So your car wobbles at high speeds? Well, relax, that’s not a rare occurrence. but why does this happen to cars anyway? Let’s dive deep into this subject.
A short answer for a wobbling car at high speeds almost always occurs as a result of excessive vibrations in the wheels and tires or engine bay. This is usually due to wheel-tire balance and alignment issues, and worn motor mounts, respectively.
Possible Causes of a Wobbling Car
Wheel Alignment and Balancing Issues
If your wheel-tire units are not properly aligned and balanced, the units will not spin true. This will cause vibration that manifests as a wobbly feel, especially when the car is at a high speed.
How do wheels get out of balance? A common cause is everyday wear and tear on the tires.
Manufacturing faults where wheels and tires don’t have precisely equal weight distribution, causing them to be slightly heavier in some spots. Even just half an ounce in weight difference can cause a vibration when you’re driving.
Worn Motor Mounts
Healthy motor mounts effectively prevent the natural vibrations from the internal combustion process. This function not only stabilizes the engine but also protects the delicate components from getting damaged.
Worn motor mounts, on the other hand, have less capability to prevent vibrations. This is especially during acceleration when the engine is working harder.
How Do You Fix a Car that Wobbles At High Speeds?
A car that wobbles or hops up and down at high speeds can be fixed in two ways;
- Realigning and rebalancing the wheels and tires.
- Replacing worn motor mounts.
Realigning and Rebalancing the Wheels and Tires
Re-aligning is all about re-adjusting your tire angles to ensure they travel in the same direction and improve how they make contact with the road.
This service professionally costs between $50 and $168 per wheel. The amount you’ll pay depends on where you take your car for the service and how many wheels you want to be realigned.
Rebalancing, on the other hand, ensures that all areas of each wheel-tire unit are as equal in weight as possible. This allows the tire to roll smoothly, promote ride comfort, and wear evenly.
Rebalancing professionally costs between $25 and $31 per wheel-tire unit, depending on where you take your car for the service.
How is realignment done professionally?
- Step 1: Your wheel angles are measured using a wheel alignment machine.
- Step 2: The angles are compared against your vehicle’s original specifications.
- Step 3: If there’s no balance, adjustments are made to the wheel’s camber, caster, and toe as necessary.
- Step 4: The wheel is checked on a computer to determine when the target angles are met.
- Step 5: The steering wheel is checked to ensure it is centered, after which the task is considered complete.
How is rebalancing done professionally?
- Step 1: A wheel-tire unit of your car is removed and attached to a tire balancing machine.
- Step 2: The unit is rotated to record vibration measurements. This also allows the mechanic to check if the weight is spread evenly or not. In case it’s not spread evenly, they’ll know how much additional weight to add and where on the wheel to add it, using the wheel tire balancing machine.
- Step 3: The wheel-tire unit is again spun on the machine to check for any balance issues. If the unit is factory, it’s set aside and the same procedure is repeated for the rest.
Replacing the Worn Motor Mounts
Replacing a motor mount will cost anywhere between $200 and $600. It all depends on how hard it is to access your engine’s motor mounts. Here’s how it’s normally done;
- Step 1: The engine is secured on a jack placed above a few blocks of wood and then raised.
- Step 2: The engine is loosened from the mount bolts.
- Step 3: The engine is, again, jacked up a little at a time and then each motor mount is removed.
- Step 4: New motor mounts are put into the engine.
- Step 6: The engine is lowered and all bolts are fully tightened.
If your car wobbles at a high speed, the two most common causes for that are; wheel-tire alignment and balance issues as well as worn motor mounts.
But the good news is that each problem can be professionally fixed to resolve this problem as explained above. Better yet, you can fix them without any expert help if you are handy enough with your car and equipped with the right tools.