Causes of a Loose Steering Wheel and How to Troubleshoot

There are many drivers who encounter a loose steering wheel when the vehicle is moving at high speed or at any time when the vehicle is moving forward. If your car encounters such cases, it is very likely that parts of the chassis system or tires have been damaged. This article will help you know the cause and how to fix the loose steering wheel.

Causes of a Loose Steering Wheel

1. The car tire is too old.

If we have used a car tire for a long time, it will be worn and deformed when running into something hard then this will cause the car's steering wheel to vibrate after each revolution. Every time the car turns around, it will create a vibration. Here, a new tire solves it.

Loose Steering Wheel

Tires that are too old can cause the steering wheel to vibrate.

2. Because of substandard tire pressure

If the tire inflation is too hard, leading to high tire pressure, it can reduce the necessary elasticity of the wheel or the tire pressure is uneven. When traveling on the road, especially on bad roads, it causes of a loose steering wheel. Therefore, you can inflate the tires according to the standard tire pressure table.

3. Unbalanced wheel

Another reason for the loose steering wheel is that the wheels are not balanced. When the weight distribution on the tire circumference is uneven, we can generate additional forces that cause the steering wheel to vibrate.

Especially when running at high speed, the steering wheel vibration is stronger. Here, it is necessary to balance the wheel and attach a few small seals with different weights on the car to overcome.

4. Uneven tire wear

There are many cases of cars with loose steering wheel because of uneven tire wear. To fix it, you need to change the tires or rotate tires.

5. Wheel lug nuts are loose during operation

After the car has been in operation for a while, it can cause the screws holding the wheel to loosen. It causes the wheel to rotate continuously. You need to stop the car immediately, check the car screws, and tighten the loose screws.

Loose Steering Wheel

6. Brake problem

If the loose steering wheel when you apply the brake, it may be because the brake disc is not flat. If the brake disc is warped, loose connection, worn, or wavy, it will create uneven friction when braking and cause the loose steering wheel. If you drive faster, the vibration will be worse and there will be a burning smell at the time of stopping the car. The way to adjust the loose steering wheel is to flatten the brake disc.

7. Suspension system problem

Loose Steering Wheel

When the steering wheel is loose, the driver also needs to check the suspension. A light suspension could also be the reason why the wheels aren't balanced with the counterweights. What's more worrisome is that ignoring these issues will lead to damage to the struts, shocks, grooves, and several other components in the suspension and steering.

For accuracy check the suspension when the steering wheel is loose at high speed or when maintaining at a certain speed. Thoroughly inspect the suspension as such looseness often occurs from corroded parts, worn shocks, loose connections or an imbalance of the steering shaft.

8. The deviation of the wheel

A common problem of a loose steering wheel is the misaligned wheel. Probably, the main reason is that your wheel angle is not right. The deviation usually occurs after a while of your driving but can come sooner depending on how you drive. Try to avoid potholes, stay at the right speed to minimize this deflection.

9. Damaged bearings

If the bearings are not lubricated regularly, it will lead to a loose steering wheel and many other problems. Bearings keep the wheels from friction and don't bear the weight of your vehicle. The bearings are connected to the assembly, so when they are not working properly, they directly impact the drive shaft, resulting in the loose steering wheel.

10. Tie rod is worn

A tie rod connects the wheels to the suspension and steering components make your car controllable. This tie rod can wear out from use in many conditions such as bumpy roads or speed bumps.

loose steering wheel

If the tie rod is worn, it cannot hold your tires in place and can certainly cause a loose steering wheel.

How to Troubleshoot?

To handle the cause of the steering wheel shaking, ensure traffic safety and a comfortable driving feeling, check the following three parts:

1. Ball Joint

The ball joint is a crucial part of the steering system. You should bring the car to the company to check to see if you need to replace this part. Because if the propeller fails, it will cause problems with non-standard driving, steering wheel vibration, or loss of control.

2. Check the rubber feet

When used for a long time, the rubber pads inside the tripod are worn, causing the car to move and affect the engine. It will cause minor effects on the chassis. So, the rubber tripod causes steering wheel vibration when moving.

It is best to take your car to a professional garage to have it checked to see if the tripod and rubber feet are the problems. The technical staff will determine the tripod and related parts that need to be replaced or repaired.

3. Tire balance and tighten four tires

The contact surface of the tire is a condition caused by non-standard tire stiffness. It means that the four wheels will not work together on the road and create a deflection that shakes the entire vehicle, especially the steering wheel.

Therefore, it is better to take the car to the garage to adjust the compression and balance the drive system to ensure the continuity of the wheels with the balanced road.

Why Is Car Steering Wheel Heavy?

If you see that the steering wheel shows signs of being heavy, you need to check three details of the power steering pump, steering wheel, and driving card. These are the most common causes of a heavy steering.

First, try to check the power steering pump and car oil. If you see that the amount of oil in the power steering pump is low or the pump is damaged internally, it is the reason the steering wheel is heavy. To handle this situation, bring the car to the garage to change the oil or repair or replace the power pump.

Loose Steering Wheel

The steering wheel is heavy mainly because of the fault of the power steering pump

Sometimes, the steering wheel is heavy because of an abraded steering wheel, joints, damaged steering wheels, or less grease. If you want to fix it, you also need to bring the car to a reputable car garage.

How to Know When the Car Steering Wheel Deviates?

If it hits the vehicle hard, it can cause the pulley to be deflected. Therefore, the car steering wheel is deflected. Because of uneven car tires, worn tires, unbalanced tire pressure, the car steering wheel is deflected. Some cases of car steering wheel deviation are because of incorrect wheel placement.

In addition, if the ruler and steering column have problems, it can also cause the car to deviate from the steering wheel.

Deviates from the car steering wheel, it is difficult to fix it by yourself or it is only temporary. It is still best to bring the car to the garage to be checked and repaired by a professional.

Other Sudden Damages

1. Car steering wheel squeaks

Most of the reasons the steering wheel squeaks, the steering wheel rattles, and creaks are because the steering wheel, steering wheel, or steering column is too dirty. After a period of vehicle operation, these parts may be dirty or worn. Then, the connection is no longer tight due to a lack of lubricating oil.

The best solution in case the car steering wheel is ringing is to clean the steering wheel, steering column, and add lubricating oil to the details and then test it. If the car steering wheel is still ringing, you need to check other details. In case we cannot find the cause, we must bring the car to the garage.

2. Something broke the car steering wheel

If the car steering wheel is loose, it may be because the car has been operating for a long time without being cleaned. Some of the intermediate shafts, steering wheel shafts, and ball joints are worn and dirty. The slip of the steering wheel will reflect the rest of the steering system. In case the steering wheel is too loose, take the car to the garage to adjust the steering wheel.

In addition, regularly bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance. When servicing, check the tightness of the steering wheel, handlebars, brackets, and hydraulic power steering system. Then, add lubricating grease to the steering joints, re-adjust the steering wheel, and adjust the handbrake.

3. Something lock car steering wheel

The steering wheel can cause locked steering wheels to be accidentally or intentionally rotated after it turns the vehicle off. In some modern cars today, if the driver pulls off the steering wheel when parking, it can also cause the car to lock the steering wheel. As for cars with mechanical keys, the steering wheels are not straight when parking. But it still tries to pull the key out. This situation may also occur.

The way to handle when the steering wheel is locked is very simple, just restart the engine. The phenomenon of steering wheel lock is only one of the vehicle's safety features, not a fault or damage to vehicle details.


One way to avoid the problem of a loose steering wheel is to follow the maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer. In particular, car owners should not delay if the car encounters the above cases.

Above are some common car steering wheel errors and how to fix them. The most important thing is to check and maintain the car periodically to ensure that the car is always in good working condition.

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