Often, you'll feel your car vibrating directly through your steering wheel. And one seemingly logical thing to guess is that an alignment issue might be the culprit. But car experts often advise otherwise.
One or more wheels may suffer from excessive "play," or wobbliness, at the hub itself. The diagnosis and cure for this is pretty involved, as it could point to any of a number of issues. First, let's just assume that each wheel is fastened securely to its hub with properly torqued lug nuts.
With that out of the way, the solution to a shaky wheel might entail replacing the wheel bearings. On most modern vehicles, wheel bearings are meant to last the life of the car or truck. But as you may already know, if you subject your vehicle to worse-than-typical wear-and-tear (off-roading, extremely hard driving, high mileage), it's not unheard-of for bearings to wear out.
Another thing to look for is "runout." This is the term that describes how much a wheel deviates from a perfectly circular rotation when it is spun. Wheel technicians use precision instruments to determine if runout on any particular wheel exceeds half an inch. Much of the time -- but not all the time -- the solution is a new wheel.
Other sources of wiggling, wobbly wheels include the tie-rod ends or ball joints. If they're worn out, they'll allow too much play in the wheel. At driving speeds, this translates to annoying vibration.
Wheels prove to be a common culprit when tracking down reasons for why a car is vibrating. But we can narrow it down even more. For our top reason your car is vibrating, go to the next page.