Car Wobbles When Driving Slow? Common Reasons & Easy Fixes!

Updated: | Author: Steve Freling | Affiliate links may be present.

You are out for a leisurely drive and your car begins to wobble. Why does it do this? Is this a problem that needs to be immediately addressed? How can you fix a wobbly car?

A car that wobbles at low speeds, around 15-20 MPH,  is most likely due to a separated tire. A separated tire is a dangerous situation that will end with a blown tire. If you suspect a separated tire, take the car to a tire shop immediately. Other causes of a wobbling car could be tire cupping, a slightly bent wheel, loose suspension, worn motor mounts, or warped rotors.

Why Does My Car Wobble When I Drive Slow?

There are a number of reasons that a car could wobble at low speeds. It is most likely related to an issue with the tire, but there are several other things that can cause vehicle wobble, as well.

Tire Issues  – Separated Tire

If the car wobbles at a very low speed, such as 15-20 MPH or slower, it is most likely caused by a separated tire. Do not keep driving on it! Do not stop for gas, go through the drive-through, or run a quick errand. Go immediately to the tire shop to get it repaired.

A separated tire is a grave safety issue. The tire could blow at any time, so it is important to get it fixed immediately. A blown tire could result in a serious traffic accident.

What It Feels Like

The car will wobble at 15-20 MPH with a separated tire. If the tire issue is in the front, the car will rock back and forth. If it is in the back, the rocking will be at the rear of the car.

How to Fix it

Pull over to examine the tires. A separated tire will have a noticeable lump or bulge along the treads. If you can locate the problematic tire, change it for the spare tire, then take it to a tire shop.

If you can’t locate the separated tire, go directly to the closest tire shop and get the tire replaced.

Tire Issues – Out of Round Tire

An out of round tire or slightly bent wheel is often the cause of tire wobble at low speeds of 30 MPH or higher. This is not an emergency like a tire wobble at low speeds. However, you do want to fix it.

What It Feels Like

You will feel a slight shake or wobble when the vehicle is driven at 30-50 MPH, but not at slower speeds.

How to Fix it

Usually, the tires just need to be balanced. Take the vehicle to a tire shop. The technicians will put the vehicle on the balancer to determine which tire is the problem.

Tire Issues – Tire Cupping

Tire cupping looks like small waves along the edges of the tires. It is usually caused by alignment issues, especially in the rear tires.

What It Feels Like

As you can imagine, wavy tires will cause a wobbly ride! Get eye level with the tires to look for regular, uneven areas.

How to Fix it

A four-wheel alignment is the best solution for tire cupping. Even if you put new tires on the car, if the alignment is still off, you will eventually have tire cupping again.

Other Reasons for Wobbling

Of course, faulty tires aren’t the only reason for a wobbly ride. Here are some other non-tire-related reasons why your car may wobble.

Loose Suspension or Bearings

Loose suspension can cause a wobble when you hit a bump. The front will continue to wobble as you drive. If the car only wobbles some of the time, it most likely is not a tire issue, but a suspension or bearing issue.

Worn Motor Mounts

If the car wobbles during hard acceleration, or when you’re driving uphill, it may be due to worn motor mounts. Motor mounts are the connection between the engine and the chassis. When the engine accelerates, faulty motor mounts will shake, which causes shaking in the car. A mechanic can diagnose and fix the problem.

Warped Brake Rotors

The brake rotors are squeezed when you push the brake pedal in order to slow the car down. The rotors can warp due to heat, friction, water, or hard braking. When this happens, the car may shake or wobble when you hit the brakes. Often this is accompanied by a grinding and squealing sound.

Final Thoughts

Don’t keep wobbling! If your vehicle is wobbling at a very low speed, take it to a tire shop right away to check for a separated tire. Otherwise, your car may need an alignment, balance, or new tires. You’ll be driving smoothly in no time!

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About Steve Freling

Steve has worked for more than 20 years as an automotive mechanic, and later run his own repair shop for both cars and motorcycles. He's a maintenance freak, and generally pretty good at troubleshooting!

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