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Small Vibration At Highway Speeds But Tires In Balance

My car is a 2003 Chevy Malibu with 65,000 miles on it. A month ago, on the highway at 65 mph, I hit a rock or vehicle part. It was about the size of a softball, and it caused a 3-inch gash in my right rear tire, and a big dent in the center of the rim, gouging the metal. I replaced the tire and rim (used), but still had a minor vibration.

After a new set of tires, good balancing (I’ve had some bad ones), alignment, and a brand new rim, there is still a small vibration at highway speeds over 60 mph. That’s when I notice it, anyway.

The shops I’ve been to say that everything on the car is fine, it’s aligned, the tires are balanced, and nothing is damaged.

But I know how smoothly it rode before, so I know something is amiss. My guess is the wheel bearings, but they can’t easily be taken out like in the old days. Any other ideas?

P.S. The best word to describe the vibration is a “flutter”. It’s not very obvious, but I feel it in the gas pedal and seat.

How did this impact manage to miss the right front wheel/tire?

I was able to shift over when I saw it, but it was too close. Since my car is not very nimble, I did not want to make any sharp turns. The road may also have had a slight curve/rise to it, which is why I didn’t see it soon enough.

I have a 2003 Malibu too, but since I’ve had the car I have noticed a vibration in the steering wheel occasionally when I reached speeds that were over 75 mph. I just assumed that this was because the car never was meant to go this fast. I have had my wheels re-aligned, balanced, two sets of tires put on and nothing has really solved the issue.

I’m not a car person, but I wanted to let you know that you’re not the only one having problems like this with your Malibu.

Do you also notice a slight creaking noise when you make turns, especially when the car is cold?