Wheel hop + vibration

I have a 2000 Corolla with 51k miles that I bought a couple of months ago.

Things I replaced:

  • both front ball joints
  • both front CV axles (half shaft)…previous left front one was leaking
  • all struts (complete struts that included coil, strut, mount)
  • all sway bar end links
  • 4 new tires (only put 200 miles on them)
  • balance and alignment
  • Firestone checked for bent rims - none found
  • Made sure all 4 PSI levels are 30

Before the new tires, there was a vibration at 60-70mph, after the new tires, there is a vibration at 40-50…seems to go away at 60-70mph. When braking, the steering wheel shimmied (turn left/right short distances rapidly)…replacing the ball joints fixed that…the mechanic also tightened the front control arms…that could’ve fixed it too.

When going very slowly over a flat road, I can feel the front left tire “hop” very slightly. By hop, I mean that it is not round like (seems like a high spot). I jacked all 4 wheels and checked for any amount of play - none.

Could this be an out of balance (even though I put 4 new tires) or control arm issue? Maybe the control arm bushings are gone and it allows vertical movement during load?

When turning the steering wheel left, it also makes a “pop” sound which is definetly coming from the strut mount area…might be related.

Try having the tires balanced by a different shop. Have you confirmed that the shop actually put new struts in, not just charging you for work they didn’t do?

I bought them the struts myself (Gabriel) and have confirmed that I see the new ones in there. These are new tires…do they need to be balanced? I thought balancing was for worn tires.

When putting on the wheel to the hub assembly, can it be off centered or does it fit perfectly? I was thinking that if it can be off center, one of the wheels might be mounted to the hub slightly off etc.

Yes, new tires need to be balanced.

I think your problem might be solved.

Were these tires professionally mounted? No shop I can think of would install tires on a car or motorcycle without balancing them.

Yeah they were installed by Firestone.

Is it okay if I wait to do the balance? (trying to wait till october 25th). Will it damage the rest of the suspension components (its only a slight vibration)?

No, it is not okay to put it off. Your tires will wear unevenly, and if that is allowed to happen, they will vibrate even after they are balanced.

I’m surprised Firestone would install tires without insisting that they be balanced. This is a new one for me.

When I buy tires, I pay a little extra for lifetime balance-and-rotate service. It keeps me from having to pay for it when it is necessary (at least once every 10,000 miles).

No, they DID balance the tire when installing it and I believe they have the road force balancer since they show up in the list of road force balances on their site.

My guess is it wasn’t calibrated or it’s some other suspension component. I will see if I can get an balance from a diff shop this weekend.

In that case, the Firestone shop should re-balance your tires for free. You might consider taking the car to a different Firestone shop so you don’t have to pay them to make this right. Bring your receipts.