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RAV4 vibration

I have a 2010 Toyota RAV4. It is a great car overall but I have a persistent problem with a vibration from the rear of the car. It felt like I was running over tiny speed bumps at 35 to 50 mph. Toyota service looked at the car three times and told me there was no vibration and I should seek psychological counseling. My therapist told me that I did, in fact, suffer from numerous psychoses but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a vibration in my car. So I took it in a fourth time and a mechanic determined that there was a vibration that occurred at 40 to 45 miles per hour on a slight incline during moderate acceleration. He believed that it was caused by the Sprag Clutch. He said it wasn’t anything to be concerned about and I should ignore it. The really bad news is that while the vibration has been there for 15,000 miles, I didn’t take it in until 60,200 miles and even if they did recommend repairing it, I would have to pay $4200 for the transmission work as it is now out of warranty. My concern is that the problem will get worse and the transmission will eventually fall apart. Are my concerns valid or should I 1.) try and live with it, or 2.) go to Toyota corporate and plead for a resolution? Thanks, Dan Prevo

@Prev good luck with going to corporate! The manufacturer has no obligation or incentive to help you. You are well out of warranty by mileage. Even 15K ago, you were still well out of warranty.
Perhaps they will offer to to reduce the cost of the repair.

Or you could just wait until you do need a transmission and shop around for quotes at that time.

Your mechanic suggested that you ignore it, has he ever given you a reason not to follow his advice?


Given the sympotms, I would suspect a u-joint. If it’s that, then you can wait because the situation will get worse. The risk is that there is a possibility that the u-joint will fail suddenly.

Oh and they ought to look at the pinion angle first. From the description, it could easily be just a mis-alignment of the driveshaft.

I’ve had mine to the dealer 5 times. First time they changed the electronic 4 wheel drive under warranty, but, it didn’'t help so they told me to buy new rear tires. Nope didn’t work. The tire shop found the right wheel bearing was bad so toyota replace both sides under warranty. Didn’t stop. I’ve driven the suv for 13 K but I hold my breath anytime I drive over 10 miles with it. Toyota don’t have a clue whats wrong and told me. Corporate gave me a extra year of warranty but in three more trips to the dealer its still making the rumble strip sound. Mine starts at 45 mph and lessens as you gain more speed, but now at 60 I feel it under my feet and up the steering column. I’ve seen one person found moister in the trans fluid changed it and it helped, another said cat converter broken inside. I worked on cars for 40 years and I can’t figure it out either.

With 40 years experience working on your own cars tt seems like you’re pretty experienced and know what you are doing, and have already checked for obvious things like drive shaft u-joint play, worn suspension system parts, and tire tread problems. . Beyond that, if you’d like my guess, I’m thinking either a wheel is out of round or out of balance, or wobbling side to side. Or there’s a problem with the torque converter, presuming you have an automatic. Use a dial indicator to measure the run-out of all the tires, in the out of round direction, and in the left/right wobble direction. Check the static balance (with a bubble level) on all the tires. Sometimes a rim can be really out of balance, and so they load the rim w/ a bunch of weights to get it to dynamic balance ok on the balancing machine. But the amount of rim out of balance can just never be compensated. If that’s the problem it might show up with a simple bubble balance test. Also the wheel might have been properly balanced at one time but wheel weights fell off, or the tire rotated on the rim, due to heavy braking for example, so it is no longer balanced. Ask your shop if they can temporarily disable the lock function on the torque converter too. Might provide a clue.

[quote=“George_San_Jose1, post:6, topic:77115”] …… Check the static balance (with a bubble level) on all the tires. Sometimes a rim can be really out of balance, and so they load the rim w/ a bunch of weights to get it to dynamic balance ok on the balancing machine. But the amount of rim out of balance can just never be compensated. …….

Sorry George. If the machine says the tire is dynamically balanced, it is also statically balanced.

I think what you are getting at is that either the tire or the wheel (or both!) could be out of round and that could cause a vibration that will not be fixed by balancing. Some refer to this as Road Force, but the proper term is Uniformity - and only a Road Force machine can detect it.

But in both cases - that recent post and the OP - I don’t think this is a tire and/or wheel issue. Again, look at the driveshaft/pinion angle and u joints.

Ok, I see what you mean, w/regard to balance in a rotating system, dynamic implies static, but not visa versa. That sounds correct to me. Thanks for the correction. My comment to the OP however is to start by verifying the wheel is statically balanced. B/c if it isn’t, as you point out, then it isn’t dynamically balanced either. Proof of static balance is simple. Just look at the bubble. Proof of dynamic balance isn’t; requires trusting the computerized machine. Walk before running in other words.

I’m a 62 year old women who is having the same rumbling sound at low speeds while going up a slight incline. I’m guessing maybe the rear differential fluid needs changing or some mechanic pushed the driveshaft out of balance when doing work under the car…That’s my guess and it’s only a guess

Kathii , JR has not been on this site for a year . You may just have to bite the bullet and have a shop look at this for you . It might be simple or could even be serious .

There is or was a warranty extension to 9 years from the date of first use for the rear differential coupling assembly because of a growl noise from a bearing inside. Check with your Toyota dealer to see if this applies to your vehicle.

The mechanic who did the oil change and inspection just last month said he can’t find anything wrong…This is a person who owns a well known auto and tire shop in r.i