Shaky Wheel!

civic
honda

#1

When at a complete stop I got out of my car and kicked all four of my tires b/c it sounded loose when I was driving.



The front passenger side wheel moved!!! I checked the lugnuts and they are on tight.



Any idea what this could be?


#2

You’ll have to get under it and start testing things. Sounds like it could the a steering tie rod.

Was it a bit harder to control? or did it still track straight, and turn correctly?

If not, then the upper joint, or if bad enough, strut.

Since I have no idea what kind of vehicle this is, I’m giving you a couple WAGs.

Get a competent mechanic to check it, but do it quickly, as this appears to be a safety issue. If it’s as bad as you say, you shouldn’t be driving it.


#3

Thanks for the response.

The vehicle is a honda civic lx 1996.

When I kick the wheel it doesn’t move a lot but it is definitely noticeable. When I drive it is fine and control of the vehicle was fine as well. I did notice that at 80mph it started shaking almost as if my alignment was off (this was before i knew there was an issue). Don’t worry though I don’t plan on driving it that fast anymore or at least until I get this fixed…


#4

Any idea of general cost?

Are we talking about $200-$500 or like $1000-$2000?

At some point I have to get this car replaced, but I won’t do it now if it is fixable…


#5

If vehicle control hasn’t changed too much (apparently it’s not noticable, anyway), the the tie rod’s are probably OK. Likely, then, it’s either the lower ball joint, or some part of the strut. It could even be bushings.

As for cost, that will depend entirely on what’s wrong. Have a decent mechanic diagnose it for you and figure out what’s wrong. Hard to do that from a keyboard.


#6

I just went outside to look at the wheel again and I realized that the movement in the wheel is only noticeable when kicking the wheel pretty hard. In other words the wheel movement is very little. I’m taking it into Honda first thing in the morning.

Thanks for your advice!!!


#7

Can’t say I’d take my 15 year old vehicle to a dealer, but if that’s your best option, then go for it. Any good mechanic can do the work, and probably save you a lot of $$$.

He is more likely to tell you what needs to be done now, and what you’ll need to do in the future (like 3 to 6 months or so, we can’t read crystal balls). Maybe saving you even more right now, allowing you some budgeting time.

Good Luck!


#8

If you kick any wheel hard enough, it is going to move. What you can’t see is if the wheel on the other side moves a corresponding amount. If it does, that is good, if not, that is a problem.

The best thing to do is to get down in front of the vehicle and have someone move the steering wheel back and forth, about 1/8th turn each way. Look at each suspension piece and if one is bad, you will spot it. Parts on one side will not be moving in sync with the parts attached to the other side. Do not jack up the car to do this, the wheels have to be on the ground.

If all the steering linkage looks good, watch both tires, they should be moving together in sync. If one is hesitating a little. that wheel bearing could be bad.


#9

In the olden days if you push and pull on the top of the tire and it moves it is a wheel bearing, if you push and pull on the sides of the tires and it moves it is tie rod or ball joint. If it is still true for front wheel drive cars these days I do not know.