This morning I took the car into the Toyota dealership in Glebe and left it there to be serviced. I told the staffer who was in the reception bay what had happened and he got me to go out with another Toyota employee on a test drive. They guy ascertained that the wheel was, indeed, shaking at low speed. I came back home after leaving the car and in the middle of the afternoon I called Toyota to see how the job was proceeding. They had done a wheel alignment and had taken it out for a test drive. If it still wasn't performing to spec they would do a wheel balancing. I told the staffer I would be at their showroom by 4.30pm as I had to walk there from home. About 20 minutes later I set out on foot.
When I got to the dealership I found that they had done the wheel balancing they had earlier suggested because when they took the car for a test drive after the wheel alignment they found that the steering wheel was pulling to the left and it also was not sitting straight on the column. I paid using the credit card and drove back home via Wigram Road and Pyrmont Bridge Road.
While talking with the staffer I did ask him if driving with a wheel out of alignment was dangerous, and he said it was not. He also told me that he understood that I had explained that the steering wheel had just started vibrating without any warning signs. He said that this can happen "if the weights fall off" (I started to imagine what this could entail, but failed). Anyway I was glad I had not chosen to drive north from Bingara to meet an old school friend at Byron Bay, which I had earlier planned to do. The bad steering was a real shock to me, and made the trip back to Sydney distinctly unpleasant. Now that everything is in order I feel much better. And I can go up to the nursing home tomorrow to see mum. I haven't seen her in a week.