WRX has a vibrating sound

subaru
vibration

#1

My boyfriend has a 2012 WRX. In the recent ice, we ended up sliding into a curb and hitting the front passenger tire pretty hard. He then complained about vibration and took it to the dealer. They replaced the control arm and he put all new tires on it. Well, he still says it is vibrating and has taken it to 3 other mechanics since. I decided to ride with him this weekend and these are my notes. I have basic mechanic skills, but this is out of my area. I am looking for any ideas and leads at this point.
Intermittent car vibration felt/heard mostly on the passenger side (I can only describe it as it sounds like the warp core from the enterprise). Most prominently felt on the floor boards near the engine, the vibration is felt less on the floor boards closer to the seat.
Sound is not correlated to tire rotation. The sound stays at a mostly constant speed. It does increase just a bit at higher speeds. The most notable change is that the sound becomes a higher frequency the faster you go.
Sound is not always present. Drove many of the same roads at the same speeds, but a few times the sound/vibration would not be there.
Sound worsens when turning left, but stops when turning right. Also stepping on the brake stops the sound, even if still moving at a higher rate of speed. (Coming down off a highway, even at 60 MPH, sound completely stops when the brake pedal is pressed)

I wish I had more, but I couldn’t see anything visually that could be causing the problem. Thanks you for all the help!!


#2

I’m wondering if the curb impact somehow damaged one of the drive axles/CV joints. A bad axle will vibrate as you described.


#3

Really? I had originally thought something like that, but talked myself out of it. I thought it would vibrate with the rotation of the tire. I really only have a basic understanding of vehicles though. (If you know a good link, I can always read up on it if it is really in depth)


#4

So you’re saying the vibration frequency doesn’t change with speed? Which it would if an axle was causing the vibration.

Another possibility is a wheel bearing that was damaged by the impact. That can cause a “warp drive” sound like you describe. But it shouldn’t make a vibration you can feel. So there may be more than one source of the sound/vibration.


#5

I like the wheel bearing theory. Did the rim get bent?


#6

I can see 1 damaged tire with a curb hit. You got a new control arm so that proves the impact force at that corner. Who recommended all new tires? Was it a worn tire issue? Perhaps summer performance tires vs good winter tires? All wheel drive, 1 new tire? Nope, gotta get 4


#7

No, the vibration speed only changes a slight fraction at higher speeds vs lower speeds, but not enough for it to be really noticeable unless you are paying attention… When he got new tires, I would assume they would check the rims, but I can’t be sure. And yes, the tires needed replacing anyways, so he replaced them at the time he got a new control arm. I had thought about the wheel bearing, as I think the sound increases/decreases with turning because the weight of the car is shifting. But what about the sound stopping when he hits the brakes, but the car is still in forward motion? Again, thank you everyone for your input.


#8

Braking changes the force acting on the wheel bearing and so can make bearing noise go away temporarily, just like turning in a certain direction. So my suspicion is still a bearing.


#9

Thanks Jesmed, I will pass that along then. Thanks for being patient with me. :slight_smile: