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    1. Member g-man_ae's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 06:50 PM #1
      On the initial test drive before negotiating my new-to-me (CPO 2015 Passat V6) car, I noted the need to rebalance the wheels and perform a 4-wheel alignment. The seller (VW dealership 100 mi away) agreed to have this done before the sale.

      When I picked it up today, they provided me a copy of the service receipt confirming the work done, including the before/after specs on the alignment. The only other thing they needed to do was re-inflate the tires, which were checked when it was 80 deg. out, since today it was 50 deg. (enough to trigger a TPMS warning). Everything seemed in order so we finished the paper chase and I was on my way.

      Once I got out on open road I discovered almost the exact same symptoms as from the test drive

      - The car vibrates starting at 60 mph. It gets worse with more speed. It's definitely in the steering wheel (if you loosen your grip on it, it will vibrate in your hands), and I'm pretty sure it's in the seat too, so it's all 4 wheels. It's masked by the rumbling of imperfect roads, but on perfect tarmac, it's definitely there.

      - The car pulls to the left slightly, even on flat road. If I actively hold the steering wheel straight, the car tracks straight. But if I loosen my grip, the wheel wants to turn a few degrees left, and the car will follow. Previously, the car would pull left with the wheel held straight.

      The CPO report shows 7/32" on the tires all around. And again, the wheels have been rebalanced, and a 4-wheel alignment completed, both before the sale.

      Either there's something else at work here, or this dealership sucks at wheel balancing and alignment, or they wrote up a bogus service ticked and didn't actually perform these services.

      What do you think, TCL?
      "Upgrade with OEM Parts" -- Roger Moore and SVTWEB, you are missed

      Quote Originally Posted by Cigar Aficionado
      You can measure the power of a car, but you cannot measure the smile it puts on your face.

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    3. Member Ross1013's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 06:53 PM #2
      Does it get worse when you accelerate?
      Past: '06 Accord V6, '95 Taurus SHO, '01 ITR, '98 Civic HX CVT

      Quote Originally Posted by jamerican1
      Dude, you know you're like the opposite of a purist, right?

    4. Member g-man_ae's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 06:59 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by Ross1013 View Post
      Does it get worse when you accelerate?
      Yes. It starts at 60-65 and worsens with more speed.
      "Upgrade with OEM Parts" -- Roger Moore and SVTWEB, you are missed

      Quote Originally Posted by Cigar Aficionado
      You can measure the power of a car, but you cannot measure the smile it puts on your face.

    5. Member SAV912's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 07:05 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by g-man_ae View Post
      Yes. It starts at 60-65 and worsens with more speed.
      Sounds like either 1) a bent wheel to me more than anything else, or 2) bad/flat spotted tires. Balancing can only compensate so much for bends in the wheel. If the bend is severe enough, you're going to notice it.

      It's a pain in the ass but you might be looking at a set of new tires in the near future. It's not something you should HAVE to do but to save yourself time and dealership headaches, rotate the wheels at home and go for another drive. Put the fronts in the back, backs up front. If your STEERING WHEEL vibration goes away, but the vibration can still be felt in the seat of your pants, your bad wheel is now on the back of the car. You can then take them to be balanced again and ask the tech to spin them on the balancer without a tire installed so he can see if the barrel is bent.

      Best I got for ya. It might be in the warranty, but don't count on getting tires replaced if it's flat spotted or out of balance tires but you might have a fighting shot if it's a bent wheel.

      Alternatively, move from BFE, Alabama closer to a VW dealership.
      GeorgiaBulldawgs!
      Quote Originally Posted by @McMike View Post
      Good point. I look like that when I lose my place in line at the grocery store. Can't imagine what would happen to my face if I lost $64M.

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      02-27-2017 07:06 PM #5
      You need new tires. Sucks, but you should have driven it to confirm the repairs corrected the issue.
      Hook'em Horns

    7. Member Ross1013's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 07:17 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by g-man_ae View Post
      Yes. It starts at 60-65 and worsens with more speed.
      Not noticeable at all in lower speeds?

      We just had both front axles done in our Crosstour, that's been fun.
      Past: '06 Accord V6, '95 Taurus SHO, '01 ITR, '98 Civic HX CVT

      Quote Originally Posted by jamerican1
      Dude, you know you're like the opposite of a purist, right?

    8. 02-27-2017 07:26 PM #7
      Royal VW told me they pride themselves in customer service and that's why they don't wheel and deal on cars. So I'd take it back, take them on a test drive and get a loaner from them until it's fixed to your liking.

      Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

    9. Member g-man_ae's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 07:30 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by SAV912 View Post
      Sounds like either 1) a bent wheel to me more than anything else, or 2) bad/flat spotted tires. Balancing can only compensate so much for bends in the wheel. If the bend is severe enough, you're going to notice it.
      There's no visibly obvious sign of damage to wheels or tires. (Would a rim bent badly enough be easy to see?) Flat spotting might be possible.

      Quote Originally Posted by LinkATX View Post
      You need new tires. Sucks, but you should have driven it to confirm the repairs corrected the issue.
      I only got to drive it a little bit. Lunch time traffic + construction = couldn't get it up to speed.

      Quote Originally Posted by Ross1013 View Post
      Not noticeable at all in lower speeds?
      Correct.

      Quote Originally Posted by crafferty View Post
      Royal VW told me they pride themselves in customer service and that's why they don't wheel and deal on cars. So I'd take it back, take them on a test drive and get a loaner from them until it's fixed to your liking.
      They're 100 mi. away. I already took a day off work for TDI buyback + pick up this car. It can be done but not easily.
      Last edited by g-man_ae; 02-27-2017 at 07:39 PM.
      "Upgrade with OEM Parts" -- Roger Moore and SVTWEB, you are missed

      Quote Originally Posted by Cigar Aficionado
      You can measure the power of a car, but you cannot measure the smile it puts on your face.

    10. Member Jimmy Russells's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 07:41 PM #9
      I'm assuming they are original wheels?
      The OG Russells is back!

      Quote Originally Posted by Sump View Post
      I'm sure a lot of these guys went home after the carwash and played a little hans solo.

    11. Member g-man_ae's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 07:44 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Russells View Post
      I'm assuming they are original wheels?
      Yes. Nothing in the CarFax or service history to indicate replacement of tires and/or wheels.

      FWIW it's a squeaky clean CarFax.
      "Upgrade with OEM Parts" -- Roger Moore and SVTWEB, you are missed

      Quote Originally Posted by Cigar Aficionado
      You can measure the power of a car, but you cannot measure the smile it puts on your face.

    12. Member SAV912's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 07:55 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by g-man_ae View Post
      There's no visibly obvious sign of damage to wheels or tires. (Would a rim bent badly enough be easy to see?) Flat spotting might be possible.
      Not easily, no. You may be able to tell by taking the wheel off the car one at a time and rolling it down a driveway to see if you can feel undulations but that's very rudimentary and no guarantee you'll find anything. But not finding it like that doesn't mean the problem isn't there.

      I bought a Mazda 3 that had a bad vibration from a dealership that amounted it to low tire pressure. The dealership was about 160 miles away in Florence, SC so I had no recourse. It turned out that there was some kind of serious pot hole that affected the right side of the car as both right wheels were bent. The back was salvageable but the front was too severe to cure with just balancing and weights. After a new wheel (bought off eBay for about $80), the vibration got better but it was still there. It only fully went away after a new set of tires all around, as the impact bubbled the inner sidewall causing uneven inflation.

      For your situation, budget for a new set of rubber at minimum and hopefully you won't need to throw in a new wheel as well.
      GeorgiaBulldawgs!
      Quote Originally Posted by @McMike View Post
      Good point. I look like that when I lose my place in line at the grocery store. Can't imagine what would happen to my face if I lost $64M.

    13. Member g-man_ae's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 08:30 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by SAV912 View Post
      For your situation, budget for a new set of rubber at minimum and hopefully you won't need to throw in a new wheel as well.
      OTOH I was planning on new wheels + tires. Not this soon, of course.

      If it is the rims, hopefully VW will cover it under original (1 yr / 10k mi left) or CPO warranty.

      If it is the tires, well, this is something that the CPO process should've caught. Worst case, I use more of my Costco membership.

      I have a call / e-mail in to the dealership that sold me the car. I also made an appt. with my local dealership (their service dept. is OK) to take a look in a few days, when the weather clears up and they can safely drive the car some. I'll foot-stomp the fact that balancing + alignment were already completed.
      Last edited by g-man_ae; 02-27-2017 at 09:05 PM.
      "Upgrade with OEM Parts" -- Roger Moore and SVTWEB, you are missed

      Quote Originally Posted by Cigar Aficionado
      You can measure the power of a car, but you cannot measure the smile it puts on your face.

    14. Member Elite_Deforce's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 08:34 PM #13
      Holy ****, I'm going through the same mess with my Mazda3 right now. First thought it was wheels/tires, but I tried both my sets and rotated and balanced a lot and there was not an ounce of change. Second thought it was transmission mount, swapped that, nope. Something was clunking and I discovered a bad ball joint. Changed that, better, but nope. Clunking is still there but tie rods and axles all seem solid. If it isn't a sway bar or maybe inner tie rods (?), I'm out of ideas. My struts all seem to be ok. Same exact symptoms as you.

      I'm praying to god it isn't the steering rack, although my steering performs normally otherwise and I doubt it would clunk that loudly without feeling it a LOT in the steering wheel over bumps.

      Been chasing this for a year and a half now.
      Quote Originally Posted by Sonderwunsch View Post
      People have been complaining about modern BMWs lacking steering feel so they are adding torque steer.
      Quote Originally Posted by Ernie McCracken View Post
      I don't trust the judgment of anyone who likes black wheels.
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      I find it ironic that long time Euro brand fans would assume long term reliability issues would destroy any love of a unique product.

    15. Member Ross1013's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 08:36 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Elite_Deforce View Post
      Holy ****, I'm going through the same mess with my Mazda3 right now. First thought it was wheels/tires, but I tried both my sets and rotated and balanced a lot and there was not an ounce of change. Second thought it was transmission mount, swapped that, nope. Something was clunking and I discovered a bad ball joint. Changed that, better, but nope. Clunking is still there but tie rods and axles all seem solid. If it isn't a sway bar or maybe inner tie rods (?), I'm out of ideas. Same exact symptoms as you.

      I'm praying to god it isn't the steering rack, although my steering performs normally otherwise and I doubt it would clunk that loudly without feeling it a LOT in the steering wheel over bumps.

      Been chasing this for a year and a half now.
      Quoted for next time you tell someone your Mazda3 has been absolutely flawless
      Past: '06 Accord V6, '95 Taurus SHO, '01 ITR, '98 Civic HX CVT

      Quote Originally Posted by jamerican1
      Dude, you know you're like the opposite of a purist, right?

    16. Member Elite_Deforce's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 08:37 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Ross1013 View Post
      Quoted for next time you tell someone your Mazda3 has been absolutely flawless
      Still rust free.

      Besides, you try driving around a 10 year old car in a city that is basically off-roading everywhere and see if you don't have to change parts here and there.
      Quote Originally Posted by Sonderwunsch View Post
      People have been complaining about modern BMWs lacking steering feel so they are adding torque steer.
      Quote Originally Posted by Ernie McCracken View Post
      I don't trust the judgment of anyone who likes black wheels.
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      I find it ironic that long time Euro brand fans would assume long term reliability issues would destroy any love of a unique product.

    17. Member Ross1013's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 08:55 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Elite_Deforce View Post
      Still rust free.

      Besides, you try driving around a 10 year old car in a city that is basically off-roading everywhere and see if you don't have to change parts here and there.
      Dude I hear ya. My shocks are wearing and I'm trying to diagnose a hard-shifting issue when it gets hot out.
      Past: '06 Accord V6, '95 Taurus SHO, '01 ITR, '98 Civic HX CVT

      Quote Originally Posted by jamerican1
      Dude, you know you're like the opposite of a purist, right?

    18. Member Elite_Deforce's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 09:34 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Ross1013 View Post
      Dude I hear ya. My shocks are wearing and I'm trying to diagnose a hard-shifting issue when it gets hot out.
      On the Civic? I've had hard shifting issues when cold, but hot? I'm a mech-noob, but trans fluid gets too hot maybe?
      Quote Originally Posted by Sonderwunsch View Post
      People have been complaining about modern BMWs lacking steering feel so they are adding torque steer.
      Quote Originally Posted by Ernie McCracken View Post
      I don't trust the judgment of anyone who likes black wheels.
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      I find it ironic that long time Euro brand fans would assume long term reliability issues would destroy any love of a unique product.

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      02-27-2017 09:36 PM #18
      New (Nov 2015) 16 Golf, 1.8t, conventional 6 sp auto - been there from new, dealer has balanced all OEM wheels(incl winters) multiple times, I've rotated tires. Starts at same speeds as yours. Your description mirrors my observations. I've determined it's in the drivetrain(axles or differential, possibly wheel bearing) not wheels. Service manager felt it as well. VW QSM (Head Office Tech)decided there is no problem.
      Check your axles for wobble as they spin and check inner CV joint looseness into transmission.VW won't replace CV axles in my case.
      Spin the tires and check for flat spot or out of round(wheel balance should have picked up this kind of problem)
      From my experience wheel unbalance will show at 55 to 65 and lessen as speed increases.
      1986 MC SS - 180 Raging HP
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    20. Member Ross1013's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 09:47 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Elite_Deforce View Post
      On the Civic? I've had hard shifting issues when cold, but hot? I'm a mech-noob, but trans fluid gets too hot maybe?
      Changed fluid a bunch of times. Amsoil made it easier but still having issues in the heat. Something to do wuth the clutch I think--the easiest things to mess with are the clutch-pedal adjustment and the master cylinder.
      Past: '06 Accord V6, '95 Taurus SHO, '01 ITR, '98 Civic HX CVT

      Quote Originally Posted by jamerican1
      Dude, you know you're like the opposite of a purist, right?

    21. Member adrew's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 10:02 PM #20
      Are the rotors okay/does it get worse when braking? My dad used to warp the hell out of them on his old Galant and the steering wheel would shake going straight down the road (braking from high speed felt like Jeep death wobble). It can also happen if the dealer blasts the lug nuts (bolts) on to 7000 lb-ft which can distort the rotors.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    22. Member g-man_ae's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 10:11 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Ed52 View Post
      New (Nov 2015) 16 Golf, 1.8t, conventional 6 sp auto - been there from new, dealer has balanced all OEM wheels(incl winters) multiple times, I've rotated tires. Starts at same speeds as yours. Your description mirrors my observations. I've determined it's in the drivetrain(axles or differential, possibly wheel bearing) not wheels. Service manager felt it as well. VW QSM (Head Office Tech)decided there is no problem.
      Check your axles for wobble as they spin and check inner CV joint looseness into transmission.VW won't replace CV axles in my case.
      Spin the tires and check for flat spot or out of round(wheel balance should have picked up this kind of problem)
      From my experience wheel unbalance will show at 55 to 65 and lessen as speed increases.
      Jeebus. Was it like this when new?

      Quote Originally Posted by adrew View Post
      Are the rotors okay/does it get worse when braking? My dad used to warp the hell out of them on his old Galant and the steering wheel would shake going straight down the road (braking from high speed felt like Jeep death wobble). It can also happen if the dealer blasts the lug nuts (bolts) on to 7000 lb-ft which can distort the rotors.
      Brakes are fine. Vibe/pull is independent of braking.
      "Upgrade with OEM Parts" -- Roger Moore and SVTWEB, you are missed

      Quote Originally Posted by Cigar Aficionado
      You can measure the power of a car, but you cannot measure the smile it puts on your face.

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      02-27-2017 10:43 PM #22
      The good news is you should be able to isolate it to wheels/tires or something else by rotating them front to rear. If it's a wheel and/or tire you won't feel it in the steering wheel when they're not on the steered wheels! If it's still there you're most likely dealing with some kind of suspension component (control arm, bushing, etc.).

      My money's on bent wheel or tire out-of-round as well, but in for answers.

    24. Whine Connoisseur WhineMCABasket2.0t's Avatar
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      02-27-2017 11:47 PM #23
      bad wheel
      I'm just a regular Joe, with a regular job. I'm your average white, suburbanite slob.

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      02-28-2017 08:28 AM #24
      It's likely a bad wheel or possibly a bad tire (internal damage).

      Anecdotal story:
      I had a set of Mini wheels that had some Star Specs on them with ~70% life left. They looked great. My car had been running lowered with a track-oriented alignment. When I swapped them with a friend, and he put them on his car, he had issues with vibration and general road feel. So, even though they look good, there could be runout or other issues with them that are hard to spot to the untrained eye.

      Can you swap wheels with one of your other cars to take down the highway and back? It would tell in you if it's a wheel/tire issue quickly without spending anything other than time swapping wheels around.

    26. Member
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      02-28-2017 08:40 AM #25
      Definitely sounds like a bent wheel.

      FWIW on my last car I bent 2 wheels on a pothole. A local shop tried to fix the wheels but they still weren't perfect after being "fixed" as I would still get some vibration above ~80 MPH.

      Here is what the bent wheel looked like (should be obvious if you take a wheel off):



      This is what it looked like after they "fixed" it:



      If you take your wheel off you might be able to see if it was a bent wheel that had been repaired.

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