Tacoma Wheel Balance Issues

I cannot get the wheels on my 2006 Toyota Tacoma SR5 (4x4) to stay balanced. I have 20K miles and must have had the tires balanced two dozen times. Even changed out OEM tires to Mich LTX. My dealer has tried and failed (he agrees there is a problem). He even had the enire front suspension gone over. Nothing. I have tried three other shops. They all find the tires out of balance, repair it, and about a week later the 65-75 mph steeriing wheel shimmy is back. I love the truck…hate this issue. Any thoughts?? Bill

How far out of balance are the shops finding the tires? You are setting up a imposible question to answer unless one of the features of the equation are changed. You have different tires,different shops multiple times and a repair that initaly works but then fails,something in the equation has to change like the conclusion that the cause of the shimmy is tire unbalance. We all know it is possible to balance tires and have them stay in balance,something is missing from the equation.

Tires don’t keep going out of balance. What EXACTLY has the dealer done to correct this??

Have they rotated the tires?? Rotated the rims and tires??? Tried different rims?? Are any of the wheel weights falling off (highly unlikely)???

Some of the Toyota truck alloy wheels are hard to get seated right in the spin-balancer machines. You might need to find an old timer that can static balance them and see if that works better.

Thanks for the responses. I bought the truck new. At 500 miles I took it back because of the “shimmy” in the steering wheel. Dealer said the wheels were out of balance, rebalanced them. Some improvement but still not rock solid like my Honda. This has gone on every time I had the tires rotated. Shimmy, balance, return. At 13K I dumped the Dunlop OEM and replaced with Mich LTX. Some improvement for a bit, then same issue. At 65-75 I have a noticable shimmy in the steering wheel (felt and seen) and sometimes the steering seems squirrely…like the tires are not tracking properly. Like slop in the steering gear. The new tires have been rotated and balanced. The dealer says he inspected the front suspension and it was OK. (True…???) I have no reason to think the dealer would not pursue every avenue to fix this issue, since he kept the truck 3 days and agreed something ain’t right. Truck has OEM common steel wheels. I did try 3 other reputable shops (with the same tires).( spaced over a couple thousand miles each time)…each found the wheels “somewhat” off…particularly the RF but not grossly off. BTW, the dealer and one of these shops use what they call “exact balance” which they claim is the best true balancing technology. Rebalanced…same issue. I wonder about alignment, except the dealer claims he redid that…finding nothing note worthy. I thought maybe the steel wheels were out of round…but rotation should have affected that…they CAN’T ALL be wrong. Truck runs out of warranty in October. So I need to beat up somebody, somewhere soon to get this fixed. Thanks again for your thoughts. Keep thinking and give me some ideas to take to the dealer. Bill

It doesn’t sound like they’ve tried everything. Have they REPLACE the rims…Or at least tried new/different rims to see if the problem goes away. Two different sets of tires and the problem still exists. It’s a brand new vehicle so I doubt it’s mechanical (although you can’t completely rule that out). Seems the most likely cause right now is the rims. That’s where I’d start. Just put some cheap steel rims and tires on there to see if that eliminates the problem.

It is interesting that we have had the same problem crop up on our 2003 Toyota 4Runner. We had replaced the original Dunlop tires which never had this problem, but were worn out, with Michelen tires last week. When we took a 700 mile round trip over the week-end, we had the same situation. I am taking the vehicle back to the tire dealer tomorrow. My guess is that there is either a balance problem or one of the tires is out of round. I’ll post back if we find the answer.

Let me add one more item about this. My dad had the same problem happen with a 1954 Buick that he owned. We had the same problem around 65 mph. The dealer said that the problem was in the tires. The tire shop said that the problem was with the car. We finally went to an independent shop that specialized in drive train work. The mechanic took the car out on the road and immediately said, “It’s the tires”. He was correct. One of the tires was out of round. A tire can be perfectly in balance, but if it is out-of-round, there may be a vibration issue.

Here is an interesting coincidence–I just returned from having lunch with my wife. A co-worker and her husband just returned from a trip to Arkansas from the midwest. They had replaced the tires on their truck before they left, and had vibration problems. The brand was Michelin. I had an earlier post about our problem with new Michelin tires on our 4Runner. I’m wondering if Michelin truck tires have a problem.

Triedag: Would be very interested in knowing what your tire dealer does and if it solves your problem. I have bought Michelin tires with no problem for years…but then ten years ago, so did Firestone and Bridgestone customers. But I had this issue with the OEM Dumlops also. See my earlier posts about the steering being squirrely. It is almost like the steering wheel is not fully connected to the front end. Not swervey (sic) or unstable, just a bit sloppy and un-nerving. Please let me know what you find out…and thanks. Bill

I’ll post back after we take the 4Runner in tomorrow. I did learn a lesson–don’t take your wife with you when you buy tires. The 4Runner is the car my wife drives and I was supposed to have replaced the tires. I should have done this before she took a day off last Tuesday. We went to our friendly independent tire dealer and he showed us the Cooper tire and the more expensive Michelin. My wife said that we would take the Michelin. The tire dealer said that they are a quiet running tire, which they are. My wife’s late father always bought Michelin tires, so this was the other reason.

I got that message!!! My wife drives a Honda Pilot (now 5 years old…best vehicle I ever owned BTW) and when required I replaced her tires with Michelin (something for SUVs…not LTXs). They are rock solid at any speed. No steering wheel movement, no in car vibration, just a tiny bit noisy. She doesn’t hear it and I just turn up the radio!! Thanks for your interest and responses. We may get on to something. I am increasingly drawn to the OEM wheels, lugs nuts, spindles…things in that area. Thanks again… BIll

We went to our friendly independent tire dealer and he showed us the Cooper tire and the more expensive Michelin.

I use to buy nothing but Michelin. But about 6-7 years aog their prices skyrocketed. When I was buying them their prices were competitive. Buying them at places like Sams Club and the prices were real good. Then 2 years after I bought my last set of Michelins…the price for the EXACT same tire had jumped about 25%. Other companies stayed the same. I switched to Cooper…and been buying them ever since. The Discovery HT is as good or better then the Michelin Cross Terrain…as quiet…better in snow…as good on wet or dry pavement.

Mich Cross Terrain is what I bought for the wife’s Pilot. You are right, it is time I started paying closer attention to what I buy. In reality they all have to be replaced within 3 years anyway. I will remember the Cooper Discovery. Lord I hop I don’t end up buying another set of tires to solve my Tacoma issue! You got any thoughts??? Bill

I said I would post back about the tire imbalance problem on the 4Runner. The tire shop rebalanced the wheels and turned one tire on the rim. All is o.k. at 60 mph. I haven’t had the chance to get it on the interstate yet. I’ll report back if there is still a problem.

Thanks for the report. When I go to the dealer in a couple weeks I plan to bring this entire thread. Perhaps rotating the tires on the wheel would help me too. Will let you all know. Meanwhile…give me some more advice and thoughts. Thanks very much. Bill

I’m not convinced it’s the tires yet. Still haven’t ruled out the rims.

The Cross Terrains are EXCELLENT tires…But so are the Discovery HT. And if you want more aggressive tires you can get the ATR’s. When I bought my last set of HT’s they cost me $110/tire which included mounting and balancing. The cheapest Cross Terrains were selling for $165…That’s almost a 50% increase in price over the HT’s.

toyoman, I have the exact same problem on my 2006 tacoma, access cab pre-runner - cannot keep wheels on right side balanaced and have a shimmy in steering wheel at 65mph+. I replaced the tires last fall with yocahoma’s and have not been able to keep balanced. I was in a slight rear-end accident and thought that might be the problem, but after taking to several shops, they tell me the wheel is bent. Not sure how you bend a steel wheel w/o major suspension damage. I’m at a lot loss how to fix. Hate to replace with new wheels and tires.

Mike: Now we are getting somewhere. I don’t know how you bend a wheel either…Unless in our cases, the wheel is not right to begin with. I should have bought the high end wheels I guess. We should stay in touch. I am going to my dealer soon and show him this tread and try to arrange, at my expense I expect, to take a new truck with no shimmy, put those wheels on my truck and see what the deal is. I have tried EVERYTHING …except different wheels. It clearly isn’t tires or balance technique. Of course Toyota will NEVER admit that they might have bought a few bad wheels. I love my truck…but I cannot drive it like it is. Stay in touch. Bill

Since I started this thread I will finish it. Took my truck back to the dealer. They rotated two tires on the rims, road force balanced all and now THE TRUCK IS PERFECT! Right through 55mph to 85mph. Rock steady. Evidently moving the tirs around on the rims did the trick. But I really don’t understand this process or how they tell which ones to move and how much. Anyway, this fixed my nearly 3 year old issue. Perhaps this info will help someone else. Thanks for everyone’s input.
BTW: Left the dealer, went to the farmers market and (because of dumb inattention) backed into a fence and FU’ed my tailgate. Had to come home and red-neck the thing but did manage to take it apart and beat out most of the dent. Ain’t perfect, but WTF, it’s a 3 year old PU! thanks again, Bill