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2009 Accord, chronic vibration problem. Suggestions needed

I have a 2009 EX-L V-6 sedan with just under 245k on it. I’ve had a chronic vibration problem for quite a while now and it’s really vexing. I’m coming up on 250,000 miles and would like to include a solution as part of the services around that milestone, but I don’t want to just start throwing parts at it willy-nilly. There are other upgrades and a limited budget, so I’d like to approach this with some guidance if possible.

I’ve taken it to the local dealership (Classic Honda, Denison, TX) and had the mechanics there drive it and they reported no problem, so that’s not an ideal solution.

The vibration is pronounced enough to jiggle the steering wheel in my hands, but it’s not consistent. I’ve noticed that it varies according to the road surface and can be exacerbated during breaking.

Over the past year I have…
Had the front rotors replaced.
Bought new rear tires.
Had tires rotated and balanced
Four-wheel alignment

all of these changes make an immediate improvement, but not a complete fix. And after a day or so, the problem returns.
The rear shocks are OEM and the front struts were replaced a couple of years ago. They didn’t clear it up either, and they slightly degraded the handling.

I checked the rear tires yesterday (a few weeks after rotation) and noticed that the inner tread is more worn than the outer. Does this indicate that the front struts are worn?

With the mileage you have on the car it very well could mean you need to have the front suspension and steering gone over by a shop that does that kind of work well.

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Last thing first, your rear alingment is out of spec. It may be out of spec for the way you drive, as well. Toe out will wear the inside of the tire as will too much negative camber.

I would suggest the vibrstion you are feeling may be worn control arm bushings, worn steering rack, tie rod ends and maybe strut mounts. Or it may be all of them. The car has a ton of miles and everything is worn. Just replacing the lower control arms with new bushings and ball joints may solve this. But you might need more.

You can’t make an old car drive like a new one without replacing all parts with new. Sorry.

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Thanks, I’ll start there.

For vibrations you can feel in the steering wheel that occur at certain speeds or get worse the faster you go my first guess is a wheel is out of balance. Those weights they put on the wheels to balance them fall off very easily, at least by the number of them I see laying on the side of the road. It may be that one of the wheel weights fell off is all. If an out of balance wheel isn’t the problem, next in line …

  • suspension system bushing(s) are worn and loose
  • wheel is wobbling up/down or right/left for some reason
  • faulty wheel bearing

At 250 k miles wouldn’t be surprised if you have more than one of these problems.

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George, thanks much for weighing in.

I just had the wheels balanced and tires rotated a couple of weeks ago, so I don’t think that’s it.

I had my daughter drive alongside the car last weekend to check for bouncing wheels that would indicate worn shocks or struts. She indicated nothing out of the ordinary.

So it looks like the culprit is worn bushings. I’ve started shopping for lower control arms and bushing on Rock Auto.

the next question will be, is that a shade tree mechanic part swap, or do I have to take it to a mechanic?

I suggest you let a reputable shop actually diagnose the problem(s). Don’t tell them you think the bushings are goners. Let them arrive at their own conclusion(s). You’re paying them to diagnose and repair, not throw parts at it and hope for the best, right . . . ?! :thinking:

That reputable shop is apparently not the Honda dealer, as they haven’t been able to get a handle on this situation

You’re probably looking at an INDEPENDENT shop that specializes in front end work, steering and suspension, alignments, tires, and so forth. In other words, not Pep Boys, Midas, Meineke, Just Tires, etc.

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Ask some good body shops: where do you send crashed cars that need suspension and alignment work?

If it wasn’t Road Force Balancing, then I have to say that the wheel balancing that was done might not have been effective. When I had problematic OEM Continental tires, Road Force Balancing eliminated a high-speed vibration problem that “regular” balancing didn’t correct.

You might want to use this link to locate shops in your area that use the superior Hunter GSP9700 balancing equipment:
https://www.hunter.com/gsp9700

However, I also have to agree with those who stated that 250k mile front-end parts are likely to be badly worn at this point…
:thinking:

new motor mounts might help
new front struts and springs might help
new upper and lower control arms

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+1

I’ve also had a bad experience trying to get a new set of Continentals to stop vibrating, until paid for the Road Force Balancing

May I assume you never actually bought a set of replacement contis . . . ? :smiley:

While I don’t think they’re awful tires, they don’t much impress me, for that matter

It turned out to be a combination of alignment and worn rear struts. As part of a planned 250k mile makeover, I had the rear struts replaced (the local dealer said one was leaking). That required a four-wheel alignment. The combination banished the vibration. It drives like new. :slight_smile: