Steering Wheel Wobble
I'm no expert, however, you can check the following: brake pads could be uneven, the rotor might be damaged or worn uneven, a bent rim, an out-of-round tire, or you could be correct regarding the wheel alignment. Best of luck.
Here are more opinions and answers from other contributors:
- Your front brake rotors are probably warped. You can either replace the rotors, or, if the rotors are only slightly warped, and there is enough material left on them, the mechanic may be able to be cut them down with a machine. Cutting them down should even the rotors out. The same thing was going on with my steering wheel as yours when I applied my brakes at high speeds, and even lower speeds. I didn't tell the dealer that I was experiencing this problem. They simply inspected my brakes one day while my car was in for an oil change and told me I needed new brake pads and to have my brake rotors cut. Since I had about 80,000 miles on that set of brake pads (yes ... 80,000 miles) I took their word for it that I needed a brake job. Luckily I didn't destroy my rotors with my nearly worn out brake pads. If you don't need new rotors, installing front brake pads and cutting the rotors should cost you a about $130 at the dealer, and maybe a little less at your local mechanic. I've noticed absolutely zero shaking of the steering wheel when I apply the brakes since the brake job. I have a Toyota Camry with 120,000 miles on it and the car now brakes beautifully. So before you spend money on an alignment, and trying to figure out if your wheel rims are bent, check those brakes.
- Try taking the car to the problem speed and while pulling the e-brake release lever, apply the ebrakes. No vibration - problem is in the fronts (typical). Buy new rotors (pads are a good idea at the same time as is adjusting the rear brakes). Rarely can you machine rotors and have a permanent solution. The rotors are not dissapating the heat well, by cutting them they will warp easier. Check your tire balance. (Have you ever put fix a flat in?) Toyotas are sometimes an exception to brakes that go for more than 35,000 miles.
- You need to balance your tires.
- I have found that my problem stems from rear axle placement. A factory installation defect that is only covered under the first 12,000 miles and only if the dealer deems it to be out of spec. For all you Ford Ranger owners alot of the 2000 models have feathered tire issues which would make you think it is simply tire balance (right front wears and pulls right, some F150's have this problem as well). Located an alignment shop to verify proper axle placement.
- Have your tie rods checked to be sure they don't need replacing.
- Have you had your rear brakes adjusted ever since changed: warped rotors in my 95 cavalier made the whole car wobble at high speed stops and the pedal pressure changes during slow light stopping also
- The wobbling or pulsating steering happens when I apply the brakes when trying to slow down after accelerating to a reasonably height speed like 50 to 60 miles an hour. My mechanic found that my rotors were warped and some of the steering mechanisims (parts ) were badly worn which was very unusual because the vehicle has only 11,000 miles on it. Hopefully this will be all taken care of because it's under warranty.
- Brakes warped, tie rod ends bad, tires screwed, upper and or lower ball joints shot, in front wheel drives, check cv shaft/joints... and theres one I experienced on an old ford pick up... never would have guessed, under braking conditions the steering wheel was shaking bad.... turned out to be in the rear end... the rear wheel bearings were shot.... it only was bad while braking.
- If it is a vibration in your steering wheel at higher speeds you might need new ball joints. This is a serious problem if that is what's wrong. So have your car looked at and soon.
- There is also the possibility that your shocks and struts are in need of replacing. Sometimes just replacing the ball joints doesn't fix the problem. If that is affected then there is most likely something else affected. In this case I had multiple problems with my 1993 Grand Am and it was bent rims, worn shocks and struts along with worn ball joints. Once I had them all replaced the shaking steering wheel at any speed is gone. Plus your tires could be separating so check that as well that could be a cause as well.