2002 Honda Odyssey steering wobble

Hi, folks! I have an 02 Odyssey that’s given me minimal problems over the years. Recently it’s developed “odd” issues that my mechanic can’t explain, but make me worried about the safety of driving the van.
I’m on the East Coast, just coming off pothole season. I always keep up my tires, but a few months ago had a blowout with no visible cause. The tire was replaced, and shortly afterward the van developed a steering wobble - sometimes severe. I brought it back to my mechanic, who replaced the remaining 3 tires, saying that they were all worn out on the inside walls, although the tread was fine. The wobble remained. The mechanic said my struts were shot, but he didn’t think that was causing the wobble.
I told him about the wobble again, and was told that the first tire was losing air, possibly due to hitting severe potholes. He reinflated the tire and the wobble got less severe, but didn’t go away. He eventually resealed the tire and replaced the valve stem. The wobble stayed & got worse.
I brought it back in to him and he said the right tie rod was loose & should be replaced. I asked him, over the entire course of this time, whether 1) it was safe to drive, and 2) if these issues were what was causing this wobble, and he said he couldn’t tell for sure.
Currently, I feel a small vibration even on surface streets, and severe wobble above 50 - 60mph. When bearing or veering right, the wobble manifests most. I’m trying to keep my highway speed to 50-55, which annoys the hell out of surrounding motorists.
Any ideas what may be going on here? Under somewhat similar circumstances many years ago, on a Nissan Sentra, the axle finally broke. I’d like to try to avoid that, obviously. Also, I trust my mechanic implicitly, so there’s no scamming or gouging going on. I’m just looking for the likely problem & a secure fix.
Thanks in advance for any perspectives.

Could be the first tire replaced has a defect, or its rim is damaged from whatever went along with the blowout. Blowouts are extremely rare - a rapid deflation of an underinflated tire that has run hot and overflexing is more likely.

Have you driven with a different wheel/tire at that location?

I am not so confident in this mechanic after reading your story. Is there a good front-end shop in your area - someone the body shops send their in-progress cars to?

Wheel is the original. Tire size hasn’t changed any time it’s been replaced.

I’m kind of wondering too if you have a bad wheel. Meaning somehow out of round.

You might try a new set of wheels, like from a junkyard.

I agree with shanonia, take it to a shop that specializes in front end work. The fact that one of your tire blew out and the other 3 are wearing on the inside sidewall according to your mechanic means that something very weird is going on or he is clueless about front end work.

I believe this is directly related to the potholes I’ve hit over the winter, but the “other” three wheels (of the tires replaced) didn’t show any effect of those potholes. The struts are original, with commensurate rust & dried/cracking rubber, so their damage is expected - but effects encountered are minimal. A loose tie rod also sounds logical, but I’m really trying to isolate the cause of the steering wobble, based on the symptoms. I don’t know any front-end specialists in my area, and the majority of the other shops are overpriced & untrustworthy (in my experience). I don’t know if this is much help to you folks, but please ask for more directed info so that I can help you focus in on the possible problem. I’m no mechanic, but I’ll help as best I can. Thanks again for all your help.

Is there any sideways give on either of the front wheels, It might be damage on the track rod when you hit the pot hole.

The steering and suspension should have been inspected the first time you complained about the steering wobble and the loose parts identified. The loose tie rod end is likely the cause of the steering issue but be prepared to replace more steering and suspension parts on a vehicle of that age.

Kau - steering veers a bit further in both directions than usual, then takes a bit longer to pull back (no resistance, though. My first thought was power steering fluid loss, but doesn’t seem likely). Not dramatic, though. Track rod damage sounds possible.
Nevada - if the tie rod was undiagnosed but is now discovered to be the issue, that’s fine. As long as replacing it resolves the wobble/shudder. I’m looking for a new car while I’m trying to ride this out, expecting other serious repairs upcoming.
My mechanic’s been trying to save me the $750 - $1K repair cost of the struts, which is why I’m prepared for the struts’ effects - rough, bouncy ride. Those haven’t manifested, but then this wobble did. The wobble seems to indicate more serious damage, especially if it continues. That’s why I’m getting desperate, and found you guys.

I say stop messing with this and move your vehicle purchase time to sooner than later . You might even use the funds that it will take to make this safe to drive for a rental vehicle while you search for a vehicle.

Vehicle purchase time is ASAP. I have a dealer going to auctions for me. Nothing affordable yet (he’s recommending a Hyundai compact or midsize). Believe me, I’m not messing with this. I need transportation for work, and rental costs are unaffordable for more than a day or 2.

Are you committed to take what ever he finds ? If so you might not improve your situation at all . There are so many used vehicles on the market and you can’t test drive auction cars. Doesn’t this dealer have something on his lot you can afford ?

He deals in high end cars on his lot. He shops for specific, individual cases for his ‘good’ customers. I’ve been buying from him for over 25 years. When I was in the repair shop, I actually called him & asked him for “whatever you’ve got on your lot,” which is when I found out he only has the high end cars in stock now. In other words, yeah, I’d take whatever he finds for me.
Just contacted him. He’s looking for under 50K miles so it’ll still be under warranty.

What warranty ? On an auction vehicle with who knows how many owners . That might be the drive line coverage but good luck using that. Sorry , but this makes no sense at all . Not sure what high end vehicles means but why can’t you find your own that you can test drive and have a shop look at it for you .

At 50,000 miles, you might have a power train warranty remaining, but the bumper to bumper warranty is usually 36,000 miles or 3 years.

Auction cars are typically trade-ins that the dealer doesn’t want to sell on his lot. Sometimes it’s a brand mismatch, but mostly, there is a problem with the car or the mileage is too high. Since you’ve had good success with this dealer, you should still work with him.

You might also try looking on your own. Check new dealer stock for used cars on line. They all have inventory lists on line, and many also have prices. I needed a car for my daughter at college in 2012. I found a two year old Cobalt with 14,000 miles advertised at $10,000. It had no options and it was on a Nissan lot. I got the car for less than asking price, a very good deal at the time. If I can do it, you can too.

Hate to say it, but I found this Odyssey on eBay because my previous van was stolen & I needed something immediately. That was 10 years ago, and it lasted just fine. Private owner who lived 1/2 hour away. I got lucky. My situation was very different then. Now I’m working 4 jobs and have no time for the machinations of looking/researching/testing/haggling/buying, so it’s a relief to have someone reliable who’ll do it for me.
My dealer exclusively gets auction cars off lease. Clean & Carfaxed. Trustworthy guy who has taken cars back when I found something wrong - no questions.
Again, I’m just trying to quickly identify & fix the van’s issue until the dealer finds me something reliable. Trying to keep ends together until then. Thanks for all the advice & perspective, folks. This is what I was looking for, so please keep it coming.

I know very little about mechanics, only reason I responded is that I had a similar problem after hitting a pot hole. Replacing the end of the track rod almost fixed it (still need to replace the bearings). The part was about $30 and took about 30 minutes for my mechanic to fix. It is a very small job, so you might want to check if that might be the problem.

If you are thinking about getting a new car regardless, and can’t find an easy fix, I think this might be a good time to trade up. I once spent thousands on endless repairs on an old Camry, and afterwards realized I could have actually saved a lot of money if I just bought a new car instead of throwing money on repairs of the old one.

We’re on the same page, Kau. I’m just trying to keep my ability for transportation, one way or another. Thanks again for your suggestion. I’ll try to diplomatically raise it to my mechanic this week. My dealer says he’s hopeful about finding a good car this week, too.