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Old 11-29-2004, 10:01 PM   #1
cjharley
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Question Steering wheel shakes

As I said in my previous post I own a '99 SC2 with 25K - auto tranny.

I purchased this car in June '04 with 20K on it. (Grandma must have garaged this Saturn.) In July I put 4 brand new tires on it from Sears. (It was a b-day gift and I wanted all the tires to match.) I noticed that the steering wheel started shaking and took it back. Sears replaced one tire saying it was faulty. Since then I have had the aligment done and balanced the tires twice, but I still continue to get a shaky steering wheel between 60 and 70 mph. In addition the car still pulls to the left quite a bit. (I let go at 65 mph and within 5 to 10 seconds I am in the center divide or the car beside me.)

Is there something that Sears missed?

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Old 11-30-2004, 06:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

The tires are still out of balance. Maybe take it to a different Sears and have them fix the tires under warranty. If the first sears did the alignment maybe have the second, competent, sears fix that too. Persist; this problem was not there before the new tires were put on and cannot be anything else. Did Sears tell you an alignment was a good idea with the new tires?

Other independent alignment techs are probably as good or much better, but it's worth a shot at fixing under warranty first.

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Old 11-30-2004, 08:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

When I first got the tires I opted not to get the alignment, but after driving the car for a few weeks I thought it needed one. And, yes, you are correct the steering wheel never was an issue before I had them put on my tires. Luckily, I do have another Sears in the area and will be taking my car there.

Thanks for the input!!!

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Old 11-30-2004, 09:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

Pretty much any shaking that is only present around 60ish is going to be a wheel balance issue. There are so many different ways of balancing a wheel though that it is hard to tell what you're getting. If nothing else, take the car to Saturn and let them know what's going on and have them balance the wheels for you.

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Old 12-01-2004, 12:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Applefool
Pretty much any shaking that is only present around 60ish is going to be a wheel balance issue.
There is one other thing that can cause this; an out of round tire. For years Goodyear made a red stripe tire that was notoriously egg shaped. They where a limited production tire used on English cars such as MG’s and TR’s. All of them where bad due to a flaw in the mold and no amount of balancing of any type would correct the problem.

To check for this first drive very slowly on a smooth surface such as a parking lot. If you notice the car’s fenders moving up and down (sort of a waddling motion that feels like a boat in water) this is the problem. You can also check them by jacking up the car and rotating the wheel(s). Rig up a pointer that just clears the tire’s tread and watch for the gap between the tire and the pointer to see if it changes. If it does the tire is out of round.

To correct this you probably need to replace the tire(s). Unfortunately the same brand, size, etc. of tire may well have the same problem if they are manufactured from the same mold. I have heard of “shaving” tires (removing a small amount of tread as the tire is rotated) to get them into a perfectly round condition but do not know of anyone who can do it.

What brand of tire is it?

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Old 12-01-2004, 08:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

Thor ~ They are Goodyear Eagle tires. I have had them before on my other Saturn with no issue.

Also, and I'm not sure if this is related, I have noticed lately that my steering wheel "slips" when I change lanes on a city street as I am going over the lane divider button. Does that make sense?

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Old 12-02-2004, 10:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjharley
I have noticed lately that my steering wheel "slips" when I change lanes on a city street as I am going over the lane divider button. Does that make sense?
It’s probably not a problem; the tire's tread is trying to "grab" the groove that occurs in the pavement between the lanes. Since the tires are at a slight angle to the groove in the pavement it tries to push the wheel straight.

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Old 12-02-2004, 03:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

About shaking steering wheel: usually wheels on a front axel shake a steering wheel. Swap front wheels with rear ones. If no shaking - tires/rims are at fault. Swap them back one by one to find which one gives shaking. I had the same problem right when I bought my 2002 SL. Dealer tried to balance, it didn't help. They found the wheel which was giving the shaking (actually I adviced them to perform above mentioned procedure) and tried to balance it, but that wheel was still shaking no matter what. Finally they gave up and replaced the entire wheel (a tire and a rim) - no more shaking.

In case if a swapping front and rear wheels doesn't change shaking, the front axel may be at fault.

About pulling to a side: in this case swap right side tires with left (often it's just enough to swap front tires). If it pulls to other side - it's tires, you have to find a bad tire and replace it (no balance will help). If it still pulls the same - the aligment is due.

All that was tested in a real life. A shop where I bought tires didn't believe me and told that the tires are good and I just have to have the aligment done. After I made them swap front and left tires and a car started pulling to another side, they shut up and replaced bad tire - no more pull to the side.

Hope this helps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjharley
As I said in my previous post I own a '99 SC2 with 25K - auto tranny.

I noticed that the steering wheel started shaking and took it back. Sears replaced one tire saying it was faulty. Since then I have had the aligment done and balanced the tires twice, but I still continue to get a shaky steering wheel between 60 and 70 mph. In addition the car still pulls to the left quite a bit. (I let go at 65 mph and within 5 to 10 seconds I am in the center divide or the car beside me.)

Is there something that Sears missed?

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Old 12-02-2004, 11:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

When mine started doing this it was the outer tie-rod end in the drivers side. You could jack up the front end and see if there is any unusual movement at the tires. Mine would "shimmy" only on the gas wile maintaining a certain speed, mostly around 55-75MPH.

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Old 12-03-2004, 08:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

Don't they inspect the tie rods when they do an alignment?

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Old 12-03-2004, 08:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjharley
Don't they inspect the tie rods when they do an alignment?
If they're reputable, yes. A worn tie rod end or ball joint will make it impossible, or at least worthless, to do an alignment. So a good shop will check first, before even doing the alignment.

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Old 12-11-2004, 11:31 PM   #12
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

Today (12/11/04) I just had Sears do a brake job on my Saturn. The front rotors needed to be machined and I had them do a re-balance and tire rotation. Needless to say the vibration on the steering wheel has stopped.

Thank you all for your input and comments.

It is so nice to find people out there who know their stuff and who are willing to help those who do not know...Thank you!!!!!

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Old 12-12-2004, 09:04 AM   #13
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjharley
Today (12/11/04) I just had Sears do a brake job on my Saturn. The front rotors needed to be machined and I had them do a re-balance and tire rotation. Needless to say the vibration on the steering wheel has stopped.

Thank you all for your input and comments.

It is so nice to find people out there who know their stuff and who are willing to help those who do not know...Thank you!!!!!
I assume you had to pay for the brake job (new work order), but did they also charge you for the re-balance and tire rotation?

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Old 12-12-2004, 11:41 AM   #14
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razorbak
I assume you had to pay for the brake job (new work order), but did they also charge you for the re-balance and tire rotation?
The tire rotation and re-balance was under warranty so I paid nothing out of pocket.

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Old 12-18-2004, 08:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjharley
The tire rotation and re-balance was under warranty so I paid nothing out of pocket.
Excellent! Congratulations.

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Old 12-19-2004, 10:15 AM   #16
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Default Re: Steering wheel shakes

Quote:
Fm >> cjhrley <<

>It is so nice to find people out there who know their stuff and who are willing to help those who do not know...<...
We do have some sharpies here.......and equally important is the fact that they explain issues/guidance in plan & simple english

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