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Hit curb 10mph brand new Corolla - mild vibration after

Hi all
I’m at my wits end here.

Thursday I purchased a brand new corolla 2017 SE. I was super happy with it, loved the ride, i’ve owned corolla for years and am very accustomed to it. Felt like my old corolla, but better basically.

On friday, probably due to stress and bad sleep, pulling in to a parking space i hit my front right tire on the curb. I would assume it was about 10mph hit, enough to make a jolt and a friction feeling, and “uh oh did i just trash my new tire” worry. I didnt get a flat, however my hub cap is mildly scratched, my tire has a small chunk missing. Otherwise everything looks okay. It appears i hit the curb at an angle, on the side of my R wheel

When i pulled out of the space immediately i noticed a very subtle “vibration”. You can feel it in the floorboard and the steering wheel. I only had 40 miles on this car at the time, and obviously i was freaking out. I bumped my old corolla like this quite a few times and never noticed any performance change.

I drove the car for the next 3 days to accumulate another 150 miles. I drove it in city and highway traffic. The “vibration” is felt in the floorboard and steering wheel as stated, and seems worse on highway traffic. The wheel jolts to the side very slightly on highway speeds. Otherwise, breaks are tight, turns are tight, as a new car should be. To give you an idea of the problem, after a 30 minute drive,when i get out of the car, my hands and feet are vibrating as if i was holding on to a drill. That’s not normal.

I made an appointment with the service center from the dealer and was honest what happened. I asked them to check the balance, alignment, the whole wheel system, and specifically to inspect the R front tire which is where i curbed it when the problem started. From the outset, the service assistant seemed not to take my claim seriously, as it looks like a perfect new car and i am describing something trivial. He looked at the hubcap and said “thats a scratch” when i asked for the tire to be inspected.

I spoke to the mechanic working on my car. I didnt test drive it with her, but she said she did not notice any vibration but she only tested it at city speeds. She said “corolla suspensions are bouncy, thats why i dont like them”. I’ve owned a corolla for 7 years, i know the ride, and i like it. I liked this car before i curbed it. The whole conversation with her was like “there’s nothing wrong that’s how its supposed to sound”.

Long story short, they balanced car, it was fine. They checked alignment and it WAS out of alignment , which they corrected. They found nothing else wrong.

However, in spite of their insistence nothing is wrong, driving home from the shop, the car has this corse vibration in the floorboard and steering wheel. I get back in my house my entire hands and feet have aftershocks of vibration as if i were holding on to a freakin’ drill for 30 minutes. That’s NOT normal for corolla, and it wasnt normal before i curbed it.

I dont know what to do at this point. Does any one have any opinions?

My mom knows a collision shop in town with an honest mechanic. I’m thinking of taking my brand new car there in desperation for an opinion.

Right now, I dont even enjoy driving the car. The vibration is annoying. Sucks to feel so bad about a brand new car i was so happy about.

I agree, the dealer did not do a good job, take it somewhere else. Perhaps there is another dealer nearby? Or a good (independent) tire shop? Ask friends, relatives for any recommendations.

Put the spare on RF. Does vibration change?

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You need to consider this tire unsafe until it’s checked out by a qualified technician. If it’s been compromised enough it could easily blow out when you hit a pothole, or even a bump on the highway. You also need to have the wheel spun to check for a bent wheel and maybe have the alignment check.

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+1 to all of Mountainbike’s recommendations.
In case the OP is not aware of it, the sidewall of the tire is its weakest part, and this situation is a potential safety hazard that needs to be evaluated by a shop other than the dealership. I would seek-out the best front-end/alignment shop in town.

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You said that your tire had a small chunk of rubber missing after you hit the curb.Where? sidewall or treads. I am thinking of a steel belt separation due to your impact with the curb. The vibration you described is typical of steel belt separation. Change that tire ASAP.

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The tire needs to be replaced as that is not only dangerous but is likely the cause of the vibration.

Since the alignment WAS out of spec this means something (likely a control arm) was bent. Bringing the alignment back into spec is not fixing the problem. Hitting the curb at an angle is the same as straight on.

A competent shop should not dismiss the tire with a piece missing and they should also consider (or should have…) the alignment spec being out due to a suspension or steering item being damaged from the impact.

Sounds like you were dealing with a service writer at the dealership. Dismissing this as “thats a scratch” means it’s someone you should avoid in the future.

@withthelightsout00 This is not dealer problem. You need a tire shop and a front end shop because your hitting the curb is not a warranty covered item.

Of course it depends on the extent of damage but when you say a chunk is missing, that’s a big red flag. Just to commiserate, I recently had to replace a basically brand new truck tire with less then 1000 miles on it due to a granite curb taking a bite out of the sidewall. The $210 it cost is low compared to the risk and piece of mind. At 10 mph your wheel could also be bent. I can’t believe they did not do a road force balancing evaluation of the wheel assembly… in addition to inspecting the suspension and steering components on that side.

You could ask them to go on a drive with you. Get it up to speed where the problem manifests itself and tell the mechanic to put his hand on the wheel to feel the vibration. If it’s as bad as you say, it should be obvious to others as well. But get the tire evaluated/changed first and before you drive at any appreciable speed on it…

I disagree. Any good Toyota dealer should have staff that can diagnose, recommend repairs, and remedy this problem. It’s not rocket science. I question the quality of “service” at this dealer.

In light of what has happened so far, I agree with this. Have a highly reputed tire/alignment shop diagnose the problem. The tire/wheel in question need to be inspected and checked for radial and lateral run-out. If they don’t know what that is or how to do it then go someplace else. Also, they can inspect the suspension and steering systems.

I’d swap that front tire/wheel with a rear one and see if the steering wheel stops jiggling and the jiggling comes from the rear and is felt in the seat of the pants, instead.

The quality tire shop will probably recommend a wheel alignment check/wheel alignment. That is a good idea to rule out any unseen suspension/steering damage.

If this gets very expensive start saving receipts and consider filing an accident claim with your insurance carrier.
CSA

First lets address the chunk out of the tire. Can you see the cords underneath? If you see only rubber, no cords, then the tire is fine. If you do see cords, you need to replace it.

Now for the vibration. Your wheel is bent. If the tire is rotated on a balancer, you will be able to see the wheel wobble. Many mechanics look for a dent in the rim of the tire as evidence but a dent in the rime does not mean the wheel is bent, nor does the lack of one mean that it is not.

The wheel is bent because the hub mating surface is not perfectly parallel with the plane of the rim. The rim is the part where the tire mates to the wheel and the hub mating surface is where the wheels lug nuts go.

The alignment was probably never off. But with a bent wheel, every time you check the alignment, it will show that the toe is off because as the wheel turns, the toe will constantly change. You need to find a wheel shop that has the specialized equipment needed to correct the wheel or you can just buy a new wheel from the dealership.

Since you have hub caps, then I assume you have steel wheels. They are not too expensive. With mounting and balancing of the tire, probably around a $100. If you need a new tire because the cords are exposed, then do a package deal, tire and wheel, expect to pay about $200-250. You will also need another alignment undo the damage done by the first one.

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The tire should be checked even if you can’t see the cords, because a 10mph impact with a curb can break a belt.

The SE model that OP says she has comes with aluminum rims, so the price for wheel replacement is gonna be higher.

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Can you post a picture of the tire damage? That might give us a better idea of what’s going on.

Regardless, if this were my car, I’d replace the tire (due to possible internal damage), have the wheel checked to make sure it’s not bent or cracked, and have the control arm and other parts of the front suspension carefully checked as ok4450 describes. That might not be cheap, but this could be a safety issue.

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Yup my guess also would be you need a new tire. I would do it right away though so you can get a matched tire from the dealer and so that the tread wear is not significant. I wrecked one with 1500 miles on it, so stuff does happen. Just tell them you need a new tire put on-at your expense of course. If they can’t do it right away, just buy the tire over the counter so it matches and have a tire shop replace it. That’s what I had to do.

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You should get a tire but the most important thing to do here is check for a bent rim. Even a bent rim can balance out with good weights.

Hi everyone
thank you all for the replies, this was kind and helpful.
I consulted with the other mechanic with established well reputed collision shop.
I told him what happened, he took it seriously. He found the mark himself w/o me prompting. I told him the other shop said “its just a scratch”. He said “that wasnt a scratch, that was a collision”. It’s small but i guess he could tell it was a little bit of force.

So long story short he checked out the tire, he rotated the tires, checked the alignment and balances. He said the alignment was good (shop didnt mess that up) but he said the car was out of balance; as per the mechanic, they never did the balance, the factory bonding was still on the wheels, and the balance was wrong.

On my retest, the steering wheel vibration was MUCH improved which i found relieving, because that means it was simply out of balance (and prior shop lied) or its localized to the wheel (so it improved rotated to behind the car).

AFter driving around for several hours, I have no doubt the steering wheel vibration is better. I am still feeling some vage corse vibration in the floorboard but seems more isolated to back, which is consistent if something is slightly bumped or bent in that wheel. However, he did check out the wheel/tire, said its okay. Its also possible i’m just so sensitive monitoring for vibrations after going through this crap since last friday. However i am very certain the wheel/front is improved quite a bit.

They say you cant feel the balance until 50mph but i have to say i noticed a very tiny/mild tremble even at city speeds. I might just be very sensitive, or it might be something is wrong with that wheel/tire rotated now to the back. He charged a very reasonable price of $50 for his time.

PS i have uploaded a photo of the damaged tire/wheel so you can see. It looks small, and i didnt hit terribly hard, but there was an impact.


Either way, it isnt looking like its a very serious problem thankfully.

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He sounds like a decent man, but I disagree on the statement that balance can’t be felt until 50 mph. Depending on the amount of the variance and other variables such as the vehicle, the “sprung to unsprung ratio”, and other variables, balance can be felt at low speeds. Tire/wheel combinations generally have enough mass to transmit out of balance conditions through a stiff suspension at backroad speeds.

There are also other factors to consider. Out-of-round conditions can be exacerbated if the tire pressure is too high. I recommend that you check the tire pressures.

There can also be internal damage to a tire that cannot be detected by a standard spin balance machine but CAN be detected by a “road force balance”, which applies a simulated road force while spinning by pressing a spinning drum against the tire’s tread. I recommend having this checked with one of these machines. They’re not uncommon, but not every shop has one.

“lateral runout”, or the amount the wheel wobbles back and forth when spinning, should also be checked. It can be too suttle to see with the naked eye, but it can cause a vibration and can be measured.

Bottom line: you feel a vibration that’s moved with the wheel from the front to the rear. It should be resolved. A good shop should be able to do so by taking the steps I’ve recommended.

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Since the alignment problem has already been corrected, any vibration remaining is likely some combination of a bent wheel and/or the wheel/tire is out of round or out of balance. It’s difficult to test balance without special equipment, but a bent wheel or tire out of round is fairly easy to check for a diy’er themselves. Jack up that wheel, figure out a way to position a pencil so that it stays put, the tip almost touches the wheel, then hand spin the wheel. For out of round, at the tread surface. For lateral wobble, at the edge of the rim. If the pencil tip stays the same distance from the wheel all 360 degrees of spin, it’s ok. Any wobble or out of roundness will show up as the gap changing as the wheel rotates.

I had a tire that I tested this like this just recently for a vibration and uneven tread wear. It turned out the roundness and lateral wobble was ok, the problem, it was slightly out of balance.

It looks like you scuffed a curb, if it was a hard strike the damage to the wheel would be worse. I see wheels with more damage than this every day, sometimes all four wheels have curb damage on a car only one year old. Wheel repair has become a popular business.

Was the picture taken before or after the visit to your mechanic? I’ll guess after, that looks like the rear brake rotor.

@the_same_mountainbik - since i need a spare anyway, i am thinking about replacing the old tire on my right rear (the possibly “damaged”) one and saving it in the trunk for emergency spare, like a donut but better lol. If the residual vibration improves, then its possibly caused by a damaged tire.

My mechanic wasnt like “ok we are done” he said “try it out, and let me know if you still feel vibration” so he left the option to do further work on that wheel. But since he found it was out of balance, he likely assumed correcting the balance would fix it.

Almost all ppl are telling me balance correction only affects 50mph or greater. My first mechanic (who apparently didnt do it) told me same thing, almost everyone online is saying it, so I forgive him if he doesn’t know its actually mechanically not true. It’s likely, felt WORST at that speed,and very mild at lower speeds. As a nurse i’m well familiar with medical 'facts" even skilled professionals repeat, because it’s what they were taught, but the newest science has debunked them. I dont really credit against him for saying it.
Speaking as someone who had out of balance car, the vibration was very subtle at city speeds, and became more obvious on the highway, so it might be that most people arent sensitive enough to tell city speeds.

I think i’m gonna call him back to see if he can put on a new tire on the R rear wheel and if he can check if the wheel is damaged when he does it.

But for now the problem improved enough, steering wheel feels “normal” again that i’m pretty sure nothing higher up in suspension is a problem.

@GeorgeSanJose - sorry gave new update, 2nd mechanic said balance never done, and he did it (it was out of balance). He also rotated tires. The problem improved quite a bit after that.
Thinking of having R rear tire replaced and asking him to examine the wheel itself if it has damage.

@Nevada_545 - Indeed. My old corolla this replaced i admit i hit the curb like, 10 times over the 7 yrs i owned it about as hard as i did this time and not ONCE did i ever feel something damaged. However , 2 times i did get a flat, replaced tire, and problem was solved. The picture is before the mechanic, this is when it was R front.