Passenger Front Wheel Shakes

I have a question, looking for best options. My wife has a 2008 Dodge Charge SXT with the 3.5. The front passenger wheel is “shaking/bouncing” at highway speed, but only when turning that direction on a curve. It doesn’t do this when turning left. We had the tires replaced, because that was the suggested fix because the tire was “chopped”. They were at end of life anyway, past the ware bar. But it didn’t help and it seems to be getting worse. One mechanic said he thought it was the wheel hub, another said tie rod. I replaced both front tie rod ends after the passenger one fell out about 18 months ago. Any suggestions? I’m not afraid of doing the work and I’m capable, just not great at trouble shooting and really don’t want to waste a ton of $$ in parts. Thank you for reading.

Take it to a qualified mechanic…someone who can actually diagnose the problem…not one who is GUESSING as to what part to replace.

You need to take your vehicle in to a good alignment shop and get the problem corrected. The front end is not “rocket science” and the problem should be easy to troubleshoot. Any mechanic that “guesses” is a mechanic to stay away from.

I did, the dealer we bought it from. When two mechanics told me they didn’t know which of the two parts they were going to replace I left. I’m looking for direction, not judgement.

Your first mistake, in my opinion, was taking it to a dealer. I doubt that they have anyone who is qualified to work on the front end. We are not being judgemental…we are just being honest here. You don’t go to a hairdresser to get a tooth pulled.

Missileman is correct that the front end is not rocket science, and modern front ends have relatively few moving parts compared to what we used to deal with in the 50s and 60s. Still, tracking down the culprit can be difficult.

Unfortunately, the economics of the mechanic business dictates that they be parts replacers, not problem diagnosers. Look at the invoice and you will notice that they get paid for replacing parts. They generally don’t get paid for studying the problem. The mechanic who just throws parts at every car that comes in the door will take home the biggest paycheck, so long as one of those parts solves the problem so there is no comeback.

That leaves you with our guesses based on your description. The fact that it happens when you are turning (shifting the stress) makes me suspect the ball joint.

I wouldn’t condemn the mechanic’s as of yet. We are only hearing one side of the conversation here. Maybe both parts needed replacement.
If a tie rod end “just fell off” after only 6 years. I’m wondering, if it had been ignored that long. other parts are on the way out too.

As everyone has said…take it to a good alignment shop and have them diagnose the problem and get it fixed. Stearing components are not a thing to ignore. You could lose control and crash and take out others with you.


Thank you all for suggestions. I didn’t intend to be short and come off angry. I was frustrated with the fact that the mechanics I spoke with wouldn’t/couldn’t give me a straight answer and treated me like a fool for wanting to understand. I know mechanics are the experts, I just want honesty and straight answers. Show me the problem and explain it. I’ll call some alignment shops and see what they would charge to take a look. Not sure why that didn’t cross my mind first.

I’ll keep in mind the ball joints as well, thank you for the suggestion.

Have you jacked up that wheel to see if you can make it wobble on the hub (hands at 12 and 6 o’clock)?

Do you think you (or your wife, or teen driver??) hit something with that side? Like a curb or large pothole? Dropping a tie rod and cupping (or chopping) a tire says that side is not what it once was. Tie rods don’t usually just drop off unless some serious stress has occurred. Something may be bent. Has the alignment been checked lately?

Since you are a DIY-er, you can do lots of simple checks at home. Search YouTube on ways to check toe-in and camber to see if the right side is knocked out of alignment. What’s bent? Start your search there and come back and tell us what setting, toe or camber or both are not the same on the right as they are on the left. We’ll try to help.

CV Joint! The clue is that is only appears on a curve.

@CapriRacer Good suggestion! Hey @dustin08, Does this Dodge Charger Have all wheel drive?

Since you actually had a tie rod end fall out already, you need to get this to a reputable chassis shop ASAP for a thorough evaluation. Chances are excellent that you have other problems not only causing your shaking but also on the verge of causing a major sudden lack of control. Be sure to tell the chassis shop the whole story.

Here is the way I would approach this. First, with the car sitting on the ground, have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth about 1/8th turn in each direction while you lay on the ground and watch each component. Look for slip between the halves of each component, tie rod ends, ball joints, etc. Look for any jerky movements in any of the components. Listen for unusual sounds. Often you will find the culprit this way.

Next, jack up the front wheel in question until it is just off the ground. You do not need a jack stand for this as you are not going under the vehicle. Now place the blade of a shovel under the tire and have someone move the shovel handle up and down, moving the tire up and down. It only needs to move a quarter inch or so. Observe the ball joints to see if the are moving the control arms in sync, or if the ball joints move before the control arms. If the latter, that is a bad ball joint.

Now turn the wheel in the direction that is causing the vibration and rotate it, listen for unusual sounds. If you hear something but can’t isolate it with the wheel on, then use a jack stand for safety and remove the wheel. Try again to isolate and locate the source of the sound.

If you are diy’er inclined, excellent advice above by @keith .

I’m not entirely sure I understand which tire it is and which direction you are turning when the symptom happens. I think it is the right front tire, and happens when you turn right. Is that correct? Also is it possible they said the previous tire was “cupped”? Cupping is often caused either by the tire being out of balance or out of round, or a shock/strut problem.

hmmm … well, besides what’s been mentioned above, one idea, check if that tire is out of balance. And if the shocks/struts are worn and failing on that corner. Or the hub could be bent or something & acting weird; that can easily be checked with a couple of run-out checks, best done by a shop. Or if the tire is out of round. Or the lug nuts for some reason are not securely holding the wheel to the hub.

edit: It could be a cv joint I suppose, but usually those types of noises are most noticed at slow speed on sharp turns. And it could be wheel bearing problem too.

Someone just has to go through all the possibilities one by one is all. The problem is there are a lot of them. That’s why the folks above are recommending, if nothing obvious is found after a quick inspection of the components, to take it to a shop that has experience with this type of problem. It will be money well spent I expect.

Keith has made excellent suggestions, but considering what has already happened, I don’t feel an adequate inspection can be done without a lift. I stand by my recommendation for a reputable chassis shop.