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I've just recently swapped Summer Tires/Rims for my Winter set on my own for the first time. As it should be an easy concept, I went to a "U-Wrench" type shop where you rent a stall with a lift/tools for fairly cheap. I swapped the tires quite easily, using a torque wrench to tighten my lugs after to the swap.

My wheels seem to be tight, and I can't seem to find any loose lugs, but now my steering-wheel wobbles randomly left to right (fast). This happens on new roads and older ones. Could I just be paranoid as I've done this for the first time on my own? Or could it be that my Summer tires are wider than my Winters and I'm just not used to them as of yet? (8.5" on my Summers compared to 7.5" on my Winters).

Any ideas on what this could be would be great. Or if someone could just re-assure that I'm being paranoid, that'd help also!

NOTE: My vehicle is a 2011 Mitsubishi RVR (Outlander Sport in the States) if that helps at all.

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Typo above: I think you mean "torque" wrench, not Torx. I've never seen a lugnut that would take a Torx driver. –  Bob Cross Nov 7 '11 at 22:02
    
Agreed. I kinda figured the same thing, but forgot to mention it. No such thing as a Torx wrench. –  Sivvy Nov 7 '11 at 22:20
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I thought I'd mention this since others haven't. Are they aftermarket wheels? If so, do they have hub-centric rings and did you make sure all the hub-centric rings were on the wheels before installing them on the car? If you're missing a hub ring, it's possible the wheel isn't perfectly centered. The wobble is sometimes very slight and sometimes great, depending on the car and wheel.

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This was exactly the problem. Turns out, I forgot to take my hub spacers off before re-installing my stock rims. I had completely crushed my hub spacers, causing my wheels to wobble slightly. Thanks! –  Lando Nov 29 '11 at 21:43
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Is it actually a full-out wobble, or just a really hard and fast shake?

A wobble that throws your wheel left and right is a fairly big issue... Normally to do with the tightening of the lug-nuts.

A rapid shake could be something as small as needing a balance on one or more wheels (weights can sometimes fall off, due to many factors... Dropping the tire too hard, catching curbs, etc).

Does this happen at certain speeds, or more/less at certain speeds? Are all your tires filled to the spec labelled on the side of the tires (wouldn't cause the issue, but could increase an issue that already exists)? Is the vehicle also pulling?

Update:

If it's not a large wobble, then it probably wasn't caused by you replacing the wheels. My suggestion would be to get them balanced. If you want a further confirmation, it's very common for unbalanced tires to be fine up to a certain speed then start to shake, so see if it's almost always at the same speed that the shaking starts. This isn't always correct, but I find that 9 times out of 10, you won't get a shake until you reach a certain speed.

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It's actually more like a fast shake. This shake does not sway my vehicle in any way like it would if my wheels were out of line but it is different than normal. I've found the shaking is less when on flat surfaces, and happens a bit more when driving on busy roads with semi-truck rivets. Also, my current tires are all Seasons, and I don't believe that they are directional tires, but could it be that they should have been put on the same as they were initially? (The dealership didn't mark them when taking them off before summer) –  Lando Nov 7 '11 at 21:50
    
@Lando, look closely at the tires. They will be marked "direction of rotation" or something equivalent. The tire will only be able to rotate forward on the correct side of the car. –  Bob Cross Nov 7 '11 at 22:04
    
I got a similar issue a couple years ago, they forgot to balance my tires at the shop! It was kind of scary at high speed... went back and fix it quickly. –  Gabriel Mongeon Nov 7 '11 at 22:09
    
@Lando Good to hear. A fast shake NORMALLY means something fairly minor. As Bob Cross mentioned, direction of rotation should be marked. If you don't find an issue with that, my first suggestion would be balancing. –  Sivvy Nov 7 '11 at 22:14
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Did you use a torque wrench and tighten the wheels to the factory prescribed rating? Also of note, should be done in a star pattern, and best to go around the star twice (as if some of the early ones need a lot of extra torque, you'll need to hit them again).

Wobbling is bad news. However, wide sticky tires do tend to have a bit of a hunting tendency.

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I would start with balancing them, especially since you feel it the most in the steering wheel, and make sure to balance them dynamically not just statically.. also make sure your tires dont have uneven wear like 'lumps'

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