How to Fix Front End Shaking on a Jeep Cherokeeby Will Chandler
Identifying problems in automobiles can be a long and difficult process. A front end shaking can be attributed to a variety of causes: the vehicle being out of alignment; the tires being out of balance; the brake rotors being warped; or a bushing being corroded. Start with the easiest fixes first, and work your way up to more difficult tasks.
Use the floor jack to lift the front end of the Jeep off the ground. Insert two jack stands under the front axle so you have more room to see underneath. Start by examining all the joints of the front suspension. Any place that moves with the suspension should have a rubber or polycarbonate bushing to cushion the metal on metal friction. Bushings are about 1/2-inch thick, and are usually black or gray from the factory. These bushing do wear out and this process can be sped up by aggressive driving, off road usage, and by the vehicle being out of alignment. Check the track bar, tie rods, drag link and the axle linkage. If a bushing needs to be replaced, use the appropriate socket and ratchet to remove the bolt and nuts, and insert a new bushing. Depending on where they are located, the nuts can be 1/2-inch, 5/8-inch or 9/16-inch.
Remove the front tires by removing the lug nuts holding them in place. Look at the driver's side rotor and look for uneven wearing, burn marks or corrosion. Spin the rotor by hand and try to see if the rotor spins evenly. If a rotor is warped, it can cause the car to shake when the brakes are applied. If the rotor needs to be replaced, remove the two caliper bolts holding the brake pads to the rotor and set them aside. Be sure not to let the caliper hang loosely because it will damage the brake line. Use a hammer and gently tap on the inside of the rotor. Slide the rotor off and replace it with a new one. Reattach the caliper and pads to the rotor and tighten down the caliper bolts.
Take your tires to a local tire shop and have them checked to see if they are properly balanced. Most shops charge around $20 to check the balance, and this procedure only takes about 10 minutes. With the tires checked and back on the vehicle, test drive the Jeep to see if the problem has been corrected. If not, take the vehicle to a garage and have the service mechanics preform an alignment. Depending on the Jeep model, you may be able to do this yourself. If the Jeep has a solid front axle and an adjustable track bar, then you can adjust the track bar to adjust your alignment. Unbolt the lower end of the track bar from the axle housing. Use the threads at the bottom end of the track bar so that the track bar fits into the bracket while the wheels are straight forward. Reinsert the track bar and bolt it into place.
- check Secure the vehicle and apply the parking brake before preforming any maintenance to the vehicle. Should you encounter any difficulties, your local auto store has manuals with pictures and descriptions to preform maintenance on your vehicle.