An uncommon problem you may face in your time as a BMW owner is vibrations in your steering wheel. This can gradually and increasingly affect your BMW’s performance, which is upsetting for a brand known for its high performance and reliability. It can also become incredibly dangerous, as other problems can arise that further and detrimentally compromise your vehicle’s functionality. Let’s delve a bit deeper into this issue and discuss some warning signs and where to go for help with this issue.
We’ve compiled five main causes of steering wheel vibrations, though these are not all of the potential causes. While each of these problems can be issues and dangers in their own rights, they can also lead to further harm of your vehicle’s mechanical performance, and as such, should be tended to as soon as you suspect there is a problem.
If your tires are out of balance, this can cause steering wheel vibrations. Most commonly, vibrations will appear at speeds between 50-60 miles per hour, while speeds above and below this range may balance out the vibrations until they’re unnoticeable. Out-of-balance tires are caused by everyday driving wearing down your tires unevenly and can become a potentially serious problem if your tires are not regularly rotated.
If your BMW’s steering wheel only seems to vibrate at higher speeds, one potential culprit may be warped brake rotors. This can occur for a variety of reasons, from repeatedly running your vehicle through puddles of cold water after your brakes have been heated to over-torquing the lug nuts on your wheels. Warped brake rotors can also occur due to a stuck caliper and excessive brake pad residue. Typically, turning or replacing the rotor as well as the stuck caliper, if applicable, is enough to solve the problem.
BMW suspension systems are complicated and may crop up multiple issues that can all lead to your wheel vibration issues. For instance, some models may experience ball joint wear, while others are more prone to cracked bushings. Regardless of the specific issue, if your BMW’s suspension system is to blame, you will most likely notice other symptoms such as clanking, banking, squeaks, or other loud noises.
If you have worn front wheel bearings, not only will your steering wheel vibrate, but you will probably notice a loud whining or rumbling when you accelerate or make turns. While wheel bearings can wear over time, they can also be damaged by improper lubrication or sudden jolts and bumps. If your wheel bearings are the culprit, you will likely notice wheel vibrations at lower speeds.
This is one of the more unlikely scenarios, but it is possible that your wheel rim is damaged or bent, which will cause both steering wheel vibrations and consistently low tire inflation. Damaged wheel rims are an incredible safety hazard and should be tended to as soon as physically possible to prevent accidents or further vehicle harm.
There are a few steps you can take to help prevent the problems behind steering wheel vibration, such as keeping up with your BMW’s maintenance schedule, alerting your mechanic to any new or developing concerns in your BMW’s performance, and having your tires balanced every 3000-6000 miles and replacing them if bald spots appear. Practice safe driving habits, such as gentle turns, avoiding puddles when possible, and do not let your engine run hot.
If you notice that your BMW is experiencing steering wheel vibrations of any description, it’s prudent to have your vehicle examined as soon as possible by a qualified BMW specialist. Tanner Motors of Brainerd, MN proudly services the nearby communities for all your BMW needs. We are certified to work on all makes and models of vehicle, from new off the lot to a two-decade-old fixer-upper. Our expert mechanics are trained to address any potential problem you may encounter, so you know that you are in knowledgeable, expert care you deserve. Call us today for a convenient appointment or stop in to talk with one of our expert technicians. We look forward to meeting you and servicing your BMW for years to come.