Q: What's causing steering wheel vibration?

asked by on September 06, 2016

I notice my vehicle is very sensitive with front brakes, may be just the left front brake. My way of replace brakes is swapping the current set with another set of (already turned rotors or brand new rotors and premium ceramic brake pads) to get a perfect braking every time. When every parts is freshly installed, very very minimum vibration on steering wheel. After a couple of months, may be 6 months, steering wheels starts vibrate at 65 mph when slightly applied brakes. I put the car in the shop for wheels balance and wheels alignment done. Issue is still there. I asked several mechanics, everyone of them said my vehicle has bad rotor, which I don't think that's all because I can't just get every single bad ones? The last set of rotors I put on is (http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sku/Powerstop/Brake_Disc/P15JBR1129XPR.html?loc=Front), which was great at first, but the same issue after being used for a few months. What can be wrong?

My car has 160000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello. If you suspect a rotor is warped or has thickness variation, you can quickly determine this by using a dial indicator to measure the runout of the rotor as installed on the car. The run out should only be a couple or several thousandths of an inch.

If the suspension is not "tight", you can get vibrations of all sorts when you apply the brakes. So you have to check the tie rod ends, ball joints, wheel bearings, strut mounts, and so forth for play that is beyond specification.

If the issue is a defect in the rotors, one way to avoid defects is do not buy rotors made in China (see Federal Mogul press release in last 5 years warning consumers about this). The best rotors will be those supplied by Nissan. Otherwise, buy name brand rotors from a reputable parts store.

Also, if you do not carefully torque the wheel lug nuts with a torque wrench in SEQUENCE, and to the exact value specified in the shop manual, you will distort the rotor mount area of your new rotors thus setting the conditions for the symptom you are describing.

If you would like to have this all looked at for you, have a qualified professional, like one from YourMechanic, inspect the steering vibration to ensure the correct repairs are made.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Steering knuckle bar rubs against strut on driver side

Without having your car in front of me, I won't be able to say for sure what the problem is since accident damage is very specific and random to the accident and car. I can, however, give you some advice...

Advice on buying a 4-wheel drive vehicle with minor and major repairs

Minor are the stuff like brakes, water pump leaking, radiator caps with holes in them - stuff that doesn't cost that much to fix and what you can easily do by yourself. But, if the transmission or the engine have...

Reference point for the width of the car and correct steering method.

Hi there, thanks for writing in. Being that you're a new driver, if you live in the United States; I'd take advantage of a great program aimed at teens called B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everybody Safe). It's based in...

Related articles

How to Brake Smoothly (The Pivot Method)
Braking Braking is a skill. Braking, just like any other aspect of driving, takes a certain level of skill to get right. Good braking technique will not only be less stressful on the driver and passengers, but it will also...
What’s the Difference Between Drilled and Slotted Brakes?
Brake Brake rotors are a fundamental part of a vehicle’s braking system. They’re a simple system, but made up of many different parts. The driver applies the brakes by pressing on the brake pedal, which signals the rest of the...
The Best Used Cars to Buy If You’re an Interior Designer
As As an interior designer, you need to transport a great many different items, including fabric, paint and wallpaper samples and sometimes even furniture items. You probably don’t handle overly large loads very often, and when you have to, you’ll...