Why Does My Car Shimmy?

We frequently hear from customers complaining that their vehicle shimmies and they want to know why. It could be related to tire imbalance. In certain cases, it could be an issue requiring minor brake repair.

Brake Repair on Rear Rotor

Brake Repair on Rear Rotor

Many people know that a vehicle that shimmies at certain highway speeds is often the result of tire imbalance. In this case, having your tires balanced usually takes care of the problem.

However, sometimes people only notice the shimmy when they are braking. A shimmy that occurs only when braking is most often the result of one or more brake rotors being out of true.

If you’ve ever seen a warped LP record, that’s a good analogy. On a warped vinyl record, the record player needle rises and falls each time the warped record traverses beneath the needle. 

In the case of your vehicle, each time the warped rotor traverses between the brake pads, it gives a tug on the brakes. This in turn causes the shimmy sensation which is felt on the steeling wheel and may even be felt as a passenger in the vehicle.

If this is the case for your vehicle, some brake repair may be in order. The shimmy problem can usually be eliminated by machining — truing the rotor on a lathe. In the event that the brake rotor is worn too thinly, the rotor should be replaced.

If you feel your vehicle shimmy, bring it in to Roemer’s Tire Factory in Missoula for an analysis by a trained auto repair technician. The cause of your vehicle’s shimmy can be quickly determined and the appropriate course of action taken to correct the problem. The sooner you bring your vehicle in after noticing the problem, the easier and less expensive any repair will be. (If it’s a tire balancing issue and you purchased your tires at a Tire Factory location, re-balancing your tires will be free!)

Whatever the cause, Roemer’s maintenance and auto repair technicians can get you quickly back on the road. Whether we re-balance your tires or perform minor break repair work, you’ll be driving again in no time — without any shimmy or shake!

Roemer’s Tire Factory — we do more than just tires. We do Missoula auto repair too!

Leave a reply