Car vibrating at a higher speed after a snowstorm? This is why! (Video)

Feb 1, 2023

With our Ottawa winters, you already know how much of an impact snow can have on your vehicle and overall driving. Some effects are obvious, like slipping and sliding on black ice, frozen doors, and getting stuck. But, one thing that isn’t often discussed is what the real effect snow can have on your vehicle at high speeds. Here at Ottawa Easy Wheels, one of our main goals is to educate our customers on what can happen to their cars and how to solve it so today we will be diving into why you may experience vibrations at a higher speed after a snowstorm. 

Why does my vehicle vibrate at higher speeds after a snowstorm?

Winter driving requires more caution at all speeds, however it is especially important to look out for yourself and your car at high ones. You may notice that sometimes you feel a vibration in your car when driving on the highway after a massive snowfall. This is because when snow is sticky, it gets stuck inside your car wheels. When snow gets stuck in the rims of your tires, it throws the balance of the entire vehicle off. Generally, this will only be noticeable at high speeds, but it can sometimes be felt on regular roads as well, depending on the weight of the snow in your wheels. Remember, your car may start vibrating for a variety of reasons, not just snow. It’s always important to find the root cause to keep yourself safe. If the cause is snow, we explain what this may look like in a video below, as our co-owner Dan demonstrates on a vehicle in the shop.

Steel wheel weights, alloy wheel weights and their link to your car’s balance

A steel weight is the little plaque on the outside of your wheel that you might notice if you look closely. Alloy wheels don’t usually have steel wheel weights, they have sticky wheel weights and they are stuck to the inside of the rim. 

Wheel weights help balance your wheels and take care of any vibrations, so there aren’t any singular heavy spots. After a snowstorm, you will likely get a buildup on one – or several – of your wheels, and it will stay stuck on the inside rim. As your wheel turns, the snow will turn with it. The added weight throws the wheel weight off, and therefore your car feels unbalanced.

Snow buildup on your wheels: How to dislodge it

If the snow that is causing a buildup on your wheels is located on one of the front wheels, you can try to turn your wheel all the way to either the left or right. This will allow you to be able to see the snow in your wheel and remove it.

If the snow buildup is on one or both of your back wheels, it will be more difficult to remove. One thing you can do is try to melt the snow by getting your car into a warm place. If you have access to a warm garage, this would be a great place to take your car. Once your vehicle is in the garage, you can spray your wheels down with water from a hose, which will further help melt off some of the snow. It’s important to do this inside your garage, so that the water does not freeze into the wheels. 

Although we are approaching the end of January, it’s not looking like we are close to being done with the snow yet this winter. If you are feeling any vibrations in your wheels, there’s no need to panic. However, any signs of vibration should be taken seriously, so it’s important to get that taken care of and checked. Remember, if you notice that your car is vibrating, it could be for a variety of reasons other than snow being stuck in your wheels. To verify, come in and see us in person at our Orleans auto shop, or we can come to you for car servicing. Let us help you keep yourself and your car safe!

For more information regarding winter car maintenance, explore our website or book an appointment: https://ottawaeasywheels.com/.

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