What is Death Wobble and it can be caused by tires?

What is Death Wobble and it can be caused by tires?

Yes, Death Wobble can absolutely be caused by your tires. Checking your tires should be the first thing to look at if you notice any unusual vibration in your vehicle.

Death wobble is a serious issue that can cause your car to lose control while driving. It is often referred to as a “tire shake.” Death wobble can occur when the front tires start shaking and vibrating at high speeds. This can be very dangerous and lead to accidents.

In this article, we will discuss what death wobble is, what causes it, and how you can prevent it from happening.

What is death wobble?

Death Wobble is the name given to a very aggressive and uncontrollable shaking of a vehicle’s steering wheel and the whole vehicle itself. The vibration is so intense that it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

This can happen either gradually over time due to your vehicle components wearing out, or can also happen because of a sudden event such as hitting a pothole.

You may think that it will be difficult to able to tell the difference between a vibration in the steering wheel and death wobble. However, once you experience a death wobble, it will be so violent that you will know the difference immediately.

The steering wheel will start to shake back-and-forth so rapidly that it is difficult to keep your grip on it. The whole vehicle will also start to shake and vibrate, and it will feel like the tires are losing contact with the ground.

What causes death wobble?

There are many different factors that can contribute to death wobble. The main reasons are linked to your vehicle’s wheels and suspension setup. For a vehicle to experience death wobble, it usually takes a number of the following issues to be occurring all at the same time.

Worn out tires

One of the most common causes of death wobble is worn out or damaged tires. Worn out tires are often the cause of the vibration and lead to death wobble. If the tire are worn down unevenly, this will cause the tires to roll unevenly down the road. The faster you drive, the more aggressive the vibrations will become.

The tread and tire compound is also important for absorbing shocks from bumps in the road. When the tread is worn out, it can no longer do either of these properly. The easiest way to check if your tires are worn out, is to check by doing the penny test.

Improperly balanced wheels

Another common cause of death wobble is improperly balanced wheels and tires. Small weights are normally added to wheels to keep them balanced. Over time, these weights can fall off or become dislodged. When your tires are not balanced, it means that the weight of the tire is not evenly distributed.

This will cause the wheel to become unbalanced and start to vibrate. The vibration will become more pronounced the faster you drive. This will cause the tire to vibrate and shake when you are driving.

Incorrect tire pressure

If your tires are not inflated to the correct pressure, it can also in extreme cases cause them to vibrate. This is for tires that are both over or under inflated. This is not going to be the main cause of a death wobble, but can eventually be a contributing factor that leads to it occuring, especially at high speeds.

If all of your tires are all inflated to different pressures, this will exacerbate the problem.

Worn out suspension components

Over time, your vehicle’s suspension components will start to wear out. This can include the shocks, struts, ball joints, bushings and tie rods. Large vehicles such as pick up trucks put a lot more stress and strain on their suspension components due to their large weight.

This means they are more prone to suffering from death wobble. When these components are worn to the point where they are not functioning properly, they can cause movement within the vehicle’s suspension system.

This unintended movement between parts in the suspension can be extremely dangerous as it can affect your control and steering of the vehicle. When these parts are loose and the steering to become unstable and lead to death wobble.

The steering components can come loose from either normal wear-and-tear, or from a large impact such as hitting a pothole. The steering and front suspension components are what keep the wheels attached to the vehicle.

They are also where you will feel any vibration coming up through the steering wheel and if they are loose, this is what causes the wheels to start shaking.

Improperly Tightened Lug Nuts

Another possible reason for death wobble is improperly tightened lug nuts. If your lug nuts are not properly tightened, they can come loose and cause your tires to shake and vibrate. This can also cause your vehicle’s wheel to come off whilst you are driving, which is very dangerous and lead to accidents.

If you are working on your own car, make sure to tighten your wheels lug nuts to the correct torque specification. If you are unsure, make sure to check your vehicles hand book and take it to your local tire shop where they will be able to help you.

Brake issues

The brakes are a common point of failure on a car. They are a part that needs replacing often and they are a part that has to withstand a huge amount of heat and pressure on a daily basis. This can mean that the brake disks may warp so that they are no longer perfectly round.

When this happens, it can cause the brakes to vibrate when they are applied. This can lead to death wobble if the vibration is severe enough.

Wheel issues

Another common cause of death wobble is damaged or buckled wheels. If your wheels are buckled or damaged, it means they will not be balanced and will not be able to rotate smoothly. This can cause the vehicle to shake and vibrate when you are driving, particularly at faster speeds.

Poor wheel alignment

An easy way to tell if your vehicle’s death wobble is caused by an alignment issue is to test drive the car on a smooth road. If the death wobble only occurs when you hit a bump or pothole, then it is likely caused by something else.

However, if the death wobble occurs even when you are driving on a smooth road, then it is likely caused by poor wheel alignment. This can be caused by a number of things, such as hitting a curb or pothole, or by simply driving on uneven roads.

How can you prevent death wobble?

There are several things that you can do to prevent death wobble from occurring.

One of the most important things is to make sure that your tires are in good condition. You should regularly check your tires for wear and tear. If you notice any damage, you should replace your tires immediately.

Keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure. If your vehicle is fitted with a tire pressure monitoring system, make sure to check that it is functional and to check the pressure of your tires regularly. Check your tire tread regularly and replace your tires when they are too old or worn out.

Make sure to stick to your vehicles schedules yearly services. This will be the easiest and most likely chance that any issues will be caught before they become a serious problem. Always make sure that your service includes a through inspection of your suspension components and replace any parts if they are worn out.

Do your best to avoid hitting potholes or any other objects that could damage your wheels or suspension components. If you do hit any large potholes or curbs, we would recommend to have your alignment checked as soon as possible.

Another way to prevent death wobble is to make sure your tires are properly balanced. This means that the weight of the tire is evenly distributed around the wheel. If the weight is not evenly distributed, it can cause the tire to shake and vibrate.

You can check your tires for balance by taking your vehicle to a tire shop where they will be able to use a tire balancer. If they notice that your tires are not properly balanced, they will be able to apply weights to your wheels to ensure they ride smoothly on your vehicle.

Another maintenance tip to help prevent death wobble is to make sure you rotate your tires regularly. This means that you should move the front tires to the back and the back tires to the front. This helps to evenly distribute the wear on your tires and prevents them from becoming unbalanced.


Death wobble is a serious vibration which you will feel through the steering wheel and through the whole body of the vehicle. It is a very serious issue that can cause you to lose control of car while driving, which can lead to serious accidents.

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!

If you’re looking to replace your tires, then click this link for the best price on GoodYear Tires.

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