Honda Civic’s Steering Wheel Shaking: Every Reason Why

Shaking Steering Wheel Diagnosis

If your Honda Civic’s steering wheel is shaking, you should deal with it immediately.

A shaking steering wheel in the Honda Civic is caused by anything from the wheels and tires through the suspension (ball joints, tie rods, etc.) to the braking system.  We’ll start with the easiest things to check and move towards things you’d have to bring your Civic into a shop to address. 

A great place to start diagnosing a shaky wheel is to determine when it shakes and what (if any) noise it is making.  Doing this can help narrow down the potential causes.  The table directly below can help you narrow down the causes of shaking steering wheel fast.


Quick Reference Table:

Honda Civic Shaking Wheel
Cause Pulls Noise Vibration
Underinflated Tire(s) Yes No No
Overinflated Tire(s) No No No
Loose Lug Nuts No Rattle Yes
Wheel Alignment Possible Possible Humming Maybe
Unbalanced Wheel No Typically Yes
Stuck Brake Caliper Yes Yes Yes
Bad Wheel Bearing No Yes Usually
Suspension Possible Possible Usually

1.  Underinflated Tires

Pulls in the direction of the low tire, no noise (maybe a slight tire hum)

Honda Civic Shaking Wheel Low Tire Pressure

Check the tire pressure on all four wheels if your Honda Civic has a shaking steering wheel.  Low tire pressure is the number one reason a steering wheel will shake (and the easiest to check).

An underinflated tire will cause your Civic’s steering wheel to shake.  It’ll also cause the car to pull in the direction of the underinflated tire. 

Don’t look at the maximum tire pressure listed on the tire.  Instead, look for a sticker inside your Civic’s driver’s side door.  It’ll list the recommended tire pressure.  Don’t trust the tire pressure monitoring system.  If you can’t find the sticker, consult the owner’s manual.

2.  Overinflated Tires

The steering wheel will feel light (front overinflation), with no noise

Honda Civic Overinflated tire steering wheel vibration

An overinflated tire can cause a steering wheel vibration.  It will not cause your Civic to pull in any direction noticeably.

Overinflated tires are just as dangerous as underinflated tires.  If the tire is inflated past its maximum pressure, it can blow at any time.

3.  Loose Lug Nuts

Vibration throughout the whole vehicle, Rattling sound

Honda Civic Loose Lug Nuts

The audio clip above is what loose lugnuts sound like when driving a vehicle. 

If you’ve recently had your Civic’s tires replaced, had your brakes changed, taken a wheel off, or had someone else take the wheel off, it is possible that the lug nuts were not torqued properly.  You should check your Civic’s owner’s manual to verify the torque requirements for your model years wheels.  Most wheels need between 80-110 ft/lb.

While a shaking steering wheel can be caused by many issues that you shouldn’t ignore, loose lug nuts the wheel can fall off and cause your Civic to crash.

4.  Unbalanced Tires/Wheels

A vibration that increases with speed, Possible noise

humming noise when driving
Typical wheel weight

The audio clip above is the typical sound you’ll hear when your Civic has an unbalanced tire (often, there won’t be any noise at all).

If a tire isn’t balanced and properly aligned, your Civic’s Steering wheel will shake.  Tires are the most common issue that will cause steering wheel vibrations.  It may produce a humming noise at highway speed.

When you have tires put on your Civic, the tire tech uses weights to make sure the tire doesn’t shake at high speed.  If one of these wheel weights falls off, the tire will go out of balance and vibrate the steering wheel at speed.

Inspect Each Wheel

Inspect each tire and verify that a wheel weight hasn’t fallen off.  Wheel weights can be found on the outside and inside of a wheel.  You’ll see where they were.  If you suspect your Civic has a wheel that needs balancing, take it to a reputable tire shop and have them balanced.  It’s a pretty cheap fix.

5.  Wheel Alignment

May pull in one direction, May hum and or vibrate, Uneven Tire Wear

If your tires are not correctly aligned, it can cause your Civic’s steering wheel to shake.  

Take a look at the tires.  If they aren’t wearing evenly, that’s a symptom that you need a wheel alignment and why you feel your Civic shake while driving.  If the tires have worn too unevenly, they’ll likely need to be replaced

Do not buy new tires and skip the alignment if they wore unevenly.  If you skip it, it’ll only be a matter of time before the wheels go back to shaking the vehicle.

Here’s a good article from Bridgestone regarding tire wear and alignment.

6.  Brakes

Shaking gets worse when stopping

Brake Caliper shaking accelerate

The braking system is one of the most common things that would cause your Civic’s steering wheel to shake at speed.  

Stuck Caliper

The caliper is the mechanism that pushes your brake pad into the rotor.  If you do have a stuck caliper, your brakes will glaze.  Glazing can reduce the effective stopping distance of your Civic.  You should also smell the brakes when you aren’t moving since the stuck caliper is cooking them.

If your Civic only shakes when braking, take a look at diagnosing a Civic that shakes when braking and has squeaky brakes.  These pages go further into depth on this topic.

Rotors Worn Unevenly

If your brake rotors are no longer a smooth flat surface, it can cause a lot of shaking, particularly when applying the brake pedal.

7.  Wheel Bearings

Bad wheel bearings usually make an obvious sound when they shake a steering wheel

Wheel bearings have the thankless job of consistently supporting the weight of your Civic and letting the wheels turn virtually friction-free.  If the wheel bearings are damaged, you’ll usually feel it when going around a corner more than when you are going in a straight line.

Bearings usually do this when they need lubrication.  They may need to rep if they go too long without service.  A bad wheel bearing will usually make a humming noise that gets louder with speed.

8.  Suspension Problems

Possible clunking sounds, the wheel may pull

Your Civic’s suspension helps absorb the harsh impact of traveling on the road. But, at the same time, it has to keep the tires making even contact with the road.  Bad springs, shocks, sway bars, and many other suspension-related issues can cause the steering wheel to shake.  They’ll often make a clunk or a thunk.

Conclusion:  Honda Civic Shaking Steering Wheel Diagnosis

Many tire shops can re-balance your tire if a wheel weight falls off.  If your tires are worn unevenly, it’s most likely due to wheels that are out of alignment.  There are a lot of different issues that can cause your Civic’s steering wheel to shake.  Hopefully, this article helped you narrow them down.