We’ve all been there before. You’re driving along when suddenly you hear an unusual sound, feel something shaking or worse yet, your vehicle won’t even start before you had a warning that something isn’t right. The first thought that runs through your mind is… what’s wrong with my car?
It can be hard to tell if those sounds and shaking are signs that there are serious problems already happening or just a warning that something small could become a bigger issue. Whether it’s a small inconvenience needing attention or if you’re in danger of stranding your vehicle if you continue on, here’s what you need to about possible causes.
The Steering Wheel Is Shaking
While some vehicles come with biometric feedback to alert you to the danger of departing a lane unintentionally, if your steering wheel suddenly starts shaking without this feature, it’s definitely trying to alert you to a problem. Possible reasons your car’s steering wheel could be shaking are a flat or imbalanced tire, wheels that are out of alignment, brake problems or steering problems.
A flat tire can be pretty obvious once you exit your vehicle but checking the tread on your tires can also clue you in to an issue with your alignment. If the tread on your tire has not worn evenly, it’s a good indication that you have an issue with a misalignment. Brake problems may not be as easy to spot yourself but if they are combined with the issue below of grinding, you’ll want to get them inspected asap. In addition, if there is no obvious sign of your tires or brakes being the culprit, you’ll want to get your steering and suspension checked to see if they are the cause.
You Hear Grinding
A grinding noise is hard to ignore but it can also be costly to do so. Oftentimes, what starts as a squealing noise when braking can morph into a louder grinding noise. Either sound can indicate your brake pads have worn and need replacing but the longer you delay, the more damage that can occur to the rotors since the absence of brake pads creates metal on metal scraping which results in not only that terrible sound you hear, but irreversible damage to the rotors. Once the rotors are damaged, you’ll not only need to replace the brake pads but the rotors themselves which adds up quickly.
Additionally, a clicking or grinding sound on your front wheel drive vehicle when making a turn could be the result of a faulty CV joint. This can also result in your car pulling to one side. If your joint fails completely, your wheel on that side will no longer function and your car will become stuck.
The Battery Is Dead
A dead battery can be a major inconvenience but it might actually be something bigger than just needing a jump start. Turning the key and hearing nothing is a good indication that your battery is completely dead. If you noticed you left an interior or exterior light on, that more than likely is the main culprit and a jump start from another vehicle could be all that you need to get going again. But corrosion or a loose connection could easily be an underlying issue for moments nothing was left on to drain the battery. If those all look good, it’s time to turn your attention to your alternator which is responsible for recharging your vehicle’s battery while driving by turning the mechanical energy into electric energy. When your alternator is going out, your battery won’t charge, your vehicle won’t start and ultimately, your vehicle won’t be going anywhere.
While this can be a great informational starting point, we always recommend consulting with a trusted, licensed mechanic if you are having issues with your vehicle.
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