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2013 Kia Sorento, just purchased used.

Drives very smooth before you hit 80, in idle you can barely even feel if the engine is on. You start to gradually feel the shaking/vibration in the steering wheel at 75 but it becomes very apparent at 80. It's not a very bad shake but it's noticeable... if I apply pressure I can almost prevent the shaking.

Also if I let go of the steering wheel the car still drives straight. It is also pretty much consistent starts at the same speed and never goes away or gets better... I did not try going above 85 to see if it goes away at higher speeds.

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    I was so hoping you were going to say you're driving 1982 DeLorean... – corsiKa Oct 20 '15 at 23:16
  • Slight amendment to @Zaid's response: I'd vote for improper balancing instead of a lost weight (depending on available granularity of wheel weights) – 3Dave Oct 21 '15 at 2:48
  • I have the same issue on my 2013 dodge dart. Had it aligned less than a year ago. Difference in mine though is when iam going 80 and I give it gas the whole front end will shake like a tires about to blow. New tires only 5,000 miles on them no visible wear or damage. But the craziest catch is. It doesn't always do it. – Justin Nov 2 '16 at 13:35
  • 1st Wheel Balance and rotation 2nd Wheel Bearings 3rd Tie Rod Ends To reiterate from experience and previously stated. Visual inspection is the easiest tool. – Kelly Medley Feb 21 '17 at 13:53
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The fact that you can feel the vibration in the steering wheel indicates the source is in the drivetrain, most probably something on the front axle.

A very common thing that could cause this is an out-of-balance wheel. The first thing I would do is have the wheels balanced.

  • unless the wheels have a LOT of weights on them - say, like the optional mags on a C5 Corvette - losing a weight should be much more apparent at much lower speeds. The last time I lost a weight, it felt like the wheel was going to bounce off at about 40MPH. – 3Dave Oct 21 '15 at 2:45
  • A good first step but in my case the front wheel bearing were worn out and changing the tires or just rebalancing wouldn't have fixed it. – swdev Oct 21 '15 at 7:41
  • thanks! I got a tire balancing and rotation. They also noted all the tires were over 5psi over-inflated which could have been part of the issue. After doing all of this no more shaking! – user12787 Oct 21 '15 at 15:27
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IF you let the wheel go and it continues to track straight then it is most likely not in need of a alignment. My first thought would be to look at your tires. A missing weight or tires that are slightly out of round or below recommended pressure.

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Tires get unbalanced as they wear without events like "balance weights falling off" happening. The most likely assumption is that the vibration was happening when you bought the car, but you didn't discover it on your road test.

Check the tires for sidewall bulges, and uneven tread wear at around circumference of the wheel (possibly caused by skid), and get the wheels rebalanced.

The cheapest "fix" might just be to swap the wheels front-to-back, but you should still look for the real cause - it's better to be alive with new tires if you need them, than to be dead with the money still in your pocket!

If this sort of vibration develops suddenly when driving, you have a problem that needs an urgent fix. If it gradually got worse over the last 20,000 miles, that's not so serious. But since you just bought the car, you don't know which of those two scenarios applies.

If there is nothing apparently wrong with the tires, you might have a failing wheel bearing, or some other problem in the drive train or steering linkage - but as with any trouble-shooting, start with the simplest and most likely cause, i.e. the tires.

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In addition to the suggested wheel balancing and wheel bearing (both of which I would check first), you should also check for wear on the tie rod ends. If they have play, a minor imbalance may be amplified, and the more it shakes the faster it wears, which again makes it shake more over time - a positive feedback loop.

I had this problem on a very old vehicle. No matter how balanced the wheels were, eventually something would start the vibration. After changing tie rod ends the steering was much tighter and the problem disappeared. I would be a bit surprised if you had excessive tie rod end wear on such a new car, but it's worth a check and easy to do - jack up the car and move one wheel from side to side while the other one is fixed. If you think there is play, have someone else move the wheel while you look at tie rod end, as well as other parts, to see where it's moving.

Note: they may call it something else on newer cars with rack&pinion, but the same applies. It's the bushing on the end of the rods that goes from the tie rod (the one connecting the right and left wheel) on a vehicle with steering box or from rack&pinion unit to the wheel on the other ones.

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Check your front wheels balance. If they are unbalances, the steering wheel will shake at higher speeds.

Does it shake more when you brake?

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Have someone check your motor mounts. My vehicle was doing the same thing. The front mount was broke and hydrolic fluid was leaking out.

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