Why does my front end shimmy after hitting a bump?

Vehicle on rough road going by bump in road sign

Between snow-hidden curbs in winter, potholes in spring, and kids and dogs sometimes blocking your view, your tires will hit bumps from time to time—but what if you feel your front end shimmy after hitting a bump?

That’s when there’s cause for concern, because the reason for that shake could compromise your safety.

THE BUMP: What did you hit?

It’s not uncommon to hit unexpected bumps. Whether you slid into the sidewalk or didn’t see a dip in the road because of the snow, it may be cause for concern if your front end is shimmying after you hit a bump.

It’ll help our mechanics to know what kind of bump you hit.

  • Was it a pothole?
  • How big?
  • About how fast were you going at the time?

Try to make a note of the conditions heading into the bump, as well as the shimmy that followed.

THE SHIMMY: What's causing the shimmy after hitting a bump?

Generally, several vehicle conditions can cause vibrations, from worn suspension parts to brakes and transmissions to tires. In this case, if you hit a bump and then felt a shimmy in the steering wheel, we know what’s happened and what’s causing that vibration.

If you feel a slow shake, it’s likely that your wheel was bent to the point it can’t drive straight.

If you feel a fast, vibrating shimmy, hitting the bump may have knocked your vehicle’s weight off, and now a tire is out of balance.

Either way, now your vehicle’s parts are out of sync. The more out of sync they are, the more you’re going to feel it on the steering wheel, especially at high speeds when parts like your tires and wheels are rotating hundreds of times a minute.

THE SOLUTION: How can you fix a shimmy after hitting a bump?

During a front-end inspection, our mechanics will inspect your wheels, tires, suspension and more to see exactly which parts were impacted by hitting the bump.

If your wheel was bent, we can order you a new one.

If your tires are out of balance, we’ll balance them with wheel weights so you can get back to driving straight and smooth. We’ll also perform a computerized wheel alignment to ensure you’re ready for the road with centred and straight wheels and steering wheel.

Even if you’ve hit a hard bump and your wheel wasn’t bent, it’s a good idea to bring your vehicle in because you may still need an alignment.

If you’re feeling a shimmy after hitting a bump,

get it looked at with expert eyes so your safety isn’t being compromised on the road.

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