply
means it's been ineptly mounted, which is so distressingly common.
Jack up the front end, or at least one wheel so that wheel is off the
ground and may be spun by hand. Now squat down at the front of the car,
looking towards the rear, immediately in front of the suspect tire. Have a
helper spin the tire as fast as he can, and keep it going. See the side-to-
side squirm? That's why your steering wheel does what it does.
It's easier to see this if you put the front end on stands or on a hoist,
then allow the engine to idle in gear. This eliminates any wobble induced
by your helper's efforts and keeps the speed constant, making out-of-true
I will interject my two cents worth. I agree with Tegger as to the probable
cause of the wobble but I would suggest you go back to the tire store which
mounted the tires and have them check for out of true tires and/or wheels.
This can be done on a dynamic balancer either by eye or by using a marking
pencil held perpendiculat to the direction of rotation against the side of
the tire. An out of true will result in the tire contacting the pencil only
in places as it spins. One further suggestion - if an out of true condition
is found, have them dismount that tire and check the wheel for true using
the same method...
Out-of-true tires are easy to spot on the car, in your driveway, as I
It's best if the out-of-true is seen by you FIRST, as then you can go into
the tire shop with the confidence of having actually seen the cause of the
steering wheel wobble.
It is HIGHLY unlikely that the wheel itself is out-of-true unless it has
been banged really hard into a curb or something. And even then, the spin
test on the car will point out that.
My nickels worth... It ain't all that unusual for the tire monkeys at
these shops to bend wheels by not readjusting the machine to the correct
wheel diameter. I've seen this all too often.
Out of round/true tires are common and is not a problem unless badly so.
Very few tires are perfect (undetectable) when spinning on the car or
a balancer. The cheaper the tire, the more pronounced is the effect.
I had one set that was so bad I swore that something else must be wrong.
Being a champion procrastinator, 30,000 miles later when these tires
were replaced, the symptoms went away completely.
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