A shaking steering wheel can be a sign of many problems. It is nothing to be taken lightly. If your Nissan Altima‘s steering wheel is shaking it should be addressed as soon as possible. A great place to start is to determine when your steering wheel shakes. That can help narrow it down.
Steering Wheel Shaking Causes: Nissan Altima
A shaking steering wheel can be a symptom of many things. Here are some of the most common causes:
If a tire isn’t balanced and properly aligned, your Altima’s Steering wheel is going to shake. Tires are the most common issue that causes the steering wheel to shake. Here are some of the most common tire related issues that would make a steering wheel shake.
Not Aligned Properly– If your tires are not properly aligned, it can cause your Altimas steering wheel to shake. Worn tires are a symptom of an improper wheel alignment. This type of shaking can be felt at particular speeds, mostly on the highway. Make a visual inspection of your tires. Do they have any noticeable uneven wear? If so it may be time for new tires and a wheel alignment.
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.
Loose Lug Nuts– If you’ve recently had your tires replaced, had your brakes changed, taken a wheel off, or had someone else take a wheel off it is possible that the lug nuts were not torqued properly. While a shaking steering wheel can be caused by many issues that should not be ignored, if you do have loose lug nuts the wheel can fall off and cause your Altima to crash.
Bad Balance– Bad tires can be caused by a bad alignment (as covered above) they can also be caused by a tire that is out of balance. When you have tires put on your Altima, 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 shake the steering wheel at speed.
The braking system is one of the most common things that would cause your Altima’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 the Altima. You should also smell the brakes when you aren’t moving, since the stuck caliper is cooking them.
- Rotors Worn Uneven– If your brake rotors are no longer a smooth flat surface, it can cause a lot of shaking. This is especially true when applying the brake pedal.
Wheel bearings have the thankless job of consistently supporting the weight of your Altima 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. If they go too long like this, they may need replaced.
Your Altima’s suspension helps absorb the harsh impact of traveling on the road. 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.
Conclusion: Nissan Altima Shaking Steering Wheel Diagnosis
Many tire shops can re-balance your tire if a wheel weight fell off. If your tires are worn unevenly, it’s most likely due to a bad alignment. There are a lot of different issues that can cause the Altima’s steering wheel to shake though. Good luck!