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I had new tires put on 8th of April 15. They were cheap tires but that's all I could afford. $444 for all four.

The steering now shakes, even at slow speeds. I had the wheels balanced and the alignment done which helped a bit but the problem still persists at high speeds. When I make a fast stop or slam on the brakes, it shakes really bad & the vehicle feels like it's going back & forth with the steering wheel. This is a 2011 Ford Flex. Never had any other trouble.

What could be the issue/how do I go about diagnosing it?

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    Ask the workshop to rebalance the tires. I had to rebalance my tires also after I noticed the same issue on my car after a week when putting new tires on. A few grams really can make the difference! – Qwedvit May 4 '15 at 6:16
  • Not sure how far you've driven, but check for unusual wear patterns on your new tires when you take it in. Point them out to the tire shop if there is any wear to the tires. This can help diagnose, but also they should guarantee their alignment and balance against tire damage. – maplemale May 6 '15 at 15:22
  • possible that the tyres have not been balances properly? Not sure how it is in car but on bikes this could be a likely cause.. – Max May 12 '16 at 15:08
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It's possible the belts inside one of the tires is broken. With brand new tires, likely a manufacturing defect. A broken belt will make the car feel as you describe, and can be mistaken for the tires being out of balance.

I've had this happen before. In my case, the tire was old and I hit too many potholes. One of the unique symptoms I remember is the tire shake will get better and worse by itself sometimes. I think the broken belts are shifting around slightly inside the tire, and when they get in a "good" position the shaking will be less, and when the belts move around again the shaking will get worse again. This can repeat.

Since you feel it strongly in the steering wheel, it is more likely a front tire. To diagnose, you could replace one of the front tires with the spare, and test drive to see if the shake goes away completely. If it does, you found the bad tire. If not, try swapping the other front tire and see if the shake goes away. The normal warnings about not driving too far or too fast on the spare tire apply. You said you feel it even at low speeds, so that makes it easier to test drive and maybe figure it out.

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Are they directional tires? The one with arrow on the sidewall indicating the direction of rotation like with some brands of snow tires. If they are not installed with the arrows facing toward the front they would act as you describe. At slow speeds they would throw you side to side and be very hard to drive.

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