Why Do Casters Wobble?

Casters FAQ: Why Do Casters Wobble? 

With over 50 years of experience in the industrial supply and casters business, one of the questions we most often get asked is: why do caster wheels wobble? Since casters are typically in constant motion and use, they can get wobbly over time. This also is called caster flutter or caster shimmy, and the shaky wheels can become noisy and cause disruptive movements.  

Casters are crucial to company operations and as such have to be in tip-top condition. If casters do not function properly, the products you transport might be at risk. Read on to find out what causes unstable casters and how you can best address them.   

Caster Flutter Causes 

There are three common causes of caster shimmy — high speeds, loose swivels, and misalignment.  

  • High speeds: In most cases, rapidly moving casters can cause casters to flutter. At low speeds, a caster wheel rotates around its principle axis, causing it to move smoothly. However, moving at high speeds can cause the wheel to follow a different axis, creating an imbalance.  
  • Loose swivels: Constant use may damage casters and the components used for attachment. If the swivel is not secure, the whole caster can wobble uncontrollably.  
  • Misalignment: Some casters flutter because they are not aligned well with the ground. Worn parts, height modification, and sudden heavy impacts may cause caster misalignment.  

Avoiding Caster Flutter 

Now that we’ve answered the question “Why do casters wobble?” we can discuss how to best avoid wobbling casters. 

  • Move at lower speeds: If a caster is fully-functional, moving at a leisurely pace should get rid of a caster shimmy. However, if a caster has loose swivels or is misaligned, it will shake even if it is moved at low speeds.  
  • Tighten the wheels: Turn your equipment upside down and carefully inspect all the casters individually. If the screws securing the wheels are loose, tighten them with a screwdriver.  
  • Clean the wheels: Sometimes dirt and grime may lead to a caster’s uncontrollable wobbling. If the wheels on your equipment are dirty, wipe away any dirt and grime. Next, coat each caster with cleaning spray and wipe it down with a cloth. Allow the wheels to dry before using the equipment.  
  • Lubricate the casters: If you still have wobbly wheels after you clean them, try lubricating them. Spray penetrating oil on the casters before using the equipment.  
  • Replace the casters: Remove wheels that are rusty or broken beyond repair as damaged wheels can cause equipment to shake. Make sure to order replacement wheels and screws that match your equipment’s specifications. You might also need to replace your casters. Lubricate new wheels five minutes before use.  

Get New High-Quality Casters 

Why do caster wheels wobble? Many factors may cause shaky casters. To ensure your casters performance, identify and fix the problem right away. Wobbly caster wheels can put your operations or the products you are transporting at significant risk.  

If you need new high-quality casters, we have ideal ones for any industry — food service, medical, outdoor, industrial, warehousing, aerospace, waste removal, manufacturing, and more. Shop all our Casters. If you need help choosing the right caster, contact us or call us at 866-306-9566 today.