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Toyota Matrix Rumble

I have a 2009 Toyota Matrix. About 130,000 miles and bought used from a dealer at about 20,000 miles. Was probably sitting on lot several months I get a rumble like going over rumble strips as I am accelerating, most often between 40 and 50 miles an hour, but regularly when I am driving over a distance at about 175 on the RPM gauge. It does not happen when I am accelerating consistently through that range. When it happens I can accelerate through it to stop it or it stops if I let off the accelerator. Dealer can’t figure it out. Have checked wheel balance. Told me they will figure it out when it gets worse - very helpful. Said they could do a transmission fluid service but no promises. Oh yeah they charged me $800 to do a repair that would fix it that didn’t fix it. A friend has suggested tire rods may be failing. Been going on several months and I have learned to pretty much drive to avoid the rumble but still worried the entire drive train is going to fall off the car one day. Any ideas hugely appreciated. Thanks. Rudi

First, this doesn’t sound like a tire problem. Wheel end vibrations occur in the 50 to 70 mph range - what is known as the wheel hop frequency. Those types of vibrations would also be there all the time at the wheel hop frequency. While you can drive through the wheel hop frequency (the speed where this occurs), if you drive at THAT particular speed, it will be there.

It might be a CV joint, but I am leaning towards an engine issue.

I think it’s an inboard CV joint issue.
Get the drive axles checked.

Thank you very much. I’ll take it in tomorrow. CapriRacer - When you say engine issue are you thinking about anything in particular? Rudi.

While this could be an engine issue, I think it is more likely to be a transmission issue.
The speed that was mentioned is the speed range when the torque converter lock-up clutch is likely to be activated. When the TC lock-up clutch is not working properly, it can feel like you are riding over a bunch of rumble strips.

I would recommend a visit to an independent trans shop (NOT a chain like AAMCO, Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission or the like) for an examination. While you are there, you should have the trans serviced anyway, unless you know for sure that it was done w/in the past 30k miles.