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Car vibrates when turning right / accelerating.

edited November -1 in Repair and Maintenance
Hi everyone. I have a 2001 Corolla that vibrates pretty strongly whenever I am making a right turn. Has anyone else experienced this.



Details:

Car has 125k miles

Tires are newish

Alignment and rotation done recently (car vibrated before this).



Symptoms:

Feels as if the entire care is shaking and vibrating.

Can feel it in the steering wheel, but it doesn't feel as if it is originating from the steering wheel. Everyone in the car can feel it.

Can not feel it coming from the pedal.



When it happens:

When I make a right turn, but mostly when the turn is pretty wide - like when entering a freeway onramp or when on a windy road. Much less so if any when making a hard right turn from a stop (maybe because I'm going slow?).



Happens at pretty large range of speeds in the range of 15-55 mph, give or take. Seems to increase vibration when going faster but pretty noticeable at lower speeds.



Importantly, the vibration stops if I am not accelerating or braking. Only when foot is on the gas.



Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



Thanks!

Comments

  • edited August 2010

    Have your CV joints checked.
    I suspect that the one on the left axle is going to break very soon, based on the symptoms, but with 125k miles on the odometer, you should probably replace both CV joints if the left one proves to be bad.

    Incidentally, it may be more cost-efficient to just replace the axles in their entirety, rather than attempting to replace just the CV joints on the axles.
  • edited August 2010
    That noise sounds more like a wheel bearing ready to fail.

    Jack the front of the vehicle up so the tires are off the ground. Grab each of the front tires at the 6:00 oclock and 12:00 oclock positions and try rocking the top and bottom of the tire in and out. If the tire rocks in and out, that wheel bearing is bad.

    Tester
  • edited August 2010
    I agree with Tester. This could be a wheel bearing or some other suspension component instead of a CV joint. The practical difference is that a broken CV joint will leave you stranded. Many of the other things that could be failing will leave you in a hospital or funeral home. Even if the wobble test that Tester suggests doesn't show a problem, I'd get the front end checked out by a competent mechanic.
  • edited August 2010
    The "foot on the gas" aspect makes one think of CV joints, but symptoms leading to CV joint failures generally involve noise more than the car vibrating.

    My vote is the the ball joint at the base of the strut, with a few other suspension components that have some wear on them, allowing a resonant frequency vibration to get set up. This is unusual for a Toyota with only 125k miles, but I don't know how many pot holes you have hit.

    Whatever it is, if it is loose enough to cause the whole car to vibrate, you definitely want to get it resolved before something comes completely apart at highway speed. Click and Clack cannot afford to loose any listeners.
  • edited August 2010
    Thanks everyone,

    I recently had my mechanic look at the car after explaining to him what was happening. He even took it for a test drive himself. He could not find anything that looked bad around the tires and suspension - but I'm not sure exactly what he looked at. I should ask him.

    Anyway, I also recently got my front brakes replaced by a different mechanic who specializes in brakes and tires. Presumably he did a quick inspection but I didn't alert him to the problem. But I'm wondering why neither of these guys noticed anything unusual. Is the wheel bearing and CV joint the type of things you have to remove parts to actually see damage?

    I can try the wiggle test and report back.

    One other idea I had was that it could be a bad engine mount(s). My car has been a little noisier lately when idling and I thought that having a bad motor mount on one side of the car could cause vibration when turning and accelerating. I looked at the mounts closely and they do seem worn down with what looks like very small cracks (3 out of 4 look this way). Could this be the problem??

    Thanks!
  • edited August 2010
    Have someone put their foot on the brake and press the gas while you watch the engine (from the side, not the front of the car). This will be tricky if the car is a manual transmission and they have to heel-and-toe it. If you have a broken engine mount, the engine will twist and separate the broken mount, making it obvious.
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