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Vibration while accelerating slowly

I changed out two bad CV axles on my Honda CRV and noticed a low speed vibration after the repair. The vibration occurs when accelerating slowly and goes away by about 20mph. Did my trouble shooting and couldn’t find anything. Took it to a reputable mechanic that went through the vehicle and found the following issues:
Busing in the lower control arm where bad (replaced both control arm)
Lower ball joints were bad (replaced)
Tie rod ends were bad (replaced)
Car aligned
Vibration still present
Further trouble shooting:
Engine mount bad (replaced)
Tranny mount bad (replaced)
Rear differential mount bad (replaced)
Intermediate shaft bearing bad (replaced)
Right CV axle suspected of being defective from the factory (replaced)
Vibration still present
Further trouble shooting:
Old improperly warn tires (replaced)
Wheels were checked for balance with no tires on them (No issues identified)
Vibration still present.
Went back to the tire dealership (National dealer) and had the tires rebalanced and road force checked.
Vibration still present.
In the past two weeks, I have spent just over $2,000 to fix a vibration that is still present. I am taking the Honda back to the mechanic tomorrow, but they are as frustrated as I am with “chasing this ghost”. Vibration is not felt after 20mph. There is a VERY SLIGHT rubbing sound (metal on metal grinding) when breaking, but it is not constant and slows down as the car slows (sounds like a rusty rotor, but only a small strip of rust if that makes sense). There is a random creaking sound like a spring flexing and also a clicking like a bad cv axle, but it’s not constant and I can’t reproduce it on demand.
Does anyone have a recommendation on what the cause could be?


Well, that leaves two axles you haven’t changed…


You referring to the rear axles or the intermediate shaft and the other front axle?
Rear axles were checked and in good shape. Intermediate shaft was checked while they were replacing the bearing and it is good. I’m not sure what their method was to determine that the new passenger side axle was bad, but am assuming that they used the same method for the drivers side. I will be sure to ask tomorrow. The vibration started immediately after the initial two were replaced.

Then (at least ) one of the new ones is still bad.

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Since the vibration started immediately after you replaced the right and left front axles, my money is on the guess that there’s something wrong with one or both of them, or the install job. If that happened to me I’d remove the axles, measure them against the old ones, and if they measured out and looked exactly as the old ones, I’d buy two new ones and try those. If that solved the vibration then you’d have a reason to get a refund on the first ones. Did you change out the axles yourself as a diy’er, or did a shop do it? Did you use Honda oem axles, or aftermarket axles? You still have the old ones, right?

There’s nothing wrong with getting all the other stuff done, sounds like your car needed all that anyway. But it confuses the vibration diagnosis now, b/c of all the new variables that’s been introduced. Still, I think the best bet is to purchase two new axles, measure them up to make sure they are the right dimensions all around, and try those. We’ve had reports here before of folks getting slightly the wrong length axles and that causing a vibration.

I don’t have the old axles anymore, tossed them once I had the new ones in place. I did the work myself and trusted that I would get the right part. You recommendation to check the length against the old axles will be used from here on out, great tip! I got the axles from Amazon and they were not OEM. I had never had a problem before with purchasing after market axles, but have learned a hard lesson through this whole ordeal. Yes, the car needed ALL of that stuff done, but I am literally just trying to fix the vibration so we can sell the car. I’m retiring from the military in less than 4 months and the CRV has become a third vehicle for us after purchasing an F-250 and 5th wheel to travel the US after retiring.
Thanks for the response GeorgeSanJose, I will mention it to the mechanic tomorrow. At this point, they are troubleshooting and repairing without labor charges

Wow. After all that I thought the next step was “I changed cars and vibration is gone”. OK, was there a vibration before changing the axles or did it start after changing them? I woulda said you got a bad axle or even two depending on the quality of the axles you got. Maybe the mechanics here can comment on the likelihood.

What I’m starting to wonder is if its not the engine being a little tired at the lower RPMs, or could it be a torque converter shudder?


It was definitely not there before the axles were changed. The sequence of events led me away from thinking it was an axle after I took it to the mechanic. I’m open to any suggestions about possible gremlins, but the big thing to remember is that none of the currents sounds or vibrations are consistent and they can’t be reproduced on demand. None of it existed before the axles were changed. One axle has already been returned for a refund.
I’ll keep you guys posted.

Least risky is the Honda oem part, but we’ve had good reports here about Dorman and NAPA aftermarket half shafts. You do need to measure them against what came out first, no matter who makes them.

Hate to say it I’m not sure I’d be too confident in Amazon axles depending on where they came from and who did the work. Maybe the mechanics can comment with more experience. I’d be inclined to pull them both out and get some from NAPA or OEM. Amazon doesn’t make anything themselves and are just mail order. I’m not sure what kind of quality control they exercise over the vendors they use.

I didn’t do any research on reliability of cv axles until after the fact because I assumed a company couldn’t stay in business if they were producing a sub-par product. I’ve never had issues with other parts ordered through Amazon.
Lesson learned, spend more money on a reputable brand.
No update on the solution yet.

There’s a Technical Service Bulletin about vibration in 12, 13 and 14 CR-V’s. It’s TSB No. 15-076. If you google it you’ll have some information that might help.

Thanks wentwest, but mine is an '03.

so, what is the theory on why a new, tighter axle would cause a vibration vs an older, loose axle? why were axles replaced? torn boots? did they feel loose? you say the vibration appeared immediately which means the first time you drove it after replacement? and why did you toss the old axles so fast than?

I’m not a mechanic but I did have a CV joint failure that vibrated before it went. For me, I’m sure it was related to taking an off ramp too fast and maybe cracking the race. I don’t know. But I believe some of these places don’t even replace the joint, just clean, grease, put new covers on and paint the axle and in the box and call it rebuilt. So does it have new quality inner and outer joints, lubed, and an axle shaft that is not bent? Has it been returned by someone else even.

The thing is, when you do a repair and then have a problem that you didn’t have before, you have to first re-check your work and the parts used. I would have to say a good percentage of the time its a problem with the initial repair. So it’s never fun to have to re-do a job again but what are the other things that could have been affected? Axle bolt torque, damage to the wheel bearing?

Drivers side boot was torn so I replaced both. The vibration was immediate after replacing the axles. Again, assumption was that the axles were “QC’d” by the manufacturer and good to go so I figured something else must have been damaged in the process. I threw the axles away not knowing that it’s common for them to be defective from the manufacturer or that you can receive one that is the wrong length. All my fault for assuming that people do their job. I’ve been in the Marine Corps for 24 years; people that can’t meet a standard don’t survive. My mistake for assuming that the same standard would apply to a company that is providing a product, or a worker that is making products for that company to sell.

Well as a Marine, all bets are off when parts are imported from China. Even defense parts have been found to be defective. They have no reliable standards.

If every company that ever sold a defective product were forced out of business, there’d be nowhere to buy anything. If just the companies that sold ME a defective product were forced out of business, there would be a lot of what are now very visible and very large companies missing. You aren’t the first to get a bad replacement part OP. I got a bad replacement starter motor a couple years ago, bad right out of the box. And I get the wrong replacement part all the time too, not defective, but just the wrong part, won’t fit, mislabeled on the box usually. It’s a very common thing reported here. The companies who sell these bad parts stay in business b/c they stand by their product and replace the defective part with another one when a customer complains, and b/c there’s no other company who’d obviously better than they are.

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I’ll second what @GeorgeSanJose said. If I buy a new part at a store I always bring the old part along and compare them, right there at the counter. Step aside so someone else can get to the clerk, but don’t leave until you are satisfied that it looks exactly the same and has the same bolt pattern. If you buy it online do the same thing when it arrives. Sometimes it will show up and you’re busy for a while before you get to the job, but always open the package and do the comparison ASAP.

As far as faulty parts, it really is easier to deal with the seller if you work fast. The longer you wait before you go back the harder it is to get a good outcome.

And, no, the civilian world does not work like the Marine Corps. Don’t look for a conspiracy, incompetence explains almost everything.

Where were the new axles made? I heard they have had a big problem with the ones made in China.