Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Subaru Forester front end shimmy

I have a 2000 Subaru Forester S model with 143k. I have been chasing a front end shimmy since we bought the car used a year ago. I have replaced the front rotors, and pads, cleaned and greased the caliper pins, made sure the calipers weren’t stuck, and had an alignment done. There was a bent front passenger wheel that I changed and had the wheels balanced. I have also checked the fuse for the ABS thinking that may have something to do with it. After the alignment provided no change I am stuck.

I just realized that I left out a critical piece of information as I was reading the posts. The shimmy is only under braking and is more pronounced under extra load such as down hill.

The impact that bent the front passenger-side wheel may have been sufficient to also damage a ball joint and/or a tie rod end. Since this is a safety-related issue, I would suggest having the best front-end shop in your area go over the front-end components with a fine tooth comb.

Have The Tires Been Replaced Or Rotated ?

You can try swapping front and rear tires/wheels and see if there’s any change.

You can also check the tires for both lateral and radial run-out. Even a square tire can be balanced satisfactorily, but won’t allow for a very smooth ride.

Weak springs and worn struts can exacerbate a shimmy.


Also wonder what has been done with tires? The bent wheel means a tire took a hit, could the sidewall be damaged? Could a tread be separating from a tire? A tire could balance OK and still be out of round due to tread separating and interior cord breaking down.

Most likely the shimmy is coming from the front end so moving the tires front to back could reveal useful info if the shimmy changes or is reduced. A bad front tire moved to the back will make for a “seat of the pants” shake rather than a shimmy you feel with your hands on the steering wheel.