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Q: Issues with shaking in steering while driving - 1994 Ford F-150

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My truck has shaking in the front end while driving as if it has bad tie-rod ends. The wheel will also jerk back and forth some. I replaced both tie-rods and it did not fix the problem. I have had a slow power steering pump leak for several months. I am trying to fix it without throwing a bunch of parts at it but don't know what the most likely causes could be. What should I be looking at first? How likely is it that its a bad steering box/gear?

My car has 150000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hey there. I would first look at tires and ...

Hey there. I would first look at tires and wheel balance, particularly if the tires have a lot of miles on them. Damaged tires can appear (on a balancing machine) to be balanced, yet they will vibrate terribly due to an internal belt separation, flat spot, unusual wear patterns or other defects.

So, the first thing to do is to carefully rule out problems with the tires and wheels (including loose or missing lug nuts and bent wheels). Other possible causes of vibration are loose wheel bearings, ball joints, and control arm bushings. ANY component that holds the suspension arms fixed to the frame that gets loose or worn could potentially cause front end vibration and shaking.

There is a protocol for evaluating ball joints so it is not necessary to just blindly replace them. As far as the steering issue, that is not among the most likely causes but would be evaluated after all of the above if checking all of the above does not lead to a resolution. Steering gear/ pump/ hose leaks can often be evaluated visually in order to determine the source and therefore the appropriate corrective action. If you would like to have an expert inspect the car firsthand, a certified professional from YourMechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose the steering shake to have this addressed properly.

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