Strange low frequency vibration in the car & the steering wheel

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by Mayank Jain, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. Mayank Jain

    Mayank Jain Member

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    Hi everyone,

    From last few days, i'm experiencing strange low frequency vibration in the entire car and the steering wheel.

    I checked the tire pressure, all seems fine. No warning signals on the dashboard.

    I'm attaching a gif of the steering wheel vibrating.
    20190209 135103 - Upload GIF & Share Online

    Any suggestions on what might be wrong?
    Thanks!

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  2. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Is one of your front tires unbalanced, or out of round, or suffering a bubble-up defect (I once had such from a puncture that didn't leak until it expelled the offending debris) on the tread?
     
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  3. SlidingBike

    SlidingBike Member

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    That GIF is a very good example to explain the exact situation.
    Can you check if alignment is an issue?
     
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  4. George W

    George W Member

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    It sounds like my tires near the end of their usefull life. They looked like a normally worn tread, but underneath the top-tread was slowly shifting. The steering wheel did shake, and a 'growling' sound could be heard.
     
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  5. Mayank Jain

    Mayank Jain Member

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    If i leave the steering wheel, it feels like its moving to left aide in small jerks.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  6. Mayank Jain

    Mayank Jain Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I'll get the alignment & wheels checked first thing tomorrow!

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  7. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Also check for broken belts in one or the other front tire. That can be hard to spot, but will make you wheel do what yours is doing.
     
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  8. SlidingBike

    SlidingBike Member

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    I've taken Wheelworks life time alignment deal (usually they offer it for $110 on every new years day), I get my wheels aligned for every 6 months. So far nice. (from one week, TPMS is flashing , at times going of but mostly staying.. need to have it checked though).
     
  9. Mayank Jain

    Mayank Jain Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I took the car to a local tire/alignment shop - and the moment he elevated the car, the reason for the problem was almost clear.

    The front left tire had a big bubble on one side which was pulling the car left with the jerks which you can see in the GIF. We also realized that both left side tires were very old (Treads barely visible). While both of right side tires looks fairly new. All of them were Yokohama Avid Ascend (Context : I bought this car used in early Jan 2018 - with 95k miles. I've added +5k miles since).

    His recommendation (which I am planning to take)
    - Junk both left tires & buy 2 new tires
    - Move front right to rear left
    - Put 2 new tires on the front
    - Overtime, replace back tires with same brand, new tires

    I'm scheduled for Thursday at Big-O tires for the following
     
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  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    congrats!(y)
     
  11. George W

    George W Member

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    Are you going to also get an alignment?
     
  12. Mayank Jain

    Mayank Jain Member

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    The tire shop said they'll do a check and if needed, add alignment.

    I am currently under assumption, that the alignment might be off too.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  13. SlidingBike

    SlidingBike Member

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    I guess you must get the alignment done.
     
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  14. Mayank Jain

    Mayank Jain Member

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    I'll update status on Thursday after i get the new tires.

    Cheers!

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  15. Mayank Jain

    Mayank Jain Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I got the tires replaced & the car is now running like a charm!

    Got 2 new tires, moved them to rear & got realignment done.

    Thank you everyone who chipped in to help :)

    Cheers!

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  16. Yea Right

    Yea Right Member

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    Good to hear, I assume the two new ones went up front and the others to the back.
     
  17. Mayank Jain

    Mayank Jain Member

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    The two new ones are in the back. That's what the car mechanic shop recommended. I had no reason/insight to contest that.

    Should they have gone in the front? If so, why?

    Thanks!

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  18. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    As I understand it, repair shops want the new tires in the rear even with fwd. That's because they want the best traction back there because of the way cars respond when the rear losses traction on a slippery curve versus the front. I'm not sure I totally agree and many vigorously disagree, but I do see their logic.
     
  19. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Two new tires being put on back is pretty much industry standard now. There are different opinions in what amounts to a religious dispute about what is best, but legal liability pushes the shops towards the solution that works best for non-super-expert drivers.

    While front wheels do the bulk of braking in ordinary controlled perfectly-straight-line conditions, this arrangement is unstable in emergencies when things get out of control. When things start to go sideways, the tire set with the weakest braking traction wants to slide ahead of the better traction set. So if the poorer set is in back, they want to spin around and become the new front tires. Very few non-professional drivers can keep in control of the car when it is suddenly facing and sliding backwards.

    Modern ABS and skid control reduce this tendency, but can't perform the miracle of abolishing it. Symmetrical traction is intuitively much easier to control than asymmetric traction. That is why many of us prefer having (nearly) matching tires on all four. Beside replacing all four together, regular tire rotation helps keep them nearly matching.
     
    #19 fuzzy1, Feb 20, 2019 at 1:57 PM
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019 at 7:59 PM
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  20. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Yeah, there's a long rather heated thread on the topic here somewhere, but I just didn't feel like digging it up. You explained it very well right there. Thanks, Fuzzy.
     
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