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!

  • 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! Dec 9, 2012 at 14:16

5 Answers 5


It can be very difficult to isolate if it is from the tires or the drive line.. but most of the time, it is the tires. Looking at the tires 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.

Moreover 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 driveshaft 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 hard to diagnose. It really does amount to eliminating possibilities until you are left with the problem. Good luck!


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


It is most likely these things in this order:

  1. Bad tires: Could be worn, not balanced right, or a broken belt. Try rotating tires to see if that helps

  2. Bad alignment: could be slightly off and It leads to shaking at high speess

  3. Bad balljoints/tie rods: Tires that arnt true will give a bad shaking and therefore lead to alignment.


Tire vibration can be caused by worn axle bearings. Cars with 125,000+ are suspect of excessive axle bearing wear. The replacement cost varies greatly. On my 2011 Camry the parts cost was < $200 dollars and took about 4 hours to do with some basic tools. The most difficult step was removing the ball joint. Hope this helps.


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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