What’s making my steering wheel shake?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader who is experiencing shaking in his 15-year-old car.

FILE - This Aug. 25, 2019, file photo shows a sign at a Nissan dealership in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Nissan is recalling nearly 346,000 vehicles worldwide to replace dangerous Takata air bag inflators that can explode and hurl shrapnel. ()
–AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Q. I get a bit of a shaking, chatter, clicking, and noise in the steering wheel of my 15-year-old Nissan Altima. The noise is most noticeable when I pull into my driveway or into a parking spot. Recently I drove to Maine and didn’t hear or feel a thing until I parked at a hotel. What could be wrong? 

A. The noise could be related to a worn wheel bearing or worn tire, but it’s most likely a worn constant velocity (C/V) joint. Have a repair shop look at all of the steering and suspension components, paying particular attention to the wheel bearings and the C/V joints. If they do find a worn C/V joint, it may be most economical to replace the entire axle. At the same time, have the shop look for structural rust. Some of these models had some serious rusting issues and, depending on if there is rust, you may want to consider how much money you want to put into your Altima. 

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. E-mail your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.

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