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Vibration and Burning Rubber Smell

My car has a vibration that translates up through the steering wheel. It occurs intermittently at varying speeds, from 1-3 minutes, and then goes away for awhile. The tires, CV joints, struts, and mounts were all checked and OK-ed by a car mechanic. There is also a burning rubber smell that Iwill notice after several minutes of driving. In addition, when I engage the car into drive their is an audible deep clicking sound as if something is engaging or breaking free from a stuck position. This also sometimes occurs when moving forward from a stopped position. The car has 160K miles on it but its been well mantained. Any thought?

Might be a sticking brake caliper. Feel all the wheels after driving to see if one is hotter than the others (front wheels especially).

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The fact that some of these symptoms occur when when you put it in drive with the car not even moving suggests to me that it may not be drive train or brake related. I would look towards a belt driven accessory binding up (alternator, power steering pump, AC compressor, tensioner, idler). That would certainly explain the burning rubber smell.

Edit: Just to clarify that the binding accessory would cause the belt to slip which is what would cause the burning rubber smell.

You can also pick up an infrared thermometer and measure the discs when you stop. IR thermometers vary widely in price, but you should be able to pick one up for under $50, and they’re extremely useful. I bought mine for automotive use, but I’ve also used it to thermally “map” things like my house windows, doors, etc. to find spots that could use a bit more insulation.

Another sure sign of a dragging pad is uneven pad wear. If on one caliper one of the pads is wearing significantly more than the other, you probably have a dragging brake.

No squealing noises? Since you smell it within the first few minutes of driving, I think your belt is slipping and needs replaced. You may have more than one belt, but I don’t know because the year, make, model and engine are not mentioned. Caliper bolts may need greasing causing the brakes to stick on.