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I get a vibration at high speeds (50+), can feel it particularly in the steering wheel, front seats, dashboard. I have been trying to figure out what's going on, keeping in mind that:

  1. All 4 shocks replaced in April
  2. Had a side swipe accident, they replaced rear axle, front right strut and one of the rims
  3. Got brand new primacy mxv4 tires
  4. this is a 2002 nissan sentra with aluminum wheels

Vibration intensity with time was like this:

  • Before the accident: light vibration (I thought from "cupped" tires because of previous struts)
  • After the accident (before and after the strut and axle replacement): harder vibration, not much worse, but I thought it seemed more noticeable
  • After new tires: harder vibration yet again

I have been to 4 different shops to try to rebalance my tires, check my suspension, everyone keeps on telling me different things!

I am not sure at this point what this is, or how to diagnose it myself?

Is there a way to distinguish between bent wheels, bad tires, bent CV shafts, bent struts, loose/worn steering arms, bad bushings, bad bearings...ahh, so MANY things!

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The two tire shops I've been to tell me that my tires "look good", and everything gets balanced OK. One shop mentioned that one of the rims might be slightly out of round, but it's in the back, so it wouldn't explain the frontal vibration really. Another thing is, when I jack the car up and drive it - I do see some wobble of BOTH front wheels (mostly top to bottom, but potentially some side to side), not a ton, but you can see it with the naked eye. Thing is...I can't tell if it's the WHEELS/TIRES or the DRIVELINE! –  Anton Pugachevsky Dec 9 '12 at 14:16

3 Answers 3

It can be very difficult to isolate if it us from the tires or the drive line.. but most of the time, it is the tires. Looking at the ties with the naked eye when there is no load on the tire is not very telling though. The best thing is to find a shop with a Hunter DSP 9000 or similar machine that measures so called road force. This will measure the tire under load, and can also be used to check rim out of round.

Dealers are probably your best bet. Road force and rim measurements can be quite a bit more expensive than normal balance, but you should be able to do it as supplemental to the insurance claim.

More it is not unusual for brand new tires to have this problem. If it is not the tires or the rim, you could start looking at the hub and driveshaft. If the drive shaft is bent, you can see it with the wheels turning in the air. The hub needs to be measured with a dial indicator.

Vibrations can be notoriously bad to diagnose. It really does amount to eliminating possibilities until you are leftwith the problem. Good luck!

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I have been having a bad bad bad wobble (vibration) in my VW Beetle front-end. I started after I had changed both upper balljoints (they were very bad). But having decided to tighten up every thing I could find I ended up tightened the wheel bearings which really overdue changing.

I am quite confident this is the source for me even though I haven't changed them yet. It's worth a try.

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Check your car engine seat as this could cause steering and dash board vibration.

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