Malibu Maxx LT 2005 front end wobble/shudder

My 2005 Malibu Maxx LT started shaking on the front end for about the past month. I took it on the highway the other day and realized that the faster I go the scarier it is to be driving it. Apparently this is a"Maxx thing" from what I have read online, but GM does not acknowledge that this happens to many owners of this vehicle and refuses to offer any solutions or reasons. So now I am stuck with it and need to figure out how to fix it. The 2 mechanics I have taken it to assumed I was referring to the tires and said the tires look fine and there is nothing wrong the the bolts. The first guy gave the bolts a slight tightening and sent the silly woman on her way. Grrrr. The second guy I made drive it, he took it for 2 minutes and he said it is just lousy pavement we have in this area and that I was being paranoid. Has anyone here ever heard of or worked on this this? Could this be caused by tie rod issues, or maybe rack and pinion?

You need to try to describe the shake a little better to get some concrete ideas. E.g. where do you feel it? Steering wheel? Seat? Feet? Is it only under acceleration or just anytime that you get up to a certain speed? At what speed does it start? What is worse about it as you speed up? Is there any noise?

Anyway…I doubt it can be diagnosed by web and I doubt its a “Maxx thing.” If you happened to have a Toyota Camry and searched the internet for your symptoms you could just as easily end up thinking its a “Camry thing.” So its probably not. Its just a car thing and the Malibu is a car.

I don’t know what kind of mechanics you are taking it to but ask around among people that you know for your best locally owned, indepenent shop that specializes in front end & alignment work. Take it there. (This means don’t take it to corporate chain “auto care” places).

Yes tie rods could be an issue. So could ball joints or wheel bearings or CV joints or tires or any number of other things. You just need a shop that will figure it out.

It seems to be the whole front end that shakes. I can feel it under my feet, under my seat. The dash makes awful squeak sounds from the vibration. My visors flap and are distracting. The vibration is always there, but the faster I go the worse it is. I went on the interstate the other day and when I got over 60 mph, it started to scare me, because it felt like the engine was going to drop right out the bottom. I promptly took the next exit and drove to a service center. When I described to the mechanic, he looked at me like I was nuts, so I gave him the keys and asked him to drive. He came back after a drive around the block and said it was just the way the car reacts on crappy or broken pavement. It does not matter if the pavement is broken or smooth, it is always the same. If anyone has had this happen and knows what it is let me know so I can just go to the local UAP, get the part, put it on and be done with it. Thanks to everyone who replies, I am really stumped, and still have 2 more years of payments on this beast.

You need to find a mechanic who will go with you on a test drive that includes a run up to interstate highway speeds. Someone has to feel this vibration to start the process of correcting it.

Many times bad tires do cause vibration. A tire can experience tread separation, which is the inside of the tire starts to come apart. This will unbalance the tire and make it wobble and not track down the road straight. Sometimes you have to switch tires from wheel to wheel to figure out the offending tire.

Defects in tie rods and front suspension parts can usually be inspected with the car on a lift. While not perfect in finding every fault, it appears someone has inspected the suspension. Therefore my first area to investigate is the tires. Just because the “tires look fine” to one mechanic doesn’t rule out tires IMO.

At this point you really haven’t found a good mechanic, keep looking. If you can’t find a good independent shop, then go to a GM dealer service department.

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I wholeheartedly agree with Uncle T…you need a mechanic that will actually look at the many possible causes of front end shaking.

If it were me, I’d start by putting the car on the lift. That level of shaking suggests a possible worn out component or three, and the tech just might find a loose ball joint, tie rod end, wheel bearing, or whatever. Perhaps even a bad CV joint. You might even have badly worn out struts.

From there I’d want to (1) spin the wheels by hand on the car to look for any obvious damage or anomolies, then check the wheels/tires for balance, using a road force machine if I had one.

If I still hadn’t found the cause, at that point I’d take it for a test drive.

In any event, you need someone who’s actually interested.

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