Vibration starts after 7-8 minutes, lasts 7-8 minutes, then stops

honda
prelude

#1

My 2001 Prelude (not SH) develops a vibration felt throughout the car and particularly the steering wheel after several minutes of constant highway (60 - 75 MPH) speed travel. Thought it might be a brake caliper sticking, but the car does not pull left or right. After 7 or 8 minutes of vibration, it stops and the ride is smooth as glass. Any ideas?


#2

Try keeping it in a lower gear or turning off overdrive, and see if it happens, my thought overdrive failing. Miles since trans service?


#3

@Barkydog is in to something, if the car has an automatic transmission. If so, any change in engine RPMs while this is going on? How is the fluid level and condition?


#4

Good ideas above, other possibilities given the steering wheel involvement are a loose wheel bearing, or loose steering or suspension parts. The wheel bearing will heat up as you drive so the dimensions of the associated metal parts will change, yielding either extra play or less play, which could cause this kind of driving-time based symptom. The suspension components don’t heat up that much I’d guess, but if you have something loose it can act ok at times and then go into a wobble mode other times. The vibration modes can change just by going over a bump or making a turn.


#5

There are a number of possibilities, but since it only happens after a highway drive, I’d lean toward a slightly dragging pad OR an ignition component that’s become heat sensitive.

The pad can be checked for by checking the temperature of each wheel looking for a hot one. I’d use an infrared thermometer, but of you use your hand BE CAREFUL. The wheel can easily get to well over 250F, and you don’t want to burn yourself.

The ignition component is a bit trickier to verify, but the most likely of the ignition components to become heat sensitive are the COPs. Don’t let the lack of a CEL delude you into dismissing that possibility. I’ve seen a heat-sensitive COP not trip the light.

You could also have a tire with a defect that’s getting hot on the highway from internal friction. An internal defect of this type can usually be found on a machine that does “road force balancing”.


#6

i have drained and replaced the transmission fluid since this started…I was advised not to “flush” the system due to the mileage (190,000)…no engine rpm fluctuation…pretty sure vibration continues through gear changes…I’ll observe more closely and vary speed to see…


#7

I bought the car in December…had the ENTIRE suspension, wheels and tires replaced…like with brake pad, wouldn’t a wheel bearing issue cause the car to pull to the left or the right? I can let go of the wheel and the car tracks straight…


#8

Not until it begins to bind and at that stage you’re in dangerous waters.


#9

Something pretty easy to do , move the front wheels to the back and visa versa. As part of doing that push, pull, twist on the wheels while they are in the air to see if there’s any abnormal play. And rotate the wheels by hand to verify the rotate freely while listening for any unusual noises. Record what you discover yea or nay as it will help your mechanic save some time on their ultimate diagnosis.

Another easy thing to do when you notice the vibration happening is to speed up just a little, then coast back down through that speed in gear and in neutral. If the vibration returns or doesn’t return, both are clues to the cause.