Steering wheel shaking, van pulling to one side and a continual thumping felt from underneath

I recently had new brake pads put on my van. Right before the pad replacement, I noticed a slight thumping sensation under my foot when I would decelerate, but before applying the brakes.

Now, and each day continuing to worsen, the thumping is almost constant, and more prominent when I am slowing down, and when I am turning to the right (less noticeable when I turn left). My steering wheel also starting to shake heavily. Today the engine light came on.

I have a 2006 Honda Odyssey with about 65k miles on it. The brakes were replaced 3 weeks ago, and then I took it into a local tire shop for an oil change/inspection. They did not note a single thing. I did ask them how the struts were looking and they said they were fine. This past summer when I had to have a flat repair done at Les Schwabs, they told me I needed new brakes, rotors and struts to the tune of $750. I could not afford that, so my father in law replaced my brake pads with ceramic ones, and the rotors look fine. So when I was told by the most recent shop that my struts were fine, I assumed something else was happening, but have not taken it to my local shop yet. I guess I am looking for a heads up because this could not come at a worse time financially.

I’d take a look at the motor mounts and maybe the transmission mounts. Those are a weak spot on Hondas and Acuras of that age.

If your check-engine light is on, then you should have the codes read.

First thing is to check that the wheel lug nuts have not come loose. That can cause this symtom. And driving with loose lug nuts can be dangerous. Easy to check, so do that first.

If the wheels are on tight, the thumping could be caused by warped rotors, or something wrong with one of the wheels. You can test the wheel idea by swapping them around and seeing if the problem follows one of them. Warped rotors can be easily diagnosed by most any experienced mechanic. Hard to tell just by looking at the rotors though. They’d use a special tool gadget they have to check the rotor run-out.

You may have a tire with a broken belt or tread separation causing the problem. Jack up the suspect wheel and spin it by hand…Look for any distortion in the tire tread as it spins…

A tire with an internal probelm that cannot be verified via Caddyman’s test can also be found with “road force balancing” machine.

Yeah, I think the thumping is a bulge in the tire. Sometimes you can feel it by running your hand over it and sometimes not. The eventual outcome is a blowout. I think the engine light is a separate issue. I think you need to take it to a shop and have the tire and front end checked, and the code read for the engine light.

This almost sounds like play or wear in the drivetrain. I am not sure if this is FWD or RWD but I would inspect all CV and U-joints in the driveshaft or axle shafts. Also make sure all mounts are good and that they are tight as someone else suggested. I had the same issue and realized my transmission wasn’t even bolted to the frame! I would guess CV or U-joints personally and those shouldn’t be that expensive, especially if you change them yourself. If there are any rubber boots around any CV joints or axle shafts, inspect those for breaks. If one is bad, you have probably found your problem.


Thanks. I would assume that since it has been to two tire shops with their full inspections, that this is not a tire issue. It also would not be a rotor issue, as the last place I went to right after the pad replacement said they were fine.

It is a FWD.

I am unable to change the U joints myself, and I doubt my husband would even try.

I had an Acura MDX that had to have the transmission mounts replaced, but it NEVER drove this terrible, nor our of the blue. I hope to get to my mechanic tomorrow and am REALLY hoping it is an expensive fix. I do trust this shop - it has the best reputation in town and the most recommended.

Thank you for your feed back. I appreciate it.

the thumping is almost constant, and more prominent when I am slowing down, and when I am turning to the right (less noticeable when I turn left). My steering wheel also starting to shake heavily.

I hope this turns out to be something relatively minor and not dangerous. But until that’s determined, I strongly urge you to consider the symptoms as a dangerous situation and not drive this vehicle, especially at high speed. Better to be safe than sorry. FWIW, good mechanics can miss problems that others will recognize, so just because nobody is finding the cause of these symptoms doesn’t mean your problem is minor. A steering wheel should not “shake heavily” under any circumstances.

You may have to resort to swapping your wheels front to back to see if the pattern changes. If it doesn’t, then that rules out tires as the problem. If it does, then the repair is simple - get new tires. I’d start there.